Why Bad News for Shore Tourism Is Good News For You

Autumn is the best time to score some beach time.

Some not great news out of the South Jersey Shore this week — though that could mean a good deal for you, especially the procrastinators.

In a recent interview with Shore News Today, Diane Weiland, Cape May County Director of Tourism, said that tourism numbers are down 10 to 20 percent.

But let’s not put all the blame on Sandy. Remember when it rained just about every single day in June? That threw a big wet blanket on the Jersey Shore. As much as we like to mock Shoobies, those day trippers do drop cash while they’re in town before they leave.

How is this a good deal for you?

Strathmere | Photos: Jen A. Miller

Because this might mean more discounts and specials on top of prices that are starting to come down from the peak of the season.

We’re still two weeks away from Labor Day weekend, but after Saturday’s wave of renters gets onto Atlantic City Expressway, the high season is over. High school sports practices are starting. Kids are going back to college, and a lot of families don’t want to come home from vacation and then jump right into the first day of school, so while the beaches will still have some crowds, they won’t be nearly as thick as they were earlier in August.

Prices will shrink accordingly, too. For example, starting Aug. 19, an efficiency suite at the American Inn in North Wildwood drops from $235 a night to $190. For the week of August 24, a six-bedroom Avalon rental is $8,000, down from its peak price of $8995.

The deals will get even better in September, if you’re lucky enough to be able to plan a getaway that doesn’t surround kids needing to be in school — that Avalon house’s weekly rate hits $6,000 by the end of September, and that’s on the high end of the scale. Last September, I rented a beach-front Ocean City mansion for $3,000 a week, and that was split between three families.

Plus, that’s the best time to be here. September is by far my favorite month at the Jersey Shore. Except for the crush on Labor Day Weekend, it’s less crowded. The worst of the humidity has usually packed its bags for Florida, but the warm water’s still here. Forget about beach tags. The sun’s not as strong, either, so dousing yourself in SPF 30 every two hours isn’t necessary, and there’s just something to sitting at an outdoor bar in jeans, a worn in sweatshirt and flip flops that screams “vacation” to me more than going out in a hot weather dress ever will.

I was on the beach in Strathmere yesterday morning, and got a taste of what’s to come. I even wore my hoodie until noon, and the water was the warmest place to be. That, to me, is the Jersey Shore’s golden hour. It’ll cost far less to enjoy after Saturday, and hopefully a more robust fall will help the South Jersey Shore make up for June’s storms.