By Kim Glovas
OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium has released its list of the top ten beaches in the state.
The Wildwoods has won the “best beach in New Jersey” survey for the fourth time in five years. But the survey is being called “cockamamie” by Mark Soifer, who is the public information officer for nearby Ocean City, which came in second.
The Wildwoods that won include all three shore towns with the word “Wildwood” in their name: Wildwood Crest, North Wildwood, and regular ol’ Wildwood.
Soifer says that would be like lumping Ocean City with two other towns, and then voting. He thinks The Wildwoods gets more votes because it’s really three distinct towns.
He believes the money spent on what he calls a “popularity contest” would be better spent promoting the whole South Jersey shoreline.
He also says that Ocean City has a real feather in its cap because it was voted best “family resort” in the state by the Travel Channel.
Grace Hanlon, of New Jersey’s travel and tourism division, defends the poll.
“I think it’s fun. I really think it’s a good opportunity to the beaches to have exposure, to be on the list,” she said today. “To have people going to the web site and having Jersey shore beaches on their minds is a good thing.”
And Hanlon says the survey has become a very personal issue for a lot of people.
“They had a real increase in voters — it went from about 12,000 people who voted last year to about 40,000 this year. So this is a real reflection about how people feel about the beaches in New Jersey when they are choosing their favorite.”
The other seven towns in the Sea Grant Consortium’s top ten list (starting at #3) are six towns on Long Beach Island, Sea Isle, Belmar, Cape May, Manasquan, Island Beach State Park, Sandy Hook, and Seaside Heights.