Updated: Aug 19
With wide, packed firm beaches good for jogging, a nature preserve in the middle of the island and the highest median home price on the Shore, Avalon lives up to its mythical name associated with the myth of King Arthur.
Unless you're staying at the northern end of the island, you may know the pleasure of standing on the jetty gazing out at the Townsend Inlet toward Sea Isle City. Along with the dunes in the middle island, this area stands out for anyone visiting Avalon.
(From the vantage point of the beachfront or boardwalk, this is a breezy overview of what you see, where to park and beach access, plus a bit or history and the latest happenings. See map below.)
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Remarkable maritime forest at the heart of the beach
Drive along Dune Road in Avalon and you won't see a dune. Yet, from 32nd and 58th Streets, the eastern side of Dune is blanketed by a heavy maritime forest. Remarkably, a swath of the oceanfront has been preserved as a maritime forest. There are cedar, holly and wild cherry trees along with bayberry and sumac bushes that lead to rolling dunes,
From the beach, the maritime forest creates a remarkable beachfront in the middle of this densely populated island where houses seem far, far from the beach, and there are only a few people staking a place to sun on the beach.
"Cooler by the Mile" but longer than seven miles
The town's slogan of "Cooler by the Mile" refers to the fact that the so-called Seven Mile Island juts out into the Atlantic Ocean a miler further on the northern end than it does on the southern end. Or it refers to the fact that the island juts out a mile farther into the ocean than other barrier islands. It's hard to verify or disapprove either fact.
However, it's clear from walking the beach that the so-called Seven Mile Island is definitely longer than seven miles. Having walked the Stone Harbor Point from north to south and then back, I can state firmly that the island extends at least one additional mile beyond where the road ends at 122th Street. It's been more than 100 years since the original developer, the Seven Mile Company, bought the island, so you can imagine that getting people to start calling it the Eight Mile Island isn't going to happen anytime soon.
Avalon Fishing Pier where you're being watched
The Avalon Fishing Club has owned the Avalon Fishing Pier since 1933. The pier is 900-feet long, having been extended by 200 feet in 2016 to reach out farther into the ocean to allow year-round fishing. Apparently, South Jersey beaches have been adding sand along the beachfront because the Anglers Club of Absecon Island pier in Margate recently underwent a similar expansion for the same reason.
The fishing club is not accepting new members and doesn't allow public access.
How Avalon got its name
In April 1887, the Seven Mile Beach company bought the island that now includes Avalon and Stone Harbor in order to develop into a summer resort. Avalon was incorporated as a borough in 1892 and given its name by by Seven Mile Beach Company secretary Charles Bond.
The town's name is from England's Arthurian legend -- the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged. There are 20 places called Avalon in the world, including 16 in the United States.
Tips for visiting Avalon
What's New: Nothing new to report
Access and Parking: The main access to the town is from the Garden State Parkway on Avalon Boulevard. As it reaches the island, the Boulevard becomes 30th Street. From the northern end, the east-west streets start at 6th Street and run consecutively to 80th Street, the border with Stone Harbor. The numbering continues consecutively to 122nd Street in Stone Harbor. From the north along the ocean, there is a bridge across Townsends Inlet from Sea Isle City.
Amenities: Bathrooms and showers are located at Avalon Surfside Park along the half-mile Boardwalk. The park opened in 2019.
Beaches: Beach badges are required daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Full season badges are $30 for people 12 and older. Weekly badges cost $13. Daily badges cost $6. Badges can be purchased at the beach or via the Viply app. Avalon has reciprocity with Stone Harbor so no need to purchase more than one tag on the island.
This spring and summer, follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he walks the entire 139 miles of the Jersey Shore coastline from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, Long Beach Island from Old Barney to the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and from Brigantine to Cape May.
Next stop: Stone Harbor at Jersey Shore Walk Mile post 110. See profiles of Strathmere, Corsons Inlet, Ocean City, Atlantic City and every beach and town along the Jersey Shore at www.jerseyshorewalk.com