Most people have heard of New Jersey’s major tourist cities like Atlantic City, Wildwood, and Jersey City. While those places are fantastic, there are plenty of lesser known small Jersey shore towns that could provide you with your perfect, relaxing beach vacation this summer. Here are just five of them:
Avalon and Stone Harbor are situated right next to each other, both contributing to a gorgeous white sand beach seven miles long. Stone Harbor features Cape Cod style houses and a quaint, lovely shopping area with small boutiques and delicious places to eat. Springer’s has won awards for the Jersey shore’s best ice cream for decades. The famous general store, Hoy’s Five & Ten, sells anything you might need to relax during your trip. The nearby Wetlands Institute offers kayak tours. Avalon has the safest beach in New Jersey for swimming with its calm waves and seasoned lifeguards.
Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May boasts access to both the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The boardwalk features arcades, treat shops, and a convention center, while the neighboring Beach Avenue has boutiques, both casual and fine dining, and unique Victorian homes. Visitors can do even more shopping in Washington Square. The historic district has plenty of beautiful eighteenth century homes and churches as well as war landmarks. The nearby Sunset Beach holds a daily flag lowering ceremony complete with “Taps” during the gorgeous, unobstructed sunset. Be sure to look for Cape May diamonds and wreckage from the warship Atlantis. The Cape May Lighthouse, Wildlife Center, and Bird Observatory are located within walking distance of one another. The Cape May-Lewis Ferry provides easy travel to Delaware.
Brigantine neighbors Atlantic City, but their similarity ends there. This small island town has some of the best beaches in the state, cute boutiques, bocce courts, a skateboard park, beach volleyball, and street hockey. It hosts stranded seals, whales, sea turtles, and dolphins at its Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Perhaps the best bakery on the shore, Aversa’s is famous for its rolls and sticky buns. If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, there are also places for fine dining.
Bay Head boasts two miles of pristine and quiet beaches and access to the crab-filled Barnegat Bay. The town’s wooden cottages appear frozen in time, as restricted land development has kept them relatively the same since the early 1900s. The tennis courts and the town center are popular areas. Muellers Bakery is known for its delicious crumb cake.
Similar to Bay Head, Ocean Grove is full of older constructions, including the biggest conglomeration of Victorian architecture in the state, comprised of both residential areas and lodging. In fact, there are so many of these beautiful buildings that the town’s Historical Society hosts a walking tour of them. The principal shopping street, Main Avenue, has plenty of tiny stores, restaurants, and ice cream parlors. There are free concerts every Saturday night in the Great Auditorium.
These small Jersey shore towns aren’t known for nightlife or amusement parks, but their calm beaches, natural beauty, and historical sites make them perfect for a relaxing family vacation