Let's embark on this exciting journey through the best things to do in Lakewood, New Jersey!
Have a Night of Laughs and Applause at Strand Theater
Whenever I'm in need of a good laugh or some quality entertainment, I know I can rely on the Strand Theater.
A historic landmark in the heart of our township, this place has become my go-to for all sorts of performances.
The vibe here is something else – the moment you step inside, you can sense the rich history and the classic vintage charm that the theater holds.
This, coupled with a top-notch sound system, undeniably adds to the whole experience.
I remember the first time I walked into the Strand Theater.
The breathtaking interior took me by surprise; who knew such an architectural marvel was hidden in our township?
I was there to see Just Sabbath, a cover band for Black Sabbath, and let me tell you, they were fantastic.
The sound echoed throughout the magnificent 1,042-seat hall, and I could tell everyone was just as impressed.
Since then, I've been to multiple shows at the Strand, ranging from dance recitals to local youth theater groups.
One of the perks of the Strand is the refreshments available.
Just imagine watching your favorite band, drinking, losing yourself in the music.
And the best part?
That's a luxury you don't find easily these days.
Taste Local Craftsmanship at Icarus Brewing
Just another ordinary Tuesday, I found myself strolling around our charming neighborhood when the enticing aroma of brewing hops drew me towards Icarus Brewing.
As I stepped inside, I was immediately taken in by the vibrant artwork adorning the walls.
I learned that these were the fruits of local art contests hosted by the establishment, a clever merging of local creativity and craft brewing.
The staff greeted me like an old friend, guiding me through their latest brews.
I must say, I felt a bit like a kid in a candy shop, eyes wide open at the variety - from IPAs to Stouts, all not yet available in stores.
My personal favorite was the Stout, a rich, decadent brew that warmed me from the inside out.
I walked out of there, arms full of new beers to stock my fridge until my inevitable return.
Icarus Brewing isn't just about the beer.
It's about the atmosphere and the community, the shared love for unique flavors, and quality craftsmanship.
Whether you are enjoying your beer inside the rustic brewery or outside in the cozy beer garden, the experience is equally delightful.
And what's more, they introduce seasonal beers that you cannot find anywhere else.
An added perk? It's a dog-friendly place.
The weekends are a bustling time, with a policy of pouring two 4oz drinks at a time and no bar seating.
But that's not a dealbreaker for me.
It's just a testament to the popularity of this place.
The knowledge and friendliness of the staff more than make up for it.
Practice Shooting at Shore Shot Pistol Range
There's nothing quite like the adrenaline rush and sharp focus you get from a day at the Shore Shot Pistol Range.
It's a fantastic way to spend an afternoon and a definite must-visit for anyone looking to try something new and exciting.
My frequent visits to the range have always been filled with enjoyment, safety, and learning.
Let me share with you how I celebrated my birthday at Shore Shot Pistol Range - and boy, was it an experience to remember!
The folks over there are genuinely one of a kind, making sure that every visit is worth the time and effort.
The staff is phenomenal.
Everyone's incredibly knowledgeable and grounded, they make sure you're at the zenith of comfort and confidence.
I was walking on air with an empowering feeling as I fired the first shot, all thanks to their mindful guidance and support.
Walter, in particular, stands out with his nicety and patience.
He's always at his best, helping newcomers and regulars alike.
Cleanliness and safety are paramount at Shore Shot Pistol Range.
They maintain high standards of sanitation and make sure that you're well aware of the safety precautions.
Find Tranquility at Lake Carasaljo
Ever had one of those days where the world feels a bit too much?
Well, that's when I lace up my running shoes and head to my favorite spot - Lake Carasaljo.
There’s nothing like the tranquility of the lake to wash away my stress and worries.
I have spent countless mornings jogging along the multi-use trails, taking in the serene beauty of the lake, the lush greenery, and even the occasional wildlife.
The sight of cute ducks waddling by never fails to bring a smile to my face.
On other days, I take a leisurely walk with my friends, enjoying the beautiful scenery and each other’s company.
It's not just a place to exercise, it's a place to connect with nature and unwind.
In the winter, Lake Carasaljo transforms into a beautiful ice skating rink.
There's something magical about gliding on the frozen lake with the crisp winter air in your face.
It’s a truly remarkable experience.
And when the weather allows, I take my fishing gear or go for a quick swim.
It's a fantastic spot for a variety of outdoor activities.
Catch a Game at ShoreTown Ballpark
You know, there's nothing quite like the crack of a bat hitting a baseball on a clear summer evening.
That's the sound that echoes in my ears whenever I think about ShoreTown Ballpark, home to our very own Lakewood BlueClaws.
Just a short stroll from my front porch, this modern concert venue, and ballpark has been the backdrop to many of my fondest memories.
Whether it's cheering on the BlueClaws with my family or celebrating the crackling fireworks that light up the Jersey skies, there's always a good time to be had at ShoreTown.
The atmosphere is always electric, every seat offering a superb view of the action.
It's all about being part of the community, yelling encouragement to the players, and feeling the collective thrill when our team scores.
These games are more than just sporting events, they're a cornerstone of our local culture.
But it's not just about the sport.
ShoreTown Ballpark also offers a range of food vendors, each peddling their unique treats.
One of my personal favorites is the sausage vendor in the food court.
Their sausage and pepper heroes are reminiscent of those you'd get at an Italian street fair - an absolute must-try.
Sure, the drinks can be a tad expensive, and the policy on water could do with some tweaking.
But in my opinion, the overall experience more than compensates for these minor inconveniences.
Have a Gastronomical Journey at Glatt Bite
I'm not one to gush about a restaurant, but Glatt Bite has truly earned every bit of praise that comes its way.
This contemporary kosher eatery in Lakewood has managed to turn the concept of fast food on its head - and I couldn't be happier.
The first thing that strikes you about Glatt Bite is its speed.
You're not waiting long for your food here.
From kebabs to sushi, everything arrives at the table seemingly in the blink of an eye, making it the perfect place for a quick lunch or dinner.
Yet it's not just the swift service that sets this place apart.
Each table comes with a built-in screen, simplifying the ordering process with a few quick taps.
It feels futuristic, and it's incredibly convenient.
But let's not forget about the most important thing: the food.
It's delicious and full of flavor that exceeds all expectations.
Whether it's their sandwiches, burgers, Chinese food, or the more exotic sushi options, everything on the menu is a culinary delight.
Glatt Bite's ambiance is another feather in its cap.
It’s clean and inviting, and the staff are always friendly.
It's a great place for families, though do keep in mind that it can get quite lively with the numerous big families that frequent the place.
Soak Up the Sun at Ocean County Park
You've got to love the history and serenity of Ocean County Park.
It's hard to believe that this sprawling park was once the vacation estate of John D. Rockefeller.
Nowadays, it's a slice of heaven for us locals, with its lake activities, picnic spots, and trails.
Every now and then, I like to take a leisurely stroll around the lake.
One of my favorite parts of Ocean County Park is the white pines, their smell instantly transports me to a tranquil state, it's something the pitch pines just don't offer.
This is the legacy left behind by Rockefeller and the reason why many of us locals cherish this place.
For a more active day out, there's always the tennis courts or the trails.
They're maintained pretty well, so you can expect a good game or a peaceful hike.
If you'd rather have a quiet day out, then you can't beat the picnic area on the other side of the park.
There are plenty of tables, and it's perfect for large gatherings, BBQs, or even a simple family picnic.
Roll in the Grass at Hearthstone Park
Oh, the serenity of Hearthstone Park!
There's something about this place that just speaks to my soul.
Some might say it's the lush greenery, the peaceful atmosphere, or the sense of community that comes from being a neighborhood gem.
But for me, it's the feeling of finding an oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Lakewood.
I often find myself wandering towards Hearthstone Park, drawn in by the inviting open space, perfect for a friendly game of catch or just to sit and enjoy the tranquility.
It's always a pleasure to see the neighborhood kids running around, their laughter filling the air and bringing the park to life.
Their joy is infectious; it draws you in and makes you feel part of something bigger.
Having spent countless hours in Hearthstone Park, I can honestly say it's one of the area's best-kept secrets.
It's where you can sit back, relax, and let the world pass by.
Let Your Kids Frolick at Pine Park
My weekends usually start with a leisurely walk around the beautiful Pine Park.
It's a sprawling 149-acre park in the heart of our township.
The park is perfect for a family outing, with its campgrounds and playgrounds, but its sports fields and courts are what I particularly enjoy.
Almost every Saturday morning, you'll see me on one of the tennis courts.
The park is rarely crowded, and the quiet serenity of the mornings is simply refreshing.
Although there are four playgrounds of varying sizes, a couple were under repair the last time I visited.
I wouldn't really say the park has large open fields, but there are baseball fields that cater to the local sports enthusiasts.
Apart from these, there are picnic areas scattered around the park, each equipped with grills and a shelter.
Perfect for a weekend barbecue, if you ask me.
One of my favorite spots in the park is the museum.
It does have limited hours, so I recommend checking the schedule before your visit.
If you're in the mood for a short hike, there's a trail that's well-maintained and perfect for a quick nature walk.
With all its quirks, Pine Park has a special place in my heart.
Whether it's playing a match on the tennis court, enjoying a barbecue with friends, or simply soaking in the serenity, this park is my go-to spot for a delightful weekend.
Bond with Your Kids in Westgate Park
I've always found tranquility in the outdoors, and there's no place better to find that than at Westgate Park.
This park is a hub of community and serenity.
For me, it all starts with the gentle rustling of leaves that greet you as you enter the park.
The walkways are adorned with a blanket of green grass, and the sprinkler system ensures it always looks its best.
They say you should never park your car there after 10 pm, not because it's unsafe, but because the sprinklers might give your car an unexpected wash!
As you delve further into the park, you'll inevitably come across the beautiful gazebo.
Surrounded by well-tended shrubs, it's the perfect spot to unwind with a good book or enjoy a quiet picnic.
The spacious layout of the park allows for the perfect balance of activity and serenity - kids can run freely while adults can relax in a peaceful environment.
And speaking of kids, my children absolutely adore Westgate Park.
The open spaces and playgrounds are a treasure trove for their limitless energy and curious minds.
Their laughter and joy fill the air, adding to the vibrant life of the park.
Go Fishing at Lake Shenandoah County Park
There is a sense of peace that washes over me each time I visit Lake Shenandoah County Park.
A natural oasis, it spans over 100 acres and boasts a magnificent trout fishing lake, a large sports and soccer center, trails, and ball fields.
I, like many others, find it an incredible space to relax and unwind.
Whether I'm there basking in solitude or keeping my daughter company as she delights in spotting turtles and other wildlife, the tranquility this park offers is unparalleled.
The cleanliness and upkeep of the park never cease to impress me; it's always a pleasure to meet other families who share our love for the outdoors.
Walking around Lake Shenandoah County Park offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The beautiful views and the sounds of nature envelop you; a breath of fresh air indeed!
I would often bring my camera along, trying to capture the incredible scenery.
However, one must remember to procure a permit for photography in the park - it's a rule that's strictly enforced by the park authority.
Fishing enthusiasts would find Lake Shenahdoah County Park a dream come true.
The trout fishing lake is a popular spot, and I have fond memories of fishing here.
However, on my recent visit after a long hiatus, I noticed an increase in litter, especially near the courts and in the water.
I echo the sentiment of other visitors; the county could benefit from community service initiatives to keep this gem of a park clean.
Discover Local History at Lakewood Historical Museum
I remember the first time I set foot in the Lakewood Historical Museum.
Filled with curiosity and excitement, I was ready to uncover the rich history of my hometown, Lakewood.
What caught my eye right off the bat was the Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders train club located right in the museum's basement.
It was quite an experience to observe their impressive O scale layout, and seeing them work on a new HO scale layout was a sight to behold.
The concentration and dedication they exhibited while bringing the miniature world to life were truly inspiring.
I recommend anyone visiting the museum to check out this model railroading club.
The museum itself is a treasure trove of local history.
Walking through its halls, I was fascinated to learn about the hotels, the notable families, and the stories that shaped Lakewood into the beautiful township it is today.
Every corner of Lakewood Historical Museum held a piece of history that brought back fond memories of my time living here.
Tee Off at Eagle Ridge Golf Club
One of the joys of living in this region is having the Eagle Ridge Golf Club right in my backyard. Imagine waking up to not one, not two, but three distinctly different 9-hole courses - the Pines, Ridge, and Links.
Each one is a testament to the creative genius of golf architecture, with unique challenges and stunning greenery that never fail to amaze me.
On any given day, you'll find me teeing off on the Ridge or Links course, enjoying the beautiful design and perfectly maintained fairways.
It's not just about the golf, though.
The staff at Eagle Ridge Golf Club is always welcoming, making each visit feel like a premium experience.
They're always on hand to serve up a cold beer and some great food, adding to the overall charm of the place.
I remember an instance when I had friends visiting from Florida.
I took them to the club for a round of golf, and they were just blown away by the hospitality.
They felt like members for a day, and they can't wait to return next year.
That's just the kind of place Eagle Ridge is - it's not just a golf club, it's a community.
If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to stop by for a round.
It's more than worth the green fee, I assure you.
And remember golfers, let's keep our favorite course in great shape.
Repair those ball marks!
Bounce High at Sky Zone Trampoline Park
There's a place in the township that has quickly become my go-to spot for fun and fitness: Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
This isn't your typical trampoline park.
We're talking about a chain of indoor parks featuring not just freestyle bouncing but also dodgeball and fitness programs, amongst other exciting activities.
I still remember that Friday night when we celebrated my friend's kid's birthday party at Sky Zone.
The efficiency of their service was evident as we virtually had the entire venue to ourselves.
The party went off without a hitch, the pizza came out steaming hot, and the kids had the time of their lives.
The staff was very engaged and interactive, adding to our overall enjoyment.
A particular shout-out goes to Katie, one of the supervisors at the park.
She embodies the kind of positive attitude that makes a customer's experience truly memorable.
We once asked her to open volleyball, and she went out of her way to fulfill our request, all with a warm smile and without a trace of grumpiness.
It's employees like her that make me want to visit again.
But what sets Sky Zone apart from its competitors?
It's the sheer variety of activities on offer.
The park is fairly well organized, and everything appears to be neat and clean, which is a big plus for a place full of bouncing kids.
However, they could do better with their food and drink options, which seem like an afterthought and are mediocre at best.
Regardless, the fun you'll have bouncing around overshadows this minor shortcoming.
Have a Peaceful Moment at Lakewood Branch - Ocean County Library
When I needed a quiet, safe place to let my mind wander or learn new things, I'd always find myself heading towards the Lakewood Branch of the Ocean County Library.
It was during my first visit when I decided to get a library card, that I noticed the library staff's warmth and welcoming smiles.
They made the process a breeze.
Usually, the library is bustling with activity.
A hub for both the young and old, people pour in for various reasons - to read, to study, or simply to escape into a world of their own.
It's always buzzing with life - a testament to the fact that printed words still matter in this digital age.
True, the range of books at the Lakewood Branch of the Ocean County Library is not as vast and varied as I would like.
There are times when I wish they stocked more diverse titles.
But that's a minor quibble when you consider the knowledgeable staff at hand.
They're always ready to lend a helping hand, guiding you through the maze of bookshelves or answering any questions you might have.
Hit a Strike at Ocean Lanes Bowling Alley
It was the weekend, and my friends and I were up for some fun, so we decided to spend some time at Ocean Lanes, a classic bowling alley in our township.
You can check out all they have to offer at Ocean Lanes.
This place is a blast from the past, with 42 lanes open for play.
As we walked in, the atmosphere was vibrant and enticing, with all the excitement that bowling brings along.
They not only offer open play, but they also have leagues and parties.
And if you fancy taking your bowling game to the next level, they have a pro shop where you can buy some pretty cool gear.
One of the highlights of the night was definitely the food.
The nachos were to die for, and the cold beer just hit the spot.
The bar attendants were super nice and made sure we were well taken care of.
However, not everything was as bright as the neon lights in the alley.
We did have an encounter with a few patrons who were a bit over the line, making our experience a tad uncomfortable.
And when we tried to discuss this with the management, the response was not what we expected.
It felt as though they were subtly telling us not to come back.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Discover the History and Natural Wonders of Allaire State Park
Wall Township is blessed with several beautiful parks, but none quite compares to the vast expanse of Allaire State Park.
A treasure trove of natural beauty, history, and recreational activities.
Every visit is a unique experience.
One day, I might be hiking or biking along its scenic trails, soaking in the tranquil ambiance of the Manasquan River.
Another day, I could be exploring the historical village, an unforgettable trip back in time.
The buildings are meticulously preserved, and the 'actors' who bring the past to life are truly passionate about their craft.
Allaire State Park is also home to antique steam trains, courtesy of the Pine Creek Railroad.
I've been on that train ride more times than I can count, and it never loses its charm.
And if you're a nature enthusiast, the park's diverse ecosystem is a haven for bird watchers and photographers.
I've managed to capture some of the most breathtaking shots of hummingbirds here.
Don't forget to stop by the on-site bakery for a tasty treat after your adventures.
They source all their items from local suppliers, ensuring the business stays within the community.
And for the perfect memento, the general store is stocked with an array of charming souvenirs.
Go Rock Climbing at ClimbZone
My nephew was rather apprehensive about rock climbing at first, despite all the exciting climbing options available.
But, it was Josh, an instructor at ClimbZone, who turned his apprehension into enthusiasm.
I've never seen such a patient and helpful trainer.
He was attentive, and encouraging and his presence made my nephew overcome his fears and truly embrace the fun of rock climbing.
The climb options at ClimbZone vary from easy to difficult, which makes it perfect for everyone in the family.
Every climb was supervised incredibly well, and the staff were all immensely helpful - they make sure you're safe and enjoying yourself.
It wasn't just my nephew who had a blast, the place was a hit with my granddaughters as well, aged 4 and 6.
They were treated with the same care and attention, making their experience just as enjoyable.
The gleam in their eyes when they reached the top, the excitement in their voices when they asked to come back – those are the moments that I cherish as a grandparent.
ClimbZone has now become our go-to place for family outings.
It's not only a place to push your limits and have fun but also a fantastic way to boost self-confidence and conquer fears.
We had an awesome time, and we can't wait for more family adventures at ClimbZone.
Learn about Creepy Crawlies at Insectropolis
Insectropolis is an interactive bug museum, known for its hands-on approach to learning, and has been a must-visit for families and bug enthusiasts.
My weekend visit started off with a warm welcome from the friendly staff.
They seem to know everything there is to know about these creepy crawlers.
We spent a remarkable couple of hours immersed in the world of insects.
The detailed exhibits about the insects, both dead and alive, were an absolute treasure trove of information.
The live insects, however, were the main attraction of Insectropolis.
Petting a tarantula, witnessing a hissing roach, and observing a scorpion up close were truly thrilling experiences.
They also had a host bring out three live bugs for everyone to see, touch, and learn about.
The knowledge shared was truly insightful and educational.
I was particularly impressed by the museum's organization and cleanliness.
They have ample parking space and modest entrance fees.
Not to mention, they offer handicap access and have well-maintained restrooms.
Before leaving, we made a quick stop by their small gift shop which was filled with all sorts of cool bug-related stuff.
It was a perfect way to end our adventure.
Step back in Time at East Jersey Old Town Village
If you've ever wanted to take a trip back in time, East Jersey Old Town Village is the ideal place.
This quaint village boasts restored and replica buildings from the 1700s and 1800s, offering a unique glimpse into the past.
To add to the charm, the place is filled with period artifacts and offers educational programs that bring history to life.
One sunny weekend, I decided to visit East Jersey Old Town Village.
Walking down the cobbled streets felt like stepping onto a movie set, albeit a very realistic one.
The whole village was open, inviting explorers like myself to dive deep into history.
Every corner had a story to tell.
One standout experience was meeting the village's mason.
The man, a master of his craft, showed us the forgotten skill of stone masonry.
He even let us have a go at it, helping us chip a hole into a massive stone block.
Witnessing such an ancient craft in action, a skill that has survived centuries, was absolutely fascinating.
And the best part is, all this is available for free!
Plus, if you're a fan of vintage or unique confections, you're in for a treat.
The local village shop stocks a range of nostalgic candy pieces from different time periods, making your historical adventure a bit sweeter.
Stroll around Echo Lake
There are few places where one can find such peace and tranquility as Echo Lake, a hidden gem nestled among New Jersey's suburban sprawl.
On most days, you'll find me there, fishing rod in hand, surrounded by the still waters that perfectly echo the sky's serene beauty.
The lake is teeming with a variety of fish, such as rainbow trout and brown trout, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts.
Aside from the fishing, Echo Lake is also a great place for picnics.
It offers the ideal setup for a relaxing afternoon - a leisurely stroll around the lake, a picnic basket filled with goodies, and the calming whispers of nature.
Just across the street, there's a small home-based farm market that sells fresh produce.
You can never go wrong with the fresh, locally sourced ingredients they have on offer.
In a world that's constantly bustling with noise and chaos, Echo Lake provides a much-needed breather.
It's not just a place, it's a delightful experience that every local cherishes.
Shoot the Hoops at Lake Riviera Park
One of the best-kept secrets in our neighborhood is the picturesque Lake Riviera Park.
Tucked away in the Lake Riviera portion of Brick Township, this beautiful recreational spot offers residents a place to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
I love taking my kids to the sizable playground that this park offers.
There's an area dedicated to younger ones, with smaller slides and swings and a bigger section for older kids full of exciting play equipment.
The pavilion-covered bench area provides a comfortable space to watch them play or simply sit down and enjoy a good book amidst nature.
Lake Riviera Park also boasts two full-sized basketball courts.
As someone who enjoys shooting hoops, I find these courts to be well-maintained and a great place for a casual game with friends.
You'll also often see families picnicking in the grassy fields or enjoying a stroll along the shoreline.
But watch out for the local birdlife who sometimes make their presence known on the beach area or in the fields.
One of my favorite features of Lake Riviera Park is the pier, which is perfect for fishing.
It even offers a launching area for small watercraft like boats, canoes, and kayaks.
I take my kayak down to the lake quite often, and the tranquility of the water is pure bliss.
Despite being a well-equipped park, there are no restrooms on-site, which can be a bit inconvenient.
There’s also a scarcity of picnic tables.
But these minor drawbacks do little to dampen the charm of this community gem.
Lakewood, New Jersey, is a treasure trove of unique experiences and hidden gems.
My personal favorites include a relaxing afternoon at Ocean County Park, a game at the ShoreTown Ballpark, and, of course, a visit to Icarus Brewing for its locally brewed beers.
No matter what your interests are, there's always something to do in Lakewood, making it a wonderful place to live or visit.