I have visited beaches all around the world -- from Australia to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Still, after growing up in New Jersey there’s something about the Jersey Shore that I find irresistible. There’s a vibe in the air that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Last summer I drove by the Hotel LBI in Ship Bottom, New Jersey, and I knew immediately that it would be a great place for the perfect Staycation. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to refresh my batteries after five months of running a small business during the lockdown.

Located on Long Beach Island, the hotel’s rooms are large and very welcoming, and the rooftop bar was a great way to end the day. During our recent visit I was impressed by the care that the hotel took in helping guests maintain social distancing without being intrusive. For instance, there were two-hour bookings for the pool to keep the number of people swimming at a safe amount. I felt very comfortable my entire stay.

As everyone knows, I founded Nikki Tans because I believe in enjoying the sunshine safely. Because we were visiting Long Beach island during a heat wave, that meant less than a hour on the beach was plenty of time for me.

This was our first time dining at the hotel’s Salt Kitchen & Bar and we were impressed by the service and quality of food. Our food choices included shrimp cocktail, clams casino, scallops and New Zealand lobster tails. The lobster tails were magnificent -- if you have even traveled to New Zealand, then you know nothing compares to that country’s seafood.

As a small-business owner myself, I always try to support the local shops when I travel. Along the island’s Ocean Ave there were a variety of beach shops to choose from. Beach Haven’s Sur La Plage carries a few of the brands I love -- from Free People to Vitamin A swimwear.

A few blocks away is the Triton Craft Beer and Oyster Bar, the perfect afternoon lunch spot to order seafood, a pizza and a glass of rosé. Ken’s favorite is the shrimp that you peel and eat, but I prefer mine as a cocktail. We both agree that the Beau Soleil oysters fresh from the Atlantic were absolutely delicious and great as a shared dish. If you want a taste of Italy by way of New Jersey, order the margherita Pizza. You won’t regret it.

One of my favorite restaurants on the island is Parker’s Garage in Beach Haven. If you like raw tuna, I highly recommend the Tuna Cracker appetizer. For dinner I loved the white fish. Flounder is always my go-to during the summer because it’s light. To top of this entree, I added the Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce -- it was to die for. The Brussels Sprouts are also a must!

Our four nights and five days on Long Beach Island reminded me that you can enjoy the beach and sun wherever you are. Every shore town around the world has its own special charms and it’s fun to explore them all.

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