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Sun screen – check. Shades – check. Copy of SJ Magazine’s Best of the Shore. check. Destination? The Jersey Shore of course. We made this guide to the most fabulous places off the mainland to make your beach visit the best ever.

  • BEST TOUR TO WEAR YOUR POODLE SKIRT TO

    Doo Wop Back to the ’50s Neon Night Tour
    doowopusa.org

    Take a groovy trip back to Wildwood in the ’50s and ’60s. Meet in front of the Doo Wop Experience Museum at 8 pm on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night this summer, and your guide will take you to all of the shore town’s Doo Wop style landmarks. Cost is $13 for adults, and $7 for kids 12 and under.

  • BEST ROOFTOP DECK PARTY

    Backfin Blues Bar and Grill
    backfinwildwood.com 

    As soon as you cross the Rio Grand Bridge to Wildwood, look to your left and you catch the vibe of summer fun. The party is at the Backfin, a full-service restaurant and bar that has an irresistible rooftop deck. Enjoy a cool ocean breeze, live music and a beautiful view with your drinks.

  • BEST BREAKFAST

    Rio Station
    riostation.com

    You’ll love any of the classics, like pancakes, fresh eggs, sausage or bacon. Then again, you’re at a renowned seafood restaurant, so why not order a Crabcake Benny or the Crabbie, an omelet or frittata made with crabs, asparagus, tomato and cheese. Tough choices.

  • BEST TRICKED-OUT BIKES

    Zippy’s Bikes
    zippysbikes.com

    Sure, you can rent a great bike for riding the boards. But why not let Zippy’s design a customized beach cruiser? You can choose your favorite color, frame, seat, tire and grips, but then you also select accessories, like holders for fishing poles, beach chairs, coolers and more. You can even opt for barefoot bike pegs because, well, it’s a shore thing.

  • BEST MEXICAN FOOD ON THE BEACH

    Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Mexican favorites, unique fusion flavors or a classic juicy burger, Bandanas delivers. The Wildwood eatery makes its own marinades, sauces and salsa from fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices daily. Eat with abandon as meals are made fresh to order with an emphasis on lighter, healthy cooking styles.

  • BEST PLACE FOR YOUR KIDS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

    Marine Mammal Stranding Center
    mmsc.org

    The nonprofit nature center in Brigantine holds several beach programs for kids (ages 7 and up) throughout the summer. There’s a beach walk and clean-up, a bay seining, where kids use a large net to see what lies beneath the water, and a mock dolphin stranding that teaches the steps to a successful rescue.

  • BEST SEAFOOD CHOWDER

    Crab and Seafood Shack
    crabandseafoodshack.com

    This is the place to go when you crave a hearty seafood chowder, but it’s hard when you can’t make up your mind which to get. The Crab and Seafood Shack in Wildwood offers three mouth-watering varieties: cream corn crab chowder, Manhattan crab (the red one) and white clam. Can’t decide? Play it safe and order all three.

  • BEST WEDDING WITH A BEACH VIEW

    The Grand Hotel
    grandhotelcapemay.com
    Say “I do” in Grand style, and you’ll have pictures your friends will talk about for years. Tie the knot right on the Cape May beach, and then move to one of The Grand’s four private banquet rooms for an out-of-this-world party. Wait ’til you see the Penthouse Ballroom on the fifth floor with its breathtaking view of the beach and the Victorian splendor of the town.
  • BEST EXTREME RIDES

    Morey’s Pier
    moreyspiers.com

    Morey’s Piers is a universe unto itself. Three family-fun piers on the expansive Wildwood boardwalk feature more than 100 amusement rides and attractions, two large beachfront waterparks and so much more. But there are only three rides that matter if you’re a thrill seeker: The  Skyscraper, Springshot and Skycoaster. How scary are they? The Springshot is like a cannonball – and you’re the cannon! If you can stomach that, move on to the other two.

  • BEST SURF SHOP

    Surfer Supplies
    surfersupplies.com

    Since 1962, Surfer Supplies has been helping water lovers with everything they need. You’ll find new and used surf boards, stand-up paddle boards, skateboards, wet suits and swim boards. The best part is knowing that the passionate and knowledgeable staff can hook you up with just the right equipment, whether you’re a novice or a pro.

  • BEST FIX FOR “I LOVE LUCY” FANS

    Cape May Stage
    capemaystage.org

    It’s the last night of filming “I Love Lucy” and America’s favorite sidekick Ethel Mertz, played by Vivian Vance, has a lot to get off her chest. That’s the premise for “Sidekicked,” Cape May Stage’s current show that reveals the drama behind-the-scenes of the beloved 1950s comedy.

  • BEST CHANCE TO SEE A HUMPBACK WHALE

    Cape May Whale Watcher
    capemaywhalewatcher.com

    Unlike most coastal areas where whales hang out a great distance from shore, the waters off Cape May are the ideal location for up-close and personal sightings of whales and dolphins. Captain Jeff and his seasoned crew will take you to the places the aquatic mammals like to be, including the Delaware Bay Estuary, which is a sanctuary for many species of marine life. You’ll have an awesome offshore experience.

  • BEST-OF-EVERYTHING STORE

    Surf City 5 & 10
    surfcity5and10.com

    Look for the giant Adirondack chair outside this family-owned shop that first opened in 1952. (The store is now managed by the fourth generation.) You’ll find whatever you need here: beach toys, salt water taffy, hermit crabs, jewelry hats, flip flops, you name it. When you leave, hop on that oversized chair and take a picture. You have to – it’s part of the fun!

  • BEST HOTEL-STAY JAM SESSION

    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
    hardrockhotels.com

    Who says only rock gods have all-night jam sessions in their hotel rooms? Reserve one of the Hard Rock’s 20 Fender guitars, which come with Nixon headphones and a Fender Mustang floor amplifier, and create a pop-up studio right in your guest room. Novice rockers can take advantage of the in-room video lessons, or you can just start strumming and let the music take you.

  • BEST SUMMER SNACK FOR ANY SEASON

    Johnson’s Popcorn
    johnsonspopcorn.com

    You’ve probably been loving Johnson’s caramel popcorn since you were a kid (and now your kids love it!).  The popped kernels are still hand-mixed in large copper kettles on the Ocean City and Wildwood boardwalks. But don’t fret when Labor Day comes, because the popcorn joy doesn’t have to end. Order the fresh popcorn online and have it shipped anywhere – any time.

  • BEST BOUTIQUE

    You’ll find a little bit of everything at this adorable Avalon shop, so give yourself plenty of time to browse. Don’t miss the unique summer dresses (for women and girls) and the shelves and shelves of home accessories. You’ll love it!

  • BEST WAY TO END THE DAY

    Sunset Beach

    Sunset Beach feels like hallowed ground. The tip of Cape May Point, its one of the few places you can watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. But before that happens, visit the lighthouse and collect the quartz crystals known as Cape May diamonds that wash up on the beach. Then join local veterans for the evening flag ceremony held at 7 pm daily throughout August. All of the flags flown are flags from veterans’ caskets that families bring with them from their loved one’s funeral. And then the sun sets.

  • BEST CURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU

    Juice Girl smoothies, elixirs and wellness shots are for all occasions, from the adrenaline boost you need before surfing to the cure for a late night at the shore bars. All made from fresh, pure, and clean ingredients, these drinks will keep you feeling your best.

  • BEST FALL FAMILY FUN

    Cape May Hawkwatch
    njaudubon.org

    Grab a pair of binoculars and head to the Cape May Bird Observatory this fall to witness tens of thousands of birds of prey make their natural migration south. You’ll see Broad-Winged Hawks in September, Peregrine Falcons in October and Golden Eagles in November. Look for the N.J. Audubon naturalists there, they’ll be counting the birds as they fly by.

  • BEST COFFEE

    Positively Fourth Street Cafe
    laurelbayoc.com

    You can’t help but feel upbeat at the Positively Fourth Street Cafe in Ocean City. Between the name, eclectic-chic decor, mosaic-tile tables and revolving art shows, the atmosphere is positively zen. Come for the vibe, but definitely stay for the coffee (roasted locally by Harry & Beans), all-day breakfast, lunch menu and baked goods.

  • BEST INDOOR LAP POOL

    The Borgata
    theborgata.com

    Whether you’re there for a spa treatment or a guest of Borgata’s Water Club, the lap pool at Immersion Spa is a swimmer’s paradise. The infinity-edge lap pool and co-ed whirlpool offer sweeping views of the Atlantic shore. Your cares will dissolve 300 feet above sea level.

  • BEST PLACE TO PICK UP YOUR BEACH READ

    Sunrose Books
    sunrosebooks.com

    Open seven days a week, year-round, Sunrose Books is a mom & pop store that offers a music-filled, laid-back environment. Pick up your beach read and lots of other things, including computer and art supplies, puzzles, games and cards. New and current hardcover best sellers are discounted 20% every day. And whatever books they don’t have in stock can be ordered and delivered within a few business days for no additional charge.

  • BEST FINE DINING UNDER ONE ROOF

    Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
    theborgata.com

    The Borgata is a foodie’s paradise. It would literally take days to hit up all the restaurants featuring celebrated chefs, so here’s a plan for your week-long stay (or six Saturday nights): Start with Wolfgang Puck American Grille, featuring contemporary American cuisine. Move on to Bobby Flay Steak, the Food Network personality’s first steak house. Next is Angeline, James Beard Award winning chef Michael Symon’s first venture on the East Coast, followed by Izakaya, a modern Japanese pub from Michael Schulson. Then pop over to the Water Club to try Zakarian, from Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Oh, there’s also Old Homestead Steakhouse, a NYC classic with a loyal following.

  • BEST FILET MIGNON

    Tisha’s Cape May
    tischasfinedining.com

    In the heart of Cape May, on the Washington Street Mall, Tisha’s offers an unrushed, elegant dining experience. Among delicious dishes, the filet au poivre is a stand-out. The pepper-crusted steak is grilled to your liking and finished with blue cheese butter and demi-glace, then topped with crispy fried onion frizzles.

  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR WATCHING THE SUNSET

    Wharf Restaurant
    thewharfnj.com

    You can hang out on the wharf, choosing delicious entrees from the casual menu, or head inside for more extensive offerings and dining service. Either way you will have a meal with a spectacular view of the sunset in Wildwood. Incredible views and fabulous food – that’s a great night at the Shore.

  • BEST FOSSIL DISPLAY

    An Ocean City landmark for more than 40 years, the Discovery Shell Museum may appear little from the outside, but inside, you’ll find thousands of species of shells from around the world. There also are rock, mineral and fossil cases with specimens dating back millions of years. The combo store/museum is loaded with beachy knick-knacks, Christmas ornaments, toys and hermit crabs. Learn while you shop.

  • BEST BEACHSIDE AND POOLSIDE SERVICE

    Cape May Ocean Club Hotel
    capemayoceanclubhotel.com

    Some days you just want to lounge at the beach. Other days, the pool is calling your name. Either way, you can do it in luxury at the Ocean Club Hotel. This modern oasis in Victorian Cape May takes relaxation seriously. Tiki Ten 35, the oceanfront poolside bar, offers an impressive array of food and drink choices and an attentive wait staff both on the beach or at the spacious sundeck and lounge, which is furnished with luxury chaise lounge chairs, sun beds and cabanas.

  • BEST RAINY-DAY ACTIVITY

    Wildwood Historical Museum
    wildwoodhistoricalmuseum.com

    Sure, you love Wildwood, but how much do you really know about it? Spend the afternoon learning the fun history at this free museum.(Donations are welcomed.) Take in the crazy Zaberer’s exhibit, old amusement rides and all the photo albums, videos and more outlining the beach community’s history.

  • BEST RAINY-DAY ACTIVITY – FOR ADULTS

    Lazy Eye Distillery
    lazyeyedistillery.com

    Visit this 1,500-square-foot vodka distillery with a tasting room and two stills. Tours of the family-owned business are offered every day except Tuesdays and cost $10, which  includes a half-shot of each of the three liquors made on-site.

  • BEST BEACHFRONT LEARNING

    Stockton University
    stockton.edu

    Every day is a beach day for some Stockton University students. Located on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, Stockton’s new campus adds coastal city living to your college education. Plus, there are incredible opportunities for hands-on learning if you’re studying hospitality and tourism management.

August 2019
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