I’ve been coming to Stone Harbor, NJ almost every year since I was 10. It’s a quieter town that is great for families. We brought Asher two years ago before he could walk or talk. I was 9 months pregnant at the time. So glad that’s over.

The boys slept a good portion on the ride since yesterday’s adventures wore them out.

Asher got gross car sick right as we pulled in to town, 2 minutes from the hotel. 🤮

Heading into the trip, my mind was filled with so many logistics to juggling a 3 and (almost) 2 year old, figuring out what foods the picky big brother would live on for the trip, coordinating who is sleeping where and when, and tracking down all the toys to keep them amused on the ride and in the room. We haven’t done much away from home travel since having kids, and this is a primer before we head to Wyoming to meet their grandma. I’d say we survived and learned a few things along the way.

Day 1 – Unpack and Explore

What’s a phone? Shiloh was making crank calls immediately. We unplugged this right away.
First look at the water
We’re here
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Matching and toys and all the sand you’ll ever need. So much to explore and no fighting overing sharing
They were so excited to build sand castles
Checking out the waves and big rocks
Exploring with Daddy

Day 2 – Let’s Play

The day started out great. Both boys were still reserved until Asher got a bit too much water in the face. Then they became hesitant and generally disagreeable.

In hindsight, our breakfast, coffee, and preparing to go to the beach took about 2 hours. By the time we got there, they were almost hungry enough for lunch. We didn’t get them back and settled for nap until 1:30.

I’m used to the days of spending 7 hours on the beach with a short break. Working around their need for a 2-3 hour afternoon nap is weird. It’s vacation – and I needed the nap too. But, then I felt like I was laying around too much. My body hurt and I got headaches from the lack of movement. I wanted to get out in the water myself for a few minutes but even that was a stretch. The boys need 2 adults really to wrangle them in wide open new spaces. They’re still working on sharing, how to and when not to touch (read: grab, bite, kick) each other.

I was glad that there was still a lifeguard on duty. We walked a few blocks extra for that. Later we learned there were ripe tides leftover from Hurricane Dorian.

We got an umbrella, a tray, and hooks to go with it as we plan to get to the beach yearly. We will probably get a 2nd umbrella when they no longer nap and want to stay on the beach all day. Asher liked filling our Beach Bub sandbag to hold the umbrella up and the mesh bag to organize toys. I also loved having a mesh bag for our towels to shake the sand out.
Headstands in the sand
Washing his hair was “fun”

Sunset Beach

Going to Sunset Beach was always an event during beach week as a kid. I knew my boys would love it there. They are really into picking up rocks this summer (last year it was sticks). So, we grabbed a pizza to eat at the pavilion by the lighthouse.

Afterward, we headed over to one of the few places on the east coast where you can watch the sunset over the ocean. Sunset Beach is at the headway from the Delaware Bay into the Atlantic Ocean.

Special rocks at Sunset Beach in Cape May
Sharing the rocks
As close as we can get for a family photo
It’s been 8 years since we were last here
Skipping stones
Scooping sand and special rocks at Cape May’s Sunset Beach
Digging for Cape May Diamonds
So many special rocks
Sunset over the Atlantic is rare. This is looking west over the Delaware Bay.
Reading bedtime stories with the book just out of reach

Day 3 on the beach

We zipped through breakfast and beach prep this morning. It went much better as we coordinated how to get more done while the boys were playing with my parents. That got us down to the beach sooner.

I also let Asher know it was our last day at the water. Today was the day to play and not to wait around reluctantly. Tomorrow was a day for the zoo and heading home.

It was hard to drive such a long distance and for them to only warm up to being in the waves on the last day. Hopefully next year we can go for a few more days.

Post card graphics have declined
Writing postcards to family & friends
They played so much better today. Yesterday was full of fear and protests. Today, they swam out to the sandbar, played independently, and wanted to stay at the beach a long time
Chasing seagulls
Shiloh’s not too sure about the moving water around his feet. He kept falling over thinking the ground was moving.
Matt and Asher made a new friend and captured him for a little bit.
Such a busy morning means an early nap. Shiloh was cold and tired. He hasn’t napped on me like this in over a year. I’ll take it.
Meanwhile Asher wanted to stay on the sandbar all day
Playing with the Surfer Dude beach toy. Toss it in the waves and watch it surf back. The balance on this thing was great.
Surfer Dude can fly too
Let’s swim out here all day. The sand bar was the perfect height for Asher.
I haven’t been able to get in this hot tub when we come for many years due to pregnancies. Nap time for the boys is time for me to enjoy
Nap time is key to a happy evening
2 teddies, favorite blankie, and arms up behind his head

Dinner Out

We split up from the boys. My parents took them for an evening of fun while we snuck away for supper at the Harbor Burger Bar. Dinner at the beach is always a bit more pricey, but it came without picky eaters needing us to get up so many times throughout the meal.

Date night while the boys played with my parents. Yuengling and a Blackberry Mule
That Tuna Poke bowl was delicioiuus
My parents might be over The Wonky Donkey after reading it a few dozen times in an hour
The boys went to the fire station with my parents for a tour of a truck
We found them at the park after our dinner
This is Asher’s restaurant
Sporting pull-ups as headwear
I got up and out by myself for sunrise on the last morning at the beach. I have learned to love a sliver of solitude.

Cape May County Zoo

We stopped by the Cape May County Zoo on our way home. We got in just as the gates opened. It was a hot morning but the abundant shade from the trees helped us stay cool for our quick tour.

Checking out the turtles
SSSSeee the SSSSSnakes?
Slow turtles
Turtles and lizards
Geckos with sticky fingers