For three warm months, an array of colorful umbrellas and energetic families filled the Jersey Shore beaches. But with a mid-September breeze kicking in, it may be time to tuck away your bathing suit and flip-flops for next summer.
Don’t fret. The Jersey Shore is still a special spot to spend your weekends in the fall, even as the great transition from sandy dunes to pumpkin patches commences.
Boardwalks stay open, and special events continue, so grab your jacket and head down the Shore.
Bratwurst, beer gardens, and Bavarian pretzels. Cape May’s Oktoberfest will transform the town’s streets into a “German promenade with authentic music and food” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30 on Carpenter Lane.
Morey’s Pier in Wildwood will be hosting an Oktober festival three weekends in a row centered on the creative character “Oktober das Oktopus.” The event will take place Friday to Sunday, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, and Oct. 6-8.
Sea Isle City’s Oktoberfest will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at Excursion Park (John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Pleasure Avenue).
Boardwalks, either open or nearly empty
The boardwalks along the Jersey Shore don’t vanish when Labor Day rolls around. Some retail shops — complete with souvenirs and goofy T-shirts — remain open on boardwalks in Atlantic City, Ocean City, and Wildwood until roughly November. After that, a majority close.
Some popular summer attractions do close as cooler temperatures arrive, however, such as Morey’s Pier in Wildwood and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City. This can be a good thing, too: It’s relaxing to stroll down a nearly empty boardwalk.
Get spooked during one of Cape May’s ghost tours. From a red-and-green trolley, you’ll pass by haunted Victorian homes, learn about the ghosts of the Cape May Lighthouse, or visit the Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery.
With nine different walking and trolley tours to choose from, you may be too frightened to come back in July. Open year-round at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. Call 609-884-5404 or capemaymac.org/ghost-tours.
Want to be scared a little farther north? Candlelight-walk ghost tours are held in Ocean City’s historic district. A guide will share old Ocean City folklore starting at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue for $15 per person. ghosttour.com/oceancity.html
Atlantic City has a long line-up of well-known musicians, comedians, and magicians performing throughout the fall. The only catch: You have to be willing to open your wallet. Among the acts are the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson (Sept. 30), comedians Lewis Black (Oct. 6) and Chris Rock (Nov. 24), and Janet Jackson (Nov. 10).atlanticcitynj.com/events