Day Trip to the Beach: A Jersey Shore Roadtrip

Labor Day weekend is always a huge weekend for beach trips. For many people it is one last chance to relax and play down at the Jersey shore before school and work picks up again. If I go to the shore during the summer it’s probably only a day trip to Ocean City, NJ - where I’ll sit on beach a bit, take a walk on the boardwalk, and definitely enjoy some tasty summer beach foods. This year though my first opportunity for a beach day wasn’t until Labor Day weekend. So I went with my dad and sister for a day, but rather than going and sitting on the beach all day we opted to turn that beach day into a little Jersey Shore roadtrip!

The road trip began in Atlantic City and took us all the way down to Cape May. While we had a few things in mind to stop for the majority of this trip was unplanned. I took my camera along for the ride (of course) and tried to take at least one photo in each town we passed through.

First Up: Penny Collector Machines of the Jersey Shore

One souvenir I will always try to get everywhere I go is a “collectable penny”. While there really aren’t a huge amount of places that still have penny machines there are still loads of cool pennies you get during your travels. They’re similar to buying post cards but more unique sort of. Plus it is fun to turn the wheel and watch you penny get squished!

Before the trip we printed the list of all the penny machines left in New Jersey (found on and so as we made away down the jersey shore we stopped got a penny from all the machines we found, or were interested in at least.

The road trip begins… in Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ

As we drove through Atlantic City, passing all the casinos, we saw a little lighthouse. At first we weren’t sure if it was actually open or if was an abandoned lighthouse, but then we realized it was the Absecon lighthouse and also realized that they supposedly had a penny machine! So after we parked and looked at the beach for a moment we climbed the stairs to the top the lighthouse.

If you’re into lighthouses, or even just cool views, I’d recommend checking out this one. It doesn’t necessarily look super tall from the outside but after climbing

Absecon Lighthouse

Quick stop in Margate

Our first stop after Atlantic City was to see Lucy the Elephant in Margate. We had this one planned since before we left home too. While we did not take the tour of Lucy we did get a squished penny and walked underneath her & around the grounds.

However, you may pay to take the guided tour of Lucy to enjoy a more detailed visit.

Lucy the Elephant

Ocean City, NJ

Roma pizza has been my boardwalk pizza of choice since a very young age. As a kid I remember taking a break from boogie boarding to get a slice and birch beer at Roma. Today we made a quick stop in Ocean City to eat a slice or two on the boardwalk while looking over out over the ocean. Tip: the buffalo chicken pizza is super delicious and their white veggie pizzas always a good go-to choice.

Roma Pizza, OCNJ Boardwalk

Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Roma Pizza, Ocean City, NJ

Ads are always flying by above you while sitting on the beach, but while we ate our pizza we happened to notice the ad flying by at that moment was for Hank Sauce - which happens to be one my favorite hot sauces!

Classic beach ads

Middle of the Journey

After enjoying our lunch in Ocean City the journey took us through Sea Isle, Avalon, and Stone Harbor. While we did not stop in any of these towns during this trip they are all nice places to to spend a beach day.

If you are looking for some food while in Sea Isle then head over to the Hank’s Sauce restaurant. They serve food and also sell bottles of their hot sauce to take home with you.

Our next stop on the road trip was in Wildwood, NJ. We first stopped at the boardwalk to find a penny machine listed as being at Ed’s Funcade.

Note: there are multiple of these arcades so be sure you have the correct location because only one has the penny machine!

Wildwood, NJ

Wildwood, NJ

We stopped for some ice cream at Sea Shell Ice Cream. I recommend the Black Raspberry flavor - tasty and refreshing - but be prepared for large servings!

Black Raspberry ice cream / Wildwood, NJ

Black Raspberry ice cream / Wildwood, NJ

Next Up: Cape May!

Cape May, September 2018

Cape May, September 2018

Before this road trip the only times in recent years I remember coming to Cape May have been to film weddings at Congress Hall. While Congress Hall is a very nice hotel and venue, and the beach does look nice I never have come to just explore and see what’s here. Today as we entered Cape May we knew there was a lighthouse so we continued driving south until we found it. We figured since we began in Atlantic City with a lighthouse we should continue the theme and end with one too!

At last we arrived at the Cape May lighthouse - which is located just inside a state park. The first thing we did upon arriving was get our last collectible pennies of the trip. Then we proceeded to climb the stairs to the top. The view from this lighthouse was really nice and different from the Absecon lighthouse. While both had nice views of their beaches down below, the Cape May lighthouse doesn’t have the city feeling that the the Absecon lighthouse could give you a bit of.

Cape May Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse shadow

As we left Cape May Lighthouse we were pulling up Google Maps to navigate home and opted to take local roads (rather than the main highways). If you have the extra time and don’t mind a little bit longer drive it can be super fun to take back roads! You’ll get to see little towns you bypass by taking the highway and you never know what you may happen upon during the trip.

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day Three in the Thousand Islands!

We woke up in Ivy Lea Campground and got to see what the area actually looks like, in daylight. It is very nice & if you're ever in the 1000 islands looking for a campground I'd definitely recommend this one. After packing up our campsite and going to look at the lake we headed further down the 1000 Islands to Kingston.

Once we arrived in Kingston we found a nice place called Cacao 70 for our late breakfast/lunch. The food was very delicious; I had a cappuccino and an egg/chorizo breakfast sandwich with maple bake beans.

After eating, we walked through town to see what there is in Kingston and then hopped on a ferry to Wolfe Island.

Often there are people using the Wolfe Island ferry as a way to cross between the USA and Canada, partly to avoid long lines at customs going over the Thousand Islands bridge. As an island, Wolfe Island is pretty nice. It is a lot of open fields and windmills but with a bit of a residential town on part of it.

When we got off the ferry we walked up a couple of residential streets (away from the main street) to see the windmills up close. We saw the school and cemetery and then we walked back to the main street to see the little restaurants and shops along there.

After boarding the ferry back to Kingston, we drove on to Gananoque where we took a longer boat ride through almost all of the 1000 islands and ate dinner in the little town. The boat ride we did was 2.5 hours and we got to see each little and big island. This was interesting because all the island really needs is a single tree and rock to be considered part of the 1000 islands - and there are several that do not have much more than that. However, there are also other islands that have been built up much more with real island houses for people to live it! Boldt Castle is an example of an island that is built up to live on, but there are others that have more "regular" houses too rather than a giant castle. It was really cool to see how all the islands differ in appearance with each other.

The photo below is two islands on either side of the USA/Canada border, which the owner of the house on it built a bridge crossing border to connect the two islands.

Also on this 2.5 hour boat tour, we passed underneath the 1000 Islands bridge in both directions. The only way we didn't manage to see this bridge is driving over from Canada to the USA.

After we finished the boat tour, we drove into the town of Gananoque and ate dinner at The Socialist Pig. I had a Maple Tofu bahn mi that was very tasty. My mom had the 16 hr brisket which was very good as well. I'd recommend this restaurant if you find yourself in the area.

Maple Tofu Bahn Mi @ The Socialist Pig (Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO)

After dinner we ended up actually going back to Ivy Lea Campground for the night before heading to Montreal tomorrow!

Check out the full photo recap the Thousand Islands below.

Our boat tour was also joined by swarm of seagulls for bit towards the end...

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day Two spent Exploring Castles and Leaving the Country

On Day 2, we left Pop's Lake and drove through many more farms. We were heading towards the 1000 Islands. While we were ultimately headed to the Canadian side, we stopped just short of the 1000 bridge in Alexandria Bay, New York.

On our way to Alexandria Bay we drove through the historic Johnstown. Where we stopped and walked along the main street to see what the town is like, and found it to have some nice little shops eating places.

Johnstown, NY

Johnstown, NY

After we passed through Johnstown, we made to Alexandria Bay. Alexandria Bay is a nice town with shops and restaurants just before you reach the 1000 bridge. We got a coffee and walked the main street, and then hopped on a ferry to Boldt Castle. When we arrived at Boldt Castle we began with a short coffee & pastry picnic before going in to explore the castle's insides. The castle is so pretty with great views all around!

Check out all of my photos of the castle below.

Exploring Boldt Castle

Exploring Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle was built on Love Island by George Boldt for him and his family to live in. However, the family never made it in because George Boldt's wife passed away just before they would've moved in to the house.

After a nice sunset boat ride back to the mainland from Bold Castle we headed towards the 1000 islands bridge to cross over into Canada!

Crossing the 1000 Islands bridge at sunset

Crossing the 1000 Islands bridge at sunset

Going through customs at the USA/Canada border.

Going through customs at the USA/Canada border.

Entering Canada!

We crossed the border and made it to the campground before the office closed. Earlier in the day we found the Ivy Lea Campground right in the 1000 Islands where we decided to spend night two.

When we got there we pitched the tent in the dark and whipped some delicious spaghetti &tomato sauce for dinner (and I practiced my flashlight photography).

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day One in upstate New York.

We pack the car and head to the blue route on a sunny Tuesday morning. But first we stop at Wawa for a couple last minute things and Starbucks for out coffee, tea, and breakfast to start the start off the trip well fueled. The drive begins like a normal drive with all the usual sights. We on the westbound side flying passed the line of stopped cars going eastbound and trying to get to the office in time. Then somewhere along the northeast extension, probably a little past the Allentown exit I'm in less familiar territory and the road trip begins.

We're driving towards mountains, past some farms, and eventually we get to the Leigh Tunnel. At this point I know we must be closing in on the New York state line (maybe?).

After driving through endless farmland and seeing loads of cows and horses we see the sign was that says Cooperstown, NY!

Mobile photo - Entering Cooperstown

Mobile photo - Entering Cooperstown

We were on our way to the center of Cooperstown where the baseball hall of fame is and the little town when we saw a sign about the Ommegang Brewery. We decided to tackle the brewery first so we wouldn't be backtracking later in the day.

After finishing at the brewery we drove into the little town of Cooperstown and found a little hotdog place (Hey Getcha Diggity Dog) to eat. Very good food and well decorated with baseball memorabilia. Then we moved on to complete the main Cooperstown attraction, we went into the Baseball Hall of Fame museum!

Next stop is Pop's Lake Campground, located outside of Saratoga Springs. We were advised to spend night one at Pop's Lake because it according to Phish fans it is a very nice campground. And I can confirm right now that it is definately a nice campground to stay at, whether you're in town for a Phish show or just on a little camping trip!

...and above you see our breakfast at Pop's Lake on the morning of day 2.

BONUS! Mobile Photos (below)...

That is all for Day one in New York. Next up for Day two we make our way across the border to Canada, but first there's one more stop on the US side.

Day 2 coming soon!