There’s no thinking twice about putting Avalon on a travel itinerary to Cape May County on the southwestern coast of New Jersey.
Incorporated as a borough in 1892, Avalon has emerged as a blooming family beach resort town since the early 1900s.
Avalon, with an area of 13.1 square kilometers, occupies the larger northern side of Seven Mile Island, with the smaller borough of Stone Harbor occupying the island’s southern end.
As could be expected, Avalon has consistently won travel awards for its great beaches.
The Philadelphia Magazine has cited the borough as one top summer vacation spots in the New Jersey area.
Avalon has meticulously preserved the "high dunes" of its coastline over the years.
These dunes not only create a beautiful natural setting for the borough’s beaches but also shield them from storm erosion.
Besides these coastal attractions, the borough for sure has so much more to offer.
Check out some of them on this list of things to do in Avalon.
Take a Stroll at the Scenic Avalon Jetty
This picturesque jetty is accessible from the eastern terminus of 8th Street on the northernmost side of Avalon.
It stretches for about a quarter-mile along the coast, allowing expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as distant glimpses of the skyline of Atlantic City toward the north.
Amid the pleasant scent of salt air, you can also appreciate the view of the entire stretch of Seven Mile Beach south to the borough of Stone Harbor.
The jetty is wide, and of robust construction, so you don’t have to worry about stumbling along the path.
Summer is the best time to visit the jetty, with the temperature warmer and the ocean calmer.
At this time of the year, the jetty is also an ideal place for fishing and birdwatching.
Explore the Avalon Dune and Beach Trail
This trail is accessible via 48th Street and Dune Drive, stretching for just 1.1 miles.
It offers a rare glimpse at the maritime forests and dune trails that dominated the barrier islands of the mid-Atlantic before their European settlement.
Try to arrange an interpretive walk of this trail with a naturalist to fully appreciate this rare remnant of extensive dune complexes.
The Avalon Dune and Beach Trail traverses both saltwater and freshwater environments harboring a vast spectrum of vegetation.
From the interior, you will encounter tall and hardy forest trees progressing through stunted and shorter varieties.
Eventually, the terrain yields to shrubs and grasses onward the dunes and drifting sands by the beach.
Enjoy the Seven Mile Beach
With a beach tag bought from Community Hall on 30th Street and Avalon Avenue, you can enjoy many water-based fun activities on this quiet beach with fine white sands.
Some parts of this beach are open for surfing, as well as the use of inflatable objects like rafts.
Besides surfing, swimming, and sunbathing, visitors of Seven Mile Beach can also go boating, sailing, paddle boarding, wave running, kayaking, and water-skiing on their assigned parts of the beach.
Surf fishing is also allowed on the beach between 40th Street and 60th Street, except on spots near lifeguard stands.
Notably, members of the Avalon Beach Patrol help secure the area of Seven Mile Beach.
This beach also provides free public parking, restrooms, and ADA-friendly access paths.
Fish at 8th Street Fishing Pier
Inshore fishing while visiting Avalon is convenient at the 8th Street Pier near the Commodore Bay Marina.
From the vantage point of this pier, a family on an outing can easily cast a line and already have a chance to catch various fish species.
Some of the prized catches storied from this pier include ray and sea Robbin.
Other Avalon fishing tales from this spot include small and large yields of Dogshark,
Black Sea Bass, Oyster Toadfish, Winter Flounder, and Summer Flounder.
Tour the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary
This avian preserve spreads on the block of 111th Street–117th wedged between 2nd and 3rdAvenues in Stone Harbor.
It offers four paths for visitors to appreciate the variety of birds in its fold.
One of these is the Heron Overlook Path, with saltwater wetlands serving as a feeding area for egrets and herons.
The sanctuary has another attraction in the Meadow Walk Path, straddling freshwater and saltwater marshes that draw feeding Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons.
This birds’ haven also boasts an Egret Espy Path where you can see migrating songbirds, colonial wading birds, Green Herons, and large, colorful dragonflies.
Then, there’s the Holly Path meandering across ancient dunes rare Maritime Forest where Black-crowned Night Herons can be found.
Have Fun in Avalon’s Parks and Recreation Centers
Avalon offers more recreational venues besides its Seven Mile Beach, and many of these are available at the borough’s Recreation Field Complex.
This facility sprawls on 8th–12thStreet and Dune Drive, featuring facilities for baseball, softball, tennis, and basketball, as well as a picnic shelter.
Near these facilities, Avalon also boasts a large playground on its Grace Murray O’Brien Park and Gardens on 8thStreet and Dune Drive.
Avalon playing courts for tennis, basketball, and bocce are likewise available at the borough’s 39th Street Recreation Complex.
The borough, in addition, has developed a playground at the Avalon Surfside Park, which also features a grassy play area in the center of the facility.
Located on Avalon Avenue near the Community Hall, this park also has changing rooms and rinsing areas for beachgoers who can conveniently access them via a boardwalk.
Boat into Commodore Bay Marina
Visitors arriving by boat in Avalon can reserve a slip at the Commodore Bay Marina, which features 110 full-finger slips ranging from 20 feet to 105 feet.
The marina’s onsite facilities include climate-controlled restrooms and showers, a picnic area with gas grills, bike racks, a fish-cleaning station, and free Wi-Fi.
Located on Ocean Drive, Commodore Bay Marina also provides concierge services.
Seasonal boat slip rental is also available at Avalon Bay Park Marina on 54th street corner Ocean Drive.
The Avalon Bay Park Marina likewise maintains public access to ramps for launching canoes and kayaks.
All told, Avalon maintains nine public docks that allow access to fishing, crabbing, and nature observation.
Go for a Bluefin with Tiburon Sportsfishing
At Avalon, a deep-ocean fishing charter can be booked at Tiburon Sportsfishing on Ocean Drive.
This boat charter provides its vessel Swordfish Tiburon, a 50-foot Ocean Yachts Super Sport.
It will take you to the deep blue sea trolling for its namesake swordfish, as well as Bluefin tuna, wahoo, and marlin.
This 825-hp watercraft is well-equipped for deep-sea sports fishing, capable of 27 knots cruise speed and 33 knots top speed.
Its 123-square-foot cockpit features mezzanine-style seating and a six-rod Release Marine rocket launcher.
The boat provides complete comfort with its three staterooms, two bathrooms, climate-controlled interior, salon seating, well-equipped galley, and satellite.
On top of this, the vessel’s skipper, Captain Frank (F.X.) Masse has over 30 years of experience fishing in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Dine and Dance at Dune Drive
Head out for a night of dining and dancing at a unique combo of restaurants, pubs, and grills on the western block of 20th Street and 21stStreet along Dune Drive.
The destinations in this quadrant include The Princeton Bar & Grill, The Circle Tavern, and The Sea Grill, among the go-to spots for locals and visitors of Avalon alike.
These three exude a casual and hip dining ambiance, offering steak and seafood prepared with the freshest ingredients.
Their guests have a choice of outside seating as well as enjoying drinks and dancing to DJ music at their lively bars inside.
Visit the Avalon History Center
Located on 39th Street as part of the Avalon Free Public Library, this facility holds the artifacts collected by the Avalon Historical Society.
A circa-1925 lifeboat is but one of the interesting museum pieces displayed at the Avalon History Center.
It also features many striking photographs like Avalon’s vintage water tank shaped like a rubber duck.
Another historical image in the Avalon History Center is an 1890s photo featuring the "Avalon Girl" promoting the fledgling Seven Mile Island beach.
The center also hosts informative historical lectures, an Olde House Tour, musical performances, rotating exhibits, and a clamshell pitching competition.
In the center’s monthly “Teatime,” visitors also have the opportunity to share stories from the past of Avalon and its neighboring communities.
Experience Gastropub Dining at Avalon Brew Pub
This beachfront dining destination on 9thStreet offers chicken wings, burgers, fries, and other gastropub classics.
With options on outdoor and indoor seating, Avalon Brew Pub provides a casual but upscale atmosphere.
Other food fares that win patrons for this restaurant include its fish tacos, crab cake sandwich, and chicken breast with Brussel sprouts.
Its in-house brews banner the beers served at Avalon Brew Pub.
For a West-Coast-style India Pale Ale, try its brew We Don’t Play IPA, with a very deep malt base and hop flavor plus a citrus aftertaste.
Visit the Stone Harbor Museum
Located on 2nd Avenue in Stone Harbor, this museum opened in 1999 and has trained volunteer docents to guide its visitors.
The Stone Harbor Museum’s collections include recordings of oral histories that will take you back to the 1930s.
The museum also keeps a large collection of binders containing vintage photographs and stories about Seven Mile Island’s past.
One striking memento in the museum can be found in its Timeline that takes visitors back to the time when buying a $100 bond is bundled with a free lot.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Pay a Visit to the Museum of Cape May County
This museum is located on North Route 9, Cape May Court House, about 7 miles east of Avalon.
The collections of the Museum of Cape May County are housed in three historic buildings.
A complete tour of this museum will let you into a 1704 Colonial period home and its 1830 Federal period addition.
The museum tour will likewise take you to a carriage shed and a 1780 barn providing a fascinating glimpse at how living in the county evolved over the years.
Overall, the museum presents a treasure trove of exhibits showcasing county life from Native American times through the 21st Century.
Founded in 1927, The Museum of Cape May County has been a leading advocate for the acquisition, display, and preservation of local history.
With its rotating exhibits, guided tours, special events, and lectures, the museum offers something for everyone, including children.
Serious historians, in particular, will appreciate the genealogical and research library of this museum.
Aim for Par 71 at Avalon Golf Club
This namesake golf club of the Avalon borough nestles in Middle Township between Ocean City and Wildwood.
Located about 6 miles northwest of the Avalon borough, the Avalon Golf Club offers a par 71 course playable in four distances to match the varying skills and abilities of golfers.
The shortest round in this course is from its Red Tees, which run for 4,924 yards, while the longest is from the blue tees at 6,235 yards.
The other choices of players at the Avalon Golf Club are its White Tees with 5,896 yards and the Gold Tees at 5,239 yards.
At these layouts, players have to contend with narrow fairways, abundant water hazards, and tricky winds, the course’s most prominent challenge.
Beautiful and well-kept, this course has a 70.7 rating and has a 122 slope rating on Rye grass.
Go from Tree to Tree
Aptly named Tree to Tree, this adventure sports center is located on US 9, Cape May Court House, about 6 miles southeast of Avalon.
This sports center’s Treetop Adventure Courses were developed with a Zipline Course Combo.
The adventure sessions in Tree to Tree include two hours for players from age 10 and up, including three Adventure Courses plus the Zipline Course.
There is also an option to just try the best of both worlds with a combo ticket for an adventure course and zipline-only course.
Participants ages 10 and up who meet the center’s reach requirement will navigate through a series of aerial obstacles going progressively difficult.
Barrel crawl, wall climbing, rope swings, wobbly bridges, and cargo nets are some samples of what you will encounter at varying heights above ground.
Tree to Tree has a ground patrol staff to encourage players, offer tips, and, if necessary, provide assistance.
Avalon, without doubt, is among the best beach resort town to visit on the coast of New Jersey.
It hugs most of the pristine coastal area of Seven Mile Beach, and many other points of interest have been developed to complement this wonderful stretch.
Mix in some of Cape May County’s attractions near Avalon, and for certain, a visit to this borough would be so enjoyable.