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Photo: Morey’s Piers

It can be all too tempting to pull the covers up and sleep in while you’re at the Shore – especially if you’re on vacation. But if you can resist the snooze button, there’s plenty of perks to getting an early start.

 

Photo: David Macomber

Grab Breakfast In The Sky

You can start your day on top of the world with a one-of-a-kind breakfast atop the giant Ferris wheel at Morey’s Piers. The aptly named Breakfast in the Sky is served Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from July 22 to Aug. 21. Enjoy an intimate picnic with a bird’s-eye view of the Wildwoods while dining on crepes, omelets and Belgian waffles.

If heights aren’t your thing, you can brunch in style aboard the River Belle or her sister ship, the River Queen. Both beautiful boats cruise the calm, inland waters of the Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal and Barnegat Bay (meaning there’s little chance of getting seasick while you dine on the huge brunch buffet). The two-hour cruise departs at 11:30 am every Sunday from July 1 to Labor Day.

 

Spot The Early Bird

They say the early bird gets the worm – which means the early birdwatchers get the best sightings of the millions of birds that stop at the Shore each summer.

Every Saturday and Sunday in July and August, you can join an educator from The Wetlands Institute for a guided tour of the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. If you keep your ears open, you might hear the silly sounds of the laughing gulls or the flute-like songs of the Swainson’s Thrushes. The free tours depart from Egret Espy trail and involve walking, so be sure to wear your hiking boots or comfortable shoes.

If you’d rather ride and watch, check out the Wild Side Trolley Tour. You’ll get a cool lesson in birdwatching, local history and geography from Cape May Bird Observatory naturalists, and you’ll be able to hop off at several hotspots along the way. Grab your binoculars and climb aboard the trolley every Wednesday at 8:30 am until Oct. 11.

 

Catch Some Waves

Experienced surfers know dawn and dusk are the best times to catch some waves, but before you head out to hang 10, you should pick up your phone. Cool apps like Magic Seaweed and Surfline let you see what the conditions are like at surfing hot spots like Brigantine Jetty, Margate Pier and Ocean City’s Poverty Beach.

If you’ve never been surfing but want to try, many towns and private companies offer classes. Try Stone Harbor’s surf camp, which has classes Monday through Saturday at 10 am, 11:15 am and 12:30 pm. The one-hour camp welcomes all ages, with surfboards provided at the class.

 

Stretch With The Sun

One perk of waking up at the Shore means you can do your sun salutations in the sand.

In Stone Harbor, you can watch the morning sky light up during the calming, meditative 6 am sunrise yoga classes every Wednesday and Friday. Cape May Yoga starts the day with a 7:45 am beach yoga session. The class, which mixes meditation and movement, are ideal for those seeking a gentle flow.

If you want to catch some extra sleep before you try downward-facing dog, you can still catch the Wildwoods’ beach yoga class behind the Wildwoods Convention Center on Burke Avenue at 9 am. Don’t forget your towel, water and sunblock.

 

Get Rolling

Strap on a helmet and get rolling before the crowds pick up.

You can head to Wildwood Crest’s bicycle path, which spans nearly the entire length of the five-mile island. Starting at the city’s new bicycle statue on Rambler Road, cyclists can pedal down to the Wildwoods Boardwalk bike ramp connector at Cresse Avenue. After a scenic tour of the boardwalk, keep traveling toward North Wildwood, where there is a “bikes only” path that runs parallel to the beach. Bicycles are allowed on the boardwalk from 5 to 11 am on the weekdays and until 10:30 am on weekends and holidays.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, head out early to tackle the grand loop tour of Long Beach Island. It’s 36 miles, but the sights are worth it – you’ll spot Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and “Old Barney” the lighthouse, Viking Village, and Barnegat Bay.

 

Find Jersey Fresh Goodies

You can find farmers markets up and down the Shore, and an early-morning start means you’ll have your pick of the best Jersey fresh fruits and veggies.

On Long Beach Island, the Surf City Farmers Market starts at 8 am every Monday from June 26 to August 28. The market in Brigantine opens at 8:30 am every Saturday and runs until September 8, while Margate Farmers Market begins at 8:30 am every Thursday through September 1.

Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Ocean City and Sea Isle City have early-morning markets too, and you can find much more than just local produce for sale. Vendors are on hand each week with everything from homemade pasta and oils to vintage jewelry and handcrafted soaps.

 

Play Fetch

Get your four-legged friend’s tail wagging with a morning trip to one of the many dog beaches down the Shore (once the crowds pick up during the day, you can expect the tennis ball you were playing with to go permanently missing).

Wildwood Dog Beach – named one of the best dog beaches in the country by USA Today – features a bright-red, 25-foot-tall fire hydrant your furry buddy will love. The off-leash Ocean City Dog Park, which opens at dawn every day, is also filled with fire hydrants and other pup-friendly play equipment.

Dogs aren’t allowed on any Long Beach Island beaches during the summer months, but you can head over to Barnegat Light Dog Park. Let the dogs off the leash to play at the fenced-in park – which doubles as a ball park, in case you’re up for a game of canine baseball.

July 2017
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