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Your Guide to Lavallette, NJ

by Cristina Lombardi
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Nothing says summer in New Jersey quite like driving down the Garden State parkway and heading ‘down the shore.’ There’s truly no better feeling than heading toward one of the many beloved beach towns New Jersey has to offer. Located just an hour and a half south of Hoboken lies one of the most picturesque, relaxing, yet bustling beach towns on the Jersey Shore. From its beautiful sandy beach to the shopping, delicious cafes, restaurants, and everything in between, Lavallette has it all. Lavallette has its well-known restaurants and shops that have been around for decades, but also welcomed some wonderful new businesses to the town in recent years. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Lavallette — including where to stay, where to shop, where to eat, and what to do. Read on to learn how to spend your time in Lavallette, NJ.

lavallette beach

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

History + Facts

Established in 1887, Lavallette is a borough in Ocean County, located on the Barnegat Peninsula. Although mainly a summer community, with a population of about 2,000 residents, it is definitely a destination that is worth visiting. Believe it or not, Lavallette is only one square mile — but this charming seaside community is still jam-packed with activities for all ages. It’s also conveniently located and snuggled between two other popular shore towns, Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights.

Lavallette was named after Elie A. F. La Vallette, one of the first rear admirals appointed in the United States Navy when President Abraham Lincoln created the rank in 1862. He was also the father of Albert T. Lavallette, co-founder of the borough.

lavallette beach

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy hit Lavallette and the entire peninsula very hard about 12 years ago and many establishments were destroyed. It’s taken years to fully recover, but the area has bounced back — we’re so happy that it did.

Read More: How to Spend a Day in Wildwood, New Jersey

Getting There

Driving

From Hudson County, hop on the New Jersey Turnpike W toward I-95 (South toward Trenton). Stay on the Turnpike for 8 miles, taking exit 11 for the Garden State Parkway South. From the Parkway, take either Exit 98 for the scenic beach route or Exit 82 to go through Toms River. For Exit 98, follow signs onto NJ-34 South toward Brielle, which will lead you to Lavallette through Point Pleasant. For Exit 82, follow signs for NJ-37 East toward Seaside Heights and Island Beach State Park, and then continue on NJ-35 N to Lavallette.

*Both are about the same distance, but it never hurts to check the GPS for the fastest option — especially during peak traffic times over the summer.

Train

Although there’s no direct route, the train is another option for those without a car. Take the PATH from Journal Square to Newark Penn, where you will transfer to NJ Transit on the North Jersey Coast Line train to Long Branch. You’ll transfer again to take the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line to Bay Head. Take the exit at Point Pleasant Beach, which is a short 10-minute Uber ride to Lavallette. In total, the train takes about 3 hours — but we promise, it’s worth the trip.

Where to Stay

Beautiful vacation homes are available to rent anywhere from a week to the entire summer. There are many realtors in the area to help you find your perfect summer oasis, but be sure to look in advance, as rentals can be booked up to a year in advance. VRBO has been growing in popularity for renting in this area. There are also different local real estate companies to check out, like Lavallette Beach House Summer Rentals, Ocean Beach Sales + Rentals, Schlosser Real Estate, and more. 

lavallette shore houses

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

There are also a few newly renovated motels such as Starlight Motel & Luxury Suites, Lamplight Motel, Tradewinds Motor Lodge, which usually have availability for shorter trips and weekend stays.

What to Do

Lavallette Beach

lavallette beach

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

Windswept sand dunes separate magnificent beachfront houses from the shimmering white sand and sparkling sea. Whether you’re looking to relax and lay low or have a more active day, there are always people enjoying a little bit of everything. From surfers to skimboarders, to people playing beach volleyball, to children building sand castles, and of course, to readers and loungers, there are always people soaking up the sun.

Lavallette Bay

boating lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

Just a few blocks west of the beach lies the bay, with a sand ‘beach’ that is perfect for little ones.  This part of town is a little quieter and more serene and offers a few long docks for fishing and crabbing. You will also find vacationers kayaking, boating, jet skiing, and paddleboarding on the calm water. West Point Island is also worth exploring, where you’ll discover beautiful waterfront mansions, including one that was home to actor Joe Pesci for many years. (Fun fact: it recently sold for its $6.5 million asking price — more than seven times what he paid for it!)  

*The beach and bay are protected by lifeguards from 10AM- 5PM on weekdays and until 6PM on holidays and weekends — and both require a beach badge for entry. 

Lavallette Boardwalk

lavallette boardwalk

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

The Lavallette Boardwalk is an awesome way to get those steps in. Not to be confused with your typical shore boardwalk with arcade games, the Lavallette boardwalk is a mile-long stretch of boards that acts as an entryway to the beach. At any time of the day, there are runners, walkers, and bikers alike, exercising while admiring the beautiful beachfront houses. The town also hosts an annual Breast Cancer Walk on the boardwalk on the first Saturday of August. It raises money and awareness through The Tone Foundation and the American Cancer Society. This year’s walk was held on August 7th.

Shopping

A beach trip is never complete without a little shopping, and there are so many great options in the center of town. Here are some of our favorites:

B&B Department Store | 709 Grand Central Avenue

B&B has lots of clothing, bathing suits, and any other beach apparel you may need.

Beach Authority | 506 Grand Central Avenue

This shop calls itself the ‘one-stop shop’ for all things you may need at the Jersey Shore. It sells clothes, supplies for the beach, and even has bike rentals.

The Beach Home | 1904 Grand Central Avenue

This is the spot for beachy home decor (no surprise, given the name).

Ben Franklin | 1205 Grand Central Avenue

This shop has been family-owned since 1948. It’s a 5 & 10 store with any kind of beach items you may need.

Bow & Arrow Boutique | 701 Grand Central Avenue

This boutique has clothing, accessories, home goods, shoes, and more.

House of Lucky | 502 Grand Central Avenue

House of Lucky is an adorable shop full of pastels + summer-inspired accessories, clothes, shoes, and more.

Island Gypsy | 504 Grand Central Avenue

Island Gypsy is another great spot to shop for clothes — it also has jewelry, accessories, and candles.

Martin’s Casuals | 703 Grand Central Avenue

Martin’s has been open for over 50 years and prides itself on providing a unique shopping experience. It sells clothes for both men and women, along with swimwear, shoes, and other fun accessories.

My Sister’s Jewelry Box | 905 Grand Central Avenue

my sisters jewelry box lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

This shop has such a fun concept — that the best place to get new items is in your sister’s closet. As such, it sells cute + chic jewelry items.

Salted Gems | 906 Unit B Grand Central Avenue

Salted gems sells sterling silver jewelry — and everything it sells is inspired by the coastal landscape.

Shaded Vision | 605 Grand Central Avenue # C

As the name suggests, this is the place to go for sunglasses + other eyewear needs.

More Town Activities

lavallette tennis courts

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

In addition, fitness classes such as yoga on the beach are available, courtesy of This is Yoga NJ studio in Seaside Park. Paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing school, tennis, or pickleball on the courts by the bay are also awesome activities to try — many of which are available for rent. Playing mini-golf, going fishing, crabbing, jet skiing, or boating are also awesome things to do. Additionally, the town also hosts family-friendly events such as a summer concert series in the Lavallette gazebo which are held on Sunday nights at 7PM, starting on Independence Day and continuing every Sunday (weather permitting) through Labor Day. There are also weekly “Kites and Sand Castle” activities on the beach.

lavallette gazebo

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

See More: Tri-State Area Waterparks to Check Out This Summer

Where to Eat

From classic breakfast dishes to Italian sandwiches, to fresh seafood and more, Lavallette is bursting with delicious options for any craving.

Colonial Bakery | 1906A Grand Central Avenue (Route 35 North) + 3091 NJ-35

colonial bakery lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

Say hello to the freshest, most indulgent, hand-made baked goods you could ever dream of. Established in 1998, Colonial Bakery is the go-to spot in town for bagels, crumb buns, cookies, donuts, cupcakes, and bread galore. Open seasonally from May to September, this family-run bakery prides itself on using only the finest quality ingredients and it shows. A must try: the Bavarian crumb squares, aka the classic crumb cake stuffed with in-house-made Bavarian cream.

Megs Grill | 1403 Grand Central Avenue

megs grill lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

Dining at Meg’s Grill is a must for visitors. This casual eatery is a local favorite that remains open year round. Choose from a variety of breakfast classics such as pancakes, eggs, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches or come for lunch and enjoy signature salads, wraps, burgers, cheesesteaks, and daily specials. You may even meet Meg herself, the mastermind and chef behind this delicious eatery.

Other great options for coffee, breakfast, and lunch include Lava Java, Sand Dollar Pancake House, Sunset Keys Cafe & Market, Playa Bowls, and Toast. 

Lenny’s Pizza & Italian Grill | 406 Grand Central Avenue

lennys pizza lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

For authentic Italian cuisine, there’s Lenny’s — a longtime family-run restaurant with consistently delicious meals. On its large menu, you can choose from many different types of cheesy pizza, loaded sandwiches, savory pasta, salads, and Italian classics. Popular for take-out and dining in, the space is centrally located in town. Lenny’s is open all year round and has a delicious catering menu as well.

Other great options for dinner include Little Mias, The Oven, or Castaway’s.

Crab’s Claw Inn | 601 Grand Central Avenue

crabs claw lavallette

(Photo credit: @crabsclawinn)

In the heart of Lavallette, you will find a very popular restaurant loved by the locals and visitors alike. With a ton of outdoor seating, including happy hour specials and live indoor music, Crab’s Claw is the place to go for drinks, shareable apps, and an extensive seafood list. The atmosphere is fun and casual. Though it’s known for its crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and crispy buffalo calamari, it’s the food and the fun, date-night vibe that ultimately attracts visitors. While waiting to be seated, you can also enjoy some live outdoor music and a drink at the outdoor bar.

Other great choices for fresh seafood include The Lobster Deck, Ohana Grill, Channel Marker Cafe, or Hoshino Asian Bistro.

Iceberg Ice Cream | 403 Grand Central Avenue

iceberg ice cream lavallette

(Photo credit: @_cristinalombardi)

When you need an indulgent, refreshing treat, stop by one of the best homemade ice cream shops on the peninsula. Open since 1977, Iceberg has 44 different soft serve flavors, unique hard ice cream flavors made fresh daily, endless toppings to choose from — as well as sundaes galore. It also offers dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free, and no added sugar options. One of our favorites is its infamous ‘cookie monster’ flavor — vanilla ice cream with sweet cream. It’s dyed blue and has chunks of oreo mixed in. Yum.

You can also satisfy your sweet tooth at The Parlor, Khors, or the Music Man Singing Ice Cream Shoppe, where you may be asked to sing for your ice cream!

Be sure to check out the official Lavallette Instagram page @lavallettenj.

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