Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ocean Grove, NJ

Ocean Grove NJ.
As most of you know, this is my hands down favorite vacation spot - God's square mile. My family has been coming here since the 1940's. So many people have asked me for details about this unique and amazing place, so I have listed details below!

                          How to get here:                                                                                             

  • Fly into Newark NJ.
  • You can rent a car and head down the Garden State Parkway (50 minutes, unless you are driving to the shore on a Friday afternoon.)
  • You can take the train from Newark airport to Asbury Park Train Station via NJ Transit:(as short as 72 minutes, $16.50 for an adult ticket.)
  • Once you get off at Asbury Park, you can take a $5 plus tip taxi into Ocean Grove (1.5 miles away from OG), or take the EZ shuttle for $1.00 (Print Asbury Park schedule located at the bottom right of the webpage.)

Where to stay

You can walk pretty much everywhere, but renting bikes are fun. You can rent bikes at the Ocean Grove Hardware Store on Main Street, or the Brielle Bike Shop at Asbury Park (on the boardwalk, within easy walking distance from OG). Unless noted, all the things to do are within walking distance.

Where to eat:
Morning coffee at the Barbaric Bean on Main Street, or grab some coffee and a pastry at the Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe. (Bike Ride to Americas Cup on Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park = Greg’s favorite.)

Lunch is at the Starving Artist (also known as Days Ice Cream) or Nagels - there are many other places to eat as well. While at The Starving Artist/Days, check when there annual musical is. It’s pricey ($20-$35/ticket) but we have seen Dr. Seuss plays there, Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat, etc. Support local arts.

A high end dinner would be at Moonstruck in Asbury Park or Seagrass in Ocean Grove.

There is a small, pricey grocery store in town called Pathway Market. If you have a car, the best (and I mean the blow your socks off best) supermarket is Wegmans.
The best health food store is Deans


  • No problem! Head to New Jersey Premium Outlets (need a car) 
  • Go to the movie - at Clearview movie theatre, the manager comes out and introduces the movies personally (need a car.)
  • Head to Git Fired up and paint pottery (need a car or ride a bike - on the entrance to OG.)

Our day usually starts with a walk or bike ride on the boardwalk, which can go for miles. No bikes are allowed on the Ocean Grove boardwalk after 10am (Asbury Park noon.)
There are free yogalaties on Bradley Beach (walking distance from OG) a few nights a week.

OG is filled with history. They offer tours of Ocean Grove most days, house tours in July, and there is always the centennial cottage in town.

There is so much music at Ocean Grove to enjoy:

  • Saturday at noon - a free organ concert performed by Gordon Turk, our neighbor and also an organist often features on NPR’s Pipe Dreams.
  • Wed at 8:00pm  - Ocean Grove Band - free concert of showtunes and marches at the pavillion on the boardwalk.
  • Concerts Saturday nights (tickets can be pricey.) We have seen ABBA here, Davy Jones, Three Dog Night, Diana Krall. (See events for performers)
  • Of course Asbury Park has tons of performers (more edgy) - at the famous Stone Pony or the Wonderbar.

Ocean Grove Main Street is filled with all sorts of shops - from cheese to toys to clothes, It will take about 90 minutes to walk into all the shops on Main Street.


Feel like heading to NYC for a day or two? Just take the EZ train ($1) or taxi to the Asbury Park train Station ($5 plus tip). Put your $11-$15 (one way) in the meter and buy a ticket!
The ride is really comfortable, and is 100-120 minutes depending on if you take express or not. You have to switch trains at Long Branch (1-2 stops from Asbury Park) but it just means getting of the train, and walking 10 feet to the only other train.)
Or you can take the bus from Main Street in Ocean Grove to NYC  drops off around 42nd street. It takes two hours, and it’s $16 a ticket one way. (Personally, I’d take the train.)

All events
It’s hard to find a macro calendar because there is so much to do, but the ocean grove camp meeting association calendar is a great place to start. Most events are in July and August.
(Also click on the music programs on the same page.)

Bible Study

There are Bible Studies for ages 3+ in the morning. 9-10 for the younger ones, 9-11 for the older kids. They have Bible Studies led by a summer staff through high school. All these activities are free.

While your kids are there, you can choose to go to the morning Bible Hour near the Great Auditorium from 9-10.

Ladies Study Under the Umbrellas is on the beach (by the North pier) from 7:30-8:30 on Monday nights.

Sunday is worship at the Great Auditorium, from 10:30-noon. You will hear the beautiful OG organ which is one of the largest and famous organs in the world. You will see the famous ushers march and hear great speakers. (Free childcare during church is provided in the Youth Temple across from the Great Auditorium.)

1. Of course, there is the ocean. You have to buy passes to the beach, but it’s a great beach. (Standard beach, snack shop, you can rent umbrellas and chairs.) If you stay at a hotel/B&B, most of the hotels have discount badges for the ocean.
2. Small jungle gym on the south end of Ocean Grove and one on the Asbury Park Beach.
3. Every other Friday night they have a free Family Night Movie on the beach. Bring your chairs and blanket! They provide snacks and drinks.
4. There is sports every day (mostly for the locals, but your kid can jump in)
5. There is Learn to Fish Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 am on the North Pier.
6. The OGCMA rec department has sports for kids ages 5-12 every day from 2:30-3:30. Call 732-988-5533 for more info. It’s free, but parents need to sign a consent form.
There are tennis lessons every Thursday.
7. Tennis - once the girls did a kids lesson (Thursdays?)

Other events

  • Depending on the day, there is the annual used book sale (3 books for $1 - admission is free unless you go on Thursday night.)
  • There is annual bazzar, and art show on the boardwalk, and so much more -again, depending on the week you go.