OCEAN CITY, N.J. – The winner and still champion of New Jersey's Top Ten Beaches contest is ... Ocean City!
The southern New Jersey beach town that bills itself as "America's Greatest Family Resort" was named the state's most popular beach for the second straight year Thursday.
It also won in 2009.
Ocean City is known for its popular boardwalk, amusement rides and mini golf courses, restaurants and bayfront boating and water sports.
This year, Ocean City won the online vote for best beach; best day-trip beach; best family vacation beach; and top beach for ecotourism. It is a dry town, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Many residents and vacationers say that contributes to the family friendly reputation of the resort.
As usual, Cape May County beaches dominated the voting, taking the top five slots.
This year's runners up were: Wildwood; Wildwood Crest; Sea Isle City; North Wildwood; Asbury Park; Manasquan; Belmar; Brigantine and Long Beach Township.
Since the contest began in 2008, either Ocean City or the Wildwoods (the three Wildwood municipalities used to compete as a single entity) has won the vote.
The contest is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and Stockton College as a way of making people feel more connected to and protective of the state's 127-mile coastline.
In the day-trip category, runners up were: Wildwood; Sea Isle City; Wildwood Crest; North Wildwood; Asbury Park; Belmar; Manasquan; Point Pleasant Beach; and Brigantine.
In the best family vacation category, runners up were: Wildwood; Wildwood Crest; Sea Isle City; North Wildwood; Manasquan; Belmar; Point Pleasant Beach; Long Beach Township and Brigantine.
In the best ecotourism category, runners up were: Wildwood; Wildwood Crest; Sea Isle City; North Wildwood; Island Beach State Park; Cape May Wildlife Refuge; Sandy Hook; Belmar and Brigantine.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC