The Seven Mile Island is a barrier island that’s a little more than seven miles in length, and, for the most part, only 3 to 4 blocks (+/-) wide! The northern boundary is Townsends Inlet and the southern boundary is Hereford Inlet. The island spans from 6th Street to 122nd Street and is comprised of two towns, Avalon and Stone Harbor. The northernmost street is 6th Street in Avalon and the southernmost street is 122nd Street in Stone Harbor. The town of Avalon encompasses 6th Street to the north side of 80th Street and Stone Harbor runs from the south side of 80th Street to 122nd Street.
The island was purchased by Aaron Leaming in 1723 and is known for its exceptionally high natural sand dunes (40th Street to 58th Street) and groves of cedar and bayberry trees – much of which have remained to create one of the highest dune systems on the East Coast and the highest on the Jersey Shore. For well over 100 years, the island remained uninhabited and was used primarily for hunting and grazing cattle. In 1887, The Seven Mile Beach Company, headed by a businessman from Philadelphia, initiated development of the Island. The earliest guests arrived via the West Jersey Railroad and Seashore Lines, which rumbled along what is now Dune Drive/Second Avenue. The railroad spurred development of the resort by establishing the first land connection to the island and conveniently connecting the seashore resort to Philadelphia and Camden.
Today, the Seven Mile Island is home to many families, some who have returned each summer for generations!
Having grown up on the Seven Mile Island, and having spent my entire professional career renting and selling real estate here, I’ve paid particular attention to the glaring difference between the stringent zoning that governs development and type of use here on the Seven Mile Island and the more permissive zoning found in many other resort communities. After all, zoning sets the tone for a town’s development and character. Generally speaking, the zoning on the Seven Mile Island requires larger lot sizes and greater distance in between homes (as compared to many other resort towns), and thus you’ll find MUCH LESS density on this island. As a result (as it relates particularly to ownership), the Seven Mile Island has been viewed as a ‘destination’ to strive for – not merely a stepping stone!
Avalon and Stone Harbor’s Business Districts are fairly compact, with exceptions being few and far between. The eastern border of the Business District is Dune Drive/Second Avenue (as it’s termed in Stone Harbor), and the western border is Ocean Drive/Third Avenue in Stone Harbor. Avalon’s Business District spans from 20th Street to 33rd Street and Stone Harbor’s Business District spans from 94th Street to 99th Street.
The Seven Mile Island’s uncongested atmosphere, pristine beaches and countless outdoor activities and restaurants have enticed families to return year after year to enjoy all that the island has to offer. There is literally something for everyone: miles of beautiful bathing beaches offering the most desirable beach sand (fine grains, not coarse), a huge array of opportunities to catch many species of fish (from blue marlin to weakfish), crabbing for delicious blue claw crabs, summer camps, active Recreation Departments, public tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, parks, night clubs, and many excellent restaurants and shops for the family!
Don’t forget to check out the Wetlands Institute, located on the Stone Harbor Causeway, only about a mile west of Stone Harbor. Situated on about 6,000 acres of coastal wetlands, the Institute is a living laboratory where more than 40,000 visitors each year get a close-up look and learn about the shore’s myriad of wildlife and ecosystem.
For those seeking a diversion from our serene atmosphere, this southern tip of New Jersey (Cape May County) is rapidly becoming a golf paradise! There are numerous golf courses located within 10 to 20 minutes of Avalon/Stone Harbor, including: Sand Barrens, Avalon Golf Club, Stone Harbor Golf Club, Wildwood Golf Club and Cape May National.
Of course, the glitz of Atlantic City is only 30 minutes to the North and, the Cape May County Park & Zoo is 10 minutes to the South of Avalon. Victorian Cape May is located about 20 minutes south, at the southern tip (Mile 0) of the Garden State Parkway!
I am always happy to offer suggestions about activities and destinations that you and your family and friends will enjoy!!
I look forward to seeing you on the Seven Mile Island!! Dan