It's worth the walk down a narrow trail for Atlantic City views. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge | Headquarters: Great Creek Road, Oceanville | (609) 652-1665 | | At 266 feet above sea level, this is the highest natural point between the Yucatan and Maine. The Wetlands Institute | 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor | (609) 368-1211 | | Located along the Cape May Flyway, where millions of birds pass through annually, this eco-site features elevated walks and a salt-marsh trail.
*** BAYMEN'S WATERS Before the Shore became a Victorian playground, with grand hotels rising from Ocean Grove to Cape May, it was the domain of baymen and fisherman, hearty types who plied the waters for leisure and profit. Green St., Tuckerton | (609) 296-2061 | | Ask fifth-generation bayman Dale Parsons Jr.
Kids shouted into salt air while descending waterslides, landing in pools with a splash. During day trips to Seaside Heights, the closest thing to silence was the Sky Ride, that '60s riff on a ski lift strung above the boards.
After riding in both directions, my sister and I would hit Lucky Leo's for Skee-Ball and inhale slices from Maruca's, spider-ring prizes adorning our fingers.
That's partly the result of a roster of owners who kept it for themselves, from the first Earl of Stirling in the 1600s to Carnegie-contemporary Henry C. At access point 23, watch the fisherman and consider the sport's timelessness.