Best of the Shore 2010

And we do mean the whole Shore. From great Boardwalk eats to fancy boutiques, quiet places for a sunset dinner to rowdy bars for partying, we bring you the tops up and down the Garden State coastline, including the Jersey Cape, LBI, and for the first time ever, the North Jersey beaches. Come on in, the water's fine.

  At La Costa’s rollicking Sunday happy hours with beloved musical fossil Jerry Blavat (a.k.a. the Geator), never have so many doughy, sunburned middle-aged (and beyond) people had so much fun with so many cocktails in so few hours. Crash the party.   4000 Landis Avenue, 609-263-3756,

OLD-TIME SHORE DINING   George Phillips’s grandfather opened Busch’s Seafood in 1912. And years ago, you would go to a sprawling place like Busch’s (or the late Zaberer’s, in North Wildwood), with its booths and patterned carpet and polished wood, to settle in for a “fancy dinner” by Shore standards. Today there are far fancier places than this basic seafoodery—but none that will take you back so effortlessly. Drink in the history—and make sure to order the she-crab soup.  8700 Landis Avenue, 609-263-8626,

MINI GOLF   Shipwrecks, caves, heckling robotic pirates, cascading waterfalls … Pat Croce’s Pirate Island Golf is Pirates of the Caribbean meets extreme putt-putt. Head to Sea Isle for 18 holes of Cap’n Jack Sparrow-esque action, or jump ship to Croce and co-owner/golf lover Mark Benevento’s equally aaaargh-y locations in Ocean City and Avalon. It’s wacky. It’s kinda tacky. And Johnny Depp is not included.   33rd Street and Landis Avenue, Sea Isle City, 609-263-8344,

HOT DOGS   Joining in the nearly block-long queue for an all-beef frank from Bubba Dog’s beachside cart has become a Sea Isle tradition with near-religious significance. This summer, owner Tim McNamara debuts a second stand in Avalon. The new place is open until 2:30 a.m. and has a prime address across the street from the Princeton—and, therefore, our prediction for longer lines than ever.  59th Street and the beach, Sea Isle City, and 21st Street and Dune Drive, Avalon;


   From her best-kept-secret satellite studio, sought-after Main Line stylist Melissa LaLiberté, of Salon 31 fame, will be wielding shears and blow dryers to turn tresses from salt-air-sticky to shampoo-ad-surreal. Get in her book ASAP; it’s filling up.  300 79th Street, 267-664-7753.

   Expect a line out the door when you show up on any given day at 8 a.m. at Kohler’s. A single whiff of these just-fried doughy delicacies, dusted with powdered sugar and oozing homemade buttercream (Mr. Kohler’s secret recipe), and you’ll remember why you, your parents and their parents have been braving the wait for more than 60 summers. Another sweet summer tradition that’s rough on the waistline but great for the soul.  2709 Dune Drive, 609-967-3694,