From Fox Philly:
As Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, approaches, most people have their eyes on a Jersey Shore vacation, and some are saying vacation rentals are on the rise.
In Ocean City, N.J., rentals are already up from last summer. Real estate specialists on the shore say that it might actually be difficult to find an available rental property this late in the season if you haven’t already started looking.
From the Record:
The summer forecast is bright for Shore travel, which accounts for about two-thirds of the state’s $39 billion tourism industry.
An improving economy, along with vacationers’ desire to stay close to home in the face of high gasoline prices, will boost Shore visits this summer, according to a recent “shorecast” panel at Richard Stockton College in Atlantic County.
Tourism officials are already seeing signs of growth.
“Parking revenues, rentals, hotel accommodations and beach tag sales — all strong indicators of what kind of season we expect to have — are way ahead of last year’s pace,” Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, said at the panel discussion. And last year was pretty strong, thanks to hot, dry weather.
In interviews, tourism officials said that website visits and requests for travel brochures are up significantly over last year. Diane Wieland, director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, has seen an increase in vacation home rentals and hotel reservations in the southern Shore towns.
While the Shore draws most heavily from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, tourism departments have increased their marketing in Quebec. The Canadian dollar is worth slightly more than the American dollar, making U.S. vacations more affordable for Canadians.
“There are an estimated half-million Canadians who travel to New Jersey each year,” Wieland said.
Lori Pepenella, a marketing executive at the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, said that weekend and day visits to Long Beach Island are already running ahead of last year.
But economic stresses continue to force visitors to economize where they can. Tourism officials say visitors are choosing shorter stays — day trips or weekend getaways — and asking about lodging that includes kitchenettes, so they can avoid spending on restaurant meals. That trend has been in place since the recession began in late 2007.
From the Philly Inquirer:
Heading to the Shore over an expressway isn’t for everyone. Some folks prefer the backroads.
But for the experienced trekker, writing down the names of the roads can be tricky. Notes can include phrases such as “past the car dealerships,” “that farm stand with the peaches,” “that graveyard” and “666.”
Jersey Shore backroads can be hard to pin down. Except for adventurous drivers wandering off the Atlantic City Expressway or Garden State Parkway’s standard routes with a map or GPS in hand, most Shore routes were handed down by parents and grandparents. They started their summer vacations before the Atlantic City Expressway opened in 1964, and ahead of the Garden State Parkway’s completion in 1957.
“I grew up with parents trying to figure out the back way to avoid part of the Garden State Parkway by going through, parallel, and over it,” says Kathryn Quigley, 44. Her family drove from Northeast Philadelphia to Stone Harbor along a route that included “the TAC” (i.e. the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge), a “restaurant with a triangle-shaped roof, and the bathrooms were out back.”