I had many sailboats in Barnegat Bay, up to 4’3” draft
, and currently sail the Chesapeake, with many trips NY to the Chesapeake.
Barnegat Bay is small, but has nuce daysailing. You can anchor
overnight in Toms River, Barnegat Light (if you don’t mind fighting the wakes for 5 mi in the Oyster
Creek Channel to just short of the inlet), and a few adequate anchorages
on the Bay, with varying protection. There are good marinas
in Forked River, and Key Harbor in Waretown.
Probably some good ones up near Toms River too.
Summer has reliable 10-15 knot
I’ve sailed in the NY and Raritan Bay area, and the scenery is great. Tidal currents are strong. You can certainly anchor out near Sandy Hook and in Great Kills, Staten Island.
Cape May has nowhere to go except 6 hr north to Atlantic City, or to the Chesapeake, a full day away. Not much to see on Delaware Bay.
The northern Chesapeake is attractive ( we had a slip in Georgetown
on the Sassafrass for years). The spiders are way out of control around there, though! And, there’s little wind
and lots of heat on the Chesapeake in summer.