The Jersey Shore is known for its gorgeous beaches, of course, and outdoor entertainment like boardwalk fun. But not every summer day can turn into a sunny beach day. What happens to the family fun when it rains? Beach houses, no matter how grand, start to feel pretty small when you are stuck indoors.
Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor spots to explore along the shore. From Asbury Park to Cape May, we've put together a list of shore activities that will get you off the beach and out of your condo. So whether the rain is spoiling your beach day, you need a day out of the sun, or just a change from the sand and surf, we have you covered.
For more entertaining activities this season, check our list of 70 Best Things To Do at the Shore all summer.
Here is our list (roughly in order of north to south):
1. Get creative at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, with arts and craft activities for the whole family.
2. Play a spooky round of golf at Monster Mini Golf, a glow-in-the-dark experience that takes place in black light rooms.
3. Show the kids what games were like when you were a kid at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, which is loaded with pinball machines.
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Learn glass blowing at Hot Sand.
4. Check out the Jersey Shore’s first public-access hot glass studio, Hot Sand, where you can participate in drop-in activities or just watch the masters at work.
5. Enjoy a spectacular star show at the Robert J Novins Planetarium, featuring a 3-D experience.
6. Go bowling at Playdrome Lanes in Toms River with 24 lanes, automatic scoring, bumpers, and Sunday afternoon glow bowling.
7. Learn more about bugs than you could possibly imagine at Insectropolis in Tom's River.
8. Peruse the artwork of the Arts Garage at The Noyes Museum of Art, which houses artists' studios, galleries, shops, and a cafe.
9. Climb the walls at Gravity Vault in Middletown, where kids can take part in walk-in climbing sessions, introductory classes, and more.
10. Drop into an open gym time at Kiddie Korner, where little kids will enjoy the ball pit and slides.
11. See the exotic sea creatures housed at the Atlantic City Aquarium.
12. If you have a pint-sized shopper on your hands, check out the Tanger Outlets in Atlantic City.
13. Experience the oddities at Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Atlantic City.
14. Visit the Smile Factory in Brigantine for fun indoor play sure to delight younger kids.
15. Browse the Discovery Sea Shell Museum in Ocean City, where kids can check out the hermit crabs and selection of pretty shells to look at or purchase.
16. With several arcades, indoor mini golf, and countless shops, Ocean City's boardwalk has plenty to do even in the rain.
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Can you find the alien in the spacecraft maze?
17. Climb aboard an alien spacecraft and see if you can navigate the mirror maze at Encounters Ocean City.
18. Catch a film at the Moorlyn Theatre in Ocean City.
19. Let the kids pick out a toy to bring home at the Butterfly Boutique in Ocean City. This sweet toy store also offers walk-in craft events.
20. Burn off some energy at PLAAY Fitness and Yoga, where adults can get in a great workout while kids enjoy arts and crafts.
21. Try your hand at skee ball or video games at Sea Isle City's FunTown arcade.
22. Get your creative juices flowing as you paint pottery at Jugglefish.
Hang out with the penguins at Jenkinson's Aquarium.
23. Spend an afternoon exploring Jenkinson's Aquarium on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant.
24. Visit the Avalon History Center and experience what it was like for beachgoers in the past. Plus, enjoy family-friendly programming, including a drop-in "mini-camp" several times a month.
25. Get out excess energy at local bounce houses and trampoline parks.
26. Browse the local town's department of recreation calendar. For example, check out the Avalon Recreation Department calendar, which has almost daily indoor events for kids at the Avalon Elementary School or Community Hall.
27. Check out the Tightwad Tuesday movie specials (or the schedule any day) at the Frank Theatres in Northfield, Egg Harbor Township, Stone Harbor, or Rio Grande.
28. Get creative with pottery and mosaics at Island Studio in Stone Harbor.
29. Make it a game day at RiGis in Stone Harbor. This family-owned amusement center has games for people of all ages, but also what it claims as "the only original Italian Water Ice."
Meet turtles and more at Wetlands.
30. Learn about local wildlife and conservation efforts at Stone Harbor's Wetlands Institute's frequent events.
31. Wildwood's boardwalk is filled with indoor activities, including arcades, indoor mini-golf, an aquarium, and more.
32. Go bowling at Island Bowl in Wildwood, which opens early on rainy days.
33. Get lost in Ripley's Adventure Maze, home to both a laser maze and mirror maze.
34. Climb to the top of one of the Jersey Shore's many lighthouses, including Hereford Inlet in North Wildwood or Cape May Lighthouse.
35. The Physick Estate in Cape May hosts children's tours as well as princess and pirate luncheons on select dates.
36. View the planes, helicopters, and interactive flight exhibits at the Naval Air Station Aviation Museum in Rio Grande.
37. Step back in time with a visit to Historic Cold Spring Village.
Whales don't stop for rain. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
38. Don't mind getting a little wet? Go whale watching and still get your ocean time in while seeing some truly majestic sights. As long as the weather isn't too rough, the boats will likely still go out, and they even often offer some indoor coverage.
39. Go shopping at the Washington Street Mall in Cape May, with highlights sure to delight your little ones such as toys at Whale's Tale and sweet treats at Bonnie's.
40. Take a trolley tour through Cape May. Explore its Victorian history while taking a special ride designed for 3-7-year-olds.
This article first published in 2015 and was updated for 2017.
Top photo: Play wall-sized Pacman at Monster Minigolf. Photo by Dore Duhaime for Mommy Poppins.