Last week I took the kids on a little mini-vacation to the Jersey Shore.
If you’ve never been to the New Jersey beaches, you are missing out.
And if you’ve never been to Wildwood Crest, you are really missing out.
Wildwood Crest is at the southern end of the Wildwoods, which is made up of North Wildwood, Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest.
It’s five miles of beaches and 38 blocks of boardwalk, and it’s almost as if the area has remained untouched since the 60’s.
It’s like a throwback to simpler days with more motels than hotels, but also tons of stuff to do.
And my kids LOVED it.
Driving into the Wildwoods, you see this sign directly in front of you:
And you are immediately transported into something reminiscent of the movie The Flamingo Kid.
Never having been to Wildwood before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I wasn’t sure how the kids would feel.
Number 4 immediately squealed.
“MOM! THIS PLACE IS AMAAAAZING!!!!”
I had booked a room at The Crusader, an “oceanfront resort” right on the beach. This trip was kind of a last minute decision, and I stumbled across the Crusader by chance. I needed a room that slept six, and I also wanted a kitchenette so we wouldn’t have to spend five million dollars on food.
Here’s a view of the hotel from the boardwalk:
Our room was perfect for us. We had a one bedroom suite with two double beds in the bedroom and a pull out couch in the living room area.
There was plenty of room for the six of us.
I brought a couple air mattresses in case we had kids who didn’t want to share beds, and there was enough room to put one on the floor. I forgot to take a picture of the bedroom, but here’s the living room area.
The kitchenette was more than enough for us. I wasn’t sure how big the fridge would be, but it was actually a full-sized fridge, which is good, because I brought plenty of food with us.
We were set for all three nights and four days. I had packed two coolers with food before we left, so I didn’t need to stop at the grocery store for anything at all the whole time we were there.
And the stove top was great, and there were plenty of dishes and pots and pans, and every utensil you might possibly need.
I made sausage and eggs and spaghetti and meatballs and mac and cheese and salad and sandwiches, and we ate as well in that room as we do when we are at home.
The table in the room was fine for our meals.
Number 7 actually preferred to eat outside on the balcony that overlooked the street and check out what was going on down below, so we had enough chairs for all the kids to eat and everyone had a place to sit.
Here was the view to the right of Number 7 (and the back of my car down below).
The hotel was very busy with lots of families there, but it was also super clean, and very quiet once it got dark out.
This sign was definitely enforced!
Downstairs off the lobby there was a small pool table. We didn’t even get a chance to use that. We had such good weather that we were hardly inside. But when we go back — we will definitely go back!!! — if it rains, we’ll take advantage of this room.
The pool was awesome.
It was up on the second floor, which was pretty cool, and it was warm.
There were tons of chairs around the pool so there was always somewhere to sit.
The kids spent lots of time in the pool. There is also a gated area within the pool that makes a little “kiddie pool” area if you have little guys who can’t swim.
We had a great time in that pool!
The pool was especially pretty at night.
On the far end of the pool on the ocean side is a large deck with lots of chairs, tables and umbrellas looking out over the ocean.
I’d go out there and enjoy a cup of coffee all alone as the sun was rising.
Sometimes an early riser would join me in her pajamas.
On that deck there is also a shuffleboard court and a ping pong table.
The kids loved those!
There is a bike path that extends about a half a mile to the right of the hotel and then to the left it turns into the boardwalk, and that goes on for a couple miles.
Every morning the bike path and boardwalk were full of people riding bikes, walking, jogging, and rollerblading.
This is the bike path looking to the right of the hotel:
This is the bike path to the left, with the kids riding their bikes on it:
We took our own bikes with us, but you can rent them there. There are bike rental shops all over the place.
Our house isn’t in a bike friendly area, so this was one of the kids’ favorite parts of the trip. We rode bikes every day were were there.
The hotel was about a half mile or so from the start of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk was full of people riding bikes in the morning (you can only ride bikes there until noon).
The kids loved riding down the boardwalk.
There were tons of other people there riding, too. If you went before 9 a.m. it wasn’t too bad. But after that it was pretty packed with bikes.
During the day we went to the beach.
The sand is white and soft and perfect, the beach is big, the water is clear and the waves were just right for boogie boarding.
The kids had a blast in the water.
There are plenty of places to buy boogie boards near the beach, or you can even rent boogie boards on the beach or at many places on the boardwalk.
We brought our own because I just don’t have the patience to deal with kids arguing over who gets to use the boogie board.
We had a lot of fun at the beach.
There were some moments of relaxation.
And just strolling and exploring.
I didn’t bring a beach cart which would have helped with carrying stuff from the hotel to the beach, but that’s okay, because I have my own beach sherpas now.
Every night we took a walk to the beginning of the boardwalk and got ice cream.
I wasn’t adventurous (or rich) enough to attempt to go down where the rides and games were. Plus I was pretty exhausted by night time.
But we all enjoyed our trips to get ice cream.
Some of us more than others.
There is a small restaurant on the corner of The Crusader that serves lunch and breakfast. We had been eyeballing it the whole time we were there, and we decided we’d go there for breakfast as a treat after we checked out of the hotel on Friday morning.
It was delicious.
And it was a great way to wrap up our trip.
We had such a great time. We love Wildwood Crest, and in particular, The Crusader.
We took lots of great pictures.
We made lots of great memories.
And we can’t wait to go back again.
Thanks for the memories, Wildwood and the Crusader.
We’ll be back!!!