As a Southern Californian living in New York, I thought I would find my go-to beach destination in the Hamptons. My first summer, I packed my bags and headed out on the first post-work Jitney my friends and I could get on. I soon realized, though, that the Hamptons just wasn’t my (beach) bag. The schlep is brutal, the restaurants are crowded, and the reservations are hard to come by. Plus, it just didn’t have the laid-back California vibe I was used to.
It wasn’t until I moved out of the city and across the river to Jersey City that I learned — I mean, really learned — about the Jersey Shore. Of course everyone’s heard of the television show, but that is definitely not the destination that I found. The Shore is actually a bastion of amazing food, drink, and culture.