Named for the mystical island where King Arthur was taken to recover from battle wounds, beautiful Avalon New Jersey is one of the most affluent communities along the Jersey Shore.
Incorporated as a borough in 1892, Avalon is home to some of the most expensive real estate on the East Coast. As the town’s motto suggests, Avalon is “Cooler by a Mile” because it sits about a mile further out to sea than its neighboring barrier islands along the South Jersey coastline.
As the northern most town on “Seven Mile Island” – named so for its length – Avalon shares its island home with Stone Harbor to the south. The island is about 36 miles south of Atlantic City and 20 miles north of Cape May.
Prior to 1914 the island was only comprised of one town – Avalon – until Stone Harbor was formed. Avalon occupies the island from 6th Street to 80th Street, and Stone Harbor from 80th Street to 122nd Street. The reason Avalon only begins at 6th Street is because, in the early 20th century, a hurricane washed away the northern-most part of the island.
Both Avalon and Stone Harbor are quieter and more upscale than neighboring towns. Many homes here range from modest, bayside condominiums to opulent, beachfront mansions. In 2017, Coastal Living named Avalon one of the top ten most expensive beach towns in which to live with median home values of $1.46 million.
Luckily for many visitors who wish to come to this tony seaside resort, a plethora of private homes and condos are available for rent on a weekly, monthly or seasonal basis. Short-term visitors can find a wide variety of accommodations in which to stay for a night or a weekend, ranging from glamorous beachfront Icona Golden Inn and Windrift Hotel, to smaller motels and condotels further back from the beach.
Avalon is most known for its wild, beautiful dunes and maritime forest that lines some of its beaches. The dunes are the highest ones found on the southern Jersey barrier islands. In order to access the beaches, particularly between 40th and 58th, paths wind through the dense vegetation including cedar, holly, wild cherry trees, bayberry and and other wild growth, until they open up into sandy dunes peppered with sea grass. The dunes offer protection to certain endangered bird species such as terns and Piping Plovers. The 1.1 mile Avalon Dune and Beach Trail is located between 44th and 48th Streets along Dune Drive and was planned for the educational enjoyment of residents and visitors.
Due to its location and recent beach replenishment, the beaches are large and beautiful. A full-time life guarding staff protects the beaches each summer, and visitors are required to purchase beach tags.
While there is no commercial boardwalk similar to those found in Ocean City and Wildwood, Avalon does have a half-mile boardwalk perfect for walking or biking, and recreational areas that include public tennis courts, basketball courts, skate parks and playgrounds.
Unlike its island neighbor Stone Harbor, Avalon hasn’t always been as much of a shopping destination for shore visitors. However, in recent years a distinct shopping district has evolved on Dune Drive between 20th and 33rd Streets with the opening of many upscale boutique shops and chic restaurants joining previously already established businesses. Many delicious eateries are scattered throughout Avalon as well, ranging from come-in-from-the-beach pizza shops to swanky seafood restaurants. There are also several popular bars where both young and old revelers can enjoy drinks and entertainment after dark.
Avalon offers a laid back, chic beach experience that everyone from single professionals to large extended families, and everyone in between, can enjoy.
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