The Shore vs. The Beach
Growing up in Monmouth County, I always looked forward every summer to head to the shore and spend time on the sand, play on the boardwalk, and eat all the great foods on the walk up and down the boards. My stop from early childhood was Seaside Heights. My parents would always plan a couple of day trips every summer to go there, eat lots of french fries and pizza, play roof top mini golf, ride my first roller-coaster, play hundreds of dollars worth of Skee-Ball, and even save up enough points over many years to get a small TV. Great memories, but over time things change a little. Some of the shine on Seaside has been tarnished a bit by Jersey Shore. I do not begrudge the cast, but now the beach seems more touristy than it has ever been.
My girlfriend and I spent the weekend recently in Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Some things are similar: the smell of french fries in the air, the seagulls looking for dropped food, kids enjoying the entire setting, and the water is the Atlantic Ocean. The differences are very apparent!
Pizza at the Delaware Beach is all about Grotto's. It's good, but it's different. Don't expect 3 Brothers Pizza with the mega slices and dripping cheese along the Jersey Shore. Thrashers Fries in Rehoboth may just be the best fries I ever had (sorry Jersey). While zeppolies are my weakness along the Jersey Shore (fried dough and powdered sugar - arteries hardening and I love it), Dolle's caramel corn with peanuts satisfies my sweet tooth.
Arcades is where the Jersey Shore has the big advantage, and also with roof top mini golf. Delaware beaches remind me more of Cape May with less Bed and Breakfasts. Both have their place, but as I get older the more laid back vibe lends itself better for a couples getaway. We have stayed at the White Dove Cottage one weekend (highly recommended - great breakfast and snacks, plus really nice rooms), and recently at the Boardwalk Plaza in Rehoboth (wonderful view of the ocean, great restaurant inside called Victoria's). You cannot go wrong with either spot!
One edge for Rehoboth would be the outlet shopping. Every major name has a store, and it's tax free shopping!
There will always be a debate about who has the better shoreline. I live in DE, I grew up in NJ, I have passion for both places, and it may not be kosher to like both spots, but you cannot judge until you experience both. Now that I am working in NJ again, I could go for some zeppolies right now!