Plunging into frigid ocean waters with nothing more than a bathing suit on is not necessarily something that a person would do willingly.  Unless of course, you are one of thousands of participants taking part in the five plunges that are planned in Cape May County, New Jersey in the next four months. Whatever your reason is to willfully run into a freezing ocean during the winter months, there are some benefits, both entertaining and charitable, to taking the plunge.

How about getting together with your friends?  Plan to make it a weekend stay in Sea Isle City for the Polar Bear Plunge set for Feb. 15-17.  Revelers have been taking the bitter cold dip in the ocean waters of Sea Isle for more than 25 years.  It is not all about the plunge on this third weekend in February. There is plenty to do so plan to be busy from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.

The official plunge will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 on the beach between 38th and 40th Sts. beginningwith a costume contest at 12 p.m. at LaCosta Complex at JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue followed by the Plunge at 2 p.m. www.lacosta-seaisle.com  www.seaislechamber.com or www.lacosta-seaisle.com

 Sea Isle’s plunge weekend ends on a charitable note on Sunday, Feb. 17 with Mike’s Seafood 5K Run and 1.5-Mile Fun Walk for Autism at 12 p.m. on the city’s promenade. Registration will take place at 9 a.m. at LaCosta.  You can also pre-register by visiting www.polarbearrunwalkforautism.com

For some participants, plunging for a charitable cause makes the dip into the freezing temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean a little more doable.  One such event is the Fallen Heroes Plunge which helps to raise funds for families of police officers lost in the line of duty.

Fallen Heroes Plunge weekend is Feb. 22-23 in North Wildwood. The official plunge takes place on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. at 16th St. and the beach. Weekend activities also include a pizza party on Friday, Feb. 22 and a post plunge party at Keenan’s Irish Pub located at 113 Olde New Jersey Ave. at Noon on Saturday, Feb. 23. Participants can preregister at www.fallenheroplunge2019  or on the day of the plunge at the 15th St. Lifeguard Station beginning at 8:45 a.m.  www.FallenHeroPlunge.com

 Stone Harbor’s Shiver Weekend set for Mar. 15-16 invites plungers to take a frigid dip in the ocean to benefit Family Promise of Cape May County, a charity that supports, counsels and works to place homeless parents and children in permanent homes. 

The Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce has planned a weekend of events beginning Friday night at the Pre-Shiver Party at The Reeds at Shelter Haven located at 96th St. and Third Ave. For a $20 entry fee, enjoy a delicious buffet, a cash bar and a gift auction. 

Fred’s Tavern will host a “Kegs & Eggs” breakfast on Saturday, Mar. 16 before the race.  Plungers will receive a Shiver swag bag that includes a Shiver tee or hoodie and are encouraged to wear costumes and/or create a float to commemorate the Shiver. A Deejay will even play a theme song at your request; activities will begin at 12 p.m. at the parking lot at 96th St. and the beach.  The official plunge begins at 1:15 p.m.  After the plunge, it is back to Fred’s Tavern at 314 96th St. for a post-Shiver party.  Visit www.stoneharborbeach.com to register for the Shiver and find a list of activities for the weekend.

In Ocean City, event organizers put a twist on the traditional ocean plunge.  The Business Persons Plunge, as it is called, requires that participants wear business attire and carry a brief case.  Rather than jumping in, participants march into the ocean from the shoreline at the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend to celebrate the opening of the ocean.  The Business Persons Plunge takes place on Friday, May 24 at Noon at Moorlyn Terrace St. and the beach  www.oceancityvacation.com

While the idea of plunging into the ocean in frigid temperatures may seem completely insane to you, the list of plunge events and happenings shows that organizers have come up with creative ways to bring visitors to the Jersey Cape in the winter months.

Take the Kids on a Beach Getaway Without the Stress

Summer is now officially in session and that only means one thing – time to head to the shore. If you and your family plan on heading to one of the US coasts to catch the waves, build sandcastles and explore the area, the season is perfect for it. If you’re going to survive the next few days at the beach with your kids, however, it’s probably important that you plan ahead. 

Here are some pointers to plan the perfect family getaway.

Choose a Kid-Friendly Destination

There are beaches all up and down the east and west coast. Each of them provides a different experience. There are some that are more laid back and simplistic with nothing more than the sand and the ocean while others are more family-oriented with boardwalks, rides, arcades, and other activities. The more you have to keep them busy, the less time they have to be bored. Another factor to consider when thinking about which beach you’ll be visiting is travel distance. Whether you’re going on a road trip or taking a plane, the longer the travel is the more agitated your children will become which could make for a miserable few hours.

Look for Homey Accommodations

Instead of opting for the hotel that may not have enough space for your active children or large family, you can look for something that feels more like home. If you were going to South Carolina, you might check out Hilton Head Rentals and get a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom vacation rental for the week. This would give everyone a place to rest, eat, use the restroom, and watch television or play games.

Pack Entertainment

When packing for your family beach vacation you should remember to pack some entertainment for the kids. You won’t spend all of your time outside and when you decide to go back to the rental for the evening, your kids may still be wired from the day’s events. Having backups like board games, gaming consoles, movies, and toys can keep them occupied and help keep the peace.

Check Out the Food

There’s nothing worse than going to a restaurant and your picky toddlers don’t like anything on the menu. Even if you intend to splurge on some of the finer cuisines, you should check nearby restaurants to make sure that there are food items that your children can enjoy. You can look for common favorites like burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers. Most restaurants have those options, but it’s good to check anyway.

Visit Popular Attractions During Off-Peak Hours

When you’re visiting the beach or other tourist attractions with your kids, crowds can really complicate things. Your children aren’t able to enjoy themselves as much. Not to mention sand being kicked up in your face every few minutes. If you want to feel as if you have the beach to yourself, head down to the shore before opening hours or after the lifeguards have left for the day. The same goes for tourist attractions. Going early in the morning or just a few hours before the place closes will result in fewer crowds and can sometimes save you money.

Don’t Forget Safety

The beach can be a lot of fun, but it can also turn dangerous fairly quickly. Make sure that you remember to practice safety while on vacation. Kids are known to run off and heaven forbid they get injured, stung, or swept away in the currents. A few things you can do to keep your kids safe on the beach is to pack a first aid kit. You can also have younger children wear lifejackets just in case they end up slipping into the water. Lastly, talk to your kids about the importance of staying together and where you can see them. Set boundaries and pay attention to the lifeguards for any warnings.

Heading to the beach with the kids can be a ton of fun if you plan it right. When traveling with small kids there’s so much you want to avoid, from temper tantrums and sibling rivalries to boredom or them getting hurt. The tips above can help to minimize a lot of these stresses so that you can enjoy your time at the shore with your family.

How to Plan the Perfect Beach Getaway

When winter hits, it hits hard. We are often forced inside, hate venturing out into the cold, and often suffer for it. The winter blues are a very real phenomenon, and are caused due to the combined cold and lack of light that we are exposed to winter after winter. It is for this reason that a getaway to the beach is not just a fun excursion, it’s a wellness necessity. Even in the height of summer, the beach offers health benefits. Saltwater and salt air are great for clearing your lungs and even clearing your skin. To make the most of your beach holiday, however, you need to take it up another level. You need to follow these tips:


Rent out a Beach House

What is better than a beach vacation? A beach house! Unlike hotels, beach rentals are stylish and infinitely homier. You can feel like you are in a home away from home. You could even end up saving money by making your own food and packing picnics before you head out for the day. You also won’t feel as pressured to get out every day, and, if you splurge, you might even find the perfect beach-side beach home to rent out, meaning no matter what, you are making the most of the time on the water.


Pack The Quintessential Travel Wardrobe

Anyone traveling can tell you that fashion and style are hard things to pack in small quantities, but only if you don’t put thought into what you bring and what outfits you can wear beforehand. Create a summer color theme and pick only a few clothes to bring with you to create the quintessential travel wardrobe. What is important here is not how many items, but how many outfits you can wear, and with the right, complimentary color scheme you can make unique look after unique look for a week or more with clothes that can fit into a carry-on.


Tips for Sunbathing

One other way you can prepare for your beach getaway is to prepare for the actual sunbathing aspect. Sunbathing done right will give you that beautiful glow without causing damage to your skin or risking the chance of burning. The secret? Wear sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen does not stop you from tanning. It certainly slows the progress, as UV rays are not burning your skin, but that is for the better of your health and your tan. The kind of sunscreen you wear will also be important. Far too many brands actually choke the sea life when it washes off of your skin, leading to coral bleaching and greasy oceans. Choose an ocean-friendly model and apply it before you go into the sun for maximum effect.


Your trip will be what you make of it. If you want to lie in the sun all day, then you are all set. If you want to spice up your day, head out into the town. Go shopping, visit bars, see local tourist attractions, and otherwise enjoy your beach holiday like you would any city holiday, with trips to the beach in-between. The choice is yours, just make sure you have the perfect accommodation, wardrobe, and sunbathing kit before you go.

The Beach House Inn, Maine

The Kennebunkport Area is one to explore in Maine and there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. The Beach House Inn is a great hotel that you could go to stay whether it be for a family vacation, a getaway as a couple, or a seaside escape from the city. The Beach House Inn is a relaxing place to rest your head, no matter what your reason for visiting may be.

new beach house

Explore the beaches (just down the street in either direction), head into the village or Dock Square to dine or browse the shops, or visit the playground. You could also take the chance to visit the Breakwater Spa and treat yourself to a day of pampering bliss. If you just don’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere you can enjoy the view of the ocean from your room or one of the porches that wrap around the building.  The hotel offers beach towels and beach chairs for use free of charge, as well.  Just sign them out with your room number and you are good to go.


Just a few things to do when you are in the area are visiting Maine Antiques, Kennebunkport Shopping, Kennebunkport Brick Store Museum, Seashore Trolley Museum, golf courses, whale watching, nature walks, sailing, the gyms, art galleries, shore walks, the beaches, and the First Families Museum.


The First Families Museum is an 1853 Greek Revival house reflecting the lives of its early residents Charles and Celia Perkins, whose fortunes were connected to the thriving shipbuilding era of Kennebunkport, making the town one of the wealthiest in New England. Original furnishings and French wallpaper (in it’s original state, and full of arsenic if you can believe it!) reflect the luxurious living of the family. The guided tour presents stories and artifacts from sea captains and shipbuilders to rusticators to Kennebunkport’s most famous summer residents, former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and their family. It’s a fun stop to learn about the area, it’s residents, and the former president.  It doesn’t take long to get through, and yes- it has a gift shop.


After you have had a long day of enjoying Kennebunkport, you will be hungry. Why not visit one of the local favorites, Stripers Restaurant. (Yes, the Bush family have eaten there among other famous diners.) Many, if not most of the tables offer views of the water and lobster boats that are heading to and from the ocean. Stripers Restaurant is delicious, and offers the best of coastal Maine.


Enjoy New England seafood classics, locally sourced, as well as beautiful views. The sunsets are amazing. Feel free to take your food outside and dine on the waterside deck. Before you get started, there are cocktails and appetizers available on the Adirondack chairs on the riverfront lawn or at your table. For lunch or dinner, there are local fish, lobster, and shellfish meals-  if seafood is not your style, they do have alternatives for you.


The dining area at the Beach House.

The lunch menu is a little lighter with salads, burgers, and sandwiches along with specialty seafood dishes. Make sure that you try their truffle fries or oysters on the half shell while you are there.  There is also a Sunday Brunch offered as a Kennebunkport  tradition with lobster omelets, Stripers burger and Bloody Mary mixes. If you would rather something more casual while you dine, The Sunset Lounge would be perfect for you. There is a huge selection of daily specials, cocktail menu and wine list for you to choose from.


When you head back to the Beach House’s cozy rooms to get ready to relax for the evening, remember there is a fire pit outside that can be lit.  Pull up a rocking chair, grab some marshmallows or a s’mores kit  from the front desk, and enjoy your evening.  (There are no sticks to roast the marshmallows with, so make sure to bring your own).  The rooms are spacious, and have nice views and cross breezes- even though we were there in August, we didn’t need to use the air conditioner at all.  In the morning, breakfast is served in the front, and you can eat indoor or outside.  There is also a “snacktime” at around 5, when there are teas, coffees, cookies, muffins, and other food and beverages out.


So come and enjoy the view and the great food at Beach House Inn and Stripers Restaurant. The duo is one of the best in Maine and will do the best to make sure that you have a full heart and a full stomach when you leave.  Make your reservations here.


Head To Virginia Beach

VA beachWhen I hear Virginia, automatically I think of Virginia Beach. In fact, every time it snows or a bitter wind blows, my mind will wander to a warmer place. Memories of family fun on the beach warm my heart for a moment, but I am left wanting more; to make more memories, to experience more ocean side adventures, to take in more of the sights and sounds of Virginia Beach.

My family loves to attend festivals. We like to browse the merchandise for sale, take in the displays and demonstrations and of course sample all of the food! Virginia Beach is the perfect spot for my family because the city hosts more than 25 festivals to appeal to people of all interests. (There is a Beer Festival, a Neptune Festival and a Kite festival to name a few.)
va beach 2
My family has visited Virginia Beach several times. When we went in the fall, the town was quiet and charming, but many shops and attractions were not open due to the season. We returned in the summer and felt like we had arrived in a completely different city. The lively vibe or the city was intoxicating and our days were action packed and brimming with fun.

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