Bunking Down at Morey’s Pier and Camping with The Family
This past weekend, my family and I hauled some rented camping gear (which we later purchased) to take part in the very first Morey’s Piers Boardwalk Bunk Down.
We weren’t sure how the weekend was going to turn out, it had rained through the night and even while we drove the 2 hours to Wildwood, NJ.
We arrived to Morey’s Piers around 1 in the afternoon. You wouldn’t know it had poured earlier that day with all the sunlight and the heat from the same forcing us all to change into lighter clothes.
We checked in to the boardwalk camping area, set up our tent, and decided to enjoy the rides and the park for a bit.
Now, I camp with my family. I will sleep in cabins and I will sleep in tents. I am often a tad more uncomfortable than I like to be outside of my home when camping in a tent, but over the years, I have learned that my comfort of being surrounded by an air conditioner, or a heater, soft down pillows and comforters, and a comfortable mattress, is not really the point of any of it.
What I have learned is that my guys enjoy it and like almost every travel experience we have, when we camp I see a side to them that I absolutely adore. They become these very basic, very easy-going, sort of roll-with-the-punches, we-are-in-nature, go-with-the-flow kind of guys. They don’t complain about the fact the we forgot our air mattress, or that we should’ve really brought that extra comforter (especially on our night camping on the boardwalk). I might complain, but not my family. They are happy with a couple of sleeping bags right on the floor and a tent over their head, with all of us cuddled together like sardines in a can (because of course, we also didn’t bring the extra tent we already owned).
This low-maintenance side of my kids is something I love bringing out in them. Granted, spending the night camping on the boardwalk at Morey’s Piers had a bit more perks than just camping in the woods.
The bunk down pass also came with tickets to rides in the park. We got on almost every single ride, at least twice till night fell and we could ride no more. It was epic.
The ticket to the boardwalk bunk down also provided us access to play games for prizes, like basketball (which we are horrible at) and soccer, (which we rock at – well, my kids do anyway), s’mores, (all for an extra fee) and an outdoor movie on the pier with caramel popcorn. We also had a light breakfast the next day. The kicker though was the unique camping experience under the roller coaster, next to the beach.
I’m not gonna lie: it was cold, the floor was hard, and it’s always rough waking up without access to a shower (though the bathrooms were nearby and closed off for only the campers to use). I was achy and eager to get home afterwards. But my kids were happy.
They loved the experience and didn’t want to leave. They were sad that the park was closed till long after we were gone. Sleeping in that tent, on that pier, under the roller coaster was fun for all three of my kids. And for that reason alone (though I do enjoy Morey’s Piers too) it was worth any discomfort I could have had to endure.
I hope this is something Morey’s Piers does again next year. Wildwood is such a fun destination. They always have something going on (like The Race of Gentlemen which was also happening the weekend we were there. Mental note: we’re going next year!).
If you decide to take part in the Morey’s Piers Boardwalk Bunk Down (register here), or even try camping with your kids, here are a few tips which I didn’t really follow all the way through myself, but which I have learned over the years have helped to make the camping experience that much more enjoyable.
- If you don’t own a tent and haven’t really been camping before, don’t just go out and buy one. They can be pricey, and not the right fit. Try renting a tent first. Depending on the length of the rental, it can be a less expensive option and helps you to decide whether it’s something you want to invest in. REI and East Mountain Sports are trust-worthy outdoor brands that rent out equipment.
- Bring an air mattress, pillows, sheets, and comforters (during colder months). Listen, my MidWestern husband will say no. That we should camp as nature intended – on the floor, wrapped up like a burrito in a sleeping bag that barely fits around your ass. But I say, you’ve got nothing to prove. As far as I’m concerned, this is why they sell this stuff, so that we can truly enjoy nature without the aches and pains, back stiffness and freezing toes. If you’ve never been camping before, just do yourself a favor and take the extra steps to trick out your tent a bit. You will love camping that much more for it.
- Get chairs to sit around the fire. It would be nice if there was a conveniently located log right next to your tenting spot for you to cuddle on while watching the beautiful glow of warm light coming from the pit. But, I’ve yet to luck out in this way. Outdoor camping chairs can be pricey, but you will use them for everything: camping, kids’ games, extra seating at picnics, etc. It’s (average) $70 well spent.
- Let go of your inhibitions. Camping is fun. It really is. Find a great spot and you are gold. I’ve done everything from camping in the national parks to camping near national parks on KOA camping sites (which are fine, but I am not a fan of being so close to other campers). Research camping sites that appeal to you (Fire Island camping on the beach is pretty cool) and join clubs like those offered through REI and Eastern Mountain Sports memberships. I am a huge fan (and a member of) the Appalachian Mountain Club for the hiking, camping, and all the family events they host throughout the year. You can learn so much through these clubs and meet really great people in the process.
- No wi-fi? No problem. Though most campsites have internet access, don’t worry if you come across one that doesn’t. In my experience, the campsites that offer the most beautiful, in-nature experiences don’t usually have the infrastructure to accommodate those online needs. And that’s OK. Because that’s the point of camping in the first place. What you will discover by being disconnected will change you.
There are so many other tips about camping that you should learn about (I refer you again to the resources mentioned above), but to me these are the most important.
Camping on Morey’s Piers is a fun “first time”though, so make sure to connect with them via Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss out on their next fun event.
Photographed with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens (read my first impressions).
See more of the fun here:
Disclosure: We were guests of Morey’s Piers Boardwalk Bunk Down. All opinions are my own.