FROM SANDY HOOK TO CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY’S 127 MILES OF COASTAL BEACHES, RIVERS, INLETS, BAYS, AND BOARDWALKS SPRING TO LIFE AFTER MEMORIAL DAY. HOW TO FIND THE IDEAL FUN FOR EVERY TASTE? LOOK NO FURTHER THAN OUR ANNUAL COMPILATION OF THE BEST OF THE BEST WITH HANDY REFERENCE LINKS FOR DETAILS AND MORE INFORMATION

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI

ASBURY PARK
Asbury is evolving so fast that it’s challenging to keep up with all that’s new to see and do. On the boards this year are a new pavilion with an amphitheater and the Iron Whale restaurant, Maruca’s Pizza, and Tower Dogs. The new Asbury Ocean Club & Residences on Ocean Avenue has public areas at ground level. Sadly, the Dunes Food Court and shops at the Asbury/Ocean Grove border burned down in April, but there are a plethora of places to eat, drink, shop, and be merry throughout downtown. Don’t miss the free weekly bonfires and movies on the beach!

THE MAIN EVENT
Promenade of Mermaids Parade
A colorful, festive, picture perfect boardwalk event that’s as much fun for spectators as it is for its spectacularly costumed participants. Vendors, musicians, and more. 2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 29, asburyparkchamber.com apboardwalk.com asburyparkchamber.com

01.098.07.053

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Asbury Lanes
Reopened last year after extensive renovation, the retro bowling alley with diner style dining, a bar, and lively music scene attached to the trendy Asbury Hotel shines again. 732.361.6659, 209 4th Ave., asburylanes.com

Brando’s Citi Cucina
Chef/owner Steven Botta elevates his family’s traditional Italian recipes using the freshest ingredients to create exceptional cooked to order culinary experiences. 732.774.2222, 162 Main St., brandosnj.com

Convention Hall & The Paramount Theatre
Recent renovations and upgrades shored up these historic gems. Concerts, shopping, dining, and bars on each side that spill onto the beach featuring live and DJ music. apboardwalk.com

MST 3000 Spread

House of Independents
Shows and events rock the House downtown. 732.977.5284, 572 Cookman Ave., houseofindependents.com

Silverball Museum
Award winning retro pinball, video/ arcade games, food. Available for parties, 732.774.4994, 1000 Ocean Ave., silverballmuseum.com

The Stone Pony
Legendary rock venue with outdoor summer stage, 732.502.0600, 913 Ocean Ave., stoneponyonline.com

Wonder Bar
Live music, food, patio, canine Yappy Hours, 732.455.3767, 5th & Ocean Ave., wonderbarasburypark.com

Cubacan Restaurant & Bar
Elevated Cuban food, drinks, and authentic atmosphere on the boardwalk, 732.774.3007, 800 Ocean Ave., cubacanrestaurant.com

Stella Marina
Rustic classic Italian cuisine (homemade pasta!) overlooking the boardwalk and ocean. 732.775.7776, 800 Ocean Ave., stellamarinarestaurant.com

Taka
Acclaimed contemporary Japanese and artistic sushi, inspired décor, 732.775.1020, 660 Cookman Ave., takaasbury.com

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS/ HIGHLANDS
Nautical vistas, a bustling marina scene, and ferry service to Manhattan await in these two towns on the Navesink River. A lively dining and bar scene, along with shopping, a movie theater, and historic locales make for an overall divine destination.

THE MAIN EVENT
11th Annual Atlantic Highlands Classic Car Show, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sat., June 15, First Ave. Music, vendors, crafters. Rain Date June 22. njvendors.com, atlantichighlands.org, highlandschamber.org

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
First Avenue Playhouse & Dessert Theatre
Thirty years of live theatre, plus cake! 123 1st Ave., 732.291.7552, Atlantic Highlands, firstavenueplayhouse.org

Hartshorne Woods Park
This high elevation, 794 acre preserve overlooks the Navesink River and offers scenic hiking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing, and group cabin camping by reservation. 732.872.0336, 300 Navesink Ave., Atlantic Highlands, monmouthcountyparks.com

Henry Hudson Trail/ Popomora Point
Restored after Superstorm Sandy, this paved walking and bike path offers awe inspiring views of water, birds, boats, New York, and Sandy Hook. It begins at the Atlantic Highlands Marina and ends at Popamora Point Park (or vice versa). monmouthcountyparks.com

Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook September 11
Memorial and stunning views of Sandy Hook and New York City. Atlantic Highlands, 732.872.0336, 460 Ocean Blvd., monmouthcountyparks.com

Navesink Twin Lights Historic Site
Tours, displays, and events in an 1828 coastal landmark. 732.872.1814, 2 Light House Rd., Highlands, twinlightslighthouse.com

Proving Ground Formerly
Windansea, new owners refreshed the waterfront space and menu, naming it for military operations that took place on Sandy Hook across the inlet. Live music, large patio. 732.872.2266, 56 Shrewsbury Ave., theprovingground.com

AVALON & STONE HARBOR
While Avalon offers a quieter scene, shopping, dining, and people watching around Stone Harbor’s 96th Street and 3rd Avenue is a stone cold joy. An enticing array of shops present a treasure trove of fashions, souvenirs, art, and gifts, with plenty of primo spots for eats and libations. A modernized movie theater with a bar/ restaurant open to the street is at the center of it all.

THE MAIN EVENT
Stone Harbor Arts & Crafts
Festival, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sat. & Sun., Aug. 3 & 4. This nationally ranked event is now in its 57th year. Music, food, activities, demonstrations, exhibits. 80th St. Recreation Field, festivalnet.com, visitavalonnj.com, stoneharborbeach.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Avalon History Center
Local lore celebrated through photos, artifacts, and displays. 609.967.0090, 215 39th St., Avalon, avalonhistorycenter.org

Island Water Sports
Waterlogged fun with inflatables, slides, climbing contraptions, and light crafts on the Back Bay inlet. 609.368.6114, 9701 3rd Ave., Stone Harbor, islandwatersportsnj.com

The Reeds at Shelter Haven
Situated on an inlet, this upscale hotel, restaurant, and banquet facility has expanded to include more rooms and a spa across the street. 9601 3rd Ave., 609.368.0100, reedsshelerhaven.com

The Wetlands
Institute 6,000 acres of protected wetlands serves as a living laboratory for education, conservation, events, research, and natural beauty. 609.368.1211, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., wetlandsinstitute.org

AVON BY THE SEA
Here, a noncommercial boardwalk is graced with Victorian lamps, benches, and shady pavilions. Enjoy a laid back ambiance, charming bed and breakfast inns, shopping on Main Street, and swans on Sylvan Lake.

THE MAIN EVENT
Check the borough’s event calendar for July’s Jersey Shore Lifeguard Relays, Friends of the Library Bookfair on the Boardwalk, and Boardwalk Craft Fair, unavailable at press time. avonbytheseanj.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Deep Water Landing Marina Direct and easy navigation to the Atlantic Ocean, boat slips, sales, and repairs; jet skis. 1 Main St., 732.776.5992, deepwaterlanding.com

The Columns
Belmar border, this happening hot spot with a wrap around porch is a tradition for dining, live entertainment, and events. Limited rental rooms available. 601 Ocean Ave., 732.988.3213, thecolumnsnj.com

BELMAR
A perennial favorite for partiers, families, surfers, parasailing, and day trippers. In addition to its beaches, Belmar offers a vibrant downtown scene, plenty of restaurants, and a busy marina with party fishing boats on the Shark River.

DonovansReef

THE MAIN EVENT
33rd Annual NJ Sandcastle Contest, 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Wed., July 17 on the beach. Free, open to all ages, and draws thousands of competitors. Judging is based on several criteria, including creativity, resourcefulness, originality, and accessories. visitbelmarnj.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Beach Haus Brewery
Guided and self-guided tours, private events. 801 Main St., 732.202.7782, beachhausbeer.com

D’Jais Oceanview Bar & Café
A seaside institution for live bands, and a hot see and be seen scene since 1959. 1801 Ocean Ave., 732.681.5055, djais.com

La Dolce Vita
A family owned, authentic Italian Seafood Grill with its roots stemming back to the picturesque hills of Sicily. Menu highlights include Gnocchi al Pistachio, Chilean Sea Bass, and an expansive wine list. 732.749.3177, 400 Ocean Ave, ladolcevitanj.com

La Terrazza Cucina Rustica & Bar
It’s name literally translating to “The Terrace,” this sister restaurant of La Dolce Vita features outdoor dining with gorgeous unobstructed beachfront views and sumptuous Italian cuisine. 732.894.3855, 408 Ocean Ave, laterrazzabelmar.com

Marina Grille & 9th Avenue Pier
Adjacent venues with ample outdoor seating in season. Live music, seafood, mini golf, and stellar views of Shark River. Entrance on Rt. 35 at 10th Ave., marinagrillenj.com, 9thavepier.com,

BRADLEY BEACH
The “down to earth beach town that everyone can love,” Bradley is small but has it all a beach and boardwalk promenade with mini golf, downtown shops and restaurants, and beachfront playgrounds and bocce ball courts.

THE MAIN EVENT
Annual Lobster Fest, Sat. 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., & Sun. 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Aug. 31 & Sept. 1. Bands, food, vendors, children’s activities. , Beachfront Promenade. 732.776.2999, bblobsterfest.com, bradleybeachnj.gov, bradley beach.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Beach Cinema
A traditional movie house almost 100 years young. 732.774.9089, 110 Main St., tributemovies.com

Bradley Beach Bowl
Leagues, parties, dining room, and bar. 32.774.4540, 1217 Main St., bradleybowling.com

Vic’s Italian Restaurant
Classic favorites since 1947, thin crust pizza, bar, and patio with fountain. 732.774.8225, 60 Main St., vicspizza.com

CAPE MAY
Visitors from around the globe flock to Exit 0 on the Garden State Parkway to experience one of America’s most unique destinations. Here, seashore staples are enhanced by a true Victorian ambiance that’s a wonderland of walkable discovery. Biking to the historic lighthouse is a tradition, as is a stroll on the cement boardwalk and superior gourmet dining. Every month of the year is packed with events and cultural enlightenment.

THE MAIN EVENTS
Designer House Tour, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, June 15. Tour four magnificent homes at Cape May Harbor. Tickets $30. 609.884.5404, capemaymac.org

Hard Rock Sports Book

Promenade Craft Show, 10:00 a.m., to 5:00 p.m., Sat. & Sun., Aug. 10 & 11 on the Promenade/boardwalk at Convention Hall, 609.884.9565, capemay.com, capemaymac.org, capemay.com, caperesorts.com, capemaylodging.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Cape May County Park & Zoo Since 1942, free admission year ‘round to 85 acres, special events, and over 550 animals. 609.465.5271, 707 U.S. 9, capemaycountynj.gov

Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center
Eco tours and whale, dolphin, and bird watching. 609.898.0055, 1121 Rt. 109 at Utsch’s Marina, capemaywhalewatch.com

Mid Atlantic Center
For the Arts & Humanities Start here for info regarding all things Cape May. Trolley and historic sites tours, special events, etc. 609.884.5404, capemaymac.org

Washington Street Mall
Three block pedestrian promenade with shops, boutiques, taverns, and restaurants. Starting point for trolley and horse drawn carriage tours. heartofcapemay.com

LONG BEACH ISLAND
A barrier island made of six separate towns, LBI has Barnegat Bay on one side and the Atlantic on the other. There’s no boardwalk, but plenty of shopping and water focused activities. The LBI Shuttle covers all 18 miles of the island along the Boulevard.

THE MAIN EVENT
Annual Beach Haven Art Walk along the Boulevard, Saturday, June 8. Over 50 artists and crafters, music, face painting, caricature artists, and more. welcometolbi.com, welcometolbi.com, longbeachisland.com, longbeachislandjournal.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Bay Village Shopping, dining and events, 609.492.2800, 830 N. Bay Ave., bayvillagelbi.com

Barnegat Lighthouse
State Park 32 acres of history, fishing, bird watching and passive recreation. 609.494.2016, 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light. state.nj.us/dep/ parksandforests/barnlig

Fantasy Island Amusement Park
LBI’s only amusement/carnival area with rides, arcade, board walk eats. 609.492.4000, 320 7th St., Beach Haven. fantasyislandpark.com

Hotel LBI
New this season and created in an early 1900s style, 102 guest rooms, dining, a salon and spa, and indoor pool are among the venue’s attributes. 350 8th St., Ship Bottom, 609.467.8000, hotellbi.com

LBI Museum
The Long Beach Island Historical Society keeps local history alive in an 1882 built former church. Children and adult programs, walking tours. 609.492.0700, 129 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven, lbimuseum.com.

Surflight Theatre
Quality professional performances since 1950. Top musicals and plays are scheduled this season, plus children’s theater and concerts. 609.492.9477, 201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven. surfl ight.org

Viking Village
Founded in 1920, this commercial seafood site stages events like antique and craft shows and dock tours. Gift shop and nautical items. 609.494.0113, 1801 Bayview Ave., Barnegat Light, vikingvillage.homestead.com

LONG BRANCH
Rapid development and post Sandy reconstruction has transformed this seaside city, including a wider boardwalk and new options in living, dining, and accommodations. Free live summer concerts on the boardwalk, plus live music at several restaurants. Significant redevelopment is also enlivening the downtown. longbranchchamber.org visitlongbranch.com piervillage.com

THE MAIN EVENT
Oceanfest. Music, food, vendors, activities. 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Thurs., July 4 on the beach. Fireworks at 9:00 p.m. oceanfestnj.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Bungalow Hotel
Boutique property a block from the boards with a public bar, outdoor fi repit area, and Bungalounge art space. 732. 229.3700, 50 Laird St.

Ocean Place Resort & Spa
Beachfront hotel with spa, public Tiki bar on the boardwalk, and indoor/ outdoor dining options, 800.411.6493, Ocean Blvd., oceanplace.com

Seven Presidents Oceanfront
Park 38 Acre Park with kids’ activities, snack bar, volleyball, and Activity Center. 732.229.7025, 221 Ocean Ave., monmouthcountyparks.com

The Wave Resort
New luxe oceanfront high rise opening this summer, with casual and fi ne dining, spa, and hair salon. 100 Ocean Ave., 732.229.3700, waveresort.com

White Chapel Projects
This buzz worthy addition to the downtown is named for London’s Whitechapel district, where the owner once worked. The brewery, beer hall, restaurant, and art space, in a 119 year old warehouse, has a cool vibe, inventive food and drink, and two outdoor areas. 732.963.9218, 15 2nd Ave., whitehapelprojects.com

MANASQUAN
This borough boasts a vibrant Main Street with shops and dining, a busy inlet, and a beach area with a boardwalk. Its name comes from the Lenni Lenape Indians who originally dwelled there “Man a Squaw Han” meaning “stream of the island of squaws.” Accommodations include the boutique Inn on Main and 1882 Nathaniel Morris Inn Bed & Breakfast.

PG-CS-AR-FINAL-Group-566

THE MAIN EVENT
Downtown Surf & Art Festival Artistic surfboards, music, vendors, food, and more, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sat., July 20, Squan Plaza. A Surfboard Art Contest begins at 9:00 a.m. Rain Date Sun., July 21. manasquanchamber.org manasquanchamber.org

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Algonquin Arts Theatre Plays, education, workshops, fi lm. 732.528.9211, 60 Abe Voorhees Dr., algonquinarts.org

Edgar Felix Bikeway
A 5.4 mile “rail trail” beginning downtown and connecting to Allaire State Park for walking and cycling. Entrance on Main Street. traillink.com

Squan Village Historical Society
Located in the historic Bailey Reed House and furnished in the style of the period. Open for tours and research. 732.223.6770, 105 South St., manasquan nj.gov

OCEAN CITY
This regional tourist destination may be dry, but it doesn’t lack for fun. It’s a favorite of families for its 2.4 mile boardwalk packed with mini golf, shops, eateries, and amusement parks. Accommodations include hotels, motels, guest houses, campgrounds, and bed & breakfasts. The downtown offers more than 100 shops, restaurants, and galleries. Marinas, back bays, and water/nautical activities abound. Somers Point, on the mainland across the bridge, offers more accommodations, dining…and bars!

THE MAIN EVENT
Antique Auto Show, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sat., June 22. Over 300 vintage vehicles will fi ll the Tabernacle grounds at Asbury & 6th Ave. A boardwalk parade commences at 2:00 p.m. oceancityvacation.com, oceancityvacation.com, ocnj.us

Corson’s Inlet State Park
This is the place for natural southern shore beauty. Established in 1969 to preserve one of the last undeveloped tracts along the ocean, it’s a favorite of fishermen, hikers, and serenity seekers. 609.861.2404, Rt. 619, state. nj.us/dep/parksandforestscorsons

shutterstock_1157101390

Ocean City Music Pier
Concerts and events in a large historic structure on the beach. This season’s shows include Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, and the Zombies. 609.525.9291, 825 Boardwalk, ocnj.us

Ocean City Welcome Center
Home of the regional Chamber of Commerce, start here to maximize your stay. 609.399.1412 300 W. 9th St., oceancityvacation.com

OCEAN GROVE
A quaint dry town governed by a religious organization, Ocean Grove is a designated National Historic Site. In addition to a boardwalk with pavilions, it has gracious, cozy hotels and inns, and is famous for its seasonal tent homes. Main Street offers shopping and dining peppered with tea shops, ice cream parlors, clothing, antiques, and more.

THE MAIN EVENT
Victorian Day, townwide, all day Sat., July 27. Horse and carriage tours, walking tours, poetry readings, and religious events are scheduled. This year celebrates Ocean Grove’s 150th Anniversary. oceangrove.org, oceangrove.org, oceangrovenj.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Centennial Cottage
A living history museum and home of the Ocean Grove Historical Society. 732.774.1869, 50 Pitman Ave., oceangrovehistory.org

Great Auditorium
Historic hub of cultural events, concerts, and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. 732.988.0645, 21 Pilgrim Way, oceangrove.org

Osteria Procaccini
Founded in 2011, this modest Italian eatery has successfully expanded to include four different locations across NJ. Menu options include artisanal takes on pizzas, salads and specialty dishes. 732.755.1639, 50 Main Ave. Suite #4, osteriaprocaccini.com

POINT PLEASANT/POINT PLEASANT BEACH
A seaside destination with both a popular beach/boardwalk and a dynamic downtown, this Ocean County hotspot has it all. Its shopping district features shops and dining, while the boardwalk hops with Jenkinson’s Pier, Aquarium, and Martell’s Tiki Bar. Live music is plentiful, as are fi shing, boating, arcades, and myriad accommodations.

Jack Baker’s Wharfside and Patio Bar
Large, meandering casual indoor/ outdoor dining on the inlet, live music. 732.892.9101, 101 Channel Dr., wharfsidenj.com

River Belle & River Queen
Sightseeing and dining cruises on the Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal, and Barnegat Bay. 732.528.6620, 800 Ashley Ave., riverboattour.com

Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club
Dinner and shows, openmic nights downtown. 732.899.3900, 518 Arnold Ave., unclevinniescomedyclub.com

Point Pleasant Antique Emporium
One of state’s largest, with more than 40 dealers! 732.892.2222, 622 Trenton Ave., pointpleasantantiques.com

White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa
Premier beach property with indoor/outdoor pool, restaurant, lounge. 732.899.3370, 1205 Ocean Ave., thewhitesands.com

RED BANK
There is no place quite like Red Bank, on the scenic Navesink River. A hip town with an urban, culturally progressive vibe, its diverse business district and entertainment, dining, and arts scenes are unparalleled. A must see gateway to the Jersey Shore, especially for those seeking standout clothing and accessories for vacations and special events.

shutterstock_1022632606

THE MAIN EVENT
65th Annual Sidewalk Sale, Fri., Sat., & Sun., July 26 through 28 along Broad and Front Streets. Delicious deals on merchandise not available elsewhere. redbank.org/ events, redbank.org, visitredbank.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe
Extraordinary pastries, buns, breads, cookies, and cakes for 45 years. Original location on Staten Island. 732.212.8802, 86 Broad St., alfonsospastries.com

Coco Pari
This luxury women’s boutique features top international designers and a 50 foot shoe wall. Designer men’s shoes, too! Second location in Deal. 732.212.8111, 17 Broad St., cocopari.com

Count Basie
Center for the Arts Landmarked 1926 movie house named for jazz great and borough native William “Count” Basie. Concerts, productions, events, education. 732.842.9000, 99 Monmouth St., thebasie.org

The Molly Pitcher Inn
Elegant historic waterfront hotel on the Navesink River with fine dining and lounge. 732.747.2500, 88 Riverside Ave., themollypitcher.com

The Oyster Point Hotel
Luxurious contemporary waterfront hotel, restaurant, and patio with panoramic river views and marina, 732.530.8200, 146 Bodman Pl., theoysterpointhotel.com

Two River Theater
Professional regional theater producing plays and educational programs. 732.345.1400, 21 Bridge Ave., tworivertheater.org

Buona Sera Ristorante & Bar
Authentic Italian in a Tuscan setting with wine cellar, rooftop bar, live entertainment, and banquet space. 732.530.5858, 50 Maple Ave., buona sera.com

Catch 19
Elevated, creative seafood, craft cocktails, and more by chef Dominick Rizzo in a stylish, art filled atmosphere. 732.268.8543, 19 Broad St., catch19redbank.com

Patrizia’s
Family owned Italian using 150 yearold recipes. Homemade pasta and wood burning brick oven pizza, 732.741.5555, 28 Broad St., patrizias.com

26 West on the Navesink
A new rooftop space has been added to this fi ne seafood dining establishment with Nantucketinspired décor and river views. 732.383.5664, 26 West Front St., 26westonthenavesink.com

Urban Coal House Pizza & Bar
Brick oven artisan pizza, roasted wings, and pastas in the Galleria on the happening West Side. Other locations in Brick, Hoboken, and Paramus. 732.212.1700, 2 Bridge Ave., urbancoalhouse.com

Garmany
A refined men’s and women’s designer department store. Clothing, accessories, shoes, tailor shop, bar & lounge, movie theater, shoe shines, “emergency” services, and appointment shopping. 732.576.8500, 121 Broad St., garmany.com

THEO Clothiers
Contemporary sportswear boutique for men and women featuring American and European designers. 732.383.8085, 3 E. Front St., theoclothier.com

SEA BRIGHT
Situated between the ocean and Shrewsbury River, just south of Sandy Hook, the borough is known for its beach clubs, restaurants, pubs (some with live music), and shops; many rebuilt and upgraded post Sandy.

THE MAIN EVENT
Donovan’s Reef, named for the 1963 John Wayne movie, was voted one of America’s Top 21 Beach Bars on Thrillist. In addition to its own beach with palm trees and a Tiki bar, indoor/ outdoor spaces feature live and DJ music, food, drinks, and lively special events. 732.530.1833, 1171 Ocean Ave., donovansreefbeachbar.com, seabrightnj.org, seabright nj.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Anjelica’s
A staple of Sea Bright since 1996, this family owned Italian eatery was completely rebuilt in 2012 after being devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The result is an award winning restaurant with menu stand outs like the Lobster Fra Diavolo and the Risotto Stuffed Chicken. 732.842.2800, 1070 Ocean Ave, anjelicas.com

Drifthouse by David Burke & Nauti Bar
Located at the Driftwood Cabana Club and formerly known as Ama, the cuisine has been changed and elevated under the noted celebrity chef and his brother/Executive Chef Robert, both shore natives. The outdoor Nauti Bar juts out on a pier. 732.530.9760,1485 Ocean Ave., drifthousedb.com

Eventide Grille
Come for the food and stay for the view, sunsets, and live music at this riverfront venue with an outdoor deck on a marina. 732.530.1414, 1400 Ocean Ave., eventidegrille.com

Rum Runner
This historic special occasion nautical dining tradition on the Shrewsbury River was lost to Sandy before it was bought and rebuilt by restaurateur Tim McLoone. It thrives again as an elevated (literally and figuratively) and sophisticated spot with an outdoor deck and live music. “In the end, it was an easy decision [to rebuild],” according to Tim and Beth McLoone. “Our greatest desire was to return to Sea Bright and be part of the rebirth of this great little town.” 732.842.2894, 816 Ocean Ave., mcloonesrumrunner.com

SEASIDE HEIGHTS
The famous boardwalk is the star here, a Garden State tradition filled with shops, rides, arcades, mini golf, sky ride, bars, and summer staples. Hotels, motels, inns, and guesthouses are plentiful, as are restaurants, nightclubs, boating, and water sports.

THE MAIN EVENT
9th Annual Sand Soccer Storm
Tournament, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sat. and Sun., June 15 & 16, seaside heightsnj.org, exit82.com

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark
Famously sent into the sea by Sandy, it’s open again; bigger and better than before with rides, attractions, and special events. 732.793.6488, 800 Ocean Terrace, casinopiernj.com

shutterstock_1117847444

The Sawmill
The boardwalk landmark has evolved dramatically since 1977, when The Sawmill opened on the Seaside Park Boardwalk as a small hot dog stand outside the entrance to Funtown Pier. Now, a large indoor/outdoor restaurant and multi bar venue with live music and banquet space it also has an addition on the sand across the boardwalk. 732.793.1990, 1807 Boardwalk, sawmillcafe.com
The Dock Outfitters Fishing, recreation, watercraft rentals, eats on the Barnegat Bay.
732.830.8171, 5 Route 35, thedockoutfitters.com
SPRING LAKE

WILDWOOD
Renowned as much for wide, white sand (and free!) beaches as it is for the celebration of 1950s Doo Wop architecture, Wildwood is our pick for Top NJ Boardwalk (two miles!). Multiple piers of rides, waterparks, restaurants, bars, shops, arcades, special events, and the famous Sightseer Tram make this a festival of fun. In Wildwood, North Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest, visitors can fi nd every type of accommodation and waterfront activity imaginable. The downtown shopping district has a pedestrian mall, and as the area is surrounded by water, there are plenty of dining options featuring menu items caught that morning.

THE MAIN EVENTS
Mummer’s Brigade & String Band Show. Huge parade of Philly’s best in elaborate costumes and traditional Mummer’s music begins at 3:00 p.m. Sat., June 8. A Fancy Brigade Pub Crawl starts at 6:00 p.m. the night before, June 7, along Olde New Jersey Ave. wildwoodsnj.com

Food Truck & Music Festival, 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., Sun., July 28, at Fox Park across from the Convention Center. Live music, Kid Zone, and much more. 4500 Ocean Ave., eventbrite.com, wildwoodnj.com, moreypiers.com, wildwoodsnj.com, gwcoc.org

Convention Center
Modern, multipurpose facility hosting exhibitions, trade shows, concerts, meetings, and major events accommodating up to 10,000. 4501 Boardwalk, wildwoodsnj.com

Doo Wop Experience Museum
All aboard the Way Back Machine! View artifacts, retro neon lights, memorabilia, a malt shop, and more in a celebration of 1950s and ’60s music and pop culture. 609.523.1975, 4500 Ocean Ave., doowopusa.org

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
Built in 1874, open to the public, and still functional. 111 N. Central Ave., No. Wildwood, herefordinletlighthouse.com

Morey Piers
A six block beachfront amusement park featuring 100 rides and attractions including Disneyworthy waterparks with dining and entertainment. Celebrating 50 years of continuous operation. New this year is the “Runaway Tram” rollercoaster based on the iconic boardwalk tramcars. 609.729.3700, moreypiers.com

shutterstock_419943493

MORE SHORE STANDOUTS!
Beach Tavern
Lunch and dinner on a scenic marina. Seafood, raw bar, steaks, homemade pasta. 732.870.8999, 33 West St., Monmouth Beach, beachtavern.net

Channel Club
Waterfront catering/banquet hall for weddings, parties, corporate events 732.229.3131, 2 Channel Dr., Monmouth Beach, channelclubnj.com

Charlie’s of Bay Head
Award winning upscale seafood, American fare, and a full bar on Twilight Lake with patio seating. Craft beer, private events. 732.295.1110, 72 Bridge Ave., charliesofbayhead.com

Island Beach State Park
Located at the southern terminus of Rt. 35, where visitors enjoy ten miles of sandy beach, fi shing, camping, maritime forests, coastal wildlife, and the Red Fox Beach Bar & Grill. islandbeachnj.org, redfoxbeachbar.com

Monmouth Park Racetrack
Thoroughbred horse racing since 1870 (and once called the “Newmarket of America,”a reference to the famed racecourse in England) at a beautiful venue with dining, mini golf, tours, special events, picnic areas, bars, and William Hill Sports Book. 175 Oceanport Ave., Oceanport, monmouthpark.com

The Blu Grotto Restaurant
Modern adaptations of classic Italian fare in the elegant main dining room. In season, a large outdoor beer garden and three outdoor decks offer summer fun, live music, drinks, and eats. Don’t miss the Branzino Fillet, with Swiss chard, chickpeas, Castelvetrano olives, and Sicilian pesto. Bliss. 732.571.7900, 200 Port Au Peck Ave., Oceanport, blugrottonj.com

Sandy Hook/Gateway National Recreation Area
“The Hook” is a six mile long, onemile wide (at its widest) national park and former military base that’s now a destination for swimming, hiking, birdwatching, picnicking, and camping. A lighthouse and former offi cers’ homes are on the southern end. NOTE: Alcoholic beverages have been banned this year and visitors must take their trash out. nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit

The Cambridge Club of Aberdeen
Dive into this fantastic reincarnation of the former Strathmore Bath & Tennis Club. New owners rebuilt it into a modern membership facility with a clubhouse, pools, decks, dining, summer camps, fitness room, spa, and two dining spaces. 732.765.6220, 400 Lloyd Rd., cambridgeclubnj.com

The Greek Spot
With two locations along shore bound routes, this family owned eatery offers authentic cuisine and related merchandise. 732.531.7770, 1013 Rt. 35, Ocean Twp. & 732.704.3255, 15 N. Bridge Ave., Red Bank, thegreekspotnj.com