Ocean City named NJ's best beach

May 19, 2009 11:00:21 AM PDT
Ocean City, a.k.a. "America's Greatest Family Resort," has a new title: New Jersey's best beach. The Cape May County resort topped this year's list of best beaches as determined by voters and coastal scientists.

The city's eight-mile beach has long been among New Jersey's most popular, and the fact that alcohol is not sold in town helps attract those looking for a more peaceful vacation.

"It's a great place for families," said Jim Madden, a Pennsylvania Catholic school teacher who visited it Monday with several students and their parents. "We came here with our children, and now with our grandchildren. You can go on the sand and in the water and it's not wild like some places."

Katie DeMedio, an 11-year-old from Plymouth Meeting, Pa., likes Ocean City because the boardwalk includes her favorite doll shop right near the sand. Her 13-year-old brother, Joey, is enraptured by thick-cut potato fries sold on the boardwalk.

The boardwalk itself was in the news recently, with environmentalists decrying the city's on-again, off-again decision to use Brazilian rainforest wood to repair sections of it. Some of the wood eventually was used, and the city had to pay a Baltimore lumber yard nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit over a broken contract for the rest of the wood.

It has two Ferris wheels visible for miles, a music pier and a fishing pier, and huge planters of pink and purple petunias every so often.

Votes had been coming in since February. The runner-up was Long Beach Island (its six municipalities were judged as a single entry). The rest of the top 10: Wildwood (last year's top winner); Wildwood Crest; Asbury Park; North Wildwood; Cape May; Seaside Heights; Sea Isle City; and Avalon.

The shore came through the mild winter in good shape, according to studies of New Jersey's 127-mile coastline. Two fall storms, on Oct. 19 and Nov. 15, came during low tides and did not cause serious erosion. A March 2 storm brought higher waves, but also at low tide.

The competition was part of the seventh annual State of the Shore Report put together by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant and Stevens Institute of Technology.

In addition to the popular vote, beaches were evaluated on scientific criteria including width of the beach, its slope to the water's edge and average wave height.


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