Traditionally, Labor Day (and the start of school) means the end of summer vacations and weekend jaunts to the beach. But as the gorgeous weather continues to hold out (thanks, global warming!) there’s no reason not to grab the kids or a group of friends for one last getaway.
One location that’s easy to visit and especially perfect for families — and conveniently open through Columbus Day — is Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks in Wildwood, N.J. Just about a 2.5-hour drive from NYC, this shore spot is not quite like any other resort town or theme park city in the nation.
Tracing its boardwalk entertainment origins back to 1969, Morey’s Piers is now the largest waterfront theme park in the western hemisphere, with more than 100 rides and attractions spanning about two miles of seascape.
Between the piers are seemingly endless ice cream and pizza shops, arcades, souvenirs stands and other such carnivalesque fare. If you don’t have the energy to walk up and down all day, you can catch the Sightseer Tram Car for $3 per ride (but many tourism booths sell reduced-price day and weekend passes).
Although the area is primarily geared toward groups with younglings, adults can also have a good time at one of the many local bars and restaurants.
Or, of course, you can just enjoy the beach and people-watching, plus the chance to get away from the hustling humdrum of city life just one more time this summer, basking in Wildwood’s all-too-easy-to-believe fantasy that sunny days are here to stay.
Where to stay
While visiting, you can also stay at a property owned by Morey’s, such as Port Royal, which offers apartment-like hotel rooms with balconies, views of the beach, mini kitchens and plenty of space to spread out. Downstairs is a restaurant, a pool and a kiddie pool, a game room and a quieter lounge spot. When you stay at one of the four participating Morey Resorts (starting at $99 per night), you can get a Stay and Play package through Sept. 15, which means big savings on unlimited access to Morey’s three piers (Mariner’s Pier, Adventure Pier, Surfside Pier) and two waterparks (Ocean Oasis and Raging Waters).