Re: South Jersey anyone?
+1 on the upper Delaware. We used to sail our Catalina 22 out of Winters marina in Riverside.
For a bigger lake check out Lake Nockamixon in PA, probably a little over an hour from you.
I think you'll find conditions at the Jersey shore a little much for your 17 footer on all but the calmest mornings, not to mention lots of boat wakes.
95 Catalina 30 Island Time
“Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar" - Don Bamford