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.

Championing cleaner waters around the island since the ’80s, the not-for-profit, environmentally minded Alliance for a Living Ocean has recently enjoyed a resurgence, with new staff, new initiatives and new events, making its longtime family programs better than ever. Weekdays, kids who join the bay-beach Sea Critter Round-Up get to pull seining nets through the water to see and touch blowfish, blue claws, killies and more crawly-swimmy creatures from Barnegat Bay.  202 West 27th Street, 609-494-7800,

CRABCAKE   For more than 20 years, jumbo lump crabmeat in its purest form—plus a delicious variety of fresh local fish, crab chowder, raw bar items, creative sauces, and a fish market that somehow doesn’t even smell like fish—has made Ship Bottom Shellfish our must-stop, even if we’re in town for just the weekend.  721 Long Beach Boulevard, 609-494-0088,

Long Beach Township

   Hard to find, easy to love, the Hudson House dates back to Prohibition and has had past lives as a B&B and a boardinghouse. Today, tucked into a residential neighborhood, the pub features darts, a jukebox, Blue Moon on tap, and salty locals.  19 East 13th Street, 609-492-9616.

Beach Haven

WATER SPORTS OUTFITTER   Ocean, wind and weather conditions are ever-changing on this 18-mile sandbar, and full-service Island Surf & Sail can hook you up no matter if the bay is glassy or the waves are choppy. Talk to owner Terry Deakyne to know if you oughta borrow a wakeboard and shred some bay, rent kayaks for self-powered bay exploration, take a lesson in kite- or wind-surfing when the breeze picks up, or practice your balance on a stand-up paddleboard when the air dies down.  3304 Long Beach Boulevard, 609-494-5553,

BURGERS + FRIES   Those of us who grew up summering in LBI return year after year to the porch of Dom’s Drive In for the juicy burgers and skin-on fries—and to feel like we’re 10 again.  3705 Long Beach Boulevard, 609-494-3333.

PARTY   With Wyndecrest Home store owner and Historical Association trustee David Allieri taking the helm of the charity’s annual restaurant-festival-style fund-raiser, you know Porch Party is going to be the soiree of this summer. (Now if we could just get on the list for him and Mark Eggleston to redo our beach cottage …)  June 27th; $25. 609-492-0700,

BOUTIQUE   An off-season expansion has doubled the splurge-worthy inventory of Elizabeth and James, William Rast, GentleFawn, A.G., L.C., etc., at girly Tula the Boutique, thereby doubling the my-sundress-is-cuter-than-yours competition at the Black Whale.  806 North Bay Avenue, 609-492-2099,

BEACH BAR   Note to the rest of you Shore towns: Please spend an afternoon at the Tiki Bar at the Sea Shell, with its friendly delivery of boat drinks and fish tacos, its reliable repertoire of sing-along-worthy cover bands, and its essential-for-Jersey retractable roof. Then, copy it. We promise not to tell. Are you listening, Stone Harbor? 10 South Atlantic Avenue, 609-492-4611,