ABOVE PHOTO: Wildwood, New Jersey
By Afea Tucker
Now that the summer season is in full effect and the shore season has officially begun, the Philadelphia Sunday Sun has put together a short list of interesting coastal destinations that have a little something for everyone.
From Atlantic City to Wildwood and places in between, you’ll find a wide variety of activities, things to do, places to see, and a hint of nostalgic charm. With summer in full swing and it’s officially the season ashore, there’s plenty to do on the waterfronts.
Whether you want to bring the family, travel alone, or make it a party for two, the following coastal destinations can accommodate both tourists and residents. Whether you want to bring the family, plan a solo outing, or make it a party for two, the following coastal destinations are ready to meet the summer needs of tourists and residents alike.
As the closest coastal city to Philadelphia, Atlantic City has become a thriving tourist destination that is growing rapidly with new businesses and iconic hotspots. For example, after a lot of expansion over the years, there is a lot of action happening on North Beach.
North Beach Atlantic City Boardwalk — home to the Resorts Hotel and Casino, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and Ocean Hotel and Casino — is booming with new attractions, restaurants, family-friendly activities, and vibrant nightlife.
Resorts Hotel and Casino
If being part of a murder mystery is on your bucket list, then you don’t want to miss ‘The Case of the Beach Ball Butcher: A Murder on the 13th Floor’ at Resorts Hotel and Casino. Catch the one-of-a-kind interactive murder mystery show through the end of summer. You’ll be let loose in a race to collect clues and solve the case. Unlike some crime shows about murders, the audience becomes a big part of the action during this hour-long event. The show will definitely get your adrenaline pumping. Refuel and eat a good meal before attending.
While there are plenty of places to dine, the resort’s Mushaki is one of the most authentic Japanese cuisine restaurants in town. Located near the resort’s promenade entrance, Mushaki offers fresh sushi and a variety of Japanese delicacies.
If you want to grab a frozen treat before hitting the boardwalk, try an “attitude adjustment” or one of the various novelty concoctions from Wet Willies, the popular East Coast adult slushie hotspot. Or relax at Landshark – it’s one of the biggest beach bars on the promenade and it offers shelter from food-stealing seagulls.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Here is another tourist attraction alert:. Inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is one of the largest collections of musical memorabilia in the United States.
Collectibles range from some of Lady GaGa’s most iconic costumes and signed musical memorabilia to Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce and other rare gems. Discovering this collection alone is worth the trip to Atlantic City.
Ocean Hotel and Casino
The Eclipse indoor/outdoor pool at Ocean’s Hotel and Casino has earned a reputation as one of the best pools in North Beach. The year-round indoor and outdoor pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and adapts to the climate. It also offers an hour of swimming for adults and is open daily until 10 p.m.
Each of the Ocean’s rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the ocean. Visit the brand new Top Golf Swing Suite or at night, or swing at HQ2 Nightclub and Beachclub. The American Cut Steakhouse is highly recommended for dinner.
Beyond the casinos and beaches, Atlantic City’s most iconic attraction is the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which stretches five miles along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. The Steel Pier amusement park is one of Atlantic City’s top attractions. Located next to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the 300-meter-long amusement park is packed with thrills.
Long Beach Island
About 30 minutes north of Atlantic City, you’ll find the white sand beaches of Long Beach Island. This family-friendly, surfer-friendly beach town is also known as Lovers’ Island Paradise off the southern coast of New Jersey. If you are looking for pure relaxation and good laid back fun then this is the place for you. We found two stars with a lot of action. One a block from the beach and the other across from the marina.
A block from the shore is a chic, modern boutique hotel where you can choose cocktails or mocktails at the Garden Patio and Rum Bar or enjoy live music and appetizers at the rooftop bar. The best thing is the “no shower happy hour”. This happy hour encourages customers to come as they are, even if they come straight from the beach. Their Rooftop O Bar is open Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. and all day on weekends. The Garden Patio and Rum Bar is open weather permitting. There’s also live music at the indoor bar on Wednesdays at Daddy O’s signature restaurant.
Tucker’s Tavern in the heart of the island, just off the shore. They also offer a no-shower Happy Hour on weekdays from 3-6 p.m. Tucker’s Tavern is known for its oversized, shareable drinks and generously portioned appetizers. The cocktails to share are almost as big as a human head, and the views from the patio and rooftop are serene. The rooftop is a great place to cool off and enjoy the breeze.
Major LBI attractions include: Surflight Theater, NJ Maritime History Museum, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, Long Beach Island Historical Museum, and Thundering Surf Water Park.
Along Wildwood’s 38-block long boardwalk, you’ll find a variety of shops and boutiques, restaurants, live entertainment, multiple amusement docks, and even a water park. There are over 100 attractions here and you’ll see everything from surfing and boogie boarding to frisbee throwing and people reading in the shade. There’s even a dog beach for furry friends. There’s a unique activity that’s popped up this summer and it’s growing in popularity.
Relax Tiki Cruises
Kick Back Tiki Cruises in Wildwood, New Jersey is a new sensation.
Two coastal residents and pandemic friends, Vineland native Captain Tim Merighi and Ocean City business partner Matt Sawyer, have teamed up to bring their passion project to the waves off Wildwood.
Their new offering of tiki boats and floating bars offers private chartered BYO cruises departing several times a day from their dock at 626 W. 26th Avenue.
Kick Back Tiki cruises come with a Coast Guard licensed captain, private onboard bathroom, Tahitian-inspired thatched roof, spacious bar, comfortable bar stools, sound bar with rocking, USB chargers and an outdoor layout.
Customers can BYO both food and drink, or order bites and have it delivered directly to the dock courtesy of catering partner The Salty Mermaid Bar and Grille. The salty mermaid is ready to cook delicious options that can meet passengers on the platform.
Cruise options will include Rise N Shine, Mid-Day, Afternoon, Happy Hour, Sunset and Wildwood by Night for up to six people at a time. Cruise in the morning with your bagel and coffee, or party at mMidnight with champagne and light bites – or better yet, bring a full dinner and watch the sunset over the water.
Other top attractions and places to visit include: Sundown Dolphin Cruise, Downtown Wildwood Farmer’s Market, Adventure Amusement Pier, Raging Waters Water Park, Oyster Creek, Maui Doghouse and Dragon Lair Miniature Golf.
The town and resort at the tip of the Cape May peninsula in southern New Jersey is known for its grand Victorian homes such as the Emlen Physick Estate, now a museum, and the shops and restaurants lining the Washington Street Mall, which is three pedestrian blocks from Washington. Street and the Cape May Lighthouse, which offers views of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grille and Montreal Beach Resort
Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grille is launching some exciting changes for summer! The Cape May hotspot next to Montreal Beach Resort is proud to announce a new owner, brand new executive chef and brand new menu.
The restaurant features one of Cape May’s largest live music and entertainment programs, seven days a week, both on the famous rooftop terrace and in the restaurant itself. Look for live music seven days a week, every day this summer. Other news for the summer include expanded hours, breakfast service, room service for Montreal guests, weekly food specials, beach food service and more.
Other things to do in Cape May: whale and dolphin watching, there are plenty of day trips and excursions, sightseeing, recharging your batteries on Sunset Beach or planning a trip to the zoo.