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May 23, 2016

2016 Jersey Shore beach guide: Margate

Margate City is a far cry from the swampy hinterland it was prior to the arrival of settlers in the early- to mid-19th century, which was well after surrounding Jersey Shore towns had become homes to established communities.

As odd as it may seem, the city's emergence is largely owing to the construction of a wood and tin elephant commissioned by a Philadelphia realtor who wanted to attract land buyers to Absecon Island.

Lucy, originally designed in 1881 as a hotel and restaurant, will turn 135 years old in July. The brainchild of James V. Lafferty, Lucy has weathered countless storms and undergone significant repairs over the years to remain a popular attraction for kids — and it's a National Historic Landmark.

Today, Margate is a great place for water-sports enthusiasts and shoppers who want to peruse local goods along Ventnor Avenue and at the Margate Farmers' Market on Amherst Avenue. It's also a mere five miles away from Atlantic City, offering a quiet getaway or perfect place to split a weekend between high-energy and relaxing activities.

Beach Tags:

Yes, they are required for all visitors 12 and older during beach season, which runs from the third week of June through Labor Day. They must be conspicuous and made available upon request by a beach badge inspector — with the exception of Thrilling Thursdays, when beach access is free all day and vendors host sidewalk sales. Thrilling Thursdays also come with free movie screenings at 8:30 p.m. at Decatur Avenue Beach.

Seasonal beach tags can be purchased at a pre-season rate of $7 through the end of May and senior citizens can buy a pre-season badges for $3.50 through May 31. As of June 1, all seasonal beach tags will sell for $15.

Also, Margate and neighboring Ventnor have a reciprocal relationship, so Margate's tags are good in Ventnor and vice versa.

Margate's weekly beach tags go on sale after June 1 will sell for $10, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

Badges can be purchased in person or by mail (and held for pickup) at the Martin Bloom Community Pavilion, located at Huntington Avenue & the Beach, from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can also be purchased in person at the Municipal Building at 9001 Winchester Ave. on Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Lifeguard Hours:

Margate beaches are lifeguard protected by the Margate City Beach Patrol from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with regular hours of operation between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

For additional information lifeguard scheduling, consult Margate's beach lists or contact the Margate City Beach Patrol 609-822-2370.

Beach Rules:

For sporting types, kayaking and surfing are only permitted at select beaches. Those interested in doing either are encouraged to contact the Margate City Beach Patrol.

Hobie Cat sailing is allowed by permit only.

Animals are prohibited from entering the beach.

Visitors are advised to never enter unprotected beaches. Those that are protected, and their hours, are listed here.

Public Parking:

Have to place a call ... info not immediately available


In addition to Community Farmers' Markets and Thrilling Thursdays, Margate offers a variety of events and recreational activities for people of all ages through the summer months.

Among the annual highlights is the Margate Business Association's partnership with Ventnor and Longport for Le Tour de Downbeach, a family-friendly, leisurely bike tour that extends 14 miles and ends with a BBQ lunch at Tomatoes. That will take place June 5 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Another must-attend event will be the 7th annual Beachstock on June 25, a 13-hour non-stop celebration of summer featuring food, activities, shopping, and live music.

A full list of events in Margate can be found here.

More Information:

Margate NJ Official Website | Margate Has More | Lucy the Elephant