Local officials expect big summer ahead along LBI and Southern Ocean County, NJ
What better than a summer at the Jersey Shore?!
Despite the tumultuous weather at times in March and April with drips of it in early May, we'll get those warm sunny summer days here soon enough.
That's why it's important to plan ahead now for the summer ahead and think of all the things you want to do with your family and friends.
There's so much to do across LBI and Southern Ocean County alone that you'll want to make a few stops to this part of the Jersey Shore this summer.
"We know with people readjusting their schedules, returning to routines -- it's more important than ever to make a trip to the beach and, of course, you're going to find everything you have in Southern Ocean as well as Ocean County," Lori Pepenella, CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce said during her guest appearance on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' Sunday morning on 94.3ThePoint and 105.7TheHawk. "We just want people to come down and move around and enjoy all that we have to offer."
There are so many great beaches, for starters, along LBI that you just have to spend some time in the sand and water down there -- the picturesque views topped off with how the sun cascades down on the water on a summer day -- it's just breathtaking.
"I always say that it's the closest thing to California that you're going to find in New Jersey. I mean, not only do we have an active surf culture but a lot of arts and just a lot of different activities and festivities," Pepenella said. "We don't have a boardwalk, so this is something that many people when they come down the Shore anticipate, so that's what makes us a little bit unusual because you have, on the barrier islands, six unique towns -- everything from super nautical up in Barnegat Light down to a little Victorian flavor in Beach Haven, and everything in between."
If you're planning a visit to one of the beaches along LBI, you don't have to worry about getting a seasonal beach badge ahead of time, just go for the day.
"There's many entrances to beaches. Every beach does have its own individual beach badge but you can buy that on the beach, so you don't have to worry about if you don't have a season badge or going to town hall or a badge check to purchase because you will have someone on the beach approach you to purchase," Pepenella said. "Come along, bring your friends and family and just find a place and enjoy it, there's 18-miles of gorgeous beaches here."
With nice weather anticipated for this upcoming summer on top of people feeling more of a sense of normalcy two years after the pandemic began, there is an expectation of larger crowds at the Jersey Shore and in this case, Southern Ocean County and LBI but it's also a place where people keep coming back to each year.
"We're always a popular summer place and it's not just beachgoers but we have a lot of families hosting weddings and special events and just gathering people for reunions -- LBI is multi-generational so people come here from all over the country," Pepenella said. "As far as this summer, our organization turns 108, so this is our 108th summer sharing memories and creating new experiences with people."
On a given summer day, you can go to the beach, go surfing, check out the parks or head over to Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven.
"We have new rides at Fantasy Island Amusement Park, the park has been busy -- one of a kind rides happening in Beach Haven -- there's the summertime swing, there's a shark attack ride -- it's just a lot of exciting new arcade games with all the latest trends, they're offering VIP pass packages," Pepenella said.
Outside of the beaches, shops, and amusement rides, there are also some great local shows this summer as well.
"We have a fantastic array of live performances -- so, we have surf light theater, we have the Stafford Arts Center, we have outdoor concerts and nightly entertainment that are scheduled at various restaurants and clubs -- you really can take advantage of these great lineups -- the Adams Family is coming at Surf Light, there's do-op legends, there's also children's theater," Pepenella said.
For however you choose to spend your summer in Southern Ocean County and LBI, there is a special kind of tool you can utilize to plan things out.
"We published the Land and Sea Passport -- this is where do you find local electric charging stations, how about tie charts, moon phases, what to do with your pet when you're traveling, where are all the public restrooms -- this is a pocket-sized publication that's also available online," Pepenella said. "You can pick up a passport at our Visitors Center, which is open year-round, at 265 West 9th Street in Ship Bottom or you can go online and download a copy or request a copy and we'll mail it to you."
You can hear more about what's going on this summer along LBI and Southern Ocean County from Lori Pepenella from her appearance on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' yesterday, right here.
Take a look at these great pictures of LBI, Southern Ocean County, and the Jersey Shore to get you ready for summer!