The Jersey Shore's Best Bets

From Belmar to Cape May, our expert Shore insiders have the scoop on what’s hot this summer.

I’ll confess that we’ve ignored the obvious in recent years. But Shore guides are all over the place in May and June. And, besides, what’s so local about New Jersey—a place where you still can’t pump your own gas?

Hence, we’ve mostly eschewed such seasonal destination coverage in our recent Summer Fun guides in favor of stuff closer to home. Encouraging folks to get out more around here is something we do on a monthly basis in our Main Events section. And while it is a noble cause, it’s not always realistic. Many Main Liners, after all, spend a notable portion of June-September a few hours away, whether it’s a long weekend at a Cape May B&B, a weekly July 4 rental in Margate or a month straight on Seven Mile Island.

Or, if you’re like one of the fortunate local moms we profile in our Shore Guide, you have a house of your own—and you don’t have to rent it half the summer to cover the mortgage and those astronomical property taxes. These lucky Main Line ladies give us the rundown on how they spend their summers by the beach in what I must admit is our first real Shore Guide in quite a while.

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My family has a house in Avalon Manor, just across the bay from the ritzier island borough. When it’s not rented and I can make it down there, I’m a creature of habit. For carbs and caffeine after an early-morning surf in the mushy waves, it’s Avalon Coffee. And for a decent slice of pizza with my daughter after a round of miniature golf, Nemo’s will do. Avalon Seafood is still the place for delicious, simply prepared saltwater takeout, and Conover’s on Route 9 is a good bet for fresh produce (if you can withstand the icy treatment from the staff).

For an inexpensive (for the Shore, that is) meal with the family, you could do worse than Avalon’s Concord Cafe or the new Carney’s outpost in Stone Harbor. Carmen’s in Sea Isle City offers the sort of delicious, no-frills seafood dinner Sylvester’s in
Avalon is famous for—in a classier setting without the Styrofoam. And I can guarantee that we’ll be visiting Tortilla Flats in Avalon at least a handful of times for its satisfying Southwestern cuisine and make-your-own margaritas—especially with Avalon Freeze just a short walk away.

For an expert’s take on what’s new at the Shore this summer, we tapped Jen Miller. Her book, The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May, is now in its second edition, and she’s a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Runner’s World, Details and American Way. Miller also contributed this month’s piece on Shore businesses with local ties.

Have a great summer.

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