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Cape May County Beaches In "Best Of " List By NJ Monthly

Cape May County Beaches In "Best Of " List By NJ Monthly


May 17th 2022

New Jersey is known for having some of the best beaches in the country, and NJ Monthly Magazine just released their list of the 20 Best Beaches (by category) in the state.  Here are the Cape May County beaches that made the competitive list, and what NJ Monthly had to say about each:

BEST QUIET FAMILY FUN

Stone Harbor, Exit 10

A family unwinds at Stone Harbor.

With its small-town charm, laid-back shopping district and varied restaurants, Stone Harbor offers fun for the whole family—at a slower pace than many of its Shore neighbors. The beaches are never crowded and are within walking distance of all points in the town. Shoppers flock to 96th Street, but the town has plenty to keep the kids entertained as well. Peek through the windows at the Original Fudge Kitchen to see the sweet stuff being prepared; pop into Island Studio to paint your own pottery; rent bikes for a tour of the cycling-friendly island; unwind at the luxurious Salt Spa; or catch a film at the town’s three-screen theater. For fun on the water, you can rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard from Harbor Outfitters for some flat-water paddling on the calm bay. For a better understanding of the bay’s ecosystem, visit the Wetlands Institute, which has an ambitious schedule of tours and nature-oriented festivals. Cap off the day with a trip to Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream, a Stone Harbor staple since the 1920s.

BEST BOARDWALK

Ocean City, Exit N-25/S-30

Bikers whiz past Shriver's in Ocean City.

The sandy beach seems endless here—it’s eight miles long—and so do the activities on the 2.5-mile boardwalk. At Ocean City Bicycle Center, rent an adult bike or trike, kid’s bike, cruiser or surrey, then scope out the beach scene at a leisurely pace. You’ll be glad you got a little exercise before caving to the aroma of fresh donuts wafting from Brown’s Restaurant, right on the boardwalk. (Go early—the line can be a mile long on summer mornings.) For seaside rides and attractions, check out Gillian’s Wonderland Pier. For an encore, there’s Playland’s Castaway Cove, which boasts the GaleForce triple-launch coaster plus plenty of family favorites, like the Ferris wheel. Grab a slice for lunch at Manco & Manco Pizza, which landed a spot on our guide to New Jersey’s best pies. For dinner, Clancy’s by the Sea offers patio seating with great views of the beach. Save room for sweets at Shriver’s, where you’ll be torn between saltwater taffy, creamy fudge and other confections.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARK

Wildwood, Exit N-4B/S-6

There’s perhaps no more exciting place in New Jersey than Morey’s Piers, the three amusement parks clustered in a 12-block span of the Wildwood boardwalk. Combined, the parks boast more than 100 rides and attractions. Mariner’s Amusement Pier has the air of a traditional amusement park, with classic rides such as the Teacups and the Giant Wheel. Surfside Pier feels like a seaside carnival, with endless games and the glow of neon lights. Adventure Pier is the spot where thrill seekers kiss the sky on rides like SkyCoaster and SpringShot. But the entertainment isn’t limited to roller coasters and ring tosses. Nostalgia-minded adults can visit the Doo Wop Experience Museum—one of Jersey’s lesser-known but terrific museums—to learn more about the architecture, music and arts that made Wildwood famous in its neon-infused heyday. Finally, grab a bite at Santorini, a popular spot for coastal-cool fare.

BEST DINING SCENES

Cape May, Exit 0

Dining options abound in Cape May, which also happens to be one of our favorite historic towns in the state. George’s Place is our go-to breakfast spot, but the Mad Batter also has a decades-long track record of making people happy. Speaking of happiness, people form lines at Hot Dog Tommy’s, a sidewalk institution just off the beach. Want to grab a pint? Head to the C-View Inn, the tavern said to be Cape May’s oldest.

BEST SECLUDED BEACH

Strathmere (Upper Township), Exit N-13/S-17

Tucked between bustling Ocean City and Sea Isle City, this cozy 1.5-mile hamlet requires no beach tags and remains under the radar for most beachgoers—landing it a spot on the list of our favorite hidden beaches. Approach the beach from Commonwealth Avenue (where you can always find free street parking, even in the height of summer) and stake out a sandy spot for the day. Enjoy sunbathing at the shoreline, take a walk to the northern end of the island for Ocean City views, watch dolphins commute, or try kayaking, surfing, fishing and even kiteboarding—all without kitschy shops and boardwalk hubbub. For a break from sun and sand, grab a cold beer at hole-in-the-wall Twisties, or on the outdoor deck at the popular Deauville Inn. Just don’t tell anyone you heard about Strathmere from us. (Even the town’s oval car decals say “Shhh.”)

BEST PET-FRIENDLY BEACHES

Stone Harbor, Exit 10

Don’t be misled by the oceanfront signs saying pets aren’t allowed on Stone Harbor’s beach. The borough has opened the northern end of the beach between 80th and 83rd streets for leashed canines, before 9 am and again from 6 pm until dusk. During the day, the 82nd Street Park is popular for dog-toting families. Your pup can take in the fresh air and green grass while your family enjoys the playground, baseball and soccer fields, or basketball and tennis courts. At night, go for a stroll downtown, where the staff of Paw Prints hands out treats to quadrupeds.

BEST SURFING BEACHES

Whale Beach (Upper Township), Exit 17

Go down to Sea Isle City, turn left at Landis Avenue and keep going until you pass Taylor Avenue. When homes and people begin to disappear, you’ve arrived at Whale Beach, one of the Jersey Shore’s best-kept surfing secrets. Frequent sandbars create nice, long, clean breaks all summer, and the lack of crowds allows everyone their own little slice of wave heaven.

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