Sea Isle City – A Hot Winter Getaway
A beach bound winter getaway may seem backward, but it can also be one of the best times to hit the shore. While areas known for snow and slopes pack in the crowds, the off season at Sea Isle City, New Jersey promises a truly relaxing vacation. It isn’t the usual cold-weather tourist spot, but that’s also what makes a trip to this unique community so enjoyable.
What started as a little fishing village well over 100 years ago is now one of the top resort cities on the Atlantic coast. Located in Cape May County, Sea Isle City sits on a barrier island known as Ludlam Island in South Jersey. The city itself was founded by Charles K. Landis in 1882. His dream of turning this town into “America’s Venice” didn’t quite work out, but that has not kept the city from booming in other aspects. With a population exceeding 100,000 during the summer months, this little town has become quite a hot spot on the Jersey shoreline.
Its year-round population, however, is only around 3,000. This may partly explain why Sea Isle is known for its hometown feel. Compared to the hustle and bustle of the peak season, life becomes very calm and serene during the winter months. For couples or families looking for some R & R, this change of pace proves to be very inviting.
Even though the business surrounding the shops and restaurants in the center of town dies down, the city does still offer a variety of off-season activities. Winter guests can enjoy events such as the Polar Bear Plunge every February, where tens of thousands of people willingly run into the frigid ocean water. For those not so keen on jumping into the icy-cold waves, they can participate in the Polar Bear Run / Walk for Autism the following Sunday. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Ocean Drive Marathon stand out as popular events which occur every March. Deep sea fishing is also offered year-round. Starfish Boats, located inside the city, offers trips for both adults and children.
As anyone who has ever vacationed there during the summer will attest, Sea Isle City boasts of many excellent food establishments. Fortunately, this is not lost on winter guests. Many favorite local restaurants, such as Cafe LaRosa, Mrs. Brizzles, and Valeries Place, remain open during the off-season. Many others stay open during select days of the week, so it’s good to check times before heading to dinner.
Without losing its small-town charm, Sea Isle City continues to offer reasons why it’s becoming a desirable off-season destination. City leaders have initiated several popular fall festivals, such as Harborfest, Irish Weekend, and Fall Family. Holiday celebrations, like the lighting of the Sea Isle City Christmas Tree and the House Lighting Program, also aim to make winter-time visitors feel like a part of the community. Thanks to the friendly feeling these events create, the laid-back atmosphere, and (of course!) the beautiful beaches, visitors will find that this summer resort town “peaks” in the winter as well.