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May 25, 2024

Strathmere: Everything you need to know about the beaches and things to do there this summer

How did Whale Beach get its name? Do you need a beach tag? And answers to other questions about the strip of beaches between Ocean City and Sea Isle.

Travel Jersey Shore
Strathmere shore guide Screen capture/Google Earth

Strathmere is a narrow strip of land between Ocean City and Sea Isle that is part of Upper Township. Compared to other Jersey Shore destinations, its beaches are more remote and less crowded.

North of Sea Isle City in Cape May County is Strathmere, a small unincorporated community by the sea.

Previously named Corson's Inlet, named after the settlers John and Peter Corson, the community became Strathmere in 1912 and is a part of Upper Township. Strathmere is a narrow town, about two blocks wide, offering a beach experience that is quiet, peaceful and isolated compared most of the rest of the Jersey Shore.

Between Strathmere and Sea Isle City is Whale Beach, which earned its moniker from — you guessed it — the whales that would beach on the shore there. Strathmere also shares the Corson's Inlet Bridge with Ocean City.

Fewer than 200 residents call Strathmere their home, according to 2020 census data. It's a fervent enough community that it attempted to leave Upper Township and rejoin Sea Isle City, but the New Jersey Supreme Court denied the movement for de-annexation in 2013.

The area has experienced erosion and the erasure of sand dunes in the past year, but costly efforts from the New Jersey state government aim to restore and rebuild the beaches.

What are some things to do in Strathmere this summer?

Just over the Corson's Inlet Bridge from Ocean City, is the Deauville Inn, a Strathmere mainstay that attracts Jersey Shore travelers from towns to the north and south. The Deauville has indoor and outdoor dining areas, serves menu of cocktails and fresh catches, and has live music. The restaurant was originally founded as the Whelen Hotel in 1881 before becoming the Deauville Inn in the 1920s. Check out the upcoming dining and drinking events at the restaurant on its website.

South of the Deauville on Bayview Drive is Twisties Tavern on the Bay, which is rumored to have operated as a speakeasy from 1929 to 1933 back when it was called the Strathmere Inn Café — legend has it that Al Capone even visited once. The restaurant, which serves burgers and other American fare, has changed names and owners several times, at one point being owned by Philly natives Jimmy and Rose Twist.

For breakfast and lunch, visitors can look forward to the reopening of Sidney's Coffee and Eats by late May. Serving a diverse menu of healthy plates, standard beach bites and local produce, the casual and laidback atmosphere of the cafe is fitting for the quiet Strathmere.

If you're planning an overnight visit to the town, make sure you have an Airbnb or a camper — there are no hotels in Strathmere, with the Strathmere Motel having closed permanently several years ago.

Corson's Inlet State Park was established in 1969 to preserve the natural and undeveloped beachfront land that serves as natural habitats for several wildlife species. Visitors cannot swim in the water, but the site is a popular location for boating and fishing. A boat ramp and hiking trails are available for use. Pets are not allowed at park during the summer.

Do you need a beach tag in Strathmere?

Visitors do not need a beach tag in Strathmere; access to the beaches in Strathmere is free. Beachgoers can borrow surf chairs by filling out a reservation form (or this form for overnight use) and pick them up at the stand on Putnam Road.

When are Strathmere's lifeguards on duty?

The Upper Township Beach Patrol is on duty from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday to Sunday. The number of guarded beaches will be limited from Memorial Day weekend through June 15. The beach patrol updates its list of protected beaches online, or call (609) 263-1151 for information.

On the beaches, the Upper Township Beach Patrol uses a flag warning system to indicate the current ocean conditions. The mean of the various flags is explained on the town's beach information page.

What are the rules on Strathmere's beaches?

Upper Township does not allow dogs on beaches from March 15 to Sept. 15. Beach parties, fires, motor vehicles, alcoholic beverages, fireworks, balloon releases and changing clothes all are prohibited on the beach premises. 

Fishing is allowed south of Prescott Road and north of Seacliff Avenue depending on weather conditions, and surfing is permitted between Tecumseh Avenue and Sherman Avenue. Lifeguards may allow surfing at other locations depending on the ocean conditions.