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You’ll find that there’s something for everyone when you head “down the Shore” in New Jersey. In Point Pleasant Beach, you can roam through the classic Fun House or try your hand at Castaway Cove — a multi-tiered, pirate-themed shipwreck adventure mini-golf course. Travel back in time with a trip to Cape May, where the Victorian architecture makes the town look like a vintage picture postcard, and share a romantic meal of five-star coastal cuisine. For a day of classic beachside fun, there’s no place better than Ocean City, where stuffing yourself with Shriver’s taffy and Johnson’s popcorn and then riding the 141-foot Ferris wheel ranks as a rite of passage. Whichever you choose, the state’s unique boardwalk culture and welcoming community will make this a beach vacation you’ll always treasure.

Cape May

With its fanciful Victorian architecture and sparkling sand, Cape May decorates the southernmost tip of the state like an antique gemstone. Visitors drive to the end of the Garden State Parkway — basically Exit 0, for those who love to ask that old, Jersey-joshing question — and seemingly right into another era. The clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages complements the sound of soft surf in this town, an enclave reputed to be America’s oldest seaside resort. Fittingly, the entire place has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

Cape May ranks as one of the best beach spots to simply roost surfside appreciating Mother Nature’s inky, blue-green Atlantic. Or, opt to tax yourself page-flipping through a novel. Two miles of pristine, hand-raked sand await and lifeguards are on duty during summer months. However, like most New Jersey beaches, you need to purchase tags before your toes hit the sand. The beaches rarely appear over-crowded, but parking can be a beast in light of the historic nature of the town’s narrow lanes. So, ditch the car quickly and just enjoy the fact that walking around Cape May is like living inside an illustration from a vintage greeting card. Free parking at Cape May Elementary School, where shuttles whisk visitors to the beach, is another seasonal option.

Cape May’s romantic aura lures lots of couples. The beach scene skews upscale, not uptight. You won’t find a boardwalk humming with amusement rides and neon…