If you grow weary of the dark, dank dives of Asbury, head south to beautiful, sedate Ocean Grove (at one square mile, it’s easily explored on foot). Join the Historical Society's walking tour ($6 donation; Sat., 11 a.m.; Wed. and Fri., 1 p.m.), which covers much of what’s weird and cool about the town, from the gorgeous aggregation of authentic Victorian buildings and the 110-year-old Great Auditorium, to the curious “tent colony,” where fifth- and sixth-generation Grove families set up camp for the summer.
Afterward, soak up all the small-town charm you can stomach along leafy Main Avenue. Get your caffeine fix and some local gossip (probably real-estate-related) at the Daily Grind (No. 48; 732-775-8500), then browse the nostalgic fifties-era housewares of Kitch & Kaboodle (No. 76; 732-869-0950). Join the line at the artfully restored Nagle’s Apothecary Café (No. 43; 732-776-9797)—its Brooklyn-style egg-cream recipe comes straight from Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights.