In February, our family hauled our 40′ toy hauler from sunny Floriday, to freezing New Jersey. Obviously, we had to have a really imploring reason for traveling up north during the winter, and we did! Our oldest son was deploying overseas, and we had the chance to spend some time with him before he left.
We had left our home state of Montana last November, and we had not seen him since. We could text and call him anytime, but it’s not the same as getting to see him, as you snowbirds who leave your families up north, well know. We knew before we left this winter that he would be deploying, and it would be from New Jersey, so even tho we ‘did’ the east coast last year, and did not intend to go there again so soon, we found ourselves heading that way again this year. We spent Christmas in TX, 3 weeks in Louisiana ( <3 ), then went over to FL for a few more weeks. Our son let us know the tentative dates for a 3 day pass his unit had been told they would get, and we then hit the road for the cooler temps of New England!
Greg ended up getting off a day earlier than planned, and we were so thankful to be there to pick him up. The campground we ended up finding was about an hour away, but at that point we were
We spent a wonderful 4 days together, and while we mostly just hung out in the campground, we did take a couple of day trips. One day we drove down to Cape May. There is a wonderful state park down on the point, appropriately named Cape May State Park. CMSP has lovely beaches, rock jettys to walk out on, a small museum, and a lighthouse you can climb (for a fee – $7 when we were there). We spent an afternoon out there walking along the beach and checking out the WWII bunker that still overlooks the ocean. (you can read more about our visit over on our blog, Our Traveling Tribe).
Another day, Dad and 4 of the boys, including our soldier, drove the hour and a half up to (near) Philadelphia to tour the USS New Jersey. The USS New Jersey is one of the largest classes of ships ever built for the US. At 887 feet long, it is the length of nearly 3 football fields. This ship served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, and holds the distinction of being the most decorated battleship in the US. The battleship has a museum right there on board, and the guys really enjoyed the hands-on exhibits, like the informative touch screens and the battle stations alarms buttons.
Another favorite (probably THE favorite) part of their visit to the battleship was getting to meet and visit with the docents scattered throughout the ship. The ship is a self-guided tour, laid out by a red line on the floor that guides you through the ship. Here and there, along the tour, there would be a volunteer that would offer interesting information about life aboard the ship, and answer any questions the visitors had. They were a wealth of knowledge, and since they had all served on either the USS NJ, or another military vessel, their knowledge was first hand!
This was the perfect activity to do with our deploying soldier! He loved the visit, and it was some great male bonding time for dad and his boys!
The USS New Jersey is located in Camden, NJ, which is right across the river from Philly. Beginning April 1, and going through Sept. 3, the park is open every day, from 9:30 to 5 (open just until 3 in April). The tours are around the deck of the battleship, then up and down ladders and through doorways. My crew was there on a cold, windy day, but going below deck gave them some relief from the wind (would give shelter from the summer sun also). For those that cannot, or chose not to maneuver the ship, there is a video ‘tour’ shown in a lounge on the main deck. Seniors and veterans get a discounted rate, while active military, BB62 vets and WWII vets get free admission! (you can find more ticket and visitor info on this page)
My guys had a fabulous visit to the USS New Jersey! You can find out more about visiting the battleship on the USS New Jersey website, and see more pictures from our visit on our blog. Thinking about heading up to NJ yourself? You can check out nearby campgrounds at GoodSamCamping.com using their easy quick campground search; I’m sure that you’ll have a much easier time locating a fabulous campground as, chances are, your visit will be in much nicer camping weather!
Happy camping whether you’re headed to the hills, the dunes, or a fabulous historical site!