Avon by the Sea is an Island of Tranquility in New Jersey

Surrounded by water on three sides, Avon by the Sea offers a true slice of heaven. The beautiful Atlantic Ocean on the east is, of course, the focal point of most visitors to Avon by the Sea, but the Shark River Inlet on the south and Sylvan Lake to the north each add a special touch to this lovely Victorian town.

Swimming in the rolling waves and stretching out on beautiful sugar soft sand is enough for most people, but for a change of pace, many like to stroll the lake and watch the resident swan and ducks, or hang out on the jetty to fish or just watch the boats head out through the Ocean Avenue bridge to the ocean.

Pick a beach, any beach

Avon beach goers each have their favorite "beach", which just means the entrance that you use to get on. Obviously, each east-west bound street "ends" at the beach, so that area of the beach takes its name from the street.

You can be sure to see the same crowd day after day or weekend after weekend if you find a similar spot each time you visit.

Young mothers, for example, seem to love to gather at the Washington Avenue beach. The small eddying pond that forms inside of the jetty gives the little ones a naturally warm, shallow area to play and dig in. You'll usually see a circle of mommies, eyes riveted on the kiddies and ears perked for juicy gossip, close to the edge of the water. It's also fun to take the kids by the jetty to watch the Ocean Avenue bridge over the Shark River Inlet open up to let the big head boats out; they can wave to the captains or the fishermen as they float by. Teens, on the other hand, like to be near Avon Pavilion restaurant and the snack bar, so they gravitate towards the Norwood Avenue beach.

Where to eat in Avon by the Sea

Avon's boardwalk is very non commercial, with a small restaurant, the Avon Pavilion (which was completely destroyed and then rebuilt after Sandy), with its "back door" snack bar, ice cream is a big attraction, so there is always a line. Most everyone on the beach can just walk home for lunch or just tote along sandwiches anyway, so usually ice cream is the big treat on the boardwalk. The restaurant section of the Avon Pavilion serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and "BYOB" is no problem. Plus, within a short distance from the beach, there are plenty of pizza joints, a very sweet "tea room" and, directly across the street from the beach, with its wide wrap around porch overlooking the beach scene, is the wonderful Columns, a popular restaurant and bar. Head a little further from the beach (don't forget, Avon is only one square mile) and you have a really great choice of restaurants, especially considering the size of this town. Daniel's Bistro is taking the town by storm, and Bedrock Café, a restaurant with a low key atmosphere and fabulous food is a BYOB spot that is a big hit among the locals, especially for their daily specials. Eclectic Clemetine's serves great cajun and creole, but you can keep it simple with their American dishes if you like.

Once you are on Main Street, you may as well stroll over to the Macaroon Shop for some of their delectable treats, or you may decide to try some dishes served up with old world charm at Schneider's.

Remember, since Avon by the Sea is only one square mile in total, it's a short stroll or bike ride to either!

With Bradley Beach and Belmar right next door, you really don't have to worry about choice in restaurants. These two towns cover the international gamut of culinary delights, from Asian fusion to lots of great Italian spot to sushi to Cajun. But for such a small town, Avon has some pretty decent party spots in the Columns and the Norwood Inn. If you are around Labor Day weekend, the farewell to summer at the Norwood is not to be missed.

Where to stay

In keeping with the Victorian atmosphere of Avon by the Sea, there are plenty of lovely Bed and Breakfasts to choose from, and since the town is so small, you can walk from any of them to the beach. Which is what you will want to do, since once you find a parking spot, you do not want to give it up. Parking is expanded during the summer by allowing cars to park "nose in", but it is still at a premium, so most people carry their stuff the few blocks to the beach.

Like many shore towns, there are a number of homes for rent in the town, and real estate agents are usually recommend that summer rentals be booked the year before. As a matter of fact, some families rent the same house year after year. Since the business areas of Northern New Jersey and New York are conveniently reached by train, bus or car, families can enjoy extended vacations while Dad commutes. With the current tight economy, however, it looks as though rentals will be easier to obtain.

For a perfect relaxing getaway, with very little need to spend money on gas to get around, Avon by the Sea is an ideal vacation spot. In a small town like this, you get to see the same faces all the time. Spend the day at the Washington Avenue beach and then have dinner at the Columns and drinks at the Norwood. Do that a few times and before you know it, you will be friends with the whole town!

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