Margate: Don't Cross This Elephant. Become an Angler on the Pier. Down Beach in the Garden District.

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

All photos by R.C. Staab

Margate City is the official name but it's just like Ventnor City, people lop off the "city" part and call it Margate.

Almost before anyone built a permanent structure in what is now Margate, there was Lucy the Elephant. As with so many other New Jersey Shore landmarks, Lucy the Elephant was built by developers seeking to attract visitors and property owners to empty, sandy lots near the Atlantic Ocean. While many such novelties were destroyed by fire, hurricane or neglect, Lucy still stands

strong today. The 6-story-tall structure, originally constructed of lumber and tin, has a long history as a boarding house, tavern, tourist camps and even speakeasy. Today, year-round, you can walk inside Lucy to experience what it was like to tour Lucy when she was built in the late 1800s.

Most people recognize Lucy from walking or driving by her home on Atlantic Avenue --- one reason she is the oldest roadside attraction in the nation. From the beach, it's a different story. Sandwiched between two hi-rises, Lucy doesn't appear to beach walkers until they are almost in front of her. And it's not the charming Lucy who is getting a drink from a bucket near her home. Rather, she is staring out to sea, ready as if to challenge anyone who threatens her domain as the Queen of Absecon Island.

(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.)

Margate Water Tower

Pier support

Of three privately owned fishing piers over the water along the Jersey Shore, only the Anglers Club of Absecon Island is open for new members.

Through its almost 100 years of existence, the pier has survived storms, hurricanes and fires. But recently, it faced a man-made dilemma. The state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built dunes and extended the beach by 100 feet, limiting fishing to when the tides were high. Because the state intends to keep replenishing the beach every three-to-five years, the Club sought state help

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and raised additional funding so that last year, the pier was extended another 300 feet into the water. It may look old, but much of the pier is new.