If you are from the Philadelphia area, chances are you have your go-to summer shore destination. We call it the “shore,” here, not the “beach.” Of course you go to the beach, while at the shore. There are many of these towns, each with their own unique personality and charm. I have lengthy experience within these towns as a vacationer, employee, and resident, specifically those of the southern Jersey Cape. I am going to give you an inside look at six of these destinations to help you find your shore destination, or perhaps change your current one. It is never too early to start thinking summer! I will be going north to south, starting with Ocean City and ending in Cape May.
Ocean City is a self-proclaimed, “family resort,” and it definitely is. There are plenty of attractions to entertain kids such as an expansive, and most importantly clean, boardwalk. The boardwalk has hundreds of shops, miniature golf course, and amusement rides. Another interesting aspect of Ocean City is that it is a dry town. Certainly you can bring alcohol to your house, but don’t expect to find it anywhere else. Some view this as a pro, others as a con. Regardless, it definitely contributes to the clean, safe feel that Ocean City provides. As far as real estate is concerned, there are some single-family homes; the most popular style seems to be two-story condominiums. I have been in many of these homes, and they are spacious and have a nice layout. This may seem to be a gross generalization, but drive through Ocean City and you’ll see what I mean. As you go more southern in town it gets more quiet and residential compared to the busy boardwalk area. Give it a try!
Sea Isle City
Sea Isle is the all-encompassing beach destination and has much to offer. There is a small boardwalk, also known as the “Promenade.” This is a popular destination for teenagers to hang out at night while their parents are hanging out on the bay front deck or enjoying the ever-growing nightlife that exists in town near JFK Boulevard. One thing with Sea Isle, is that parking in the peak of summer is hard, and finding a spot to park you beach chair in the sand, even harder. The vast majority of homes are side-by-side townhomes- large ones. These homes hold many people, with many cars. But I suppose that is the fun of the shore, having big groups together, hitting the beach, and enjoying time together. The southern end of Sea Isle is called Townsends Inlet and is more quiet and less crowded than the stretch from about 30th street to 50th street. Overall I would call Sea Isle a great place to vacation or buy because there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Current average listing price: $755,000 More Sea Isle Market info
Avalon is the crown jewel of the Jersey Cape, and everyone knows it but doesn’t like to admit it. This destination is home to some of the most extraordinary and expensive real estate in the country. While there are many multi-million dollar mansions, there are also condominiums, townhomes, and small single-family homes. The properties are undouebedly diverse. There is an arcade, miniature golf course, and parks throughout the town. But, overall, I would not say there is a whole lot for kids to do in Avalon compared to some other neighboring towns. The homes are spread out and parking is free everywhere, yes everywhere. The beaches are magnificent, and the backwaters are perfect for boating and watersports. Of course this all comes at a price.
Current average listing price: $1,550,000 More Avalon Market info
Stone Harbor and Avalon are two towns that exist within the same island. Avalon runs from 8th street to 80th and Stone Harbor begins on 80th and stretches to 122nd street. Stone Harbor has the same kind of feel as Avalon, except the homes aren’t typically quite as large. Homes in Stone Harbor are restricted to being built two stories high. So be aware of that if you are planning to build. There is a great shopping district on 96th street with many restaurants and the world famous Springer’s Ice cream.
Current average listing price: $1,400,000 More Stone Harbor Market info
Wildwood has a multitude of environments and attractions. It is broken up into several areas. North Wildwood and Wildwood crest are quiet, residential areas, with several nice homes and hotels. The beaches are free! No beach tags in Wildwood! None of the previous mentioned shore points can boast that. The beaches are long and beautiful, giving room for beachgoers to spread out and enjoy a summer day. The Wildwood boardwalk, also known as “America’s Boardwalk,” is pretty impressive. There are several piers with waterparks and first class amusements and attractions. Homes in Wildwood are diverse, including large single-family homes, and townhouses. I would say the majority of properties are condos and there are a plethora of motels. Overall Wildwood is a great place to visit. One thing to beware of if you rent or buy, make sure you aren’t near any of the popular “Senior Week” locations for high schoolers!
Current average listing price: $320,000 More Wildwood Market info
Cape May is commonly known to people as the shore point with all the old people. While there may be a certain number of senior citizens, Cape May is an incredible place to go with so much to offer. The beaches are pristine and the shopping and dining, one of a kind. One word that describes the real estate in Cape May is – unique. Many homes are magnificent Victorian style homes that are hundreds of years old. Cape may has the perfect combination of new and old, where the beach days of old are still tangible. If you do not have you iPhone charged, you may have trouble getting around here because the streets aren’t numeric like many towns mentioned above, nor are the streets parallel with each other. Try the Lobster House, but beware of the Scooner moving with the tides.
Current average listing price: $480,000 More Cape May Market Info
Find your Jersey Shore vacation today! Who needs Mickey Mouse anyway? Rent, buy, or build. Homes are being built all along the jersey shore. In fact, it is one of the few places where homes being built is on the rise according to the Press of Atlantic City. Be aware that these towns are mostly populated in the summer months. In another recent article from the Press of Atlantic City, Martin DeAngelis discusses how winter rentals have gone down in recent years. Owners are willing to rent, but people just don’t seem to want to be near the beach in the winter! One thing is for sure, think summer and find your rental house early so you don’t miss out, or buy your summer home in one of these magnificent destinations, and never have to drive down on a Saturday morning again. From the Philadelphia/New Jersey area? Where is your spot along the coast? Let me know, this is an open house of real estate.