Stone Harbor

Known as "the Hamptons for the Princeton set," highbrow and artsy Stone Harbor has frou-frou shops, a hip Friday night vibe and stunning Seven Mile Beach. Locals glide around town on bicycle or on foot, a la Bridgehampton. Info: stoneharborbeach.com

What's new

Yvettes Cafe, 221 96th St., 609-368-1855, yvettescaffe.com. This new eatery serves up European-inspired sandwiches and salads, starting from $11.

Bradley's Steaks, 10725 3rd Ave., 609-368-2039, bradleyssteaks.com. Home of the 2011 Guy-Fieri Food Network award-winning cheesesteak.

Jessie Creek Winery, 1 North Delsea Drive, 609-536-2092, jessiecreekwinery.com. Sipping savory samples at the new Jessie Creek Winery is worth the eight-mile trek from town. Learn how this area's unique "micro-mini-climate" extends the grape growing season. Tastings are $5.

What's tried and true

Windrift, 125 80th St., 609-368-5175, windrifthotel.com. The sleekly renovated Winddrift has dreamy ocean views, elegant rooms and a picturesque two-story restaurant. Rates start at $125 per night.

Springer's, 9420 3rd Ave., 609-368-4631. Stop in this homemade ice-cream shop for a dip of Springer Chip, chocolate-chip coffee ice cream.

Avalon

The purest ocean breezes are inhaled on Avalon's beach, which extends a mile farther into the Atlantic than other Jersey beaches. It is also one of the last remaining high dune systems on the East Coast. The tiny town is legendary for its tony mansions bordering the beach. While its quaint boardwalk lacks kitschy amusements, there are tasteful family activities and entertainment all summer. Avalon is on the northern portion of Seven Mile Island, which it shares with Stone Harbor. Info: indulgeinavalon.com

What's new

Fuze Italian, 7888 Dune Drive, 609-368-1919, fuzerestaurantandlounge.com. This new hot spot dishes-up modern Mediterranean fare with entrees from $15.

What's tried and true

The Golden Inn, 7849 Dune Drive, 609-368-5155; goldeninn.com. A glam, old-world oceanfront resort, with rates starting at $265 a night.

Free parking. Keep the change because parking is free throughout Avalon. The town also offers a vehicle-charging station, located at 30th and Dune Drive.

Free concerts on the beach at 30th Street, including everything from reggae and Southern rock to steel bands. Saturdays at noon, June 23 to Sept. 1.

Sea Isle City

The town is undergoing a renaissance, reviving original, dynastic businesses, amid a multi-generational Italian-American community. New Jersey's only paved beachfront promenade serves as its boardwalk. In May-July south Jersey's famed sea-terrapins come ashore to lay their eggs in the quiet marshes between the Isle and the mainland. Lodging options in Sea Isle City are sparse — just a few budget motels. Insiders recommend renting a private condo or home. Info: seaislecitynj.us

What's new and tried and true