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.

Bay Head

COUNTRY CLUB   Thurston, Lovey and the rest of the swells of the North Shore gather at the exquisite Bay Head Yacht Club for lazy games of tennis, lazier spins around the harbor, and—of course—evening cocktails amid the iconic boathouse splendor. You can’t access it without knowing a member, which is why everyone desperately wants to know a member. Start dialing around.  111 Metcalfe Street, 732-899-2000, bayheadyachtclub.org.

Lavallette

SOUVENIRS  If it’s kitsch and you need it, want it, or used to have it and are now wistful for it, chances are it’s for sale inside the Ben Franklin Five and Dime1205 Grand Central Avenue, 732-830-3790.

ICE CREAM   Looking for a cheap cone? Salty’s Ice Cream Parlour isn’t for you. A small will run you $3.27, but the servings are generous, the flavors are unique (vanilla peanut butter caramel cookie dough, birthday cake) and yummy, and the college kids who scoop have, mercifully, been taught that most neglected of arts: pleasant customer service. There’s a reason there’s always a line out the door.  1901 Route 35 North, 732-793-4308.

Seaside Heights

WATER PARK   While Jenkinson’s Breakwater Beach does, indeed, have a birthday-party tent, a lagoon, and a whole area devoted to tykes, it’s the heart–pounding snaky slides, plunges and waterfalls for the over-42-inch set that make this a must-do—including the Perfect Storm, a crayon-colored real-life version of the board game Mousetrap that periodically sends 800 gallons of water tipping over and down upon the shrieking throng.   732-793-6488, casinopiernj.com.

BOARDWALK   If you’re nostalgic for the Wildwood of yesteryear—Hunt’s Pier, Stanley Sportland, Skyline Golf, that big King Kong that used to tower over Morey’s Pier—you’ll adore the current-day Seaside Heights Boardwalk. From the quixotic Howdy Doody-like mural to the old-school skyride to the games of chance you can actually win, it’s crazy and carnival-y and yes, cheesy. And also fantastic.  800-SEA-SHORE, seasideheightstourism.com.

Seaside Park

PIZZA
   Gooey, cheesy, thick, drippy, greasy, saucy and, most of all, massive are what the slabs of pizza at the legendary Sawmill are all about. Plan on cutting your intake by half (if you’re normally a four-slice eater, you’ll be lucky to polish off two), wolfed down with some cheap beer amid the raucous crowd and occasionally decent local bands. (Give it up for … the Amish Outlaws!) Biggest plus: The owners wouldn’t sign a waiver allowing Snooki, The Situation & Co. to come in and film last year. Who said the Joisey Shore doesn’t have class?   1807 Boardwalk, 732-793-1990, sawmillcafe.com.

LBI

This summer, the tony 18-mile isle promises more reasons to love LBI: local food, dope surf, quiet playtime – and cocktail parties galore.

Barnegat Light

FISH MARKET
   Straight off the fleet, just off your grill, Cassidy’s cherrystones, scallops, tilefish, shrimp, tuna and flounder taste like summer itself.  18th Street and Bayview Avenue (in Viking Village), 609-494-8140.

SOUVENIRS
   If creaky and wonderful and sea-salty Andy’s at the Light has changed its inventory in the past few decades, well, we haven’t noticed. Those shell–encrusted jewelry boxes still make us believe in mermaids and pirate treasure.  202 Broadway, 609-494-3111.

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