Having just spent a few hours at Belmar on Sunday with my sons, I again thought of the point I've raised before that one of the special things about the Jersey Shore is that any beach lover probably can pinpoint the type of seaside town/experience somewhere along our state's coastline.
Or you can (as I sometimes do) make a few stops in one day, often by just driving a few miles up the road or crossing a town border. You can end your day at a not-too-far-away beach that the kids love (say, Belmar) with dinner in a pretty seaside village. (ie. Avon-by-the-Sea)
In fact, if time hadn't been short — we went down late because we thought it was going to rain — I've had headed down yesterday for an early evening stroll by the beach in Sea Girt, which reminds me of New England.
Or the way home from a day trip to the Shore from Basking Ridge can include a stop in funky, music-rich Asbury Park, which Patch blogger Laura Madsen profiled last week for those who aren't up-to-date on what's the latest at one of our most postcard-famous Shore towns.
Naturally, the television show excepted, it's my impression that a certain young adult and party loving set heads down to Long Beach Island for their Shore experience. Meanwhile, Spring Lake, just south of Belmar, has many fans from Basking Ridge and the Somerset Hills.
And people who may not even get wet in the ocean may love trips to Atlantic City ("A/C"), the mother ship of all casino towns on the East Coast.
And the barrier islands of southern New Jersey provide a totally different experience than the spots up north, more favored by surfers. (Manasquan Inlet, anyone?)
So, what's your favorite shore town? Where do you like to head with adults, or with children? (Or where do you go down with your friends if you are a kid?)
Convenience sometimes counts — when you only have a few hours, where do you go where you know you'll have a beach you like, within about a 90-minute's striking distance, with food you'll savor?
Or you crave an escape that's further away, that really makes you feel as if you've left home for a while?
Tell us what you like about your favorite shore town(s) in the comment section below.
Let us know if we left any place off the list. And this is one poll where we encourage you to vote more than once — it may be just too hard to stop at one choice!