Labor Day is upon us, and nothing can dissuade the real Jersey shore fans from spending hours in traffic to get to their holiday destination.
If you love the shore but don't have the time or energy for a Parkway marathon, perhaps a much closer substitute might suffice. Take a trip to South Amboy.
There's a shore in that neighboring town just a few miles down Route 9. And you can actually walk on it. In fact, some people fish off it.
Go to Raritan Bay Waterfront Park in South Amboy, a popular site for fireworks watching. It's one of Middlesex County's prettiest parks, and there's an accessible shore at park's edge. Take a walk on their 'boardwalk', or climb down the stairs and feel the sand and edge of Raritan Bay between your toes.
See the city's Great Beds Light (an 1880 plug-style light house bobbing in the bay) as you look to Staten Island. Gaze to your left. See the white tanks? That's the edge of Sewaren in Woodbridge.
There are some pretty shore-type outlets that aren't marked, but are probably popular among locals. One is near the intersection of Raritan Beach Dr. and Spinnaker Drive.
There's a small band of a pretty park with a walking path, and the beach just beyond. The taste of salt air is definitely in the wind.
The area is so shorelike that even whales are fooled. Almost every year one is either beached in South Amboy or is in the bay's waters and has to be helped back out to sea.