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Your Guide to the Best Jersey Shore Beaches

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There’s nothing better than a trip to the Jersey Shore. But with 130 miles of soft, sandy beaches, the choice for where to go can be tough, and not just for DTS newbies. If you’re looking for a guide to some of the best Jersey shore beaches and how to get there via exit, we’ve got you covered. 

Monmouth County

Asbury Park

If your heart lives in Hoboken, your beach soul belongs in Asbury Park. In addition to the beach, the Asbury Park Boardwalk boasts a mile of shopping, restaurants, water parks, mini-golf, and music. It’s home to the iconic Stone Pony (the house that Bruce built), which hosts an outdoor summer concert series. When you’re on your way there, take Exit 102 going south and 100A going north.

Belmar

Voted the #1 beach in Central Jersey and #6 in the entire state, you really can’t go wrong with a day here. Why we’re obsessed: there are cell phone chargers on every block, water bottle filling stations on the playground, and a beach chair and umbrella concession. If you’re with the fam, hit up the north end, but if you’re headed there with your pals, you’ll want to head south and get yourself to D’Jais or Bar A. Take Exit 98 going south or north.

Bradley Beach

This is a great option if you’re coming from NYC (only 1.5 hour drive). It’s cute and not too crowded. There’s always something to do from hanging on the beach to local events and more. Take Exit 100B going south and Exit 100 north.

Long Branch

With a beachy, resort feel thanks to quaint shops and restaurants at Pier Village, you won’t even feel like you’re in Jersey anymore. Be sure to check out Avenue for a great view and equally awesome cocktails and atmosphere. If you’re already missing Hoboken, you can hit up Turning Point for brunch. Take Exit 105 going north and south.

Manasquan

Manasquan includes one mile of sandy beaches (and Leggetts and the Osprey, obviously), and it’s also the only beach that has a designated handicapped location at Elks Beach. This beach can be described as both bustling and calm — the perfect beach getaway. You’ll take Exit 98 going north or south, or, you can take Exit 90 going north. PS: Parker House in Sea Girt is a must and a quick cab ride over.

Read More: Things to Do in Cape May

Sandy Hook

This beach is huge and even has a private dog beach. It’s also home to Gunnison Beach, NJ’s only legal nude beach. There are also local happenings taking place in the area. Take Exit 117 going north and south.

Spring Lake

You won’t find a rowdy crowd here: there aren’t any bars or arcades, but you will find some great local shops to spruce up your beach home (or at least your apartment that you wish was on the beach). The Spring Lake Inn is a must-stay if looking for an upscale feel in a laid-back area. Take Exit 98 north or south.

Ocean County

Lavallette

There are two bayside swimming beaches that are nice when it’s too rough to swim in the ocean, so this beach is perfect for little ones. It’s also your essential quiet shore town with a yacht club, restaurants, shops, and more. Take Exit 91 or 98 going south and 82 going north.

Long Beach Island (LBI) / Beach Haven

These two beach towns are neighbors and are named among the most scenic areas of the Jersey shore. Check out family-friendly Fantasy Island or the rebirth of the singing ice cream shop The Showplace, part of Surflight Theater, or places like The Marlin and Nardis at night. Do not miss The Chicken or the Egg (or the Chegg as the seasonal locals call it) for breakfast/brunch and the hot wing challenge. Take Exit 63 south and north.

Point Pleasant

This beach is known for crystal clear water and a family-friendly atmosphere: Jenkinson’s Aquarium is a must. But, you’ll also want to visit Martell’s Tiki Bar or Jenk’s at night for some fun — worth the trip. You can buy beach badges at Jenkinsons Boardwalk (300 Ocean Avenue) or call 732-892-0600. Take Exit 98 going south and 90 north.

Seaside Heights

Where family fun daytime meets a youthful nightlife. With Funtown Pier and Casino Pier on the Boardwalk, and Karma and Bamboo at night, Seaside Heights is such stuff that Jersey shore dreams are made of. Take Exit 82 going south and north.

Atlantic County

Atlantic City

Atlantic City beaches are FREE, so you can come and go as you please. And while there, you may want to spend a little time at the slots or tables at any number of the casinos on the boards or even just off at the Borgata. You’ll take Exits 40 or 38 going south and Exits 36 or 38 going north.

Brigantine

One of the more beautiful beaches in New Jersey with ample parking and bathrooms, Brigantine Beach is known for its cleanliness and accessibility — and easy access to AC. There is a fee to spend the day at the beach,  so don’t forget your cash. Take Exit 40 going south and Exit 36 or 28 if you’re going north.

See More: New Jersey Beaches That Don’t Require a Beach Badge

Cape May County

Avalon Beach

If you’re looking for a luxe beach experience look no further than Avalon. There are also world-class bird watching and wildlife sanctuaries if you want to check out some cool creatures. Take Exit 13 going south and north.

Cape May

Many flock here to check out the numerous Victorian houses and The Cape May Lighthouse. A daily tag costs $6, so you can easily spend the day for pretty cheap, and enjoy the sightseeing — with a trip to Congress Hall. Take Exit 0 going south. It’s literally the last stop on the parkway.

Ocean City

Ocean City is family-friendly, clean, and a great go-to during the off (and on) season. Yes, Ocean City is a dry town, but the boardwalk is hoppin’. When you’re heading there, take Exit 25 or 30 going south and Exit 25 or 29 going north.

Sea Isle City

A family-friendly beach with great restaurants, and a small-town charm – Sea Isle City is a go-to for your family vacation. Spend the weekend, week, or whole summer in this shore town, and it will feel like the perfect getaway. PS – the 4th of July fireworks display in Sea Isle are next level. You’ll take exit 17 if you’re coming from GSP north.

Stone Harbor

Stone Harbor is located in the southern part of what is known as the Seven Mile Beach.  It’s quaint, stunning, and has a perfect location that is easily accessible to Wildwood, Ocean City, and Cape May with its own busy downtown dining + shopping scene. Take Exit 10A going south and 10B going north.

Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood

With a tagline like “As wild as you want to be,” you could only imagine all the fun activities this beach has to offer, not to mention how expansive the beachfront is. And depending on your preference, you’ll find a different vibe in each Wildwood area, including ’60s mod motels, a dry town, the lively boardwalk, and great nightlife. There’s always something going on here from car shows to rides and a water park. If you’re down for whatever mood, you’ll want to check out this beach area.

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Michele mostly writes about her two favorite things - people and food. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. During the day, she's a payroll specialist for small + local businesses, but on the nights and weekends, she's trying new places to write about and stopping for snacks along the way {so it's a good thing she's a marathoner and soccer player}. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, nachos, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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