Shoulder season at Jersey Shore attracting thousands
The beaches are closed, the lifeguards are gone and the crowds have decreased, some Jersey Shore businesses are still earning money from tourism thanks to what is known as the shoulder season.
The shoulder season traditionally bridges the gap between the end of summer after Labor Day and the fall when the weather is mild, but the crowds are usually gone.
Without beach badge sales it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how much revenue comes in during the shoulder season, according to Robert Hilton, executive director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitor's Bureau. However, the various festivals, pick-your-own farms, and other fall activities can attract sizable crowds.
"We have the Jersey Shore Boat Show at First Energy Park. There's the British Car Show in Ocean Grove. There are things that attract thousands and thousands of people. That British Car Show will probably get five to ten thousand people into Ocean Grove," Hilton said.
If the weather holds up, Hilton thinks some businesses could stay open well into December.
A robust shoulder season is also beneficial for shore merchants who rely on doing most of their business during the limited summer weekends.
"Obviously you're not going to receive the numbers you did in the heart of the summer, but to extend that added revenue base, it eliminates the risk factors if we have some bad weather," said Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas Arnone.
While the majority of the shoulder season tourism is day-trippers, the fall is a great opportunity for an extended stay since hotel rates are lower than during summer.
"I've always found bed and breakfasts tend to do better this time of year than they do in the summer time because the hotels in the summer might be a little more affordable than the bed and breakfasts. But this time of year, B&Bs are a little more of a novelty. You go down to the shore, go sit on the wraparound porch and sip some apple cider," Hilton said.