1 The Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club is a nightclub, poolside bar, restaurant, motel and banquet hall combined on two oceanfront acres in the heart of Beach Haven. The sprawling venue celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a special party Saturday, July 30, having been founded in 1961 by the parents of current owner Tom Hughes. In the past half-century, it has more than made a name for itself as one of the best all-around party destinations on the coast, let alone on Long Beach Island.
2 The club perfectly mixes carefree surfer style with the features of swanky venues that would never allow flip-flops or tank-tops. The TVs stream surfing footage while the booming sound system plays everything from classic rock to house music, both inside and outside. Girls in skin-tight dresses talk to guys in Jetty-brand T-shirts by the tiki bar. Smoke pours from the stage and green laser lights flash over the packed dance floor. Whether dressed up or dressed down, the clientele is both attractive and approachable.
3 The venue takes full advantage of its location just before the dunes. Daytime and nighttime live entertainment on the patio, a pool open to all patrons and a full menu of food and outdoor bars with daily happy-hour specials give you everything you could ask for from a beach bar - and makes you wonder why so few places along the shore offer the same.
4 The myth that people go crazy when the moon's full is perpetuated each summer because of The Sea Shell's "Full Moon Parties." Each of the self-described "most scandalous" parties on the island has extreme drink specials, photo booths, a mechanical bull, palm readings and live music. Your next chance to howl at the moon is Saturday, Aug. 13.
5 Probably the club's best deal is its VIP Pass. Instead of paying a cover each night that ranges from $5 to $15, you can pay $60 for entry all summer long. With everything The Sea Shell has to offer, it's no wonder that hundreds of the passes are sold each year.
Music: Popular cover bands play most nights, inside and outside. On Thursdays, DJ Prime whirls the crowd into a craze with seamless mash-ups of contagious dance tracks like "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer and "Run the World (Girls)" by Beyonce.
Vibe: On a recent Thursday night, a young and attractive crowd filled both the inside nightclub and outdoor patio. Outside, different groups sat around tables and talk while others stand at the two tiki bars and mingle. Inside, both bars and the dance floor are packed, and a handful of girls dance on the stage in between.