Sunset Beach New Jersey: Best Beaches in the Mid-Atlantic
Sunset Beach is located at the southernmost point of New Jersey where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the beach is actually on Delaware Bay rather than the Atlantic. Sunset Beach is a best beach for families, retirees, dog lovers, nature lovers, and United States veterans.
Sunset Beach New Jersey Rating
Beach Personality: Not Your Typical Beach
Sunset Beach New Jersey
Sunset Beach New Jersey is not your average beach. The beach itself isn’t anything to write home about. The sand ranges from coarse to downright rocky and the water is supposedly off limits to beach goers. Don’t ask me why. There’s nothing posted. So, why would anyone want to go to Sunset Beach? There are 6 compelling reasons.
It’s very dog friendly. The beach itself is dog friendly from October 1 through March 31, while the rest of the area is dog friendly year-round. The restaurant at the beach, Sunset Beach Grille, even has a dog friendly outdoor seating area.
The gorgeous sunsets. This beach wasn’t named Sunset Beach for nothing. Beachgoers have an unobstructed view looking west from the beach in New Jersey across Delaware Bay. Plus, the interaction of the sea breezes with the water creates perfect atmospheric conditions for spectacular sunset viewing.
To search for Cape May diamonds, fossilized shark teeth, and Indian arrowheads. Cape May diamonds are pure quartz crystals that look like pebbles when they are on the beach. Once they are polished and cut, however, they can look surprisingly similar to diamonds. Like Cape May diamonds, fossilized shark teeth often wash ashore from the strong currents of Delaware Bay. Indian arrowheads are found at Sunset Beach because Cape May Point was once the tribal headquarters of the Kechemeche Indians.
To see what remains of the SS Atlantus. The SS Atlantus was one of 14 experimental ships built out of concrete (due to a serious steel shortage) during World War I. Launched in 1918, the ship was only in service for a year. In 1926, the Atlantus was towed to Cape May with the intention of using it as a dock for a planned ferry service between Cape May, NJ and Lewes, DE. While awaiting positioning, the SS Atlantus broke free of her moorings during a storm on June 8, 1926. Despite repeated efforts to free the ship, she couldn’t be moved and has remained there to this day.
To look for a remarkable array of wildlife. Sunset Beach’s location is a magnet for migratory animals whether in the sea, on land, or in the sky. You can find red fox, deer and coyote year-round, while summer brings bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead sea turtles, fall is the annual monarch butterfly migration, and harbor seals can be sighted here in the winter. There are also a wide variety of shore and seabird sightings all year. Cape May Bird Observatory is a good source for birding information.
For the evening flag ceremony. Every night at precisely an hour before sunset from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September (weather permitting), Marvin Hume conducts a flag ceremony to honor US veterans. All the flags flown at Sunset Beach are veterans’ casket flags that have been donated by the veterans’ families. “There is nothing as thought provoking than to watch the sun set over the Delaware Bay while taps plays and Old Glory is lowered for the evening.” (6/26/12, http://www.sunsetbeachnj.com/to-do.html#cape-may-sunset-beach-flag-ceremony)
- Surf fishing
- Searching for Cape May “diamonds”, fossilized shark teeth, and Indian arrowheads
- Wildlife viewing
- Watching the sunset
- Public bathrooms – Yes, in Sunset Beach Gifts.
- Showers – No.
- Parking – Yes, free.
- Food – Yes, at Sunset Beach Grille.
- Lifeguard – No.
- Dogs allowed on the beach – No, between April 1st and September 30. Yes, the rest of the year.
Additional amenities – gift shop, mini golf.
Sunset Beach New Jersey is located at 502 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May Point, New Jersey, 08212. To reach Sunset Beach from the Garden State Parkway, take the Garden State Parkway/NJ-109 S past where it becomes Lafayette St. Continue on Lafayette St. to Jackson St. Turn right onto Jackson St. Keep left at the fork in the road. You should now be on W. Perry St./Co Hwy 606/Sunset Blvd. Drive 2.2 miles until you reach the parking lot at Sunset Beach.
You can also reach Sunset Beach by taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from Lewes, Delaware. From the disembarkation point, drive to US-9 N and follow it until you reach Seashore Rd. Turn right onto Seashore Rd./NJ-162. Keep left at the fork in the road and continue on Seashore Rd./NJ-162/Co Hwy 626/Broadway. Turn right at County Hwy 606/Sunset Blvd. Continue until you reach the Sunset Beach parking lot.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin
Photos courtesy of Lisa Dworkin. More photos on Flickr.