Free Shore Fun!

Get set for a fun-filled family vacation down the shore that won’t break the bank. We’ve rounded up free activities at South Jersey and Delaware beach towns (plus, when noted, a few “not quite free” activities).

Weekly concerts, morning bike rides and free-admission attractions are a few highlights. While several shore towns require beach tags, we’ve identified cities where beaches are free
with this icon:
(Check the listings to see if beaches are free only on certain days.)

These entertaining activities will have kids saying farewell to the “lazy days” of summer — and hello to an exciting and eventful shore vacation!

South Jersey

Atlantic City

Ride bikes on the boardwalk 6:30-10am daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.
Absecon Lighthouse’s first floor museum features free interactive, historical exhibits. Climb this lighthouse, the third tallest in the U.S., for $4-$7.

Multicultural musicians & dancers perform on the boardwalk at Kennedy Plaza (across from Boardwalk Hall), Wed., July 1-Aug. 26, 7pm. Presented by Atlantic City Free Library,

Jazz on the Beach Concerts
from the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation return for 2009 on most Thurs., July 2-Aug. 20, 7pm, Kennedy Plaza. 609-441-9064, 609-841-6897,

Not Quite Free:

Rolling chairs are a boardwalk tradition families can still enjoy. Rates start at $5.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum displays the weird and wacky. $9.99-$14.99 admission, download $1 off coupon on the website,


Unless otherwise specified, daily & weekly activities begin the week of Sat., June 20 and run through Fri., Aug. 28.

Ride bikes on the boardwalk 5-10am daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

Make arts & crafts at Community Hall (30th St. & the Beach), Mon., Wed. & Fri., 10am (ages 5-6) or 11am (ages 7 & up). Kids younger than age 5 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Play soccer and baseball at the 9th St. Field on Mon. & Fri., 10am & 11am, respectively, or basketball at the 8th St. Courts, Wed.

Open play is available at the Community Hall Gym (30th St.), Mon. & Wed., 12:30-9:30pm and Tues. & Thurs., 5-9:30pm.

Kid-friendly entertainers (scheduled acts include jugglers, magicians & puppeteers) perform on Tues. & Thurs., 11am, at the Avalon School Gym, 32nd St. between Ocean & Dune Drs.

Family movies on the beach are shown on Tues., 8:45pm at the 30th St. Beach or nearby Community Hall (if raining).

Concerts take place at Veteran’s Plaza (21st St. & Dune Dr.) on Fri. through Sept. 4, 7pm and at the 30th St. Beach on Sat. & Sun. through Sept. 6, 12noon-3pm.

The 2009 Family Fun Festival, Tues., June 30-Sun., July 5, includes free concerts, parades and a July 4 fireworks display.


The Marine Mammal Stranding Center includes a small marine museum and an observation tank where kids can watch fish swim. Open daily starting Sat., June 13, 10am-4pm.

Shark Park at 26th St. & Brigantine Ave. features wooden play structures for kids. Open daily.

Family Fun Day on Sat., July 4, 4-9pm at the 42nd St. Recreation Complex will feature live music, games, parades and pet shows.

Fitness activities, such as walking & running clubs and beach soccer & beach volleyball, will take place at 38th St. Beach, Mon. through Sat., July 6-Aug. 15, 7am-1pm.

Concerts at the North School Auditorium (Lafayette & Evans Blvds.) feature old-fashioned bands, jazz & other family-friendly music. Wed., July 15 (at Haneman Park) & 29, Aug. 5 & 19. Also Mon., Aug. 10 & Sun., Aug. 23. 609-266-3323.

Cape May,

The Cape May County Park & Zoo offers free admission daily, year-round. Plan your trip by printing a zoo guide at (click: Departments, County Park and Zoo). Kids can ride the train or carousel starting at $2. 609-465-5271,

Cape May Diamonds, sparkling quartz pebbles in the sand, are free for kids & families to collect at the southern Sunset Beach.

“Town Crier” weekly happenings for families are back in 2009: Stilt walkers or balloon artists perform Sat. in June, 12noon-2pm, at the Washington St. Mall. Classic movies on the beach will be shown on Thurs. in July & August near Convention Hall. Activities for kids begin at 7:30pm, movie starts at 8:30pm.

Storytelling at the Lighthouse for young children runs Sun. through Sept. 6, 12:30pm, at the Education Center in Cape May Point Park (next to the Cape May Lighthouse).
800-275-4278 or 609-884-5404,

The Victorian Fair at Elmen Physick Estate features living history activities, crafts & collectibles. Sat., June 13, 10am. 1048 Washington St., 800-275-4278 or 609-884-5404,

Harbor Fest
at the Nature Center of Cape May includes crabbing, fishing & sailing demonstrations, nature walks & a scallops cook-off. Sat., June 20, 10am. 1610 Delaware Ave.,

Not Quite Free:

Family Treasure Hunts offer opportunities to explore Victorian Cape May. Pick up a self-guided tour packet with clues and a map at the Washington St. Mall Information Booth or Emlen Physick Estate Hill House Office. $5. 800-275-4278 or 609-884-5404,

Historic Cold Spring Village, a living colonial history museum, is open for families to tour. $6-$8. 609-898-2300,

Children’s Trolley Rides
tour Cape May’s historic district and are designed specifically for ages 3-7 and their families. Tours begin at Washington St. Mall Information Booth at Ocean St., daily at 4pm starting Fri., June 19. $6. 800-275-4278 or 609-884-5404,


Free beaches on Thursdays only.

Thrilling Thursdays feature family-friendly programs, such as magicians or caricature artists, along Ventnor & Amherst Aves., June 25-Aug. 27, 6-9pm.

BeachFest 2009
on Sat., July 11 (rain date: July 12) at Huntington Ave. & Granville Ave. beaches will include sand sculpting contests, a treasure hunt for kids and music.

Not Quite Free:

Lucy the Elephant, the famous 65-ft. high wooden structure, still stands tall at Atlantic & Decatur Aves. $3-$6.

Ocean City,

Unless otherwise specified, daily & weekly activities begin Wed., July 1 and end Labor Day, Mon., Sept. 7.

Ride bikes on the boardwalk, 5am-12noon daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

The Ocean City Flower Show displays works by commercial & amateur artists at the Music Pier, Fri., June 5, 2-9pm; Sat., June 6, 10am-9pm & Sun., June 7, 10am-4pm. 609-525-9300.
Funtastic Tues. & Market Days along Asbury Ave. feature kid-friendly entertainment & face painting, 10am-1pm.

Radio Disney Tues. at 11th St. & the Boardwalk include music, dancing & giveaways, July 7-Aug. 11, 7:30pm.

Wed. Evenings on Asbury Ave. feature family entertainment, dining & shopping specials and free parking, 5-8pm.

Thurs. Family Nights on 7th-11th Sts. & the Boardwalk include activities such as live bands, magicians or karaoke contests, 7:30-9:30pm.

Night in Venice, the city’s annual lighted, decorated boat parade along the Bay on Sat., July 25, begins at Longport Bridge and continues to Tennessee Ave., 7:30pm. The previous evening, Fri., July 24, families can sample seafood & kids can go on rides at the Merchants in Venice Seafood Festival, 5-9pm, 6th-9th Sts. & Asbury Ave. 609-399-2269 (Seafood Festival), 609-525-9300 (parade information).

Not Quite Free:

Family Film & Fun Nights, Tues., 7:15pm, at Cornerstone

Auditorium at Stainton’s Square, 810 Asbury Ave., include a movie and snacks. $4-15.

Stockton’s Summer Playhouse, children’s theatre from Stockton Performing Arts Center, take place Wed. in July, 10:30am, at the Music Pier. $9. 609-525-9300,

The Ocean City Pops Orchestra performs concerts at the Music Pier throughout the summer. Tickets range from $5-$27.50 (prices vary by performance). Don’t miss Children’s LoliPOPS, a sing-along concert with the Ocean City Children’s Chorus, Wed., July 15, 7:30pm, tickets free for kids, $5 for adults. 609-525-9291,

Sea Isle City

Free beaches on Wednesdays only.

Ride bikes on the boardwalk weekdays 5am-3pm; Sat. & Sun., 5am-12noon. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

Under the Stars events at JFK & the Promenade begin the week of Mon., June 29 and run through Mon., Aug. 31. Concerts on Mon., 7:30pm; Family Movies, Tues. & Thurs. (no movie Tues., Aug. 4), dusk; Family Night Dance Parties, Wed., 7:30pm.

Not Quite Free:

Beachcombing tours educate about marine treasures on Tues. & Thurs., June 16-Aug. 27, 10am (weather permitting). Tues. at 29th St. Beach (Register at 29th St. & the Promenade); Thurs. at 94th St. Beach (Register at Townsends Inlet Waterfront Park Pavilion). 50¢-$1. 609-263-9643.

Stone Harbor,

Kids sports clinics run at the 82nd St. Recreation Center, Mon.-Thurs., June 22-25, 9am-12noon (time based on sport, visit for list of sports & detailed schedule). Participating athletes can attend a pancake breakfast on Fri., June 26, 9-11am. 609-368-1210.

Family Nights at the Stone Harbor Firehouse, 96th St. & 2nd Ave., include performances from magicians, storytellers and other kid-friendly acts. Bring a beach chair or blanket. Mon., June 29-Aug. 31, 7pm. 609-368-6101.

Not Quite Free:

The Wetlands Institute houses an aquarium (families can watch & assist in fish feedings several times a week), an exhibit on terrapin turtles, a salt marsh trail and observation tower. $5-$7.

The Skate Park at 82nd St. & Second Ave. is open daily, 10am-8pm. For regulations, visit or call 609-368-1210. Rates start at $2 per day.

Kids Arts & Crafts at 82nd St. Recreation Center run weekdays, June 15-Aug. 21, 9am (ages 4-6), 10:45am (ages 7-10). $9 per session, registration recommended. 609-368-1210.


Ride bikes on the boardwalk 6-11am daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

Live music is performed in Wildwood Crest 7:30-9:30pm on Mon., June 22-Aug. 31 at Crest Pier
(5800 Ocean Ave.) and Wed., June 24-Aug. 26 at the Gazebo-by-the-Sea (Rambler Rd. & Ocean Ave.). 609-523-0202,

Talent Shows feature dancers ages 6-18 on Mon., Wed., Thurs. & Fri., June 29-Aug. 20, 7-9pm at the Wildwood Bandshell (Schellenger Ave. & the Boardwalk, Wildwood). 413-454-4523.

Live entertainment or karaoke takes place Tues. & Wed., July 1-Sept. 2, 7-9pm at Cedar Ave. Pier (3500 Boardwalk, Wildwood). 609-522-2542.

Family Fun Nights along the Wildwoods Boardwalk include parades, clowns & music, Thurs., July 2-Sept. 3, 7-9pm.

Amphitheatre Concerts are on Thurs. & Sat., July 9-Sept. 5 at Lou Booth (2nd & Ocean Aves., N. Wildwood), 8pm and Sun., June 28-Sept. 6, 7:30pm at Fox Park (on Ocean Ave. across from the Wildwoods Convention Center). 609-374-0562 (Lou Booth Concerts); 609-522-2444 (Fox Park

Sundown Celebrations at Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest offer kids activities & family entertainment, Fri., July 31-Sept. 4, 7pm-sunset.

Fireworks displays light up the Beach at Pine Ave. in Wildwood, Fri., June 26-Sept. 4 (no fireworks July 3, Sat., July 4 instead), 10:30pm.

Christmas in July kicks off on Sat., July 18 with a boat parade along the Bay starting at N. Wildwood and finishing at Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest. On Sat., July 25 at 1pm, Santa visits the Beach at 15th Ave. in N. Wildwood, bringing candy canes for kids. 609-729-5501, (Parade); 609-522-7500 (Santa visit).

Not Quite Free:

Wheelin’ the Wildwoods gives families the opportunity to explore the Wildwoods during a non-competitive bike ride, Father’s Day, Sun., June 15. Day-of registration begins at 7am. 26-mile ride begins at 8am, 10-mile ride at 8:30am. Post-event party with food & entertainment, 10am. $12.75-$18. 609-523-0202,


Bethany Beach/Fenwick Island,,

Ride bikes on the Bethany Beach boardwalk 6-9am daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

Concerts are back at Bethany Beach’s Boardwalk Bandstand in 2009, on Fri., Sat. & Sun., June 19-Sept. 5, and Wed., June 24, July 1-15, Aug. 5 & 26, 7:30pm.

Children’s theater shows will be presented at the Bethany Beach Town Hall, 214 Garden Pkwy., on Tues., July 21 (Cinderella) & Tues., Aug. 11 (Alice in Wonderland), 6pm & 7pm. Free shows, but tickets required. Tickets available day-of performance only at Town Hall starting at 8:30am.

The Bethany Beach Talent Show showcases local stars of all ages on Fri., Aug. 21, 7pm at the Boardwalk Bandstand. Registration open Aug. 1-13 at

The Bonfire on the Beach at Fenwick Island, with live entertainment & refreshments, will take place on Sun., July 5, 6:30-10:30pm.

Old Fenwick Days, Sat., Aug.1-Sat., Aug. 8, offers opportunities to explore Fenwick Island’s history, through extended visiting hours at the historical Fenwick Island Lighthouse (celebrating its 150th anniversary this summer), exhibits at Town Hall and a family festival.

Not Quite Free:

Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre presents productions of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Anansi the Trickster at locations in Bethany, Dewey & Rehoboth Beaches, Tues., June 23-Wed., Aug. 26. $8. 302-227-6766,

Dewey Beach/Rehoboth Beach

Ride bikes on the boardwalk 5-10am daily. Bike rentals also available for a fee.

Fly kites on the beaches before 10am, after 5pm (after 5:30pm on weekends).

Family Movie Nights return to Dewey Beach (at Dagsworthy Beach) on Mon., June 22-Aug. 31, along with Beach Bonfires on Wed., June 24-Aug. 26.

Grove Park, a Rehoboth Beach playground with swings, slides & horseshoes, is open daily, dawn to dusk. Located at Rehoboth Ave. behind Rehoboth Visitors Center.

The annual Sandcastle Contest will be held Sat., Aug. 1 in Rehoboth Beach (at Fisherman’s Beach). Open to all ages.

Not Quite Free:

Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre
presents shows; tickets, $8.
(See listing under Bethany Beach.)