A weathered starting gate—its rusted doors still hanging from their hinges, a painted 10 still visible over the leftmost stall—seems to sink into the faint remains of an old horse track, a relic of the grounds’ past life as a venue for racing and training thoroughbreds. A portion of the old track cuts across three holes at Glen Riddle Golf Club’s 7,163-yard Man O’ War course, the longer and more difficult of the club’s twin 18-hole layouts. In truth, the legendary thoroughbred from which the course takes its name once lived on the historic Glen Riddle grounds, but the layout is more than just a locus of equestrian trivia: with massive greens, double fairways, and deep pot bunkers swept by the gales from the eastern shore, its mounded terrain pays homage to the old, links-style layouts that populate the shores of Scotland where horses first climbed out of the sea.
Of course, Man O’ War is named for the legendary thoroughbred who sired a legendary racer of his own—the 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral, which also serves as the namesake for Glen Riddle’s second course. Though slightly shorter than its grassy patriarch at 6,892 yards, the foal winds its fairways through forests and tidal marshland to form a much less forgiving layout.
Man O’ War Course at a Glance:
War Admiral Course at a Glance:
Club-swingers at Heritage Shores Club launch aerodynamic orbs over 7,000 yards of greens and fairways, aiming to shoot a par 72. The Arthur Hills–designed course is built to be both challenging and fun, with water flanking many shots, bunkers creeping just out of view, and clowns waiting in the bushes to juggle lost balls. Five varying tees dot the start of each hole, making rounds customizable according to skill level and preference, and building in variation for future visits. Pairs and foursomes follow their mini globes in carts, gliding over the course's undulating fairways and celebrating good shots by steering donuts on well-manicured greens.
Ever since he was a child, Ocean City native Tyler Barnes cruised the waters around his nautical town on his parents' boat. His nautical knowledge culminated in a three-year stint as a mate for a parasail company. As he fell in love with the craft, he realized he wanted to start his own adventure company. By blending his skills in watery sports with training as a marketing major, he founded Paradise Watersports. Ten years later, his company now owns a fleet of four 12-passenger parasailing boats and 30 Sea-Doo jet skis, which they buy new each year to ensure high-quality performance.
Tyler leads a team of U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains and crew, who also all hold certifications in CPR and first aid and boast a thorough knowledge of the area as well as a near-compulsive need for year-round water-bound activity. They put this knowledge to use teaching boater-safety courses on the bay and guiding jet-ski rentals and beach-hugging parasailing tours. On tours, they pilot U.S. Coast Guard–inspected boats custom-built to accommodate parasailing gear and equipped with hydraulic winches and towlines to enable slow takeoffs, steady ascents, and undisturbed conversations with seagulls. For many trips, they grant visitors waterproof Canon cameras, letting riders snap their own photos from the boat or above it.
With practice areas for all facets of the game and 18 relatively straightforward, par 3 holes, Midway Par 3 & Driving Range affords novice duffers an ideal haunt for honing burgeoning golf talent. The course’s modest tee-to-green distances range 65–150 yards, making the links surmountable for future aces yet to develop the club-flailing muscle needed to deliver long drives and convincing strongman impressions. Patrons making their divot-tearing debuts will appreciate the course’s exclusion of meddling water hazards and sand traps, as well as the complex’s 30-stall driving range and practice areas reserved for chipping, putting, and celebratory tee-punting. A large basket contains 105 range balls that gladly submit to your orb-obliterating demands, granting greens-loving guests a comprehensive tune-up session before taking to the real course, which typically takes two hours to traverse.
While waiting for a group of tour participants aboard his kayak on Cape Island Creek, Bob Lubberman made a new acquaintance when a 4-foot great blue heron landed on the nose of his boat. It's not an entirely new experience for the owner of Miss Chris Kayak Rentals and Tours, as opportunities to commune with nature came often as he crabbed and fished as a child from his grandmother's dock. Now he's able to connect visitors to this ecosystem as they independently paddle rented sit-on-top kayaks or as they participate in guided kayak or boat tours.
Paddlers on kayak tours often catch close-ups of ospreys, terns, and other birds, and see diamondback terrapin turtles sunning themselves on the shore or trying to hold their own ice-cream cones. Day and sunset tours let guests explore the wildlife-rich salt marshes, and night tours led during high tide let them paddle over grassy terrain to otherwise inaccessible areas. Guests explore similar territory on tours aboard the Osprey as they watch migrating shore birds or look out on the harbor's historic buildings. Kayak tour guides include an associate naturalist and a Cape May Bird Observatory field associate, and land-based staffers maintain a touch tank on the Miss Chris mooring dock, which they temporarily fill with conches, eels, and other sea life pulled up using open-sided conservation traps.
Arms folded across her chest, the young girl rides a spouting cascade of water through the pitch-black tube, squealing with each twist and turn afforded by the snaking confines. Just as it seems as though the darkness will never lift, sunlight pours onto her face as she is spit out into a crystal-blue pool below. This high-adrenaline ride is the reward for being brave enough to tackle the Midnight Run, one of Splash Zone’s numerous waterslides. Other rides include their newest attraction, the FlowRider, which combines surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding with a continuous wave formed by a thin sheet of water for a new sport available for all ages.
Nestled in the heart of Wildwood, the aquatic adventureland evokes whoops and squeals from visitors of all ages with more than 16 splash-laden activities. The gentle ebb of Rivy’s River carries inner-tubing guests along at a relaxed pace, and the interactive water playground in Giggle Bay ensures that the young adventurers remain hydrated thanks to a constantly tipping bucket filled with 1,000 gallons of water. As aquanauts explore the waters, Splash Zone’s crew of certified lifeguards and sunglass-clad Saint Bernards remain on hand to ensure safety, and an onsite first-aid station offers remedies for a variety of ailments. Along with watery pastimes, Splash Zone offers sunbathing areas to facilitate leisurely tanning, and the Zone Grill where chefs forge fire-licked eats for hungry guests.
Salty breezes conjured from the North Atlantic can be a golfer’s worst enemy when traversing Avalon Golf Club. But for players who factor it into their swings, the breeze can help as much as it hinders as the course follows a path of narrow rye-grass fairways designed by Bob Hendricks in 1971. Hendricks incorporated eight natural lakes into the course’s layout, summoning the strategically timed squawks of gulls, hawks, and occasional bald eagles that soar overhead. Players looking to smooth out their swings can enlist the professional guidance of the club's resident PGA professionals, Ted Wenner and Dennis Jones, during lessons and clinics.
After rounds, golfers can lounge on Avalon Links Restaurant’s patio, which overlooks the 18th green. After refueling on sandwiches or fresh seafood, club-goers can discreetly drive their carts into the sprawling pro shop for apparel and gear from Ashworth, Life Is Good, and Titleist.
Course at a Glance: