Known for its pristine beaches, expansive promenade, and countless seaside amenities, Cape May is a fascinating island that is considered New Jersey’s jewel in the crown.
Cape May was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and continues to exude that status. Named in countless publications as having one of the top beaches in the United States, Cape May is definitely a small town, but one that offers visitors an unforgettable experience.
One of the most popular travel destinations in the United States, of course, doesn’t fall short in the dining category. Some notable eateries within the area include: 501 Beach at the Marquis, Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille, 410 Bank Street, and Asian Legends offering a range of options from local craft brews to mouthwatering fresh sushi.
Cape May also has a wide variety of shopping. Featuring an outdoor walking mall that spans three blocks of boutique shops and book stores, there is no shortage of great souvenirs in the area.
While parts of New Jersey's 127-miles of coastline were battered by Superstorm Sandy nearly a year ago, most of the Garden State's beaches and resort areas suffered only minor flooding. Among those that spared Sandy's wrath are the towns along the state's southernmost region, including historic Cape May. Well-known as a summer vacation destination, Cape May has evolved over the years into a year-round destination offering a calendar full of events. The fall season is a fine time to visit the area as the inshore and offshore fishing can be some of the best of the season. From Labor Day to Thanksgiving, anglers have ranging from striped bass along the famed Cape May Rips, to billfish and tuna that inhabit the offshore canyons.Cool nights and warm sunny days often provide some of the seasons best conditions to chase your favorite species from beach or boat as water temperatures remain conducive to good fishing. Obviously weather plays a major role in determining the length of the fall season but it is safe to say if storms stay away, look for a late season shot at white marlin, blue marlin, wahoo and dolphin right through mid-October, especially in the canyons south of Cape May. Big eye and yellowfin tuna as well as true albacore can be found as late as Halloween. Although summer flounder season closes in late September, striped bass action kicks into high gear along the inshore waters. As water temperatures begin to fall in early October often some of the best fishing for this popular species can be found well into December. Bluefish can also be spotted along the same haunts where striped bass lurk and these toothy critters fill the gaps between bites by linesiders.Cold Spring Inlet is deep, wide and well-marked providing safe passage to Cape May Harbor. The United Sates Coast Guard Training Center is located immediately inside the harbor and a strictly enforced no-wake zone must be observed to avoid getting your visit off to a bad start.Once inside the harbor finding local dockage is easy. Numerous marinas can be found but two specific marinas stand out for their service, facilities and location. Canyon Club Resort Marina (609-884-0199, canyonclubmarina.com), recently dredged to a depth of eight feet at mean low water, boasts concrete floating docks, easily accommodating today's largest sportfishing vessels. A fully stocked Ship's Store is on site with other amenities including electric, cable TV, WiFi, in-slip gas and diesel fuel, showers, laundry facilities and pump-out facilities. Should the need arise for service work during your visit, the Service Center at Canyon Club is located on the premises and has 35 and 80 ton travel lifts plus trained technicians to handle any repairs required to get you back on the water.South Jersey Marina (609-884-2400, southjerseymarina.com) suffered a major fire late last summer, which destroyed the restaurant and yacht sales office while also leaving the marina office and retail space unusable. In late October, Superstorm Sandy flooded the entire first floor of the marina. Since that time, the entire marina building from the ground up has been renovated. The new Ship's Store immediately catches your eye upon arrival and is well stocked with all of your everyday fishing and boating needs including a delicatessen to grab a quick bite. The newly renovated on-site restaurant, Saltwater CafÃ©, offers an eclectic breakfast and lunch menu, allowing for both indoor and outdoor dining. Saltwater proudly shares a portion of their profits with Wild Oceans and offers one of the most beautiful views of the harbor and marina district.Just steps away from Saltwater CafÃ© you'll find Fathoms, a gift boutique featuring cutting edge nautical apparel. Other facilities updated include state-of-the-art laundry facilities, showers and heads. In-slip amenities include those also offered at Canyon Club, South Jersey Marina's sister marina.Dining in Cape May is one of the best parts of any visit, with most of the Garden State's top restaurants found in downtown Cape May. Menu selections range from simple salads and sandwiches to exquisite steak, seafood and international dishes. Among the best are the Washington Inn, Ebbitt Room, 410 Bank Street, Lobster House, Lucky Bones, C-View, Axelson's Blue Claw and Ugly Mug.No visit to Cape May would be complete without a trip to the Historic District, where Victorian-era homes, hotels and bed and breakfasts paint a picture of a by-gone era. Art galleries, antique shops and specialty boutiques can also be found and horse-drawn buggy tours of the historical sites are available. Bird watchers flock to the area around the Cape May Lighthouse (215 Light House Ave., 609-884-5404) while a short drive away from town will lead you to the Cape May Zoo (707 Route 9 N., 609-465-1033).Nearly a year later, the Jersey Shore continues to rebuild from the devastating affects of Hurricane Sandy. Much of the media focus continues to highlight the areas which were hardest hit leaving many to believe the entire coastline was destroyed. Much of Cape May County, including Cape May and its surrounding waterfront communities are in fine shape. The fish are waiting and local businesses are anxious to accommodate you.
Available in four sizes, Penn's new Torque Lever Drag 2-Speed offers their Quick-Shift 2-Speed system which easily shifts from high or low gear to adjust to any fishing situation. The sealed Dura Drag system eliminates hesitation with drag curves that help prevent lost fish, while staying protected from the elements. This Torque Lever Drag 2-Speed is a fully machined and anodized aluminum reel with six shielded, stainless steel high quality ball bearings, plus a thrust bearing to minimize handle resistance when under load. The lightweight forged aluminum Braid Ready spool with Line Capacity Rings liminates the guess work of how much lineremains on the spool while fighting a fish. Visit pennreels.com for more information.
Chances are you've taken in your share of cruising idylls over the years, from the silky shores of Florida to the quintessential New England ports of Connecticut and Massachusetts. But what about the New Jersey Shore? Occasionally, boat owners will limit their experience of the Garden State to a quick overnight stop while en route to another place, and you have to wonder if this is because some of us can't shake those pop-culture clichÃ©s: the Sopranos, Snooki, the spray tans. But the truth is, if you haven't yet spent time exploring the Jersey shoreline, prepare to be surprised. There are different flavors along the way, in ports large and small, from the high-rises and high stakes of Atlantic City to true beach towns with vintage ice-cream trucks, kettle fudge and retro flavor. Even with the bright lights of Manhattan just a day's ride away, there are great places to drop the hook or drag lines for the day. Let's assume you'll start your cruise from the south and explore New Jersey on your way north to New York waters.
Some New Jersey natives call their state the birthplace of the summer seashore escape. Among their most beloved beach towns is Cape May, one of the best-preserved Victorian districts in America, with crape myrtles sprouting from the sidewalks and American-flags hanging from gingerbread porches punctuated with rockers and wicker furniture. But there are also pockets of cool carved out around town, including the rehabbed Congress Hall, a rambling and glamorous hotel with a speakeasy-style club in the basement.What to Do: After a day at the beach, take a slow stroll through town before dinner along with the other tourists looking to satisfy cravings for sea critters and beer. Head to the Lobster House (906 Schellengers Landing Rd., 609-884-8296) and find a seat at the handsome bar, where a jacketed bartender will take your order for local oysters on the half shell. If you're up for a short cruise, check out Wildwood, with its famous boardwalk that includes rides to thrill the kids. Dock at Schooner Island Marina (609-729-8900, schoonerislandmarina.com).Where to Dock: Cape May has a nice, wide inlet for an easy approach, and there are several marinas nearby.Among the best full-service facilities are the Canyon Club (609-884-0199, canyonclubmarina.com) and South Jersey Marina (609-884-2400, southjerseymarina.com), which places you within walking distance of the center of town. Between these two marinas is the canal that leads to Delaware Bay. Both have floating docks.
This is the spot for those with an appetite for big-city glitz and glamour. In Atlantic City, you can indulge your appetite at the casinos and resorts that lure visitors with everything from celebrity chef-run restaurants to sprawling spas and mega nightclubs, all of which are never so far away from a gaming floor that you can't hear the ka-ching.What to Do: If you're a fan of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (filmed in Brooklyn, by the way) you may want to catch a glimpse of what Prohibition-era Atlantic City was really like. Get a quick fix at the Knife & Fork (3600 Atlantic Ave., 609-344-1133), a Flemish-style building constructed in 1912 that became a rowdy men's club during Prohibition. It was recently renovated as a steak house, so get a good meal and spend some time enjoying the intriguing collection of old photos on the walls.Where to Stay: The main game in town is the full-service Frank S. Farley State Marina (609-441-8482; atlanticcitynj.com). This state marina is managed by the Golden Nugget Hotel and boasts 640 floating slips for yachts up to 300 feet. It's a dock's walk away from the hotel's 74,000-square-foot casino and close to high-end retail therapy at the Pier Shops at Caesars.
The Manasquan Inlet area on the New Jersey coast is a popular summer stop for boaters, largely due to the fact that three casual and friendly waterfront towns are just inside: Manasquan, Brielle and Point Pleasant. Manasquan Inlet is wide and well- marked with a bell buoy one mile offshore and steel structures at the jetties. A bustling waterway, the inlet, which has a 5-foot tide fluctuation, is used year-round by recreational boats, charter fishing fleet and commercial vessels. For this reason, locals tell first-time visitors to stay 1,000 feet offshore before turning straight into the inlet. When the wind is against the tide, steep swells can build quickly at the mouth, where depth is about 20 feet. Overall, the inlet is safe, but it can be tricky, particularly with offshore winds.What to Do: Manasquan Beach is a good day trip, particularly if you're cruising with kids who will like the promenade with its arcade. Manasquan is a small town just over a mile from Brielle, where there are bike rentals and shops. Manasquan also has many historic Victorian homes in the center of town.Where to Stay: If you want to be close to the inlet for an early- morning departure, most dockage is on the Brielle side, including Hoffman's Marina (732-528-6160,hoffmansmarina.com), which is popular with overnight transients. Or farther up the Manasquan River is Crystal Point Yacht Club (732-892-2300, crystalpointyachtclub.com).
Yes, it's a nightlife hub for Jersey's many young and restless, but Belmar has many other things going for it, including walk-able jetties, many of which are friendly to the shore-bound angler, and a formidable fleet of party boats that regularly powers out to the reliable fishing grounds offshore. If you strike out in blue water, though, don't take it too hard. You're in Belmar. Food and fun are not far from the docks.What to Do: Belmar is host to the state's largest sand-sculpting contest to be held July 11, 2011 (njsandcastle.com), a town tradi- tion for more than 25 years. It's a huge draw for kids of all ages.Where to Stay: Shark River Inlet at Belmar has an approach that requires caution. In addition to multiple bridges, it's narrow and shallow and conditions can be bad when the wind is against the tide. The first bridge is immediately inside with 15-foot clearance. It opens on demand, but the current can run 3 to 4 knots at times, so mariners need to be careful they don't get too close before there is sufficient clearance, especially if there is a big party boat also waiting to get through. Once inside Shark River, Belmar Marina (732-681-2266, belmar.com/marina) has plenty of dockage and fuel and is walking distance to Belmar's downtown shops and restaurants.
As you head north, you'll hit Sandy Hook, a seven-mile stretch of barrier island that's worth seeing before you plot your course northwest into New York waters. To tuck in here, round the point and head into Sandy Hook Bay, then travel south to find dockage in the Atlantic Highlands. Tie up and discover a place that's close to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan but very far away in spirit.What to Do: Rent a bike in Sandy Hook and pedal on the smooth tar multi-use path that wends it way along the scenic length of Sandy Hook. Make a quick stop at the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse, built in 1764, which withstood canon fire during the Revolutionary War. Then, ride over the drawbridge at the southern end of the beach back to Atlantic Highlands and reward yourself with a waterside seafood feast in this small beach town nestled in the crook of Sandy Hook Bay.Where to Stay: Popular transient marinas are located in the Atlantic Highlands, which lies along Sandy Hook Bay and across from Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook Bay Marina (732-872-1511, sandyhookbaymarina.com), located near the historic village of the Highlands, and the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina (732-291-1670, ahnj.com) are convenient options for transients.
While doing the Great Loop, we learned to keep advance planning to a minimum. We like to think that a lack of schedule helps us embrace spontaneity and explore unfamiliar waters. While on the Great Loop, we learned that there are a staggering number of historic, out-of-the-way places along the route. Waterfront towns we had never heard of beckoned us to linger and embrace their beauty, their history and their people. Our goal became more about the destination than the journey.
This philosophy served us well after we departed Jacksonville, Fla., at the end of March. As the warmth of spring crept slowly northward, so did Spiritus.
One of our many memorable encounters during our ICW leg was the little town of St. Marys, Ga. St. Marys touts itself as the Gateway to Cumberland Island, but it has an interesting past of its own that dates back to the early 1700s. As we strolled through the waterfront park, locals greeted us as if we were long-time friends, and the preponderance of fishing boats along the city docks guaranteed that dinner at the local Lang's Marina Restaurant would include nothing but the freshest seafood.
Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island and St. Simon's are some of the more well-known vacation destinations we passed as we cruised north. An impending thunderstorm forced us off the ICW to seek refuge at Two-Way Fish Camp Marina, north of Brunswick. The restaurant patrons at Mudcat Charlie's, used to seeing nothing larger than a bass boat up river, came down to Spiritus to get a closer look. We loved sharing our story and were delighted by their inquisitive enthusiasm for the Great Loop.
Our first stop in South Carolina was at Hilton Head Island, the famous golfing mecca. Since I gave up the sport after purchasing Spiritus, I was resolved to merely admire the insanely immaculate, manicured courses from a distance. For this nongolfer to be able to sit on his boat, with drink in hand, and absorb the island's idyllic natural sounds and beauty was a gift in itself.
Another town off the ICW's well-beaten path that we explored was Edisto, S.C. The natives were again friendly, helpful, unhurried and laid-back traits that we noticed are shared among most coastal dwellers.It was only after completing The Loop that some friends informed us that Edisto's marvelous beaches are a favorite vacation spot for many Carolinians.
The seemingly continuous marshlands of Georgia and the charming low-country of South Carolina gave way to more urban settings as we continued north. Boats of all shapes, sizes and origins filled the marinas surrounding Charleston. We roamed her museums, colonial homes, historic churches and Civil War sitesover the course of several days. We satiated our palates at exquisite eateries. After playing hard in Charleston, we escaped to the small towns of McClellanville and Georgetown, where our overstimulated minds and taste buds transitioned back to a slower, quieter pace of life.
By the time we reached Southport, N.C. the weather gods decided they had given us enough favorable conditions for cruising. We discovered why the adjacent Cape Fear River is aptly named; that's a story for another time. Suffice it to say that Southport charmed our shorts off (figuratively), and we didn't let the persistently nasty weather cloud our view of this quintessential southern waterfront community, which doubles as a movie set (Nights in Rodanthe, Crimes of the Heart, Safe Haven).
Innumerable books have been written about the must-see towns surrounding Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds such as Oriental, New Bern, Washington, Edenton and Elizabeth City. A Looper could spend years traveling the ICW from one of them to the other and still not do them justice.
Upon reaching Albemarle Sound, we decided to continue north on the slow route to Virginia via the Great Dismal Swamp Canal rather than the faster route via Currituck Sound. Originally surveyed by George Washington, we found the canal anything but dismal and enjoyed learning about its remarkable history at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center.
Norfolk, Va., played host to the America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association (AGLCA) spring rendezvous in the beginning of May. This four-day event armed Loopers with all the information they needed to successfully complete the trek up into Canada, through the Great Lakes and down the rivers that flow below Chicago.
Chesapeake Bay probably has more cruising guide books written about her than any other body of water on the East Coast. A quiet anchorage in Jackson Creek, a mooring ball at Zahniser's Yachting Center in nearby Solomons, and another anchorage in Harness Creek on South River kept us in our laid-back cruising rhythm. The slowly warming temperatures tugged us northward but we vowed to someday return to spend an entire summer on the Chesapeake.
Spiritus enjoyed a front-row berth at the Annapolis City Docks, perfect for watching the Memorial Day parade come down Main Street. We took a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy, watched the cadet graduation parade and visited the elaborate crypt of John Paul Jones.
The next major hurdle we faced was to get safely down the Delaware River. The staff at Delaware City Marina graciously lent its expert advice for tackling the tide flow and river current. As a result, our six-hour cruise to Cape May, N.J., with five other Looper boats went without a hitch.
Cruising up the coast of New Jersey via the Atlantic Ocean rather than the ICW requires more patience than skill. Waiting for a good weather window is definitely easier if you don't have a schedule! Our patience was rewarded with smooth seas and clear blue skies during our three days of offshore travel. After overnight stops in Atlantic City and Manasquan, N.J. we entered New York Harbor the first week of June and dropped our anchor behind the Statue of Liberty, right on the heels of the arrival of shorts weather!
Looking for a fun, child-friendly spot for your next family getaway or summer vacation? Here are 10 places the whole family will love!
The Narragansett Indians called it Manisses Island, meaning island of the little gods. It's fitting then that Block Island is now one of the top kid-friendly destinations in New England. Just 10 miles off the southern coast of Rhode Island, this glacial remnant remains blessedly unspoiled in fact, more than one-third of it is conservation land. Start your day by enjoying any of the 17 miles of beautiful beaches, then hike or bike inland along the many stone-line roads that crisscross the rolling hills and open meadows. An abundance of wildflowers, migrating birds and other animals inhabit Block Island, including camels, llamas, sheep and emus at Abram?s Animal Farm & Petting Zoo. It's just a short walk from New Shoreham, the island's only town, where you can poke around the Historical Society Museum and dine on fresh seafood.
Block Island Boat Basin (401-466-2631, blockislandboatbasin.net)Champlin's Marina (401-466-7777, champlinsresort.com)
Known as the nation's oldest seashore resort, Cape May hasn't lost a step since it became a popular leisure destination in the 1880s. In fact, the passage of time has only made its authentic Victorian buildings more charming. Kids will love the boardwalk, with all of the kitschy shops you would expect and the white sandy beaches (you'll need to purchase beach tags for the family). The list of things to do is so long it's impossible to include it all here. Take a ghost tour, hit a water park, rent a bike, kayak or paddle board, hire a fishing guide, go dolphin and whale watching, play mini golf or explore the zoo. Visit the Nature Center of Cape May that offers summer children's programs every week including birding expeditions, ocean exploration, whale and dolphin excursions and a youth fishing camp. Even on a rainy day you won?t be bored! For families who want modern amusement park attractions, North Wildwood makes a great day trip and is just a short drive away.
South Jersey Marina (609-884-2400, sjmarina.com)Canyon Club Resort Marina (609-884-0188, canyonclubmarina.com)
Looking for a family-friendly spring break vibe along a picturesque sprawl of sand? This is the place. Virginia Beach is prime resort territory, featuring a two-mile boardwalk and oceanfront strip with high-rise hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment galore. The beach is the main attraction, of course, with jet ski rentals,parasailing, kiteboarding, surfing lessons and sport fishing. But the excitement doesn't diminish away from shore. Ocean Breeze Waterpark, two miles south, offers 16 waterslides and a million-gallon wave pool. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has hundreds of hands-on exhibits, including an outdoor aviary and marshlands. And you can't miss First Landing State Park, where the Jamestown colonists alighted in 1607. Camp, hike, swim, boat, bike and explore while soaking in the historical and educational displays.
Rudee's on the Inlet (757-425-1777, rudees.com)Virginia Beach Fishing Center (757-491-8000, virginiafishing.com)
This congenial low-country resort island has a lot to offer families beyond the popular golf, spa, tennis and shopping pursuits for mom and dad. Its pristine beaches and marshes rank high with nature lovers, and several outfits offer guided kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking and horseback riding tours to experience them. The Coastal Discovery Museum teaches about the local ecology and cultural heritage, which includes Native Americans, European colonists, African-Americans, pirates and soldiers, and you can tour important historic sites on your own or with an organized group. Sea Pines Resort, at the southwest end of the island, has hiking and biking trails, a beach club, and waterside dining plus, you can take a ride on the America's Cup sailing yacht Stars & Stripes or the replica pirate ship Black Dagger.
Harbour Town Yacht Basin (843-671-2704, harbourtownyachtbasin.com)Skull Creek Marina (843-681-8436, theskullcreekmarina.com)
This secluded islet is unique among the Florida Keys in that it was developed primarily with family in mind. (If you want rowdy nightlife, look elsewhere.) The key player is Hawks Cay Resort, a 60-acre property surrounded by private homes. Designed for casual luxury, the resort is a destination unto itself, featuring five pools, five eateries (one an ice cream parlor), villas, shops, tennis courts, a spa and a fitness center. Water lies at the heart of the action: There's deep-sea as well as flats fishing, diving and snorkeling along a live coral reef, kayak and paddleboard tours, jet ski rentals and kiteboarding classes. Like dolphins? The on-site research facility let?s you view, feed, swim with and even help train these amazing animals. No wonder Travel + Leisure magazine readers voted the kids program here to its 'best of' list.
Hawks Cay Marina (305-743-7000, hawkscay.com)
When you're talking about Paradise Island as a family getaway, you're talking about Atlantis, the beach resort metropolis that resembles a cross between SeaWorld and Oz. Its 141-acre Aquaventure Waterpark features 18 water slides and a mile-long river ride with waves, rapids, tunnels and more. Eleven different pools beckon, or you can snorkel alongside tropical fish in mythical, man-made ruins. Dolphin Cay lets you interact with dolphins and sea lions. There's even the CRUSH nightclub and cafe for kids 9 to 17. Atlantis Kids Adventures & Camps offers supervised activities and expeditions for children ages 3 to 15, including junior scuba, junior golf and marine adventures. And did we mention the miles of on-site shopping, restaurants, spas, gaming and private beaches? Atlantis truly offers a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation experience.
Marina at Atlantis (242-363-6068, atlantis.com)
Ohio?s Lake Erie shore is a great coastal retreat for Midwest boaters, with the town of Sandusky topping the list of family hot spots. Along with its beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets, this city tucked between Toledo and Cleveland is home to the roller coaster capital of the world in Cedar Point Amusement Park. In addition to 17 coasters (rated from aggressive thrill to mild thrill), the park has live family entertainment, a water park, a beach and kids camp programs. There are no less than three other water parks nearby - Kalahari, Great Wolf Lodge and Castaway Bay - plus diverse attractions such as the Sandusky Maritime Museum, Lagoon Deer Park and Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, a year-round haunted house, that up the ante with bouncy houses and a skate park. For auto racing fans, the Sandusky Speedway offers high-speed thrills from April through October.
Cedar Point Marina (419-627-2334, cedarpoint.com/rides/Marinas/Cedar-Point-Marina)Battery Park Marina (419-625-6142, batterypark.com)
The Windy City has long been a stopover for those traveling the Great Loop, and with its outstanding family attractions, it's not hard to see why some find it hard to leave. Navy Pier, once a military training facility but now a major tourist destination, consists of 50 acres of parks, promenades, shops, eateries and more. Take a ride on the 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel, see an IMAX movie or check out the childrens museum. Speaking of museums, Chicago has a zillion of them - the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium for starters. A new Chicago Maritime Museum is scheduled to open soon in a facility adjacent to the Chicago River. Visit it on foot or see it from one of the many guided boat tours offered throughout the city.
Burnham Harbor (312-747-7009, chicagoharbors.info/harbors/burnham/)DuSable Harbor (312-742-3577, chicagoharbors.info/harbors/dusable/)?
A visit to sunny, mild-weathered San Diego can take on many different themes: historic, natural, adventurous ... or all three. Start at the downtown waterfront with the Maritime Museum of San Diego and its full-rigged iron sailing ship, Star of India. Nearby, the USS Midway Museum on the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20thcentury features 60 exhibits, a collection of 29 restored aircraft and two light simulators. Next, head over to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where you can ride a expedition truck into the field. SeaWorld San Diego turns 50 this year with special surprises, gifts and performances throughout the year. Last but not least, LEGOLAND California Resort offers rides, shopping, dining, a water park and an aquarium, all built around connecting fun and learning.
Sunroad Resort Marina (619-574-0736, sdmarina.com)
Wait, the birthplace of slackers makes a great family vacation destination? You bet! People forget that long before grunge music, Seattle was known as the outdoor playground of the Northwest. A primeexample is Discovery Park, a 534-acre green space overlooking Puget Sound that includes two miles of tidal beaches as well as dramatic sea cliffs, active sand dunes, thickets and streams. You can rent a boat for the afternoon or take classes at the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union or just check out its historic photos and exhibits. Seattle has no shortage of worldclass museums, including the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Children?s Museum. The Olympic Sculpture Park offers art activities, performances and much more. Finish the day with a thrilling trip to the top of the Space Needle.
Bell Harbor Marina (206-787-3952, portseattle.org/Marinas/Bell-Harbor- Marina/Pages/default.aspx)