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New Jersey Shore Travel Guide

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Cape May Lighthouse © nophun201

New Jersey's Atlantic Coast is a 130-mile (209km) stretch of quaint fishing villages, white sandy beaches and historic lighthouses from the Sandy Hook Peninsula in the north to Cape May at the southern tip, interspersed with a string of holiday resorts and characteristic boardwalks, ranging from wild and tacky amusement towns to tranquil Victorian refuges.

The northern shore has dozens of beaches as well as most of the state's 23 lighthouses, including the Sandy Hook Lighthouse overlooking New York Harbour, which is the oldest operating lighthouse in America. Miles of sand dunes and undeveloped nature form the barrier island of Island Beach State Park where swimmers, anglers and surfers can enjoy the ecologically protected environment that is almost the same as it was thousands of years ago.

The central region is home to the best-known resort on the state's Atlantic Coast, the gambling centre of Atlantic City with its famous boardwalk and casino-hotels, while exciting roller coaster rides and the drive-through Wild Safari Animal Park at the Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park in Jackson provide hours of family entertainment. Doo-Wop architecture, plastic palm trees and neon lights are the features of Wildwoods, an avid party town with boardwalk entertainment galore as well as some of the widest beaches on the Jersey coast.

In contrast the Cape May Peninsula at the southernmost tip of New Jersey between the Atlantic and Delaware Bay is primarily a nature-lovers paradise ideal for camping, fishing and hiking. Covered with thousands of acres of wetlands and natural areas, the region is considered one of the top-ten birding destinations in North America. At the very tip is the classic Victorian seaside town of Cape May, itself a National Historic Landmark featuring rows of colourful, restored Victorian homes and trolley tours.

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