Romantic Shore: Stone Harbor

A quiet beach community with tasteful homes and wide beaches, Stone Harbor has a vibrant little downtown for nighttime strolls—highlighted by a stop at Springer’s, where vacationers queue up for homemade ice cream. The beaches are gorgeous, the boutique shopping abundant, and the town’s five-screen movie theater—a Shore rarity—is freshly revamped.

The Water Star Grille at the Reeds in Stone Harbor.
Sunset attracts big crowds at the Water Star Grille, one of two restaurants at the Reeds in Stone Harbor. Some come to dine; others opt for cocktails at the bar at the far end of the spacious harborside deck.
Photo by Marc Steiner

WHERE TO STAY: Few hotels on the Jersey Shore can match the Reeds at Shelter Haven (609-368-0100) for modern, luxury accommodations. The hotel—37 rooms and suites—is nicely situated downtown. That means it’s a four-block walk to the ocean. No worries; the hotel uses battery-powered carts to transport guests to the beach, where an attendant provides chairs and umbrellas—even a meditation kit. Standard guest rooms: $269-$539.

ROMANTIC EATS: Spiaggetta (609-368-9400) is a spacious downtown trattoria with authentic regional Italian fare, including handmade pasta. It’s BYO. Jay’s on Third (609-368-1000) has been a local favorite for upscale dining for more than a decade. For good food and great sunsets, you can’t beat Water Star Grille (609-368-0100) at the Reeds. For funkier fun, try Quahog’s Seafood Shack (609-368-6300). Breakfast means a stroll to Coffee Talk (609-368-5282) for your wake-up drink of choice and fresh baked goods.

WHAT TO DO: The wide avenues of Seven Mile Island are ideal for bicycling. Rent a cruiser, tandem or trike at Harbor Bike & Beach Shop (609-368-3691). For an adventure on the water, sign up for a back-bay birding cruise with Salt Marsh Safari (609-884-3100). Numerous kayak and stand-up paddling tours of the back bay are also available.

ALTERNATIVE VENUES: For a stay directly on the beach, choose between the two large, waterfront hotels in Avalon: the newly revamped Icona Golden Inn or the neighboring Windrift.

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