These stylish fashion boutiques are almost enough — almost — to keep us off the beach

So I’ve been going to Avalon since the dawn of time (well, at least since I was in utero), and today, it looks much different than it did when I was growing up. When I was a wee thing, if I needed a new batch of, say, shorts, the mom and I would have to get in the car, get on the AC Expressway, and hop over to the Hamilton Mall in search of a Gap. The shops along 96th in Stone Harbor were mostly only good for the requisite hermit crab, shell necklace and sweatshirt, and there wasn’t anywhere in Avalon for a girl to buy clothes—real clothes, not weird mumus and grandpa hats — no matter what her age.

Today, that has all changed. These last summers, I’ve arrived on the island to find actual boutiques — the kind I’m used to shopping at home — lining some of Avalon’s streets. It’s super weird, to tell you the truth, because being able to find a plain tee shirt at the Shore, let alone a Diane von Furstenberg tunic, used to be quite the accomplishment. But now, if I’m sitting on the beach, thinking I’d really love to find, buy, and wear Michael Kors’ newest espadrille with my sundress to Blackfish Stone Harbor that night, I probably can. And I gotta say, that’s pretty cool. Here are some of my faves that I’ll be checking in with on my summer weekends — and I highly recommend you do, too.