Who’s Best on the Beach?

Jersey Shore lobbyists start your engines: The annual best beaches survey is about to begin.

Last year, the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant and Richard Stockton College Coastal Research Center introduced a best beaches survey online. Wildwood took the top spot, though town officials swear they did little to sway voters.

“The only thing we did last year is send out an email to our email database, just alerting them of the contest, and it mushroomed from there,” says Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for the Wildwoods (a.k.a Mr. Wildwood). Rose was giddy when Wildwood was announced as the winner last May. He bounced around his office like a man who’d just won the lottery.

The poll gave Wildwood bragging rights—and news crews swarmed the boardwalk to do stories on the beach. That’s not bad for a town that’s generally viewed as a destination for teen celebrations and after-prom parties, not to mention being home to some of the raunchiest t-shirt shops in the tri-state area.

“I think the people that come to the Wildwoods have a real personal feeling for the Wildwoods. Generations come down year after year and they just feel that this is their summer vacation spot,” says Rose.

Based on how much media attention the Wildwoods got for their win last year, we can expect to see some serious lobbying by other towns to take away Wildwood’s brass ring—especially when the bad economy is threatening to affect tourism dollars.

Voting runs through May 1 at njtoptenbeaches.org. Winners will be announced on May 26.

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