Away We Go || Family Vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey

Last week, I was on vacation with my family in Ocean City, New Jersey. We've been vacationing there as a family since I was in middle school. Ocean City is an island on the Jersey Shore and is a completely "dry" town, meaning no alcohol is served anywhere on the island, ensuring a truly family friendly stay. (There's a liquor store before you take the bridge over, so we always stop for some wine!) 

I have a big family and it's always such a joy to have us all under the same roof. We love being around each other so much, and it's always such a blast to do life together. I think it's so sweet that we hit pause on one week of the year to all retreat to the beach and live life together. I always get so sad when we have to leave because I know we have to say goodbye...even though we ALL live in the same town. I am so spoiled. 

This year, Brandon could only stay for the weekend because of work. So while he was there, we soaked up all the sun we could get. We moved non-stop, trying to pack in all the fun. On his last day there, he surprised me by staying that he was able to get an extra day off work! It was such a surprise but I loved having that extra day with him. We rode my parents' bikes a ton, which was SO much fun.

Every year, Brandon and I go head to head in an intense round of mini golf. We've been doing this since we were dating and I kid you not, every single year, WE TIE. EXACTLY. It's hilarious, especially cause I'm not competitive and he is. But this year, I WON. The streak has been broken. Putt putt champ 2016 here! 

No. it's actually official. My aunt started a fun tradition of the Ocean City Beach Awards, or the OCBA's, as we call them. There's different categories and on the second to last night of vacation, we have a big ceremony and fancy dinner. This year, I won Putt Putt Champ. We even got fancy ribbons made. 

This year, we also had a "Candid Camera" Instagram challenge with cash prizes. So yeah, we go pretty hard when it comes to vacation. However, the biggest challenge of the week comes with the annual boys vs. girls scavenger hunt. Our parents plan it and then sit at the house and drink wine while we run all over the island trying to snap photos of what is on the list. It's complete with family inside jokes and makes for a hysterical time trying to decide who is the winner. It's always a gray area about who won...

Every year, I love playing shuffle board. While Brandon was gone, I mainly hung out with my little brothers so we went a played a nice game of shuffleboard. My brother kicked my butt, but it was really nice to be able to play something that I don't at home. 

We always have a theme night. Last year, it was "Christmas in July" and the year before that it was "Welcome to Hollywood". This year was Decade Night, where you were supposed to dress as your favorite decade. The winner of best costume was decided by round of applause. (; My parents dressed from the 70's, my cousin and her family dressed from the 90's (and her daughter was a complete Michelle Tanner look-alike), my sister and her boyfriend dressed as women from the 1800's complete with hoop skirts (don't ask...), my brother dressed as a soldier from Vietnam, and a my brother, aunt and myself dressed from the Great Gatsby! 

We had such a blast and I loved just being able to step away from the real world for a while. On the last day, I woke up and headed to the beach for some alone time. It was so relaxing to be able to wake up and watch the sun rise over the beach. I walked the beach down to my favorite little vegan cafe on the boardwalk and got a green smoothie. It was the BEST way to end vacation. 

Where do you vacation every year?