Originally named “Corson’s Inlet” for the body of water hugging the northern shores of the barrier island it sits upon, Strathmere is a tiny unincorporated community that shares its island home with Sea Isle City and Townsends Inlet to the south.
Strathmere is a very narrow spit of beach and dunes with the ocean on one side and the bay and tidal marshes on the other. One road, Ocean Drive, runs from north to south between Ocean and Sea Isle Cities. The northern section Strathmere is two blocks wide but further south it narrows and becomes a one road-town with houses scattered along Ocean Drive until further south where Strathmere borders Sea Isle City.
Strathmere is comprised of beautiful sandy beaches that were recently replenished as the result of a federal grant program. After the devastation left behind by the Nor’easter of 1962, Strathmere was strictly beach, road and a few houses that survived with no protection from either the sea or the bay. Since then, a healthy dune line has been build up to protect Ocean Drive and its homes from the ocean – however, the bay is still free to encroach upon the town, and often does. Therefore, most new homes built in Strathmere are built up and soar high above the dunes with beautiful picturesque views from all sides of both the ocean and the bay.
A section of the central part of Strathmere known as “Whale Beach” got its name from the many whales that have washed up in this area. The Whale Creek Marina provides visitors with the ability to go crabbing, fishing, rent boats or go kayaking in the back bay. Without a doubt, the primary recreational activity in Strathmere is spending time on the beach.
On the far northern end of Strathmere is Corson’s Inlet, a waterway through which boaters may pass from the bay behind Ludlam Island. At low tide, many sandbars appear and the inlet becomes a popular place for beach combing, boating, picnicking and watersports. A drawbridge crosses the inlet and connects Strathmere to the southernmost tip of Ocean City.
Strathmere is one of five free beaches in the state where the public has free access without having to purchase beach tags or pay to spend a day in the sand. The other free beaches are Atlantic City, North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. Strathmere’s northern beaches are monitored by the Upper Township Beach Patrol but the area known as Whale Beach is unprotected, so swimmers need to be careful.
There is no retail area in Strathmere and only one operating motel. The Strathmere Motel was built in 1920 as a single-family home and was converted to a motel in the late 1950’s. Today it is a privately owned seasonal motel with only 15 rooms. Perhaps the most famous landmark in Strathmere is the Deauville Inn, originally known as the Whelan Inn. It was built in 1881 and operated as a hotel and restaurant until the storm of ’62. It was purchased and renovated in 1980 and now operates as a popular restaurant and bar where boaters can dock to enjoy dinner and a gorgeous sunset view. Next door the “five o’clock somewhere” crowd can sit on beach chairs under umbrellas on Deauville’s tiny bayfront beach and sip cocktails while the sun goes down.
Driving through Strathmere is like going back to the small towns of the past. There are still old homes and the one major intersection has a blinking light. There is a post office, a library and a few eateries.
Strathmere is the perfect destination for people looking for a quiet beach experience, yet with proximity to bustling beach towns with boardwalks, shops and restaurants if they are looking for additional entertainment without having to stay in the middle of it.
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