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wildwood crest nj hotels

Top South Jersey Hidden Gems

Most tourists who visit the Jersey Shore arrive with beaches, cocktails, and cabanas on their mind, but our lively slice of New Jersey is also home to some of the most diverse and unique habitats on the East Coast. When you choose to vacation at ICONA Resorts, you’re always minutes away from a beach, ocean, or boardwalk adventure. ICONA Diamond Beach has firmly placed itself as one of the premier Wildwood Crest NJ hotels thanks to our prime beach access, great dining, and pristine hotel suites. We know you’re in town to sunbathe on Diamond Beach, stroll down the Wildwood Boardwalk, and soak in our lavish heated pool, but don’t forget to visit these three South Jersey hidden gems during your visit to beautiful Wildwood Crest NJ.

Sunset Beach / SS Atlantus

Most people visit South Cape May Meadows and Cape May Point State Park to explore the tall, pearly white lighthouse and surrounding natural beauty without thinking twice about stopping at nearby Sunset Beach. Not only does this underrated South Jersey beach offer the best sunsets in the state, but it’s also the final resting place of the SS Atlantus, the most famous concrete World War II ship in the United States. The last remains of the SS Atlantus stand high above the azure blue Delaware Bay. Snorkelers and kayakers often visit the site to pay tribute. The beach itself is quiet, pristine, and utterly beautiful.

Strawberry Avenue Boardwalk

Very few South Jersey attractions are as undervalued as the Strawberry Avenue Boardwalk near the charming port town of Bivalve NJ. It’s only a matter of time before Philadelphians and Jersey Shore tourists discover this genuine hidden gem. The 3.6-mile out-and-back boardwalk begins at the end of Strawberry Avenue and meanders through serene New Jersey wetlands. You’ll stroll past dying trees, tall grass, sluggish creeks, and rare fauna.

The Wetlands Institute

The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor NJ beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the Strawberry Avenue Boardwalk: natural habitats, lush wetlands, and thriving fauna. They’re only open on the weekends during the cozy season, but there’s still plenty to learn and explore during your visit to this underappreciated institution. Visitors can “adopt” a baby terrapin, horseshoe crab, or oystercatcher by donating to the non-profit. The money goes directly toward the hatching, head-starting, and releasing of these often forgotten animals. The Wetlands Institute hosts festivals, events, lectures, programs, and so much more! This non-profit features an aquarium, marsh walkways, nature trails, and a lush garden.

Wildwood Crest NJ Hotels

ICONA Resorts has three year-round beachfront hotels that are steps from sandy beaches, great dining, lavish pools, and popular South Jersey attractions. Finish each evening at Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill inside ICONA Diamond Beach, one of the premier Wildwood Crest NJ hotels, for a delicious seafood dinner that you won’t soon forget. Dial 1-609-551-0102 to book an overdue escape to lively South Jersey!

jersey shore restaurants

5 Premier Restaurants on the Jersey Shore

Over the years, the Jersey Shore has become one of North America’s foremost destinations for beach relaxation, luxury hotels, and fine cuisine. ICONA Resorts is the home of three distinct, award-winning beachfront Jersey Shore hotels. Whether you’re staying in Avalon or Diamond Beach, you’ll always be steps from the beach, fine cuisine, and a refreshing adult beverage. Don’t forget to fuel up at these five premier Jersey Shore restaurants during your stay at ICONA.

Quick Breakfast: Shimmers Bistro

Start each morning with a quick breakfast at Shimmers Bistro before making your way down to the beach for an afternoon of relaxation, New Jersey sunshine, and refreshing cocktails at The Sandbar Village Beach Bar & Lounge. Shimmers is proud to serve Starbuck’s brand coffee alongside an assortment of quick grab and go breakfast options. Start your morning with a freshly brewed espresso or a bloody mary for an early-morning kick. Shimmers Bistro, which is located inside ICONA Avalon, is also a sophisticated spot for an evening cocktail or glass of wine.

Lunch on the Beach: The Sandbar Village

Grab lunch at The Sandbar Village Beach Bar & Lounge after breakfast at Shimmers Bistro, a soak in the onsite spa pool, and a good book on the beach. The Sandbar Village is one of the most popular Jersey Shore bars during prime beach season. Sink your toes into the sand and let the kitchen staff take you on a coastal culinary journey. Not many Jersey Shore restaurants can match Sandbar Village’s fresh fish tacos topped with Asian slaw and jalapeno-lime aioli. Our guests also gush about the grilled salmon wrap, customized pizza, and the “power salad.”

Afternoon Cocktail: The Star Beach Bar

The Star Beach Bar at ICONA Diamond Beach is one of the fastest rising Jersey Shore beach bars. Guests and visitors can enjoy delicious bites and great views from the bar through October 20. This lively beach bar is known by locals for its delicious signature cocktails. We recommend “The Star of the Beach,” “Ocean’s Potion,” and “Tropical Tease,” but you surely cannot go wrong with any of our cocktails.

Elegant Dinner: Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill

ICONA Diamond Beach is also home to one of the premier Jersey Shore restaurants: Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill. You’ll notice Coastal Blue’s laid-back luxury and understated elegance upon arrival. Whether you’re a lover of top-quality seafood or steak, you’re in for an evening of fine cuisine, award-winning wine, and refined ambiance. We highly recommend the grilled swordfish, sauteed shrimp, filet mignon, and braised short ribs.

Late-Night Pint: Avalon Brew Pub

Lucky guests at ICONA Avalon don’t have to the leave the premises to experience all the wonders of the Jersey Shore. You’ll always be seconds away from the beach, a lavish pool, delicious meals, and even a brewery! Avalon Brewpub is one of the premier brewpubs on the Jersey Shore thanks its eclectic lineup of classic craft beer styles. Guests and locals alike have fallen in love with Avalon’s malty, citrusy We Don’t Play West Coast IPA and the Chill Pils, a Czech-style lager.

cape may

4 Scientific Reasons You Need a Vacation

Regular vacations are scientifically proven to improve brain functionality, sleep, heart health, and job performance. Vacations allow us to unwind, relax, be creative, and exercise. The tricky part is that this belief is universally understood and yet we still refuse to take a break from our daily responsibilities. Even if you took a bookended weekend (Friday through Monday) trip six times a year, you’re still likely adding days, months, and perhaps years to your life. A visit to the Jersey Shore isn’t a fantasy but a feasible reality. ICONA has three elegant hotels in Cape May, Wildwood Crest, and Avalon. We’re dedicated to making every vacation to southern New Jersey a rejuvenating escape for the soul. Here are the top four scientific reasons that you desperately need a vacation.

Make Deeper Emotional Connections

A more profound emotional connection doesn’t only have to be romantic. Spending time getting closer to new friends or reconnecting with old friends is the perfect way to improve your overall state of mind. Traveling alone may seem desolate to some, but it’s the best way to find yourself. Sometimes the most profound emotional connection is the one you make with yourself. Try unique foods, meet new people, and learn to love yourself.

Get Some Sleep

Many tourists struggle to sleep when traveling – that’s because they’re not staying at the right hotel. ICONA takes your sleeping cycle seriously. We provide the most comfortable pillows, mattresses, and comforters on the market. Sleep deprivation often occurs because of our inability to disconnect from our job and home life. Some people have recurring dreams about being at work, making it feel like they’re working for 16 hours a day. Stay at an award-winning ICONA hotel, don’t set the alarm, and drift away.

Stop Undervaluing Your Time

A common human defect is that we grossly undervalue our own time. You work hard for your company, kids, and spouse, so stop pretending like you don’t need (or want) a break. Many people in the modern world build up vacation time, but they rarely use it. Taking frequent vacations, instead of a month-long sabbatical, increases overall happiness. Having a getaway on the horizon is better than a planning a lengthy vacation two or three years in the future.

Do Your Body and Mind Some Good

Most tourists do not have a weekly fitness regimen. Luckily there are hundreds of ways to help your body and mind when on vacation. Vacations are scientifically proven to increase heart health because tourists are often hiking, walking, biking, and paddling on their getaway. Quality time spent with loved ones on vacation leads to a more focused and productive brain. Your coworkers will notice the difference right away.

ICONA Cape May

ICONA Cape May is an elegant beachfront hotel with a relaxing heated outdoor pool and complimentary shuttles to Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill, The Star Beach Bar, and private beach access. Each room has a balcony with sweeping Atlantic Ocean views, Carrara marble-style bathrooms, and lavish finishes. Do yourself a favor and escape to beautiful southern New Jersey!