With over 100-miles of ocean-facing shoreline, the Jersey Shore is a perfect place for some fun in the sand. So pack up your crew for a fun day in the sun. We’ve picked 15 great beaches for you to add to your New Jersey travel itinerary or plan a weekend getaway.
Known as the club where Bruce Springstein earned his fame, The Stone Pony still draws many major acts to this day (even “the Boss” himself pops in every so often). The recently restored Asbury Park Convention Center also holds a variety of events throughout the year. A boardwalk lined with surf shops and food concessions runs the length of the beach.
Most people think of Miss America, casino gambling, and world-class nightlife when they hear Atlantic City. But, Atlantic City also has a wide (up to 150-feet in some spots), four-mile-long beach with two piers – one for fishing and one with a shopping mall – that jut out over the ocean. Its famous 60-foot wide boardwalk runs the beach’s length and features easy access to over a dozen casino hotels.
Years ago, the quiet little town of Belmar attracted thousands of party goers throughout the summer. In recent years, the town has worked to transform itself into a more family-friendly destination. Like many oceanfront towns in the area, the city of Belmar charges a small fee for daily beach passes.
Just east of Atlantic City and located on its own barrier island, Brigantine Beachgoers enjoy a much quieter experience than visitors to it’s nearby neighbor. Parking can be difficult for non-residents during the summer, with many on-street restrictions in place. The beach also has no boardwalk and backs up to a residential street. Brigantine Beach offers visitors a chance to stretch out and enjoy the sand and surf with few other distractions.
Named as a National Historic Landmark in 1976, pristine beaches, interesting museums, and over 600-structures featuring Victorian architecture make Cape May a perfect weekend getaway for large families. The town of Cape May hosts movies on the beach, free concerts, and dozens of other events and festivals throughout the year. A car ferry from Lewes, Delaware, adds a little fun to the trip for those coming from the south.
Island Beach State Park
Island Beach State Park takes up almost ten-miles of barrier-island just south of Seaside Heights. Along with a pure, white sand beach, the state park has a visitor center, plenty of parking, and modern facilities. The park also features several historic buildings, many miles of hiking and biking trails, and horseback riding on the beach.
Just five miles north of Island Beach State Park on the same barrier island, Lavallette Beach attracts a mix of locals and vacationers during the summer months. A boardwalk runs on and off along the beach. Plenty of available parking makes getting to Lavalette Beach a breeze. Just a block from the surf, N.J. Route 35 has a variety of family-friendly eateries, shops, and pubs.
Long Beach Island
New Jersey’s Long Beach Island extends over 20-miles from the Barnegat Light on the northern end to the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve on the southern tip. The island boasts almost 20-miles of pristine oceanfront beaches, several towns, and many ice cream shops. A small amusement area in the town of Beach Haven includes a water park, rides for children of all ages, and a sprawling miniature golf course.
One of the Jersey Shore’s northernmost beaches, Long Branch, draws more of a local crowd during the warm weather. Other than the famous “Haunted House at Long Branch,” the area has few attractions. However, like almost all New Jersey barrier islands, their beach boasts clean, white sand, ocean waves, and ample room for any sized family.
Located south of Atlantic City, just across the Great Egg Harbor Inlet, the beachside town of Ocean City offers a much more family orientated experience than its nearby neighbor. The city has several beaches, two amusement parks, as well as a small water park. Its bustling boardwalk features a variety of eateries, shops, and several arcades. Corson’s Inlet State Park at the southern tip of the island has a boat launch, walking trails, and a secluded beach area.
One of the Jersey Shore’s most popular destinations, Point Pleasant, attracts vacationers throughout the warmer months. Along with a gorgeous beach, Point Pleasant’s Jenkinson’s Boardwalk rivals those of Atlantic City and Wildwood for its many attractions. An amusement area with rides for children of all ages, a world-class aquarium, and plenty of reasonably priced lodgings make Point Pleasant a favorite with big families.
Sandy Hook National Seashore
Part of Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook National Seashore, offers something for everyone. The park has an extensive network of biking trails, a campsite, and several picnic areas. The park service also offers tours of the Sandy Hook Light – the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the U.S. – as well as the Fort Hancock Post Museum and several other historic buildings. Sandy Hook beachgoers enjoy views of the Verrazano Bridge, Rockaway Point, and even the Coney Island parachute jump on a clear day.
Along with families, Seaside Heights also draws twentysomethings during the summer. Town lodgings consist mostly of small motels, inns, and vacation rentals. The beach has an updated boardwalk lined with surf shops, amusements, and eateries. During the high season, the town shows free movies on the beach on weekends.
Located on New Jersey’s Seven Mile Island near the southern tip of the state, the charming town of Stone Harbor draws vacationers looking for lazy days at the beach and quiet times in the evening. The beach has no boardwalk, just grassy dunes separating it from the beachfront homes, rental properties, and small motels that run its entire length. Right in the middle of town, the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary has been home to thousands of birds over the years, including Catbirds, Ospreys, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers.
Just north of Cape May, the four adjacent towns of North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and Wildwood Gables make up the New Jersey Wildwoods. Together, the unpartitioned Wildwood beaches span a total of almost five miles. An attraction-packed, two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk runs along the northern half of the beach. The Wildwoods’ southern section offers a quieter experience with grassy dunes and small motels lining the shore.