The New Jersey shore, a resort destination since the 19th century, stretches almost 130 miles from Cape May in the south to Sandy Hook in the north. Shore towns have distinct personalities, and lodging along the coast reflects that. While the region offers hundreds of places to stay, some accommodations stand out for their representation of the Jersey shore’s character.
Cape May, the southernmost point on the New Jersey shore, is a National Historic Landmark City. A sandy beach and streets lined with Victorian mansions make the village a summertime tourist destination. The Hotel Alcott, located within walking distance of downtown shops and dining, is a small hotel with a second-floor veranda and an interior courtyard. Built in 1878, the hotel retains many of its original features, including a hanging staircase built without posts or other visible means of support. La Veranda, the hotel’s tablecloth restaurant, specializes in fresh seafood and shellfish.
Atlantic City, home to high-rise casinos and a famous boardwalk, inspired the board game Monopoly. The city supports thousands of hotel rooms, dozens of mom-and-pop motels off the beach and a handful of bed and breakfasts. The AAA Four Diamond Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is a luxury hotel offering standard rooms and suites. Floor-to-ceiling windows afford ocean views, and rooms have marble bathrooms with showers for two. Spa Toccare, winner of Spa Finder’s 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Casino Spa and Best for Men, offers both massage therapy and salon services.
The Barnegat Lighthouse, built in 1859, is located at the northern end of Long Beach Island about 50 miles north of Atlantic City. The platform at the top of the lighthouse affords panoramic views of the ocean, Barnegat Bay and Long Island Beach. A handful of properties provide accommodations near the light. North Shore Inn offers standard rooms and efficiency suites in a family-friendly environment. The White Whale Motel is the closest property to the lighthouse, a five-minute walk away. Offering luxury rooms, a heated pool and an outdoor whirlpool, Sand Castle Bed and Breakfast has five bayfront rooms and two poolside suites.
Ocean Grove, known as the “Jewel of the Jersey Shore,” has the greatest concentration of Victorian architecture in the United States. Located at the center of the shore, the community is an hour’s drive from both Manhattan and Philadelphia. The Shawmont Hotel opened in 1871 as the Ocean Avenue House. Broad verandas face the ocean, and ground-floor rooms are accessible for the mobility impaired. The Lillagaard Bed & Breakfast, with porches stretching across the front of each of the home’s three stories, has 22 guest rooms, 18 of them with private baths. Afternoon tea features finger sandwiches, fresh fruit and sweets.
- NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images