Island Hopping: July 22 to July 28

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 620-square-mile span, this Jersey Shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? We’re here with our sixth edition of Island Hopping, offering our map of suggestions of where to “do the shore” for a great week of Cape May County fun.

Cure your morning hunger at Jack’s Shack in Stone Harbor! Open daily at 8 a.m., Jack’s Shack offers a menu full of breakfast specialties so everyone in your group can find something they love. Go for a classic like French toast or pancakes, or opt for something unique such as the crab, spinach and cheese omelet or the fiesta wrap! Try Jack’s Shack’s new online ordering to make your vacation that much more relaxing. Although delivery is not available, you may pick up your items 30 to 40 minutes after ordering. Log on to the website to see a full menu or stop by the physical location, conveniently situated in the heart of the 96th Street shopping district at the Harbor Square Mall.

Whether you want to grab and go or enjoy a relaxing meal, Donna’s Place is another great breakfast option in Stone Harbor. From 7 a.m., stop by Donna’s to indulge in the delicious menu of breakfast items. Serving eggs, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, French toast and sides such as bacon, sausage and pork roll, you will surely leave with a filled appetite to get your day going. Don’t forget to order bakery items to take with you, such as croissants, muffins, Danishes, donuts and much more!

Instead of hitting the beach after breakfast, try a morning at the Cape May County Park & Zoo. Bring the whole family and explore! Besides the many exotic and native animals, the zoo has a large playground, picnic area, gift shop, carousel and rock climbing wall. Bring your bikes and take a ride on one of the bike paths, or hike on one of the trails in the park. Admission to the zoo is completely free but donations are always welcome!

After a morning of adventure at the zoo, hop on over to Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille in Cape May for unbeatable oceanfront dining, a panoramic patio bar, an extensive collection of beer, wine and cocktails, and delectable cuisine. Unwind with a cool drink such as the popular and fresh orange crush, and choose from a menu full of salads, sandwiches, seafood and more for lunch.

Why stop there? Head just a mile down Beach Avenue to the Rusty Nail in Cape May to keep your afternoon fun going! “The Nail,” as it’s known by the locals, invites everyone, both young and old, to stop in and grab a cocktail from the longest bar in Cape May. Even your furry friends are welcome! Dine outside and check out The Nail’s full doggie menu. If you’re still hungry, try The Nail’s beach blanket comfort food, or wrap it up to go and save it for later!

Take a break from the sun at the Avalon Free Public Library. With free and open access to first class collections, you can find your next beach read! Check out the Avalon Free Public Library’s online calendar to find many free events for the whole family!

When dinnertime rolls around, experience an Italian meal from the heart at Joey M’s La Piazza Cucina Italiana in Wildwood. This restaurant offers some simple dishes for the simple palate, or the team of chefs can cook you up some exotic dishes for the exotic palate. Whatever you choose, the chefs will make you feel right at home like you are part of la famiglia. Cooking isn’t the only passion of Joey M’s – you may even get to hear him sing over your supper!

For a different flavor, Tisha’s Fine Dining in Cape May offers a taste of traditional new American cuisine. Located on the Washington Street Mall, Tisha’s has established itself as an excellent destination for dinner. A variety of dishes on Tisha’s menu perfectly marry the “home cooking” and fine dining styles. Enjoy your dinner in one of two beautiful dining rooms with a fresh, modern look, or on one of two unique patio-dining areas that are pet-friendly.

You can’t go wrong with some after-dinner cocktails at The Wharf, your “Hideaway on the Waterway.” Outside on the deck, which overlooks Otten’s Harbor on the Intracoastal Waterway, you can witness one of the most beautiful sunsets that you will ever see while sipping on one of The Wharf’s specialty drinks. Try the Voodoo Juice, full of fruity rums and juices and served in a souvenir “Voodoo Bucket.” The sounds of the best local bands including The Sindi Raymond Band, The Juliano Brothers, Animal House, Stellar Mojo and more often heat up the deck in the evenings, so stick around!

End your day of island hopping at Mulligan’s Shore Bar and Grill in Wildwood. This coastal-themed bar and restaurant is beautifully decorated with everything including surfboards, fish, life preservers and lighthouses. The burgundy palm leaf and hardwood tables are even more beautiful when topped with a fruity cocktail such as the “Mullitini,” a secret family recipe you’re sure to enjoy, and the perfect way to relax after a long day out and about in Cape May County.

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