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  • Writer's pictureShelley McKinley

Wait times, long lines, over crowded beaches - Tips to survive

With many families missing out on their vacations in 2020, most places at the shore are sold out for 2021 which means long lines, wait times and crowds. Add to that a staffing shortage and the situation just got worse. So here are a few thoughts/tips that we had to try and help with those current challenges so that the excitement and glee of being on vacation isn't tampered by frustration.

Wait times

I'm in quite a few Facebook and Instagram groups related to Wildwood and Cape May and a lot of the restaurants are struggling with staffing. Some are having to change their delivery policy to only offering delivery during certain hours or changing their menu to limiting what can be ordered during certain hours, some have discontinued taking new reservations and some are actually closing for several days during the week so that they can stay open on their busier days since they are working with limited staff. If you want to try to avoid some of these longer than normal wait times, here are a few ideas/thoughts on alternative options this year.

  1. Call first and make sure that the reservation policy and menu have not changed recently.

  2. Try to go to your favorite restaurants on off hours such as 4pm for dinner instead of 6pm.

  3. Consider going out during the week vs the weekend when there are additional crowds at the beach.

  4. Consider calling ahead in the morning for a pick up at 5pm and do take out. Eat on the balcony (or patio) and enjoy the great food but without the crowds.

  5. Consider a smaller, less known restaurant that you haven't tried yet. This will help support those smaller new businesses while also hopefully giving you a more pleasant experience with a smaller crowd and less wait time.

Long lines

I've heard from several people that the boardwalk is crowded and the lines are long on the piers. While I feel like the lines are long every year, I imagine they are longer this year with the additional crowds that are down. A few thoughts that have helped us in the past (I'm personally not one for crowds) -

  1. Get there early. Instead of going on the rides after dinner - go before. Start on the piers at 3pm or 4pm and then grab a pizza (that you called ahead to order) and head home or head down to the beach and have a picnic on the beach (no crowds there at 5pm).

  2. If you really wanted that Kohr's ice cream but the line is too long, try another ice cream parlor that is off the boardwalk and may be less crowded. If you are staying at Seascape, I would recommend either The Grand Scoop located at The Grand or Harbor Lights Ice Cream, located about two blocks behind Seapointe. Both are walkable from Seapointe and both have great ice cream.

  3. Make reservations. Where you are able to make reservations, make them early. The earlier you make the reservation, the less likely the kitchen is backed up with other orders.


There's not much that can be done here but naturally there will be more crowds of people when there are larger events going on in the area. If you want to see what's going on the week you are vacationing, check out our list of weekly events broken out by week to see if there are any larger events that would draw the crowds.

If you are concerned with the beach crowds, my recommendation would be to get there early. Being someone that's not a fan of others sitting nearly on top of my beach blanket, our family heads down around 9am to get a spot near the water. We stay there until around noon when we head up for lunch and then over to the pool for the pool for the afternoon. We have found that the pools are not as crowded in the afternoon as most folks are still at the beach.

If you have any other tips or tricks for avoiding lines, wait times and crowds, please share them as we could all benefit from the tips this summer! Thanks for reading. I hope this was helpful.

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