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New Jersey has surprisingly beautiful beaches. Here’s where to find them

New Jersey has surprisingly beautiful beaches. Here’s where to find them
New Jersey has surprisingly beautiful beaches. Here’s where to find them

Summary

  • Cape May, Ocean City and Long Beach Island offer family-friendly, quiet and clean beaches in New Jersey.
  • Cape May is a historic seaside resort with Victorian-style homes and National Historic Landmark status.
  • Ocean City is a dry town with a kid-friendly atmosphere and a famous boardwalk, while Long Beach Island has 18 miles of beach and no boardwalk.



If you’re traveling to New Jersey this summer, consider stopping in Cape May, Ocean City, or Long Beach Island. With summer in full swing, every traveler is heading for one destination: the beach. For those living in New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, the closest shoreline is the Jersey Shore. Of course, not every traveler is looking for an MTV show experience like that of Seaside Heights or Atlantic City Atlantic City has a unique appeal, but it’s not for everyone.

A “nice” beach can also be described as quiet, clean, or family-friendly. These beaches also tend to be a bit more expensive, as the “clean” aspect requires more maintenance and therefore more staff to keep it that way. Aside from putting your toes in the sand, activities are often slower paced and attract people of all ages, rather than targeting a young adult demographic. There will be very few places for over-21s, so there are few opportunities for loud music and gambling – unless you count the boardwalk arcades.


Here you will find the most beautiful beaches in New Jersey!

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Cape May is one of the oldest (and cleanest) seaside resorts in America

An old beach town sends visitors back in time

Striking Victorian architecture on a street in Cape May, New Jersey
Image by David Mark on Pixabay

Striking Victorian architecture on a street in Cape May, New Jersey

At the southernmost point of New Jersey lies a small beach town called Cape Town . The streets are filled with colorful Victorian-style homes that transport visitors to a time long gone. Some of these homes are now used as bed-and-breakfast accommodations, providing a quaint alternative to hotel stays for over 40,000 tourists each summer. However, only a little over 3,000 people live in these Cape May residences year-round.

Cape May boasts of being one of America’s oldest seaside resorts, but you can explore the history of the New Jersey beach town for yourself at the Colonial House with free assistance from the Cape May Historical Society.


Did you know that Cape May was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976? This makes Cape May the only city to be designated a National Historic Landmark. But exploring history is just one aspect of the activities Cape May offers its guests.

Cape May prides itself on its pristine beaches and family-friendly atmosphere. Like many beaches along the New Jersey coast, the city requires beachgoers to purchase a beach sign to decorate their swimsuit or beach bag.

  • Permit: $10 daily pass, $25 weekly pass, $40 season pass
  • Hours: Lifeguards on duty Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Park: The price range for the meters is between $1.50 and $2.00 per hour

Ocean City is a child-friendly vacation spot for families

Discover this dry city right on the water!

A street in Surf City, Ocean County, New Jersey
Famartin, Wikimedia Commons

A street in Surf City, Ocean County, New Jersey


There are many alternatives to Cape May, but Ocean City – not to be confused with the Maryland borough – is perhaps the most underrated. The New Jersey city in northeast Cape May County has a population of over 11,000. However, Ocean City attracts more than ten times its population in tourists each summer who visit its eight miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Permit: Daily pass for $10, weekly pass for $20 or season pass for $40, which can be purchased on site or online
  • Hours: Lifeguards on duty from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and from 10am to 5:30pm on weekends
  • Park: The price range of the meters is between 0.50 and 2.00 USD per hour

Due to an ancient religious law, the public purchase, sale, or consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ocean City. The law is easily enforced because Ocean City is located on an island and visitors may find it inconvenient to leave the island to purchase alcohol whenever they want to drink.


Although politicians have tried to repeal the law in the past, Ocean City remains a dry county. While this aspect might deter a younger crowd happy to be old enough to sip an alcoholic beverage, it could attract families who no longer have to worry about broken glass or drunken pranks around their children.

Right next to Ocean City Beach is the world-famous Ocean City Boardwalk, whose beachwear shops, restaurants and rides stretch for two and a half miles from 1st to 23rd Streets. The boardwalk is divided into lanes to accommodate both visitors browsing the shops and joggers or cyclists who want to get some exercise before relaxing on the sand. The boardwalk is primarily designed for children and families, as you can find funfair games, rides or miniature golf on every block overlooking the ocean.


If you stroll the boardwalk on a Tuesday or Thursday night, you might catch the Philadelphia Mummers blowing their horns and parading alongside you! Otherwise, you might hear sounds from the Music Pier, where outdoor concerts are held throughout the summer. My only rule? Don’t leave the boardwalk without grabbing a piece of Boardwalk Fudge or Saltwater Taffy!

Long Beach Island includes many quiet beach towns

Enjoy 18 miles of beaches in New Jersey!

Long Beach Island off the coast of New Jersey


Long Beach Island is – you guessed it – an island in New Jersey. LBI is 18 miles long and 3 miles wide, and visitors here can watch the sunrise on the water to the east and the sunset on the bay to the west.

Long Beach Island is widely considered one of New Jersey’s most beautiful beaches, and it’s easy to see why.

The island includes several beach towns, including Beach Haven, Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach, Ship Bottom and Surf City. Each beach has its own hours and prices for daily, weekly and seasonal beach passes may vary. However, most beaches on Long Beach Island offer free or reduced admission for children under 12 and wheelchair access upon request.

Hours

daily ticket

Weekly card

season pass

Preseason discount

Beach paradise

9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

$10

$20

$40

$30

Barnegat Light

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

$5

$22

45$

$35

Harvey Cedars

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

$7

$20

45$

$35

Long Beach

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

$10

$20

50$

$40

Ship’s floor

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

$10

$25

50$

Surf City

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

$10

$20

50$

$40


Unlike Ocean City, there are no boardwalks on Long Beach Island. Unfortunately, the only boardwalk on Long Beach Island was built in the early 20th century and destroyed by a hurricane shortly after its completion. However, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of expected boardwalk shops today!

Schooner’s Wharf (also known as Bay Village) is a trendy shopping destination on Long Beach Island where you can slurp delicious lobster bisque, lick soft serve ice cream, and browse the classic beachwear shops you’d normally find on the boardwalk.

  • Location: 83 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008


Other attractions on Long Beach Island include climbing the 40-foot-tall Barnegat Lighthouse in Barnegat Light State Park. Visitors can climb 217 steps to the top of the lighthouse for stunning panoramic views of the island and surrounding wildlife. My advice? Bring binoculars. You’ll want to get a closer look.

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Barnegat Light State Park is a hotspot for birdwatchers due to its efforts to protect important nesting sites for endangered species, but it’s important to note that the more interesting birds, including the Harlequin Duck and Ruddy Turnstone, are easier to see in the winter.

  • Location: 167 Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Permit: $3 for adults, $1 for children under 12, free for children under 6

These animals make for some pretty good photography if you don’t mind getting up close and personal on foot. And if hiking in New Jersey is on your to-do list, the state has plenty to offer not far from Long Beach Island.


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