Houseboating in Raystown Lake, PA

When we told people we went houseboating last weekend, we got a lot of questions. A lot of questions means a lot of interest, hence here’s what you need to know if you want to rent a houseboat in Pennsylvania on Raystown Lake!

One of the houseboats at Raystown Lake. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

My travel planner (i.e. my husband) planned this rental out probably six months in advance. These things book up quickly, so if you’re interested, don’t wait. Continue reading “Houseboating in Raystown Lake, PA”

A Day in Coney Island – Aquarium and Amusement Park Rides

It seems each year we make a summer trek to the New York Aquarium. This year was different. We made the trek a week or so after it reopened from Superstorm Sandy. Though normally open year-round, the Aquarium suffered flooding to its lower levels (and even a few week on the upper levels), power outages and equipment damage, forcing it to shut down for an estimated $65 million in total repairs ($7 million spent so far). It partially reopened  Memorial Day weekend.


The Aquarium fully reopens in 2016, with a new shark building (Ocean Wonders). Read more about the Aquarium damage from Sandy here (NY Daily News) and also here (NYT) Fees will be reduced while the exhibits aren’t fully opened.

What’s open? Continue reading “A Day in Coney Island – Aquarium and Amusement Park Rides”

Review: New York Aquarium with Kids

We’ve been the New York Aquarium a couple of times now, and we really like it. It’s on the Coney Island boardwalk, so you can go from the aquarium to the beach to the rides with no effort. They have the usual exhibits, like jellyfish, seahorses, sharks, fur seals, sea lions, walruses, sea otters, penguins, turtles, sting rays, a reef and shore area.  They have 4-D movies (extra) and a sea lion show, plus special exhibits.


Fun facts: 

President Theodore Roosevelt was the person who demonized the piranha, whose sharp teeth are legendary. He wrote about a school of piranhas attacking a bleeding cow while visiting the Amazon. In reality, the tour guide threw the cow in the water to make the trip seem more exciting, and the fish were starving and trapped. Continue reading “Review: New York Aquarium with Kids”

Review: Sandy Hook with Kids

Sandy Hook is a great place for those who don’t want the boardwalk experience, and want more to do than just sit on the beach. Plus it’s only $15 entrance for a whole carload of people. Parking is free and the money goes to the National Park Service. Sandy Hook is a “barrier spit” that’s 6-7 miles long, a mile wide at some points, and accessed via bridge.

What to do at Sandy Hook:

Ride a Bike: Bring your  own or rent one (there’s a rental place at Beach B – first right after the pay station). Lots of trails – 7 miles of them starting at the park entrance, out to Fort Hancock at the end.

Fishing: fishing is allowed at all beaches without lifeguards on duty.

Continue reading “Review: Sandy Hook with Kids”

Review: Point Pleasant with Kids

If you’re looking for a traditional New Jersey boardwalk experience, Point Pleasant does the trick. It has rides, games, hermit crabs, taffy, fudge, greasy food, the beach and other things going for it.


For outdoor (shaded) seating, Jenkinson’s has it’s Pavilion complex, with Mexican, sushi, seafood, coffees, burgers, pizza etc. Their Boardwalk Bar & Grill also has outdoor shaded seating. A list of other Point Pleasant boardwalk dining options is here and here. It’s the usual fare, plus many stands like Kohr’s Frozen Custard. Continue reading “Review: Point Pleasant with Kids”

Review: Asbury Park with Kids

copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

I really like the Asbury Park boardwalk. There are no arcades, no rides, and the stores are a bit nicer. It’s not big, and it’s understated. Plus it has the Silverball Museum, where you can play pinball for hours (you pay an hourly rate, so it’s not quite the same as an arcade).

Here are some things you should know if you go to the Asbury Park boardwalk/beach:


The stand food looks good, including a crepe stand, sausage stand, the Mayfair Boardwalk Grill, Ralph’s Italian Ice, and ice cream (pictured below). As for restaurants, there are many to choose from. A friend recommends Langosta Lounge. We’ve enjoyed eating at Siculiana’s Italian Bread and Pizza twice (it’s next to the Silverball Museum). Wonderbar is famous, and you can bring your pets to the outdoor area during Yappy Hours (kids 8-14 are admitted to the Yappy Hour food area).


copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan


WHAT TO DO: Continue reading “Review: Asbury Park with Kids”