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BUILD YOUR VACATION ITINERARY USING THE 2024 SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY VACATIONER

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The 2024 Southern New Jersey Vacationer is your passport to unlock the treasures of Cape May and Cumberland counties. Inside, you will find a curated collection of recommendations, insights and local wisdom designed to enhance your stay. Welcome to a place that is real—a place where you can pursue your passions.

Discover events that span every season from spring, summer days on 30 miles of pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, and into fall, which for many, including us, is our favorite season. Even those chilly days of winter around a fire pit at a local winery or holiday parades and concerts, are ways, all year long, to pursue your passion in New Jersey’s Southern Shore.

In Cape May County, the historic landmark City of Cape May awaits with its timeless elegance and Victorian charm. As you stroll along the streets lined with impeccably preserved Victorian homes and historic B&Bs, you’ll feel transported to an era of refined grace. Explore the Cape May Lighthouse, meander through the Washington Street Mall, and savor the flavors of local cuisine in quaint eateries.

Find your inner child on the iconic Boardwalks of Ocean City and the Wildwoods. Enjoy reeling and spinning amusements, lively waterparks, retro arcades, fun foods and shops selling beachwear, accessories, jewelry, sweet treats, and more. A visit to these vibrant wooded walkways overlooking the pristine beachfronts is a vacation favorite for every family member.

A visit to Avalon, Stone Harbor and Sea Isle City offers the visitor an experience that captures a timeless beach experience. Avalon is relaxed, while Stone Harbor’s 96th Street shopping mecca is a must for any itinerary, and Sea Isle City’s family-friendly vibe makes the destination the choice of many.

For nature enthusiasts, Cumberland County beckons with its diverse landscapes and outdoor adventures. Explore the tranquility of the Delaware Bayshore, where migratory birds fill the skies. The Maurice River Bluffs Nature Preserve provides an immersive experience in the beauty of the region, with hiking trails that lead to panoramic vistas. And the rich agricultural heritage of Cumberland County is discovered in farm-fresh produce and local farm markets.

Whether you see the thrill of adventure, the serenity of nature, or the cultural richness of our communities as you flip through the pages, envision your journey taking shape and create an itinerary to help you escape the everyday.

Click on this link and start to build your itinerary today!


THE SOUND OF MUSIC THIS SUMMER AT THE JERSEY CAPE

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Echoing Shakespeare’s famous sentiment, all the destination is a stage here in Cape May County where destination managers transform beaches, parks, theaters and historic entertainment venues into a diverse range of artistic stage experiences. From world premiere productions, music festivals on the beach and local concerts under the stars the entertainment scene is bursting with talent and surprises.

Imagine that you are standing on the beach with the waves crashing in the background and the voices of the biggest names in country music reverberating across the sand from five stages. If your travels bring you to Wildwood in June, your imagination just became reality. The Barefoot Country Music Festival is set on Wildwood’s massive beach, June 20-23. The 4-day event will host over 30 country artists including headliners Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Kane Brown joining up-and-comers on multiple stages on the beach between the famous Morey’s Piers. www.BarefootCountryMusicFest.com, www.wildwoodsnj.com

Cape May County known for its charming coastal towns and historic and diverse architecture, has cultivated a rich cultural scene. The Cape May Music Festival – scheduled in various venues in Cape May from May 26 to June 23 – stands out, bringing classical and contemporary musicians to enchanting venues like the Emlen Physick Estate. www.capemaymac.org

Ocean City’s Historic Music Pier at 825 Boardwalk is home to the Ocean City Pops Orchestra and it’s the place where visitors can rock along with such legendary musicians as the Beach Boys, Kenny G, The Moody Blues ‘John Lodge and Graham Nash, in a concert series that runs throughout the summer. The Ocean City Pops will welcome Broadway and Television stars Kristin Chenoweth and Bernadette Peters among the legendary entertainers. www.oceancityvacation.com/resources/events-calendar/

Under the stars, imbibing the fresh salt air and comfy in your own lawn chair, music concerts at the Jersey Cape take place in picturesque settings, and best of all, are mostly free making it the perfect night out! Genres including rock, pop, jazz, blues, and country are performed by local and regional artists in weekly concert series such as Byrne Plaza in Wildwood Concerts Under the Stars in Sea Isle City and North Wildwood, Centennial Park Concerts in Wildwood Crest, Rotary Park Concerts in Cape May, Ferry Park in Lower Township, the Water Tower in Stone Harbor and Surfside Park in Avalon. Check with local Chambers of Commerce for details.

Buy a ticket, grab a lawn chair, wiggle into that poodle skirt or pull on those cowboy boots and get ready to be entertained this summer at the Jersey Cape. #escapetheeveryday, www.escapetothejerseycape.com

SOUVENIRS OF THE SOUL

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Things that money can’t buy, but memories you’ll treasure forever!

Whether you have vacationed at one of our premiere ocean resorts before, or plan to, we have a list of things that we call souvenirs of the soul to help you visualize your summer plans.

With 63 days until Memorial Day, the Cape May County Department of Tourism would like to take you away from your current thoughts, if only for a few minutes, to visualize the sights and sounds of the ocean resorts located along the Atlantic Ocean, including Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Cape May and Cape May Point.

Take a deep breath. What do you smell? The ocean? Bay breezes?

Close your eyes. What do you see? A beautiful sunset over the bay? Kids building sandcastles on one of our resort beaches?

Those, dear friends, are souvenirs of the soul – things that money can’t buy, but memories you’ll treasure forever.

And, the best part is, just about any sight, sound or smell will immediately call to mind these wonderful souvenirs, a lovely French word for a remembrance or memory.

What would a sweet memory of the Jersey Cape be like without the tasty, gooey confectionary treat found in countless confectionary shops? Can you hear the wrapper coming off the gelatinous sweet that is always on everyone’s souvenir list.

Honestly, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear a few bars of that classic beach tune Wildwood Days? Bet you smile... and for a moment pause to remember those summer evenings “down the shore.”

How about that ominous rhythmic beat from the soundtrack of Jaws? That always seems to prompt a bit of an adrenalin rush no matter how many times we hear it, especially if you’re watching that movie classic on the beach in Cape May.

Does the very thought of popcorn take you back to Johnson’s Popcorn along the Ocean City Boardwalk – or the Wildwood Boardwalk – trying to decide between Peanut Crunch or Chocolate Drizzle? Johnson’s has been making those souvenirs for the soul for over 75 years, longer than most of us have been around, hand mixing every batch in those iconic copper kettles, another wonderful memory.

And those banner planes, towing aerial billboards, with such a distinctive sound just as you are about to doze off under your umbrella. Sometimes it seems that the planes are close enough to touch as they slowly progress along the beachfront but there’s never a problem reading the message or jotting down a phone number.

When you pop open that beer at home, do you immediately remember that first sip last summer at one of our local breweries. Uncork a bottle of wine and what comes to mind? That sunny afternoon touring a local vineyard and then enjoying a glass – or two - over a romantic dinner in Cape May. Another wonderful souvenir of the soul.

Hop on a tram car and head for the pier as you listen to that voice admonishing everyone to “watch the tram car, please.” This icon of the Wildwood Boardwalk, Wildwood Sightseer Tramcar.

In your heart, you can sing along with The Drifters as they croon Under the Boardwalk, “about havin’ some fun, falling in love, down by the sea; on a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be.”

ST. PATRICK’S DAY & EASTER MAKE IT A DOUBLY FESTIVE HOLIDAY MONTH AT THE JERSEY CAPE!

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Easter at the Jersey Cape marks the reawakening and anticipation of the upcoming summer season. Event planners in the charming resorts of Cape May, the Wildwoods, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Sea Isle City, and Ocean City have curated special events that might just entice you to pack your bags and head to the Jersey Cape. While the sun-drenched days of a full-blown summer vacation are still a few months away, as winter-weary attractions open their doors, restaurants, taverns, and stores, March offers an ideal opportunity for a quick escape to the Jersey Cape. This year, March brings a delightful fusion of St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, making it a doubly festive holiday month.

Everyone is Irish on Mar. 16 at the Jersey Cape. Wear your green to parades and celebrations in North Wildwood and Sea Isle City. If your plan is to go to both parades, you can! Beginning at Noon, revelers wearing the green will parade down Atlantic Avenue beginning at 9th St. On the same day, make your way over to Sea Isle City, the parade starts at 83rd & East Landis Avenue and follows Landis to 63rd St. Sea Isle’s celebration continues with a best dressed contest and more. www.wildwoodsnj.com and www.visitsicnj.com

The place to be on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is Carney’s in Cape May. Kegs and Eggs are on the menu and brave partakers “give it a lash” in the St. Paddy’s Day Polar Plunge and 5K slated as part of a weekend of events that begins on Friday, Mar. 15. www.carneysnj.com

Staying in “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” Gillian’s Wonderland Pier will be open for the Easter Weekend, and you can be sure many of the famous Boardwalk’s eateries, shops, and other businesses will be open to accommodate visitors. On Easter Sunday, Mar. 31, come dressed in your Easter best and meet the Easter Bunny for a photo in an Ocean City Lifeguard Boat from Noon to 2 p.m. in front of the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace where a Dueling Pianos Show by The Philly Keys will begin at Noon. Don’t miss the Great Egg Hunt on Mar. 23 and again on Mar. 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at 6th to 14th Sts. along the boardwalk, stop by participating stores for treats, until supplies last. www.oceancityvacation.com

Mark your calendars for Mar. 30 for the Spring Fling Family Fun Day at Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard., and Pleasure Avenue from 1 to 3 p.m. Enjoy Spring and Easter themed fun starting with a Dress to Impress Easter Stroll, photos with the Easter Bunny, music, crafts, face painting, games and more.

In the Wildwoods, even though Morey’s amusement piers won’t be operational until later in the season, there will be plenty of shops, eateries and arcades open on the popular wooden way. On Saturday, Mar. 30, the beach at 19th Ave. in North Wildwood will be the place to be for the annual Easter Egg Hunt beginning at Noon. The Greater Wildwood Jaycees will also host an Egg Hunt on the beach beginning at Noon on the same day. After all, two Egg Hunts are better than one! www.wildwoodsnj.com

Cape May County Zoo’s Easter EGGstravaganZOO is set for Mar. 29-Apr. 7 at the zoo in Cape May Court House. Bring the whole family to one of your favorite summertime attractions and enjoy special events throughout the ten-day EGGstravaganZOO. www.cmczoo.com

In Stone Harbor, the Volunteer Fire Company will host an egg hunt on March 23, at Noon at the firehouse. In Cape May, the annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held Saturday, Mar. 30, at 11 a.m. at Convention Hall on Beach Drive, and a Fashion Stroll will be held at Rotary Park on Easter Sunday, Mar. 31, at 1 pm. www.capemaycity.com

Because Spring begins March 19, many of those visiting the Jersey Cape will be eager to get their gardens and yards ready for the coming season. You can bet that all the area’s nurseries and home stores will be stocked and ready to assist as the region dusts off its wintry shawl and prepares for the beautiful bloom of summer.

While the beaches and waterways in the region are always open, the beaches will be unprotected until Memorial Day, primarily because the ocean temperature is 50 degrees or cooler. But that doesn’t mean outdoor activities are restricted. The area’s bicycle paths, tennis and pickleball courts, wildlife management areas, and beaches are available for outdoor activities.

ROMANCE IS A SWEET REASON TO PLAN A GETAWAY

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Looking to beat the winter doldrums? Plan a quick getaway to New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region, where romance is in full swing in the month of Cupid.

February at the shore is a lot different than the peak season months, but many of the area’s accommodations remain open, and the dining options are nearly as abundant as they are in July or August. The pace is a little easier as the long lines are nonexistent and many of the large family outings with children are on hold until summer.

In 2024, Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of the week, making the Wednesday holiday a reason that the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day, or the weekend after are both appropriate for romantic celebrations. What’s more, the President’s Day weekend (Feb. 16 to 19) includes a day off for most visitors. Having that extra day means squeezing in another dinner at one of the area’s fine restaurants, spending another day at a nearby winery, or booking that couples stay at the spa that there just isn’t time for during a regular weekend.

One of the best spots for your getaway is Victorian Cape May, which has a plethora of fine dining options, nearby wineries, a beach, and plenty of other open spaces. The organization that coordinates most of the tours and events in America’s first seaside resort, Cape May MAC, even holds trolley tours of the resort every weekend in the month and is planning a Cape May WIne Trail Tour on Saturday, Feb. 17. Although there are two wineries operating in Cumberland County (Ashenfelter Vineyards in Vineland, and Cedar Rose Vineyards in Millville) Cape May County’s wineries are growing in popularity as well as quality. The Cape May Wine Trail Tour includes Jessie Creek Winery, and Natali Vineyards, both in Cape May Court House, after lunch at the Bellevue Tavern in Court House. Visit Cape May MAC for more information.

In addition to Jessie Creek and Natali, other popular wineries in the region include Cape May Winery on Townbank Road in North Cape May, Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Rio Grande, and Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May. All these facilities have indoor and outdoor options, with heated outdoor seating and cozy fire pits to help keep patrons warm.

A visit to the spa is another popular activity for visitors, and spas can be found nearby in Congress Hall, Cape May, Cape May Day Spa, and the Salt Spa at the Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor

While few people are taking their beach chairs to the beach, all the area’s beaches are accessible, and perfect for a bundled-up stroll along the strand. If you are interested in touring Cape May’s sites, in addition to the MAC tours, Cape May Carriage operates during the weekends to take patrons on romantic horse-drawn carriage rides through the resort.

If the weather permits and the great outdoors beckon, the area’s many hiking trails in state parks, wildlife management areas, and beaches are open and lack the crowds one might encounter in season.

When the sun goes down, the area’s vibrant nightlife comes alive. New Jersey’s Southern Shore is well-known for culinary excellence, and visitors will be surprised to find many of their favorite restaurants open and better than ever. Afterward, pay a visit to some of the taverns, bars, and nightclubs that Jersey Shore vacations are known for. There are many spots with live music, so maybe a little dancing can cap off a romantic evening out on the town. After all, romance never goes out of style!

Whether you are looking to book a couples’ getaway or even a girls’ weekend, look no further than the Southern Shore Region. It’s nearby, it’s open, and the local businesses are waiting to help you escape the everyday and pursue your passion.