Island Hopping

Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast favorites, and relaxing rituals. Yet with its six hundred and twenty square-mile span, this Jersey shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? BLAST! is here with our fourth edition of Complete Island Hopping, our map of suggestions for a great week of Cape May County fun.

Nearly all Cape May County residents and locals are familiar with the name “Uncle Bill’s” and the promises of great-value breakfast specialties that this restaurant legacy carries with it. Hit the Wildwood, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Strathmere, Ocean City, Cape May, or North Cape May location nearest you for a hardy breakfast dish that has been perfected over the 50-year Uncle Bill’s lifespan. Be sure to also stop by in the afternoon hours to sample their equally delicious lunch options. From the Turkey Club to the Surf & Turf Burger and the Sombrero Taco Salad to the Tuna Melt, Uncle Bill’s lunch menu offers the best-value variety in the area.

Next, explore the beach with the help of a Cape Nature Center of Cape May professional on the Beachcombing at the Cove tour on Saturday mornings. For only $10 for adults and $5 for children, the professional naturalist will identify dune and sand discoveries.

Take a break from the sand at Morey’s Piers of the Wildwood Boardwalk. Experience the thrill of the Jersey Shore’s biggest coasters and cool down at one of Morey’s sprawling water parks. For the brave, we recommend a ride on the fierce Sea Serpent. Try not to scream as the Serpent takes you through its twisting loops first facing forward and then entirely backwards! For a quick family meal, hit the recently opened Crab House at Two Mile Landing and check out their brand new deck. Be sure to ask about the all-you-can-eat Blue Claw Crab Special…

Elsewhere in Wildwood, Red Oak Restaurant serves the most extensive buffet at the Jersey Shore. Can’t decide on just one type of dinner cuisine? Red Oak is the perfect choice. Sample their fresh, steaming mussels and their homemade macaroni and cheese all in the same meal. At Red Oak, comfort food and fine dining combine for the most varied dining experience in the county.

For a spicy kick, make Bandanas Mexican Grille of Wildwood Crest your first choice. Whether you’re craving a fabulous chicken and bacon quesadilla, fish tacos, or filet mignon fajitas, you’re sure to discover that Bandanas is “Nacho Average Place”. Their marinades, sauces, and salsas are prepared daily from scratch, using the finest seasonal produce available. Take creative control of your dinner at Bandanas’ “Build Your Own” Burrito Bar. With its always buzzing Tiki Topz Bar, Flip Flopz is the number one post-dinner hotspot. Located in the heart of North Wildwood’s entertainment district, Flip Flopz has become a favorite nightlife hub for the young and the old. DJ entertainment keeps the house rocking Thursday through Sunday from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Make the next morning tee time with a colorful game of mini golf at Duffer’s of Pacific Avenue in Wildwood. Duffer’s unique mini golf course features its very own pseudo-town lining the side of the course and featuring its own talking storks. Come see what these feathered fellows have to say or go for the hole-in-one on the massive shipwreck hole. For the more traditional golfer, Avalon Golf Club features an 18-hole layout that keeps the game interesting for players of all skill levels. Test your drive on Avalon’s specialty holes and take in the beauty of the course’s eight natural lakes.

Post-match happy hour calls for only the “best in the Crest” at Bayview Waterfront Restaurant and Bar. From 4-6 p.m., grab dinner and a drink with reduced drink prices and their World Famous Buffalo Wings. For dinner, hit the fresh fish market at Tonio’s Seafood Shack and grab the freshest catch of the day for a patio dinner. Not feeling up to the challenge of chef? Let Tonio’s do the work and take a seat at the outdoor patio or the indoor dining room. “Seafood is better at the Shack…”

If you fancy a night of fine dining, Marie Nicole’s of Wildwood Crest offers a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Take a seat in their intimate dining room or relish the summer breeze on the terrace. Voted “Best of the Shore” by both Philadelphia Magazine and South Jersey Magazine and eight year recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Marie Nicole’s is a must while at the shore. Begin with a choice from their extensive wine list or a specialty martini and be sure to consider the fresh options on this season’s brand new Raw Bar menu.

Grab a friend and hit the waves in a new way the next morning in a two-person kayak at Lakeview Docks of Wildwood Crest. The helpful Lakeview staff gets you ready to paddle and set you up for a serene kayaking experience on their scenic waters.

Make the post-boating evening an Italian appreciation night! At Nino’s Family Restaurant, with both North Wildwood and Cape May Court House, Chef Antonio’s homemade red sauce and light creamy white wine sauce bring the cuisines of Northern and Southern Italy together under one roof. At La Piazza Cucina Italiana in Wildwood, owner Joey M. combines his passion for cooking and singing for a unique Italian dining experience. Enjoy the All You Can Eat Pasta special for $9.95 on Sundays or the new Lite Fare Menu served at the bar.

By Megan Kummer