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Barnegat Bay is too shallow. Actually all of the New Jersey bays from Sandy Hook to Cape May are too shallow to sail much if you draw more than 3'. Raritan Bay may be too far away for you but the wind is good and the depth is not a problem. It is an active commercial shipping area and not a scenic wonder but it has nice yacht clubs, good services and good sailing.

The Chesapeake is beautiful and a great place to explore, in the spring and fall. For my money it is too hot and windless in the summer. I have sailed through Delaware Bay to get from the C & D to Cape May but I know little else abou it.
 
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