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Grab your shades and get ready to check out these fabulous spots at the beach.

  • Best New Reason to Celebrate Fridays

    Little Water Distillery
    807 Baltic Avenue, Unit B
    Atlantic City
    609-344-7867
    littlewaterdistillery.com

    Little Water just opened its doors this spring, but Fridays at the distillery are already a huge hit down the Shore. From 4 to 8 pm, you can take a tour of the super-cool facility (usually led by owners and brothers Mark and Eric) and then try the signature cocktails made by one of the equally cool bartenders (we recommend the Old Fashioned – just before they hand over your drink, they light the orange peel on fire).

  • Best Lobster Roll

    Crab & Seafood Shack
    4520 Park Boulevard, Wildwood
    609-770-8509
    crabandseafoodshack.com

    No summer trip down the Shore is complete without a stop for a lobster roll at Crab & Seafood Shack. They’re served on garlic rolls and loaded with lobster that’s perfectly seasoned with dill and lemon. The whole thing is then topped with bits of real bacon – yum!

  • Best Lunch on the Beach

    Beach Bucket Lunch
    Ocean City
    609-501-5050
    beachbucketlunch.com

    When you’re all stretched out on a beach towel enjoying the sun and surf, the last thing you want to do is go get food – and now you don’t have to. Beach Bucket Lunch delivers a choice of sandwich, chips, a Tastykake, a piece of fruit and a drink after you place your order online. They’ll text you once they arrive at your beach entrance. Just go grab your lunch bucket and you’ll be back at your spot on the sand in seconds.

  • Best Crab Cakes

    Rio Station
    3505 Route 9 South, Rio Grande
    609-889-2000
    riostation.com

    These amazing crab cakes need to go on your must-try list. The restaurant has been using the same recipe for nearly 30 years, so you know they’re good.

  • Best Beach Backdrop for Your Big Day

    The Grand Hotel
    1045 Beach Avenue, Cape May
    609-884-5611
    grandhotelcapemay.com

    Brides at The Grand get it all – a picture-perfect setting, outstanding food for guests and an attentive staff that will go the extra mile to make every ceremony and reception an affair to remember. You’ve got everything you need for your special day, right there on the beach.

  • Best Camping on the Cushy Side

    Holly Shores Camping Resort
    491 Route 9 South, Cape May
    877-494-6559
    hollyshores.com

    Forget the smelly sleeping bag and uncomfortable accommodations, because Holly Shores is all set for glamping (aka glamorous camping). The resort’s huge canvas tents are equipped with a king-size bed, two twin beds, a refrigerator, a coffee maker and a half-bath – not to mention air conditioning and heat. This puts the great in great outdoors.

  • Best Fall Escapes

    Reges Oceanfront Resort
    9201 Atlantic Avenue, Wildwood Crest
    609-729-9300
    regesresort.com

    Once the summer season cools down, the fall specials at Reges heat up. Grab your sweetie for the fall escape (five nights of oceanfront accommodations with three dinners, a whale-watching excursion and AC casino trip) or autumn’s midweek getaway (four nights of oceanfront accommodations with two dinners and two wine tastings at local wineries).

  • Best Fin-tastic Fun for Kids

    MerMade Kids
    600 Park Boulevard, Cape May
    609-972-6338
    mermadekids.com

    Kids will flip for the fun at MerMade, where they can dress up like mermaids and pirates, get glitter tattoos and feather hair extensions, and even make their own bath bombs and shimmer lotion. You can host your child’s birthday party at this one-of-a-kind location or hang out for a make-and-take class. Whatever you do, you’ll have a swimmingly good time.

  • Best Dessert You Never Knew Existed

    Peace Pie
    326 Carpenters Lane, Cape May
    609-435-5321
    peacepieworld.com

    Peace Pie flips the ice cream sandwich on its head – and we’re so lucky they do. The genius bakers take two American classics – pie and ice cream – and combine them between two cookies to make the treat of your dreams. Try the banana cream pie sandwich (banana cream pie filling with vanilla ice cream), and say goodbye to the cone for good.

  • Best Summer Dinner Under Twinkling Lights

    The Reeds at Shelter Haven
    9601 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor
    609-368-0100
    reedsatshelterhaven.com

    Dining under the stars – and glimmering lights – makes for the perfect night at The Reeds’ Water Star Grille. Located directly on the bay, the resort’s outdoor restaurant is a stylish place to kick back with your favorite cocktail, share a great meal with friends and catch the breathtaking sunset.

  • Best Trash-to-Treasure Workshops

    Artifacts & Company
    100 Bay Avenue, Beach Haven
    609-661-1586
    artifactsandcompany.com

    The hands-on workshops at Artifacts & Company breathe new life into tired furniture, kitchen cabinets, vanities and more. Sign up for the Beginner Workshop, where you’ll learn four different techniques, then work your way up to the Make It Your Own class and create your own masterpiece.

  • Best Way to Bling Your Bike

    Zippy’s Bikes
    3900 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood
    609-408-8956
    zippysbikes.com

    Make your bike the coolest ride on the Boardwalk. You’ll find everything you need at Zippy’s, from beach carts and drink holders to comfy seats and LED lights. But our favorite might be the MP3-enabled horns – they sound off with silly phrases like the Road Runner’s “meep-meep” and the famous “watch the tramcar” line.

  • Best Community Comeback

    Surflight Theatre
    201 Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven
    609-492-9477
    surflight.org

    The grand reopening of this Shore institution marks its 68th year, complete with new sound and lighting, a newly renovated stage and even a new curtain. Summer productions include “Footloose,” “Newsies” and “Hairspray,” making this a comeback hit.

  • Best Dogs

    LouDogs
    38th Street & Pleasure Avenue, Sea Isle City
    609-263-3647
    loudogs.com

    This family-owned joint started with a simple hot dog cart back in 1982. They’ve since opened an indoor location, but the LouDog (a dog with German mustard, ketchup, diced onions and sauerkraut) has stood the test of time. Don’t miss it.

  • Best Place to Linger Over Dinner

    Angeline by Michael Symon
    Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
    1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City
    609-317-1000
    theborgata.com

    The swanky décor at this new fine-dining spot will draw you in, but the two-page menu at Angeline will keep you ordering dish after dish. Chef Michael Symon covers Italian classics, with plates like spaghetti, chicken parm, linguine and meatballs. Mangia!

  • Best Family Fun on the Bay

    Bayview Park
    6805 Long Beach Boulevard, Beach Haven
    609-361-6631
    longbeachtownship.com

    We didn’t know it was possible to pack this much fun into one location, but Bayview Park has done it. They’ve got storytimes, concerts, beach workouts, magic shows, family crafts and so much more happening all summer long. And it’s all free!

  • Best Iron Chef Back at the Shore

    Jose Garces
    Tropicana Casino & Resort
    2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City
    800-843-8767
    tropicana.net

    Jose Garces has returned to AC in a big way, with the launch of new restaurants Olón and Okatshe. The menu at Olón pays homage to his Latin American roots, while Okatshe immerses diners in Japanese cuisine. Dine at both restaurants in the same weekend, and you’ll feel like you’ve circled the globe – minus the air travel.

  • Best Way to Stop the Beach Struggle

    Beach Caddy
    844-422-3397
    njbeachcaddy.com

    Chairs, toys, umbrellas, coolers…the struggle to lug all your gear to the beach is real. But now all you need to save the day is the Beach Caddy app. With just a few taps, you can reserve a personal caddy who will come to your Shore house, load your stuff, cart it to the beach and even set it up for you. A one-way trip cost $17.

  • Best Cold Brews on Tap

    Drip N’ Scoop
    960 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City
    609-938-6758
    dripnscoop.com

    And by cold brews, we mean coffee. Drip N’ Scoop serves up cold-brew coffee that’s steeped in cold water for hours, plus an awesome nitro coffee that’s served draft-style (imagine a frothy, Guinness-like pint). While you’re there, grab a scoop of ice cream (hence the coffee shop’s title) or a fresh apple cider donut to really sweeten the deal.

  • Best Local Music Scene

    Ventnor Coffee
    108 North Dorset Avenue, Ventnor City
    609-992-3046
    ventnorcoffee.com

    Sure, this coffee shop has delicious drinks, but it’s also a mainstay of the local music scene. The trendy spot’s small stage often hosts open-mic nights, mini-concerts and other creative shows that capture the local flavor of the Shore.

  • Best Place to Spend the Night

    Ocean Club Hotel
    1035 Beach Avenue, Cape May
    609-884-700
    oceanclubhotel.com

    Imagine sleeping on a cloud, and you’ll have a good idea of what the amazing pillow-top mattresses at Ocean Club Hotel are like. In fact, so many guests asked where they can purchase the fluffy, luxurious mattresses that the resort finally asked their manufacturer to make them available to the general public.

  • Best Finds for Free Spirits

    Bohemian Mama
    741 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City
    866-545-2662
    bohemianmama.com

    This Ocean City boutique is all about spreading good vibes. Mamas, babies and kids will find beautifully chic clothes, accessories and décor to show off their spirited style.

  • Best Local Secret

    Voltaco’s
    957 West Avenue, Ocean City
    609-399-0753
    voltacositalianfoods.com

    If you blink, you might miss Voltaco’s bright-blue awnings on West Avenue – and you might pass a very well-kept local secret. The truth is, Voltaco’s meatball subs are out of this world. This little carry-out Italian joint has been serving the Shore since 1954. If you’re not feeling meatballs, try one of their delicious cheese-steaks, sandwiches or pasta entrees.

  • Best Health Boost in a Cup

    Juice Girl
    299 97th Street, Stone Harbor
    856-316-2878
    juicegirlfarmacy.com

    If you took everything that’s amazing about Jersey-fresh fruits and veggies and put it in a cup, you’d end up with one of the out-of-this-world juices and smoothies from Juice Girl. Owner Christine Patton uses produce from local farms in her creations, so you know you’re getting the good stuff (and it tastes good, too).

  • Best Place to Woo a Date

    The Gables
    212 Centre Street, Beach Haven
    609-492-3553
    gableslbi.com

    This restored Victorian home sets the scene for a perfect romantic evening. With candlelit tables, an intimate outdoor porch area to enjoy fine dining and an enchanting courtyard, you’ll feel like you’re in your own world.

  • Best Way to Spice Up Your Life

    Hank Sauce
    8605 Landis Avenue, Sea Isle City
    609-602-4663
    hanksauce.com

    What started as a fun project between college buddies has evolved into a taste sensation sweeping the Shore. Hank’s offers four hot sauces – Camouflage, Cilanktro, Hank’s Heat and Herb Infused – plus a dry rub perfect for seasoning before grilling. A handy online map shows you everywhere the Jersey-fresh sauces are available.

  • Best Way to Bring Home a Bit of the Beach

    Island Art
    280 96th Street, Stone Harbor
    609-368-9540
    islandartstoneharbor.com

    Deck out your home with unique, beach-inspired art like mermaid prints, decorative oars and even stellar scenery portraits. Or if you’d like something a little more personal, schedule a family photo shoot on the beach with an Island Art photographer. You can even book a separate beach photo shoot for your pet!

  • Best Boat-to-Plate Platters

    Hooked Up Seafood
    1044 West Rio Grande Avenue, Wildwood
    609-522-2722
    hookedupseafood.com

    Owner “Captain Bill” Bright’s time as a fisherman taught him about the importance of quality, and you can taste the difference at Hooked Up, his fresh seafood restaurant right on the water. Most people take their order to go, but you can hang out at the picnic tables for a $5 charge. You can also pull up on your paddleboard, kayak or boat (just call ahead to be sure they have a slip open).

  • Best Soul Food

    Kelsey & Kim’s Southern Cafe
    1545 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City
    609-344-2200
    kelseysac.com

    You know it’s good if Guy Fieri featured it on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Southern-raised chef Kelsey Jackson and his wife Kim serve the food they grew up eating, like sumptuous slow-smoked ribs. The popular restaurant also hosts open-mic night plus live music (a ticket may be required for some musical guests).

  • Best Rooftop Vibes

    Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille
    1025 Beach Avenue, Cape May
    609-884-7011
    harryscapemay.com

    Get your phone ready, because the stunning panoramic views, mouthwatering food and frosty drinks make Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille an Instagram-worthy spot. Set atop the Montreal Beach Resort, Harry’s offers live music and happy hour specials, plus a view you can never get enough of.

  • Best Place to Pick Up a New Hobby

    Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum
    120 West Main Street, Tuckerton
    609-296-8868
    tuckertonseaport.com

    Have you ever wanted to build a boat? A surfboard? A rain barrel? At Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum, you can learn to make awesome objects during their monthly workshops. And with so many choices, you just might come back every month.

  • Best Mussels

    Ventura’s Offshore Café
    2015 Shore Road, Northfield
    609-641-5158
    venturascafe.com

    The mussels at this cozy spot are sautéed with fresh garlic, basil and olive oil, and come simmering in a huge bowl. Pick a red or white wine sauce and spice level from hot to mild. Pro tip: we love dipping extra bread – particularly Ventura’s pizza bread – into the leftover sauce.

  • Best Way to be Wowed at Sea

    Cape May Whale Watcher
    1218 Wilson Drive, Cape May
    609-884-5445
    capemaywhalewatcher.com

    The awesome three-hour tours of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic will give you a new appreciation for the marine life of the Shore. Many lucky visitors return with incredible memories (and photos) of frolicking dolphin pods and massive humpback whales. But if you don’t see any marine life – as some don’t – the tour is generous enough to hand out free passes to ride again.

  • Best Friday Fun

    Bayshore Center at Bivalve
    2800 High Street, Port Norris
    856-785-2060
    bayshorecenter.org

    There’s a wonderful reason to head over to the Delaware Bay: On the second Friday of each month, the Bayshore Center celebrates a different bay theme with a new exhibit and artists’ reception. There’s live music, an oyster bar, Jersey beer and wine, a lecture and more, all honoring the beautiful bay.

  • Best Old-School Coffee Shop

    Ready’s Coffee Shop & Restaurant
    415 East 8th Street, Ocean City
    609-399-4418

    It’s small and nondescript from the outside, but the inside of Ready’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant is like stepping into a time machine. Ready’s décor is retro without trying, and the breakfast nook feels like it’s been around nearly as long as Ocean City has – and that’s why we love it.

  • Best Breakfast in the Sky

    Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks
    3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood
    609-522-3900
    moreyspiers.com

    If you want to get your thrills first thing in the morning, this breakfast is for you. Climb onto the giant Ferris wheel at Morey’s Piers to enjoy a gourmet breakfast complete with white linens and china – and a bird’s-eye view of the Wildwoods. You’ll be in the air for about an hour, so bring your appetite (and maybe binoculars).

  • Best Place to Get Animal Cuddles

    Funny Farm Animal Sanctuary
    6908 Railroad Boulevard, Mays Landing
    609-742-9410
    funnyfarmrescue.org

    This is the only place you can get kisses from a 2,500-pound cow, nuzzles from a goat and play Frisbee with a turkey. Admission to Funny Farm is free, but any donations help owner Laurie Zaleski care for and feed the more than 150 injured, abused and abandoned animals that call the sanctuary home.

  • Best Way to Rock Your Sunday

    Baia
    998 Bay Avenue, Somers Point
    609-926-9611
    baiarestaurant.com

    Baia in Somers Point is a hot-spot for live music, good food and frosty drinks. But for more than a decade, the restaurant has been rockin’ Reggae Sundays, where you can catch island vibes from the high-energy reggae house band.

  • Best Way to Make Your Party Pop

    Johnson’s Popcorn
    1368 Boardwalk, Ocean City
    800-842-2676
    johnsonspopcorn.com

    Johnson’s Popcorn party favors are the perfect ending to your special event. The mini party favor containers can be customized with colorful bows or personalized labels, or you can go all out and have a personal monogram or message printed on the lid.

August 2017
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