In 1881, James V. Lafferty built a hotel and restaurant shaped like an elephant. If that sounds like a silly idea, know that there was a method to Lafferty’s madness. He wanted to draw buyers for the land surrounding his elephant, and his plan worked. Lucy, as the elephant was quickly named, proved to be a key feature in turning Margate City from a quiet little fishing spot into a very popular summer destination.
With just over 8,000 year round residents, Margate City tends to be a quiet, laid back community during the off-season. When summer rolls around, however, thousands flock to the area to enjoy the beaches, the vibrant nightlife, the fabulous day trips and much more. And, yes, Lucy still stands and continues to impress visitors who see the massive structure for the first time.
There are plenty of lodging options in Margate City. You can choose everything from a bare bones motel to a hotel that offers every amenity that you could want. There is something for just about every budget. The beaches in Margate City do require beach tags. If you plan ahead, you can purchase your beach tags at a discount price if you do so prior to the end of May. You may also have to pay for parking, so many visitors choose to walk to the beach from their hotel, even if it is a bit of a hike.
Fishing has long been one of the most popular activities in Margate City. You can fish from one of the many docks or go a more adventurous route. There are charter boats available from which you can try your hand at deep sea fishing or sport fishing. If you do not have the correct gear, that is not a problem as just about everything that you need can be rented on site.
There are many wonderful day trip options from Margate City. Atlantic City is just a bit over 5 miles away. Take the short drive to do a bit of gambling or to go on one of the dolphin watch cruises that leave from Atlantic City.
Lucy, the elephant that helped to start it all, is still open for tours. After the tour, consider enjoying a meal at Bella Luna at Lucy the Elephant, a fabulous restaurant offering a full menu and ocean front dining. Sit on the deck and feel the ocean breeze as you enjoy your meal of seafood or a big, juicy burger.
There are numerous dining options in Margate City. From sub sandwiches to Italian to the freshest seafood, you’ll find anywhere. Some travelers who are staying in other parts of the Jersey Shore make a special trip to Margate City to eat in their favorite restaurant.
Steve & Cookies by the Bay is hugely popular. It’s open all year, but like everything else on the Jersey Shore, does more business during the busy tourist season. Try the lobster macaroni and cheese, the crab pasta, lobster tail or steamed clams. While seafood is their specialty, there are plenty of choices for those who do not enjoy seafood such as the stuffed pork chops or filet mignon. Enjoy the live music while you eat.
There are also a number of bars and nightclubs nearby where visitors and party the night away while still enjoying the salty ocean air.
There are several fun events held in Margate City throughout the summer. One of the most enjoyable for all ages is the Rubber Ducky Race. Typically held in August, you do not have to be in good shape to take part in this race. Simply pay an entry fee and you will be assigned a rubber ducky. All at once, the ducks are sent on their way in the water, allowing the current to carry them to the finish line. If your duck comes in first place, you will take home a terrific prize, such as a trip for four to Disney World. Even better, all of the profits go straight to charity.
There are also art festivals, antique shows, rock concerts and fireworks throughout the summer.
No matter what brings you to Margate City, it is likely that you will want to come back again and again.