Avalon Vacation Guide

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Well hello, again! I've missed you!

We are freshly back from vacation and I can truly say it was our best one yet. Aside from a rough first night (Hadley climbed out of the rental crib no less than 75 times and we had to drive her around in the pitch black, raining night to get her to sleep -- kind of funny looking back but definitely not as amusing in the moment, haha!) aaaand a rough last night (food poisoning... enough said), we had such a wonderful time. The weather was forecasted to be rainy all week (like, every day), and it actually turned out to be beautiful with the exception of one day. We spent half the week with my family and half the week with Steve's, and I felt like I really unplugged and recharged. 

I know quite a few people who have already been or already go to the Avalon/Stone Harbor area, and I've also had some friends over the years ask about the area, our house, places to go, things to see, and just why we love it there so much. Since our trip is fresh in my mind, I thought I'd share a little vacation guide of sorts for those who live close enough or are interested in heading to Avalon/Stone Harbor, New Jersey. 

Why Avalon

First thing's first. Why Avalon? Here's why we love it:

-It's peaceful and family-oriented. No giant crowds or loud groups, just lots of families and a good amount of residents enjoying the area. I feel about 100 years old saying this and nothing against these people because I was one of them... recently enough ;), but I'm not down for staying in a house next to a group of teenagers on senior week, know what I'm saying? It just doesn't mix well with kids who go to bed at 7:30pm, so for now a quieter location is just our style.

-The beaches are beautiful and, again, not crowded. In fact, at the time of year we go, we're usually one of only a couple of groups on the beach and have it mostly to ourselves. 

-There's plenty to do. While it's a more laid-back beach town, there are great restaurants, shops, mini golf, a movie theater, museums, playgrounds, a zoo, and of course...the beach! 

Where to Stay

There are a ton of beach houses for rent in Avalon and Stone Harbor, and a good amount of hotels too, in all different price ranges. We stay in a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house, and while we're definitely on the verge of outgrowing it, we make it work. My family of four (plus Layla!) all stay in the largest room and, save for that first night, it's actually been kind of fun all waking up together. Plus, this particular house is pet friendly! Getting to bring our Layla girl along is a must. 

I get the "how did you find the house?" question quite a bit and the website I originally searched for a house on was:

Tips for affordability: split the house, if possible, with family/friends and look for houses just on the outskirts of the season. The reason we go the same week every year (the first week of June) is because it is literally at least $1000 cheaper than the very following week.

What to Do

As I mentioned, there is no shortage of things to do in the area. But here are our favorites considering our kids' ages (besides eating!):

-The beach (we love to hunt for crabs and seashells the girls, like most kids, can spend hours upon hours digging in the sand) *Buy beach tags in advance or make sure you bring some money with you to buy them on the spot. They are pretty diligent about checking.

-The Cape May County Zoo. This is less than a 20 minute drive from Avalon and it's free. You can donate money upon arrival if you want, but it's an incredibly affordable and super fun activity for families. It has a lot of cool animals, is mostly shaded, and even has a large play area right outside. New within the last couple of years, they added a zip line attraction... which we haven't checked out yet. ;)

-The Wetlands Institute. This is right in Stone Harbor and does have an entrance fee, but it's nothing crazy. They have programs at different times throughout the day where you can learn about specific creatures and even touch them. They have a turtle room, and another exhibit with a lot of different fish, sting rays, and - my girls' favorite - an octopus. You can also walk over the wetlands and take in the beautiful views and wildlife.

-Shopping in town. There are some great shops to stop into! This is one I venture out on my own for ;) but I always love to stop in The Preppy Palm and Kitchen Home Makers.

-Playgrounds. Our favorites are 39th street & Dune, which is across the street from the house we say in, and 74th & Ocean. 

-Avalon Public Library. Hear me out! For those rainy days, we love this library and especially their kids' story time. The woman who runs it is wonderful with kids and reads a few books, followed by a detailed craft (all free of charge and supplies provided!). Our kids have always really enjoyed it and it's nice to have something in your back pocket in case of bad weather.

-There's also mini-golf, water sports and boating, fishing, a movie theater, arcade, spas, and more.

Where to Eat

This is such a tough one, because there are so many good places, but here are my favorites:

For breakfast - In general it's easier for my family to eat a more low-key breakfast so we always get our coffee and breakfast sandwiches/bagels/muffins from Avalon Coffee Co. I swear I think it's what Steve looks forward to most about vacation, haha.

For lunch Kudos American Grille is really tasty and if you love a bigger breakfast, they serve it through lunch -- I love their Avalon omelet with spinach, roasted red peppers and mozzarella and their banana-rama french toast is ridiculous.

For dinner - Fred's Tavern in Stone Harbor is a staple for us. I always get the chicken parmesan sub with their yummy fries and a beer. Because health (hey, it's vacation!).

Dessert - Springers in Stone Harbor, of course. Homemade icecream and tons of flavors to choose from. I also love the "concretes" at Avalon Freeze which are about as healthy as they sound (basically like a DQ Blizzard). I get chocolate with PB cups.

So if you're close enough, give this charming beach town a shot! What are your go-to summer destinations? Do you have a "happy place?" 

'Til next time!


  1. Avalon looks like it is perfect for a family holiday! We are like you too and look for somewhere to re-charge, with space and quiet. Love the homewares in the shop your photographed! Sorry to hear you got sick - that has happened to me too on a couple of holidays! Also with the driving the baby around in the night!

    1. It really is a great place for a family trip! Ugh, I can't believe the getting sick has happened to you, too -- no fun. But, hey, all part of the adventure right? ;) Hope you had a good week -- I'm happy to be back and catching up on blogging/reading/life!

  2. Ok I know a lot about Avalon. And you nailed it. We went there for a wedding when I was pregnant with the girls. My cousin-in-law's parents live there and they hosted the wedding there. It was sooo much fun. We loved walking the beach and visiting the shops. I ate Springers ice cream everyday I was there....sometimes twice. I love the espresso explosion. So many good memories. Glad you had a good time other than the food poisoning and the first night of sleep.

  3. Oh goodness. All 4 of you in one bedroom. How does that work? Do both little girls sleep in cribs?

    Yep, I admit I'm nosey. Do you think that you will look to get a bigger place next time you go? I am sure that your extended family goes on this trip with you as you do have a 3 bedroom rental, right? I can only imagine that this makes it so much more fun for the girls!!


CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan