9 Rainy Day Shore Activities that Prove You Don’t Need Sun for Summer Fun

No matter the weather, you're sure to find something exciting at the shore.

When you daydream about a trip to the Shore, thoughts of clear skies and a warm sun might come to mind. What might not pop into your reverie is a day filled with dark clouds and rain showers.

But fear not! We’ve pulled together a solid list of indoor activities—great for the entire family—that you can enjoy on a rainy (or excessively hot) day at the Shore.

Get A New Perspective 

Barnegat Lighthouse Stock Photo

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Daniel D’Auria.

Escape the rain and find refuge at one of the Shore’s 11 iconic lighthouses. The structures, once widely used as navigational aids for those at sea, today are mostly considered national historic landmarks, and offer everything from tours and night climbs to museum exhibits and festivals all summer long.

Several of the lighthouses—including Barnegat Lighthouse and Cape May Lighthouse—offer night climbs for a few hours on select dates throughout the summer. Listen to the sounds of the sea as you ascend to get a new, moonlit perspective of the Jersey Shore.

Go Under The Sea 

Assistant curator Katie Canady gets personal with Seaquin the seal.

Photo by Matt Rainey

Step into another world under the sea at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach. With quirky residents like penguins and seals and a wealth of activities–including the ever-popular touch tank–the aquarium continues to be a popular spot no matter what the weather.

Atlantic City Aquarium, which offers a fascinating underwater experience with current exhibits including “Fish of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean,” “Ocean Oddities” and “Tropical Rainforest,” is another welcome respite from the rain, or scorching sun.

Open Your Mind  

Photo courtesy of museum.

Photo courtesy of Insectropolis.

Put your thinking cap on and head out to learn something new at one of New Jersey’s small museums. The Garden State is full of niche museums, with a handful scattered along the coastline. There’s Insectropolis in Toms River, the Doo Wop Preservation Experience in Wildwood, the neighboring New Jersey Museums of Boating and Vintage Automobile Museum in Point Pleasant and the InfoAge Science History Museum in Wall.

Read A Book, Or Two 

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Work on crossing books off of your summer reading list by visiting one of New Jersey’s thriving independent book stores. There are a few located up and down the coast including BookTowne in Manasquan, Bookateria Two in Ocean City, the Paperback Exchange in Belmar and Paranormal Books & Curiosities in Asbury Park.

Make a Splash

Photo courtesy of Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor Water Park

Photo courtesy of Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park.

Just because you might want to avoid water outdoors, doesn’t mean you’ll want to avoid water indoors at Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park in West Berlin, Camden County. Complete with 58,000 square feet of arcade and aquatic fun, the park includes popular attractions like surfing simulator Flow Rider or the 350-foot Nile Mile super fast slide. Although it’s a bit of a drive from the beach, it makes for a nice indoor day trip if it looks like a Shore storm is a-brewin’.

(If you decide to brave the rain, a visit to an outdoor water park might be a perfect way to spend a cloudy day. Here’s a list of: 9 Jersey Water Parks to Enjoy This Summer).

Get Lost In Space 

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Gaze upon the stars at the Robert J. Novins Planetarium, located just two miles away from the Barnegat Bay at Ocean County College in Toms River. The planetarium, one of the largest and most active in the state, offers a slew of family-friendly shows daily including: “Kaluoka’hina: The Enchanted Reef”, “The Stars from My Backyard” and “Bad Astronomy: Myths & Misconceptions.”

The center also hosts special events like pajama nights; laser shows set to popular music from the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd; and Summer Star Watch, a free event hosted by the Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area (ASTRA).

Enjoy A Show

The Spring Lake Community House, dedicated to the town in 1923, includes a 350-seat theater.

Photo by Pat Barry

Trade in your beach chair for a seat at one of the handful of theaters located along the coastline. In the spirit of the Shore, Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan will include performances of The Little Mermaid (July 16-31) and Greater Ocean City Theatre Company in Ocean City will include Broadway on the Boardwalk (June 29). Click here for more information on Shore theaters and their upcoming performances.

Climb An Elephant

Lucy the Elephant Stock Photo

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Jim McIntosh.

Yes, you read that correctly. Down in Margate lives the “world’s greatest elephant” named Lucy. The six-story tall wood elephant, who turns 135 years old this July, is a national historic landmark. Guided tours up Lucy’s leg to the lookout point, offering views of the surrounding Jersey coast, occur every 30 minutes.

Play I Spy

Photo courtesy of The Wetlands Institute.

Photo courtesy of The Wetlands Institute.

Learn about local wildlife at the Shore by visiting the Wetlands Institute. Located in Stone Harbor, the nonprofit is dedicated to promoting appreciation, understanding and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through their programs, research, conservation and education.

The center offers self-guided tours as well as a host of special summer happenings including “Catch ‘o the Day,” where explorers step into the bay to find crabs, shrimp and fish. Visitors can also observe aquarium feedings and get up close and personal with turtles, fish, crabs, sea stars, horseshoe crabs and more.

Click here to learn more about some of New Jersey’s native animals that you can spy when visiting the shore.

How would you plan to spend a rainy day at the Shore? Let us know in the comments below! 

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