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Tuckerton, New Jersey is a small shore town located off of Exit 58 on the Garden State Parkway. It also home to waterfront communities of Tuckerton Beach, Little Egg Harbor, and Mystic Island. Most of the tourism in Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor comes from people who own a second home, usually on the water, who come from areas of New York, Philadelphia, and North Jersey. The town is a 15 minute drive from Long Beach Island and Manahawkin, and 30 minutes drive to Atlantic City and the Atlantic City International Airport.
As far as lodging goes, your best bet would be if you have access to a waterfront home on a lagoon, which drains into the Barnegat Bay, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Weekly rentals in Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor can be found here. However, weekly rentals on waterfront homes in town are very sparse, so act fast. It may be a bit hard to find hotel rooms in town. The Inn at Sea Oaks opened in 2007 on the prestigious Sea Oaks Golf & Country Club. However, there aren't many rooms, and you may have to act fast to reserve a room. There is also the historical Bed & Breakfasts located on Main Street, Lizzie Rose and J.D. Thompson Inn.
If you plan on vacationing in this town for years to come, you may want to consider investing into a waterfront home or vacation condo. Start by searching for vacation homes for sale in Tuckerton or Little Egg Harbor. Many vacationers' waterfront homes have been in families for generations, and there are numerous waterfront homes in need of some TLC which are priced lower than most other waterfront communites in New Jersey. Most lagoon-front homes contain a bulkhead and dock, so it would be the perfect place if you own a boat. The lagoons are also good for swimming, or just to sit out and watch the sunrise.
There are several campgrounds located in and around Tuckerton. The Atlantic City North Family Campground features trailer hookups, cabins, tent sites, activities, pool, water playground, a mini-golf course, as well as volleyball and shuffleboard courts. The pet-friendly Baker's Acres campground features cabins, cottages, and over 300 trailer camp sites. Amenities include two pools, a convenience store, arcade, video rental, laundromat, recreation such as a playground and ballfield, as well as camping supplies like firewood, ice, and propane. The Sea Pirate Campground offers both rustic campsites as well as luxurious cabins, and RV sites. Sea Pirate has bay access, a stocked fishing pond, both saltwater and freshwater fishing, on-site crabbing, an acrade, a snack bar serving lunch and dinner, as well as many activities and recreation such as a pool, volleyball, and ballfields. The next town over, New Gretna is home to the Timberline Lake Resort, a lakefront campsite with activities such as fresh and saltwater fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming and crabbing in the resort's lake and streams. Timberline also hosts hunting, a pool, ballfields, and a grocery store/rec room. Chips Folly Campground is located in the woods with several ponds for canoeing and fishing as well as a lake with a dock, boat launch ramp, fishing, and swimming. Also on-site is a store, pool, volleyball, and nature trails. Another lake resort campsite is Pilgrim Lake, known for its fishing, swimming, and boating. New Gretna is also home to the massive Bass River State Park, home to a campsite, many nature trails and preserves, hunting, fishing, picnics, and the large Lake Absegami with a boat launch and canoe rental. The Bass River State Forest is home to many native Pine Barren trees and endangered species.
Another popular option is those with boats who dock overnight at the many marinas in town. Popular marinas include Munro's Marina in Mystic Island, Tuckerton Marine and Sheltered Cove Marina in Tuckerton Beach, and Great Bay Marina and Skinner's Marina near the Tuckerton Seaport. Those marinas also offer winter boat storage as well as on-site boating supply stores. Boating and equipment supplies could be found in town, such as Trish's Hardware on Main Street in Tuckerton, as well as a West Marine store on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor. Scott's Bait and Tackle in Mystic Island is a popular store with boaters and fishermen.
The biggest attraction, right in the heart of downtown Tuckerton, is the Tuckerton Seaport, a unique outdoor museum composed like a village, surrounding the water. People of all ages will enjoy it, whether you take a stroll along the waterfront, or climb to the top of the Tucker's Island Lighthouse. There are boat slips available here, so you can bring your boat. There is plenty of parking on-site, and is right next to the downtown district and in short walking distance to several restaurants. A popular restaurant, Scojos, is located right inside the Seaport. Directly next-door is the popular Stewart's Root Beer, a 50s-style Drive-In, where you can sit outside under the shade (bring bug spray!), eat in your car as the food gets delivered to your window, or come by boat (slips are on-site). The restaurant is directly across the street from Lake Pohatcong, which makes a perfect spot for a sunset. Main Street (Route 9), which the Seaport is located, was given a makeover in the 2000s to include brick pavers, victorian lampposts, benches, and new landscaping. Lake Pohatcong fronts diretcly onto Main Street, where a small boardwalk extends the length of the lake. The boardwalk allows fishing and is a great place to watch the sunset.
Along Main Street surrounding the Seaport are many shopping options. The Tuckerton Emporium is a large gift shop and includes a small boutique cafe, Selah Cafe, inside overlooking Main Street and the picturesque lake. A slightly further walk brings one to the Village Shoppes at the Middle of the Shore, a small indoor shopping mall with dozens of boutique and specialty stores. The Lizzie Rose Bed and Breakfast includes a Tea Room, while a walk in the other direction is B&B Produce, a popular large fresh fruit stand and farmer's market which has a second location on Long Beach Island.
Also within walking distance of the Seaport is the Tuckerton Junction Railroad Co. which has an incredible 30'x40' indoor model train display with over a dozen running trains, an underground coalmine, subway, boardwalk with amusement rides and more. This train display is interactive and great for the whole family. They are an authorized Lionel Trains Dealer and Repair Store featuring both new trains and rare and hard to find vintage trains, TJRR Co does consignment sales and large or single model train appraisals, handbuilds train display table, hosts birthday parties and hosts Historical Railroad Dinner Seminars monthly.
Restaurants within walking distance of the Seaport are the popular Dynasty Diner, the formal 217 East Main Street restaurant, a newly-opened Dunkin Donuts, and Ocean East Buffet, a buffet that primarily serves Asian and Chinese food, but also serves regular American fares and plenty of desserts. Those who like more traditional Chinese can stop in China Palace, a small building located near Tip Seaman Park on the lake. Also in walking distance is a Wawa and 7-11, for those who want a Slurpee, Coffee, Hoagie, or any other quick snack.
If you are staying in Mystic Islands, most of the options are limited to pizza parlors and take-out, but you will find plenty dotted along Radio Road, such as Vesuvios, Portofino, Brothers Pizza, Mystic Pizza (Not to be confused with the movie), and the all-familiar Dominos Pizza. Mystic Island is also home to Beverly's, which hosts a small diner on one side, and an ice cream parlor on the other. Also located in Mystic Island is the Laughing Gull Deli & Grill, which is famous for their breakfasts, take-out, and donuts. Bagels & Beyond, which also has locations in nearby Manahawkin and Long Beach Island, is a favorite with locals and visitors alike and is always crowded (it's take-out only), but its open only for breakfast and early lunch hours, so get there early. Ren's Garden and China Jade are two popular Chinese Restaurants in Mystic. Also in Mystic is the popular Mystic Island Casino, a restaurant, bar, and liquor store which hosts karaoke nights, lots of TVs for sports, as well as pool and shuffleboard tables. The Mystic Island Casino is famous for their wings, take-out, and bar. The Mystic Casino provides free shuttles for those who want to arrive back safely. A short drive will take you to Naples Pizza, commonly regarded to locals as the best in town, Tuckerton Pub and JT's Diner, which are both on Route 9.
Tuckerton Beach, a waterfront community located on South Green Street, is home to the Tuckerton Beach Grille, which includes a sports bar, large dining room, entartainment, comedy shows, dance parties and an outdoor deck. Free boat docking is available directly across the street. A little bit more upscale is Panini Bay, located directly on the water at the end of Tuckerton Beach, serves Italian cuisine and is accessible by car, foot, bike, or by boat.
Liquor stores are located inside the Mystic Island Casino, as well as Louna Liquors on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor, Pine Bay Liquors on Route 539 near the Parkway exit, and Tuckerton Liquors located on Main Street in downtown Tuckerton.
As far as recreation, there are plenty of places to fish, canoe, kayak, etc. If you like to jog or bike, then check out Great Bay Blvd (also known as "Seven Bridges Road"), which is long and free of traffic. The town is home to the Atlantis Golf & Country Club and the Sea Oaks Golf Club. A short drive north up Route 9 to Eagleswood will bring you to Calloways, a large restaurant and amusement park, which contains kiddie rides, go karts, mini golf, and a driving range. Route 539, the main drag into town where the Parkway exit is located, leads to Jackson, New Jersey, which is home to Six Flags Great Adventure, Wild Safari, and Hurricane Harbor waterpark. The theme park is home to dozens of rollercoasters including Kingda Ka, the world's tallest and fastest, but also home to make kiddie rides, thrill rides, shows and concerts.
An hour boat ride can bring you to Long Beach Island, and even Atlantic City, where there are plenty of places to dock. A trip to the bay could take from one minute to half an hour, depending on where your waterfront home is. The bay is a prime spot for fishing. The towns of Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor do not have direct ocean access, but if you want to just tan, sit in the sand, or let younger kids play in small waves, then a trip to either the Green Street Beach or the Osborn Island Beach at the end of Radio Road will work just fine. At night, these spots give out a clear view of the Atlantic City skyline. Other activities such as windsurfing are popular in these spots.
Tuckerton is known nationally for its annual Decoy and Gunning Show at Tip Seaman Park on Lake Pohatcong right across from the Tuckerton Seaport, always held at the end of summer on the last weekend in September. The event highlights decoy and waterfowl heritage, with hundreds of decoys, sneakboxes, and model boast on display. There are many contests and competitions that take place as part of the convention. Decoy fans come from all over the country to see the show, while locals who aren't even interested in the sport come for the many food options, music, as well as other events that take place at the show. Parking for the event is located at Freedom Fields County Park, Pinelands Regional High School, and the Tuckerton Seaport, free shuttles go back and forth to the event. There is also cheap paid parking in surrounding shopping centers within walking distance to the event.
Other events in town include the Irish Festival featuring many vendors, food, and music; the Red Wine & Blues Festival at the Seaport; Cruise rides; Memorial Day Parade; as well as the town's elaborate Independence Day celebration. The 4th of July in Tuckerton closes off Main Street, with events all day long at the Seaport and lake, with a parade in the morning and fireworks above the lake at night. Those with waterfront views can also see the fireworks set off on Long Beach Island and Atlantic City.
There is currently one major supermarket in town, Acme, located on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor. Monor grocery stops could also be made at Family Dollar on Mathistown Road near Mystic Island, or at the town's several drugstores. There are two Rite-Aids and a Walgreens located in Little Egg Harbor near Mystic Island, as well as three Wawa convenience stores in town and two Cumberland Farms. The town is home to more than its fair share of bank branches, with one on almost every corner.
There are several places of worship in town. In downtown Tuckerton are the First Presbyterian Church, the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, and a United Methodist Church. In Little Egg Harbor is the Calvary Baptist Church off of Route 9 near many campgrounds, the Amazing Grace Baptist Church and the Good Shepard Lutheran Church (known for their creative messages on their sign) in Mystic Island, and the large, ultramodern St. Theresa;s Roman Catholic Church, which opened in 2006 on Radio Road in Little Egg Harbor which has plenty of space for visiting families. Non-denominational churches include the Living Water Christian Center on Radio Road in Mystic Island, the modern Lighthouse Alliance church and community center on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor, as well as the Pinelands Community Church. Click the links to find schedules of each place of worship. Several non-Christian places of worship can be found within a half-hour drive from the area.
In case of an emergency, the Southern Ocean Medical Center is located on Route 72 in Manahawkin, just off of the Parkway exit 63. The AtlantiCare urgent care center is located on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor for minor emergencies.