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Travel & Outdoors

Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

June 30, 2012 12:25 AM

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Photo Credit: Windrift Hotel/Facebook

Photo Credit: Windrift Hotel/Facebook

An upscale beach town at the southern end of the Jersey Shore, Avalon, N.J., can only be viewed as an island paradise. With multi-million dollar vacation homes lining its coastline, high-class shops and trendy restaurants, locals joke that it’s the only place on the southern shore where diamonds dangle from women’s bikinis. While that may be an overstatement, the affluent summer resort town attracts thousands of visitors each year for its relaxing, family atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings. A vibrant nightlife, uncrowded white-sand beaches and plenty of activities make it a place you’ll want to come back to year after year.

getaway philly to avalon Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: MapQuest

Getting There

Sans traffic, the trip from Philadelphia to Avalon should be an easy drive across the Atlantic City Expressway, down the Garden State Parkway and a quick hop off Exit 13 onto Avalon Boulevard. What should be a 1.5-hour ride often turns into a three-hour bottleneck in the summer. On the drive home, the parkway becomes more like a parking lot than a thoroughfare after 11 a.m. on Sundays and holidays, the checkout time for most of the southern shore’s hotels and rental homes. To avoid long car rides, avoid peak hours and days.

For exact directions from your front door go to MapQuest.com.

What to Do

the princeton Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: princetonbar.com

The Princeton
2008 Dune Dr.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 967-3456
www.princetonbar.com

Sleepy Avalon comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights as clubs along 21st Street crank out the tunes. The Princeton’s Rock Room, a weekends-only, open-air venue, literally rocks with 20-somethings dancing to favorite local bands. For the more sedate partygoers, The Princeton offers a nightly grill, pub, tavern and outdoor deck. The establishment even provides a door-to-door shuttle service within town for those who party a little too hard. You may also drink and dance the night away at the Whitebriar’s Mermaid Inn, another venue on 21st Street that delivers live music every Friday and Saturday night.

pirate island golf Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: pirateislandgolf.com

Pirate Island Golf
2738 Dune Dr.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 368-8344
www.pirateislandgolf.com

Price: $10

Pirate Island Golf is a great way to connect with friends and family. You can’t miss the battle-worn, wooden pirate ship as its sails hulk over Dune Drive. Once inside the grounds, explore the 18-hole course with its animated pirates, waterfalls and hanging rope bridges. Expect a surprise at the final hole: depending on the putt, patrons either get a ticket for a free game or a spray of water in the chest.

librarie Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Avalon Free Public Library
235 32nd St.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 967-7155
www.avalonfreelibrary.org

Price: free for Cape May County residents and Avalon homeowners/$20 for visitors

When the weather outside is cloudy, don’t despair. There’s more to do in Avalon than soak in the sun and splash in the surf.  Head over to the Avalon Library. The library has an enormous collection of TV, movie, documentary, comedy and animated DVDs. For a nominal $20 seasonal fee, visitors may rent all the latest releases for the whole summer. A full schedule of lectures, programs and classes are available for all age groups, including ballroom dancing, kayaking, Italian and magic workshops.

Related: Road Trip Rules

Where to Eat

sea grill restaurant Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: seagrillrestaurant.com

Sea Grill

225 21st St.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 967-5511

www.seagrillrestaurant.com

The Sea Grill is not your run-of-the-mill restaurant. Order your dinner directly from the chef, then relax with an award-winning wine and self-made salad as the chef creates what you want how you want it. The steak and seafood menu is pricey, but you won’t find tastier prime rib, scallops, shrimp and flounder anywhere. Enjoy a fresh salad bar, fun local art and delicious house-made drinks for a perfect night out on the town in Avalon.

bobby dees rockn chair Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: rocknchair.net

Bobby Dee’s Rock ‘N Chair
2409 Dune Dr.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 967-3300
www.rocknchair.net

For the more casual crowd, Bobby Dee’s Rock ‘N Chair is a year-round eatery that offers great food for a family-friendly price. You’ll find loads of locals at the Rock ‘N Chair, as they affectionately call it, ready to chow down on everything from brick-oven pizza and burgers to chicken parmigiana, crab cakes and veal calzone. Starting from $7, children can get their fill of grilled cheese, chicken tenders or spaghetti from the kids’ menu. Just leave room for Chef Francesco Buto’s scrumptious homemade desserts.

Where to Stay

concord suites Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: concordsuites.com

Concord Suites
7800 Dune Dr.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 368-7800
www.concordsuites.com

Price: $95 to $249 per night

The majority of Avalon’s hotels are clustered at the southern end of town at the Stone Harbor border. One of the most family-friendly, the Concord Suites, is located just steps to the Atlantic Ocean, a skateboard park and two playgrounds. Each comfortable suite in the hotel accommodates up to six people and comes equipped with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs and free wireless Internet access. With two swimming pools, two kiddie pools, a free DVD movie library and complimentary beach tags, you’ll never want to leave.

windrift hotel facebook Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Photo Credit: Windrift Hotel/Facebook

Windrift Hotel
125 80th St.
Avalon, NJ 08202
(609) 368-5175
www.windrifthotel.com

Price: $125 to $425 per night

The Windrift Hotel is across Dune Drive from the Concord, directly on the beachfront. Most of its 91 units have spectacular pool or ocean views. In addition to its luxurious accommodations, the Windrift is a hot spot for dining and partying. With a sushi and oyster bar, seaside dining room, cocktail lounge, beach bar, outside restaurant and tiki bar, locals and vacationers alike line up along 80th Street to get in the doors on steamy summer evenings. Live bands, dancing and Tuesday wing nights draw in especially large crowds.

Golden Inn
Oceanfront at 78th St.
Avalon, NJ 08202
http://www.goldeninn.com

Price: $240 to $510 per night for standard rooms, oceanfront and one-bedrooms for $505 per night

Located just steps from the beach, the Golden Inn has been catering to vacation-goers for half a century. There are 154 guest rooms, many of which have great views. There are also numerous dining options, including the Seaglass Restaurant, Luigi’s Pasta & Vino and the Beach Club, a more casual spot. And from Girlfriends Weekends to Wine Escapes, the Golden Inn probably offers a special package you’d love to test. Contact them for more information.

Related: Top One-Tank Trips for Spring

 Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip To Avalon

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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