Day Trip: Margate

Home to Lucy the Elephant—and more.

Margate might not be as flashy as Atlantic City, its northern neighbor on Absecon Island, but this quaint Shore town offers plenty to see and do.

Dine Time: Margate has a flourishing dining scene, from the tried-and-true Tomatoes and La Fontana, to the newer BYO kids on the block like Manna and Dune. For pub grub with a view, try Ventura’s Greenhouse, which is next to Lucy the Elephant (more about her in a moment). Looking for the jeans and t-shirt bar crowd? Maynard’s is a year-round favorite. Whatever you do, you must stop in at Downbeach Deli at some point on your visit. The bagels are out of this world. They have a special kosher section on the menu, too.

Stop & Shop: Whether you surf or want to look like you surf, check out Heritage Surf & Sport, which stocks beach fashions for men and women. To spoil the wee ones, visit Kidrageous, which carries name brands in pint sizes. Need beach reading? Stop in at Island Half Price Books. The name says it all. And if you have to get a gift for that person who has absolutely everything, add Paper Chase to your list of must-visit spots. The selection is eclectic, and fun.

Get Wet: Of course, Margate has a beach. It’s down the Shore, after all. Beach tags cost $15 starting in June 1 ($7 if you can grab one in May) and are needed for everyone 12 and older from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Want to skip the badge fee? Visit on a Thursday when no tags are required. The Margate Business Association sponsors a “Thrilling Thursdays” program that makes the beach free one day a week in the summer. Margate’s website has a listing of lifeguard-protected beaches (and bathroom locations).

Don’t Miss Lucy: A trip to Margate is not complete without a visit to Lucy. She was built in 1882 to attract real estate developers—a plan that obviously worked. This 65-foot elephant has been a hotel, a bar, a summer home, and what she is today: a tourist attraction. May to mid-June, she’s open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday and Sunday. Mid-June through Labor Day, she’s open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for kids under 12, and free for kids under 2.

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