Best Family-Friendly Restaurants at the Jersey Shore

Families can gather around the fondue at the Melting Pot.
Families can gather around the fondue at the Melting Pot.
5/9/23 - By Catherine Kennedy

Looking for the best family-friendly restaurants on the Jersey Shore? Read on for more than a dozen eateries you and your kids will love. 

With the unofficial summer season approaching, many of us will be heading to the Jersey Shore soon. After a day of sun and fun, you’ll need to find food for your kiddos before they become “hangry” – luckily, Mommy Poppins can help! Read on for the Jersey Shore's best restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. 

And be sure to check out our list of frozen treats and quick eats in South Jersey, as well as all the other yummy options in our New Jersey Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide


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red velvet pancakes at Toast: Family-Friendly Restaurants at the Jersey Shore
Try the signature red velvet pancakes at Toast. 

Best Family-Friendly Breakfast at the Jersey Shore

1. Toast – Asbury Park and Red Bank

"Peace, love, and pancakes" is the motto at this family-friendly breakfast hot spot. The extensive menu includes omelets, French toast, salads, burgers, and much more. The owner encourages bringing kids to the restaurant and offers a children’s menu where options include silver dollar pancakes, one egg with bacon, one egg with French toast, grilled ham and cheese, and chicken fingers and fries.

2. Brownstone Pancake Factory – Brick and Freehold

There is a mini carousel inside the Freehold location of this fun breakfast chain that is known for its creative pancake toppings. From Oreo cookie pancakes to chicken & cheddar pancakes, the unique options offer something for everyone in the family. They also offer sandwiches, salads, and more for adults, plus a children’s menu of kid favorites.

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Shut Up and Eat: Family-Friendly Restaurants at the Jersey Shore
Diners who wear matching pajamas get a discount at Shut Up and Eat. 

3. Shut Up and Eat – Toms River

The servers wear pajamas at this cozy diner, and if you show up in a pajama set (matching top and bottom), you'll get 13% off your meal! Kids can choose from eggs, sliders, silver dollar pancakes, mac & cheese, or a corn dog served with milk or Capri Sun.

4. Meemom’s – Wall, Brick, and Middletown

Self-proclaimed “French Toast University,” Meemom’s serves more than 15 varieties of the classic dish, from savory to sweet. They even offer gluten-free bread. Additional cute menu items will put a smile on your face, from A.B.C. Grilled Cheese and The Hearty Hangover Bowl to Oh So Cheesy omelets and Y.O.L.O. (You Obviously Love Oreos).

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Rainforest Cafe: Family-Friendly Restaurants at the Jersey Shore
The Rainforest Cafe's decor will thrill big and little diners.

Best Family-Friendly Lunch or Dinner at the Jersey Shore

5. Rainforest Cafe – Atlantic City

The rainforest décor and fake lightning storms will wow little ones at this Atlantic City eatery. The impressive kids’ menu includes mini hot dogs, dino-shaped chicken nuggets, pasta, shrimp, pizza, and more. Your child’s meal is served on a jungle-themed plate with fruit and a side plus a Rainforest Cafe drink cup. Be sure to save money to spend at the cute gift shop on your way out!

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Blue Pig Tavern:
Enjoy a farm-to-table meal at Blue Pig Tavern. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

6. Blue Pig Tavern – Cape May

This farm-fresh restaurant in Congress Hall serves produce, eggs, and herbs from their own Beach Plum Farm located nearby. Enjoy patio dining in nice weather and indoor dining with a cozy fireplace on cold days. The kids’ menu includes grilled cheese, pasta, mac and cheese, a cheeseburger, and PB&J.

7. Proving Ground – Highlands

This waterfront restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining with beautiful views. With a menu that changes seasonally, special events, kids’ nights, and live music, it seems like there is always something fun going on at Proving Ground. The children’s menu features favorite foods and coloring activities to keep little ones busy while waiting for their meals.

8. Barnacle Bill’s – Rumson

Located on the Navesink River, this nautical-themed pub offers seafood, soups, salads, sandwiches, and steak. The casual, loud atmosphere means parents don’t need to be embarrassed if their kids have a meltdown during dinner. Families can walk to the dock and feed the ducks while waiting for their turn to be seated.

9. Johnny Rockets – Atlantic City

This All-American retro-themed restaurant chain is a hit with kids, and the whole family will love the milkshakes here. The Atlantic City location is part of Bally’s Casino, right off the boardwalk. The children’s menu includes burgers, dogs, chicken tenders, and grilled cheese.

10. The Melting Pot – Red Bank

For a memorable experience, introduce your kids to this fondue restaurant chain. They will love dipping entrees in cheese and desserts in chocolate. The children’s menu choices are chicken, shrimp, pork, steak, or salmon. The Melting Pot also offers fun kiddie drinks like Kooky Coconut Lemonade and Crisp Boss Applesauce.

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Jersey Freeze: Family-Friendly Restaurants at the Jersey Shore
Nothing beats a classic banana split at Jersey Freeze. 

Best Family-Friendly Dessert at the Jersey Shore

11. Hoffman’s – Point Pleasant Beach and Spring Lake Heights

Hoffman’s is a Jersey Shore staple. All of their ice cream and frozen yogurt options are homemade at the Point Pleasant Beach location. In addition to classic flavors, they offer fun options like Almond Turtles, Jersey Monkey, and Strawberry Bon Bon.

12. Jersey Freeze – Freehold and Holmdel

You’ll need to travel a bit inland for this historic ice cream shop that Bruce Springsteen is known to frequent. The Freehold location has been open since 1952. The Holmdel location is a small offshoot inside the Bell Works building but offers the same quality ice cream.

13. Duffers – Wildwood

This family-friendly spot is only open for the summer season. Known for its homemade ice cream and huge sundaes, the number of dessert choices will impress. The kids’ menu includes a Bowl of Dirt, Clown Sundae, fruity pebbles sundae, and more. Best of all, there is an 18-hole miniature golf course and an arcade on the premises for the family to enjoy.

14. Skipper Dipper – Long Beach Island

An LBI favorite since 1978, this family-friendly ice cream shop serves milkshakes, malts, Dole Whip, brownie sundaes, and classic hard and soft ice cream. You can “Skipper-fy” your order to add a single swirl of vanilla or chocolate soft serve on top of your hard ice cream. Skipper Dipper is a seasonal spot that is open from May through September.

Photos courtesy of the restaurants unless otherwise noted.

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