Philadelphians agree with Dorothy that there’s no place like home. Longtime residents have an unflappable hometown pride, because, let’s face it, no city in the country is quite like Philly. But even the most ardent Philly fanatic has to concur that sometimes it just feels so darn good to get away from it all. Here are the top Memorial Day getaways near the City of Brotherly Love.
Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Check into your hotel early and then head to Atlantic City’s beach and boards. Choose a deluxe high-rise casino hotel on the boardwalk, such as the Showboat Casino Hotel or Caesar’s Atlantic City, or even a budget-friendly lodging located a few blocks from the beach, like the Super 8 or Days Inn. Atlantic City’s four miles of pristine beaches are free, and the carnival-like atmosphere of the boardwalk is a colorful diversion where you can taste saltwater taffy, ride the famous Ferris wheel or simply people watch. After you’ve worked up an appetite visiting the Absecon Lighthouse and taking a deep-sea fishing charter, head to AC’s Ducktown Italian district for heaping helpings of stuffed shells and chicken parmesan at Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern. Of course, an Atlantic City getaway is not complete without taking advantage of the round-the-clock gaming action of the casinos, including the Borgata, Harrah’s, Bally’s and the Trump Taj Mahal. These casinos are also the place to go for top-drawer entertainment. You can catch Smoky Robinson at Harrah’s on May 24, 2014, and John Legend at the Borgota on May 25, 2014.
The Hotel Hershey
100 Hotel Road
Hershey, PA 17033
Fill up on chocolate treats and enjoy the rides and attractions at the 120-acre Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Don’t miss the 12 roller coasters, especially the Sooperdooperlooper and Fahrenheit, as well as 20 kiddie rides and the fun-filled Aquatheatre. The Boardwalk at Hersheypark opens on Memorial Day and offers nine spectacular water rides, including the Coastline Plunge and Sandcastle Cove. After the free tour of the mock chocolate factory heightens your appetite, check out the Chocolate Avenue Grill in historic downtown Hershey for wraps, sandwiches, salads and meat dishes. Nearby ZooAmerica features 11 acres of American animals, and just a few miles down the road, Mt. Gretna Lake opens May 24th. This is where you want to head to escape the Hershey crowds at eight lush acres filled with forest trails and a cool lake for swimming, inner tubing, canoeing and kayaking. Plenty of campgrounds are within the area, or you can opt for a Hersheypark package with a stay at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge.
The Inn At Kitchen Kettle Village
3529 Old Philadelphia Pike
Intercourse, PA 17534
Intercourse, Pennsylvania, may have a hard time keeping thieves away from its suggestive welcome signs, but this small town in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country has no difficulties attracting visitors looking for a relaxed getaway. Drop your bags at The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village, then walk over to the village’s quaint complex of specialty stores, eateries and kid-centric attractions. Children can indulge in the pony rides, petting zoo and playground, while the adults sample hand-rolled fudge, shoofly pie, homemade jams and ice cream. For a real taste of Amish life, book a buggy ride through the countryside and a covered bridge with AAA Buggy Rides. Celebrate Memorial Day with a visit to the American Military Edged Weaponry Museum and view a wonderful collection of knives, bayonets, sabers and swords used by military personnel from the Spanish-American War through Desert Storm.
Sea Isle City
400 Landis Ave.
Sea Isle City, NJ 08243
With five miles of white-sandy beaches and plenty of nightlife, Sea Isle City attracts both young families and the college crowd. For those who want to party the weekend away, the Coast Motel is steps from the action at clubs like The OD (open daily starting Memorial Day weekend) and the La Costa Lounge, Nightclub and Deck Bar. If cool ocean breezes and the sound of the surf are more your style, claim a rocking chair on the wraparound porch of the Colonnade Inn, a 19-room Victorian gem just a short walk to the beach, where swimming, surfing and sandcastle building reign. A weekend getaway to the shore has to include seafood, so check out Mike’s Seafood Market and Raw Bar for the chef’s famous crab balls and stunning views of the bay. The glistening water just might put you in the mood to head over to Harbor Outfitters for kayak tours, paddle board lessons and surfboard rentals.
5600 Ocean Ave.
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
Watch the tram car roll by as you watch the waves, Ferris wheel and water parks along the Wildwood Boardwalk. This two-mile-long smorgasbord of water ice stands, T-shirt shops, arcades and amusements is quite the tourist attraction. Morey’s Pier has plenty of thrill rides, or you can spread your blanket on Wildwood’s wide, free beaches while watching kites soar overhead during Memorial Day weekend’s International Kite Festival. Take a kayak tour through the back bays, do some surfcasting or enjoy some foot tapping at the Summer Kickoff Concert at Centennial Park in Wildwood Crest on May 25, 2014. Top off the weekend with your favorite seafood at Urie’s Waterfront Restaurant, and rest your head at one of Wildwood’s 1950s “Doo Wop” motels, like the Caribbean or the Lollipop.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.