Whether you're down the shore for the day, a weekend or longer, it's good to set goals. Here are 25 must-do activities before the summer is out:
1. Try all 20 toppings at Hot Dog Tommy's in Cape May. The list includes crushed potato chips, sauerkraut and cranberry cole slaw –– hopefully, you won't order them together.
2. Mingle with Margate's elite at Tomatoes nightly happy hour. Look for the future cast of “The Real Housewives of South Jersey.”
3. Eat a slice at Manco & Manco in Ocean City. The thin-crust defines boardwalk-style pizza.
4. Play a quarter in a slot machine in each of Atlantic City's remaining eight casinos. Given the city's run of bad luck, there could be one or more fewer gambling halls by next summer.
5. Chowder up at no-frills Smitty's Clam Bar in Somers Point. And while you're at it, get some steamers and fried clams, too.
6. Spend some time with Margate's Lucy the Elephant, one of the more offbeat National Historic Landmarks. Neither you nor she will forget the experience.
7. Climb to the top of the Cape May, Barnegat and Absecon lighthouses. Your thighs will thank you and you can have more pizza, too.
8. Go to Springer's in Stone Harbor for an ice cream on a Saturday night. Sure, the line will be long, but what else is there to do after dinner in Stone Harbor?
9. Risk your life at Morey's Piers in Wildwood. Some of the biggest rides max out at 55 mph, so it's probably not any more dangerous than the AC Expressway during rush hour.
10. Finish a night of partying in AC at the old school Tony's Baltimore Grill, which is conveniently open around the clock on weekends. Tony's famous pizza is only available until 3 a.m., so plan accordingly.
11. Go for the all-over tan at the infamous Higbee Beach in Cape May. But don't forget the sunscreen or you may end up being a candidate for the Lobster House.
12. Take the scenic route across the Delaware Bay aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. The stately 90-minute pace feels like a trip back in time.
13. Immerse yourself in all things Dogfish Head in and around Lewes, Del. Stay at the dog-friendly Dogfish Motel, take the (free) tour of the brewery and dine and drink at the brewpub.
14. Make an old-school night of it at Strathmere's Twisties Tavern, a former speakeasy that dates back to 1933. The food is better than expected but go for the dive bar vibe and views of the bay.
15. Splurge on a dinner of Barnegat Bay scallops and other local fare at the Diving Horse in Avalon. Being able to BYOB will help cushion the blow of the $36 entrees.
16. Travel back to a simpler time on the still squeaky-clean Ocean City boardwalk. The biggest source of trouble is if you super-size your tub of Johnson's caramel corn.
17. Finish your day at Sunset Beach in West Cape May, where the crowds applaud the sun as it goes down for the night.
18. Catch a show at the legendary Stone Pony music club in Asbury Park. You might see the next Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi or you can at least hope for a sighting of Southside Johnny.
19. Make a detour on the way to the shore to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township. This retro theme park will please actual children and adult kids, too.
20. Grab a seat at the counter at Beach Haven's Holiday Snack Bar, a luncheonette dating back to 1948. You're likely to a get helping of “hon,” with your burger and slice of blueberry pie.
21. Spend some time at the well-regarded Cape May County Zoo. You'll find lions and tigers and other species not usually glimpsed outside a Wildwood bar.
22. Cinnamon buns, cream donuts, coconut macaroons –– need I say more, or will you just go to Kohler's Bakery in Avalon already?
23. Score a reservation at the legendary Chef Vola's in Atlantic City. The number's technically still unlisted, so you will impress your date.
24. Do a taste test of all 11 Kohr Bros Frozen Custard locations at the shore. Remind yourself that custard has less sugar and fat than regular ice cream, according to the website.
25. Get tickets to one of Atlantic City's annual beach concerts –– Maroon 5 on Aug. 16 or Rascal Flatts on Aug. 20. Sun, surf and live music –– what's not to like?