FREE Shore Fun!

courtesy of the city of Ocean City

Headed to the shore this summer? Here are kid-friendly activities that are completely FREE to enjoy. From concerts on the beach to day trip-worthy destinations, you can make vacation memories with your family that won’t cost a penny.

Look for these symbols next to the shore towns for more FREE activities:

Beaches are free (no tags required), either daily or on certain days. Check the listing for details.

The town has a boardwalk, free for strolling or bike riding.

Click for your shore destination:
Atlantic CityAvalonBethany BeachCape MayMargateOcean CityRehoboth Beach/Dewey BeachSea Isle CityStone HarborWildwoods


Atlantic City, NJ,

Hit the beach… any day, they’re always free.
Check out the concerts… at Kennedy Plaza, across from Boardwalk Hall. Multicultural music & dance on Wednesdays in July & Aug., 7-8:30pm. Chicken Bone Beach Jazz series, Thursday evenings in July & Aug.
Take a day trip… to Absecon Lighthouse, the third tallest in the U.S. The first floor museum’s exhibits & gift shop are free; $4-$7 to climb. Stroll the shops in the Crafter’s Village at Historic Gardner’s Basin, New Hampshire Ave. & the bay. Also at the Basin,
for a fee: the Atlantic City Aquarium & boat rides.

Margate, NJ,

Hit the beach… on Thursdays in July & Aug., when they’re free.
Check out the concerts… and face painters, stiltwalkers & other family entertainment at Amherst, Essex & Ventnor Aves., Thursdays in July & Aug., 7-9pm.
Take a day trip… to Beachstock 2010, Sat., June 26. No beach tags required. Kids’ activities, surf lessons, dunk tank, games & a family movie on the beach. Granville Ave. & the beach, 12noon-10pm.

Ocean City, NJ,

Hit the beach… at 6th St. on the first Wed. of July & Aug. (July 7th, Aug. 4) for morning sand-sculpting contests. Enter to win or marvel at the other creations. Call 609-525-9300 for more info.
Be entertained… along Asbury Ave. There’s face painting, balloon sculpting, free pony rides & other activities on Tuesdays & Thursdays in July & Aug., 10am-1pm; and open air artists & live music on Wed. evenings in July & Aug. On the boardwalk, Thursday nights in July & Aug. are Family Nights with live entertainment between 6th-14th Sts., 7:30-9:30pm.
Take a day trip… to the Family Fun Fest, with a craft show, face painters, bands & pony rides, Sat.-Sun., June 5-6, on the Boardwalk between 9am-6pm. Another great weekend to visit: Fri.-Sat., July 23-24 for the Night in Venice boat parade on Sat., 7:30pm along the Bay (Longport Bridge to Tennessee Ave.) The previous evening, Fri., July 23, families can sample seafood & kids can go on rides at the Merchants in Venice Seafood Festival, 5-9pm on Asbury Ave., between 6th-9th Sts.

Sea Isle City, NJ

Hit the beach… on Wednesdays, when they’re free.
Check out the concerts… at JFK Blvd. & the Promenade, Mon. nights starting June 28 at JFK Blvd. & the Promenade. Visit the same spot on Wed. nights for Family Night dance parties with DJ Jeff.
Watch movies… Tues. & Thurs. nights in July & Aug. at Excursion Park, JFK Blvd. & Pleasure Ave. Bring beach chairs & blankets.
Take a day trip… to Skimmer Festival, with sand sculpting demonstrations, face painting, a moonbounce & live music, Sat., June 19, at JFK Blvd. & the Promenade.


Avalon, NJ

Hit the beach… at Avalon and Stone Harbor. The tags aren’t free, but your Avalon tag is also honored with no extra charge at Stone Harbor. (Likewise, Stone Harbor tags are honored on the Avalon beach.)
Check out the concerts… every Fri. night at Veterans Plaza (21st St. & Dune Dr.), starting June 25, and on the beach at 30th St., every Sat. & Sun., June 26-Sept. 5, 12noon-3pm.
Watch movies… on the 30th St. beach, Tues. nights at 8:45pm, June 29-Aug. 24.
Be entertained… by puppet shows, magicians, jugglers & other performers for kids on Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11am at Avalon Elementary School (31st St. & Ocean Dr.), June 29-Aug. 19.
Go play… on the playgrounds at Armacost Park, 74th St. & Ocean Dr., and Grace O’Brien Park, 8th St. & Ocean Dr. There’s also a skate park at 29th St. & Avalon Ave., open daily. At nearby Community Hall (30th St. & Avalon Ave.), kids can make arts & crafts projects on Mon., Wed. & Fri. mornings, starting June 28.

Stone Harbor, NJ

Hit the beach… here or in Avalon, where your beach tags are also honored. (Fee for tags.)
Be entertained… during Family Nights, most Mondays in July & Aug., at the Stone Harbor Firehouse (96th St. & Second Ave.). Performers vary & include magicians, puppets & a one-man circus.
Go play… in kids’ baseball, lacrosse, soccer & basketball clinics at the 82nd St. recreation center, Mon.-Thurs., June 21-24, 9-11am.

Wildwoods, NJ,,

Hit the beach… any day, they’re always free.
Check out the concerts… Mondays at Crest Pier (Heather Rd. & Ocean Ave.) and Wednesdays at the Gazebo-by-the-Sea (Rambler Rd. & Ocean Ave.) in Wildwood Crest, 7:30pm, starting June 28 through Aug. In North Wildwood, enjoy live music at the Lou Boothe Amphitheatre, Thurs. & Sat. nights, 8pm. 
Be entertained… by the local talent showcase on Mon., Wed., Thurs. & Fri. nights in the Wildwood Bandshell (Schellenger Ave. & the boardwalk), 7pm. Boardwalk Family Fun Nights with clowns, characters & music are Thursdays in July & Aug., 7-9pm.  And fireworks aren’t just on July 4. See displays on the beach at Pine Ave., 10pm, every Fri. night, July 9-Sept. 3.


Cape May, NJ,,

Hit the beach… at the southern tip of the Cape, where you can collect “Cape May Diamonds,” sparkling quartz pebbles, in the sand.
Watch movies… near Convention Hall, Thursdays in July & Aug. Kids’ activities begin at 7:30pm, movie starts an hour later.
Be entertained… by storytelling for kids, at the Carriage House (1048 Washington St.), on Wednesdays starting June 23, 11:15am; and at the Education Center in Cape May Point State Park (adjacent to the Cape May Lighthouse), Sundays at 12:30pm. Cape May Zoo, courtesy of Craig Terry/Cape May County Tourism
Take a day trip… to the Cape May County Zoo, home to 200 different species. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the park, too. Admission is always free. Download a map & scavenger hunt activity from

Rehoboth Beach/Dewey Beach, DE

Hit the beach… any day, they’re always free. On Wed. nights starting June 23, enjoy beach bonfires with marshmallow toasting, 7:30-11pm.
Check out the concerts… at the Rehoboth Bandstand, Thurs.-Sun. nights, 8pm.
Watch movies… on Dewey Beach at Dagsworthy St., Mondays, June 21-Aug. 30, 8:30pm.
Go play… on the playgrounds at Grove Park, Columbia Ave. & Grove St., and Sunset Park, end of Dagsworthy St. & the bay.

Bethany Beach, DE,

Hit the beach… any day, they’re always free.
Check out the concerts… most Fri., Sat. & Sun. nights at the Bandstand, June-Aug. Also, the Freeman Stage at Bayside hosts kid-friendly performers, including magicians, musicians & storytellers, Saturdays in June-Aug., 10am.
Be entertained… by children’s theater shows at Town Hall, 214 Garfield Pkwy. See Robin Hood, Tues., July 20 & The Wizard of Oz, Tues., Aug. 3. Both nights, 6pm & 7pm. Free tickets required, available at Town Hall the day-of the shows only.


Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids.

Categories: Travel