Best New Jersey Beaches

With 127 miles of coastline, New Jersey offers beaches for every type of traveler, whether you’re looking for a quiet town with a historic slant or a bustling beach town complete with a boardwalk and nightly entertainment. Check out our selection of some of the best beaches on the Jersey Shore.  Here are the best New Jersey beaches:

Cape May

Cape May has some of the best beaches in the world. Beach tag fees are reasonable on Cape Island and the water is some of the cleanest around. It’s safe, well-kept and the businesses are locally-owned. There’s fishing, boating, swimming, eating, drinking, partying, and and lots more!

But while the peripherals – the great restaurants, the historic architecture, the cool vibe –are added bonuses that can keep you occupied throughout the year, it’s the beaches – from Lower Township through Cape May Point and up to Poverty Beach  – that are the jewels in the Cape Island crown.  Cape Island is a hoof-shaped spit of land at the southern tip of New Jersey. The Delaware Bay laps the western edge of the island, Cape May City fronts the Atlantic on the southeastern side and the Cape May Canal, built around the time of World War II, cuts the island off from the rest of the mainland on the north side. And in that ten or so square miles of peninsula are beaches as divine and diverse as any coastal area in the states.

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Long Beach Island

LBI, as Long Beach Island is known in the local lingo, is a beach lover’s paradise. Even at the widest point of this 18-mile-long island strewn with small shore towns and long stretches of white sand, you’re never more than half a mile from the other side.  When asked, “What is so special about LBI?” the most popular response is “the beach!”  LBI not only boasts some of the East Coast’s finest beaches, each area of LBI is unique in its own way. From Barnegat Light, where the beaches are peaceful and wide, and the landscape is covered with scrubby pines, beach plum, and bayberry plants, to Holgate’s fluffy sandy beaches and inviting dunes. In between, you will find the day-tripper’s beaches of choice in Surf City, Ship Bottom, and Long Beach Township because of their ease of access from the bridge.

If the more serene pace of the bay beach is more to your liking, you are sure to find numerous options as well. Be sure to catch a sunset view from Harvey Cedars’ Sunset Park, or zip around on watercraft from the many bay front marinas up and down LBI.  Regardless of your LBI beach of choice, it is sure to be a place that meets the needs of big groups as well as those seeking peaceful down time.

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Ocean City

In Ocean City, the fine white sand, the shimmering water and our brilliant sunshine take center stage and for good reason! Ocean City offers 8 miles of pristine white sand, ample space for beautiful sand castles, and plenty of coastline to enjoy swimming in the waves.  Bring the family down to the Shore and discover why generation after generation returns to Ocean City again and again. Take surfing lessons, buy a skim board, find out what the paddle boarding craze is all about or simply relax with a good book. Watch the sun come up over the water and remind yourself why Ocean City is America’s favorite resort town destination!  Most beaches are supervised by lifeguards starting before the last week in June until Labor Day.

A wide variety of sports and activities attract visitors to the bay side of the island. Fishing draws many to the bays who angle for fish like flounder, weakfish, and bluefish, sea bass, king fish, tog, striped bass, or tuna. Cast your line from a fishing pier, dock or bay side pavilion. Don’t forget to bring the family, as Ocean City offers a wide variety of family friendly fishing excursions, programs and spots!

For those who appreciate a quiet encounter with nature, kayak or Hobie Cat sailboat rentals are available. You’ll certainly see many birds and waterfowl that inhabit the pristine Back Bay ecosystem. During the spring and fall migrations, thousands of bird species as well as seemingly fragile Monarch Butterflies thrill nature enthusiasts.  Ocean City’s beaches and bays are among America’s most popular! Plan your visit and discover why visitors return to these waters again and again.

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Atlantic City

New Jersey’s Atlantic City beach is famous, and rightly so. Everything you could possibly want is right here within walking distance, from shops to five-star restaurants to casinos, attractions and great shows — all benefits of being one of the few American beaches with boardwalks.

Construction on Atlantic City’s world-famous and first Boardwalk began in 1870, and from then on it has become an American icon. Stroll along the Boardwalk and enjoy ocean views on one side and shopping on the other, ranging from high-end retail to saltwater taffy shops. The free beach and Boardwalk activities include surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing.

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The Wildwoods’ free beaches offer plenty of room for a variety of summertime activities  — everything from surfing to boogie-boarding to body surfing to tossing a Frisbee to reading in the shade. There’s even a dog beach for your furry friends!   Throughout the season, this five-mile stretch of powdery-white sand also hosts a number of events, including championship soccer, lacrosse and hockey tournaments, the National Marbles Championships, Monster Truck Races, Motocross Races, Sand Sculpting Festivals, headline concerts, the Wildwoods International Kite Festival and so much more.  Play in the sun… take a dip… read your favorite book…catch some zzz’s… do it all on the Wildwoods’ big beautiful free beaches!

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Take a leisurely stroll, morning jog, or bike ride down Lavallette’s beautiful mile long boardwalk.  Beach access is located on every street.  Lifeguards are on duty from 10AM – 5PM seven days a week during the summer season.  All bathers in Lavallette must swim in the designated areas while the lifeguards are on duty.  Boogie boarding is allowed between the white and blue flags.  Surfing spots are located at Haddonfield Ave, Brown Ave, and Trenton Ave.  Bring the family for some swimming, surfing, skim boarding, boogie boarding, snorkeling and ocean kayaking.  Or go for a morning bike ride on the boardwalk from 6am to 10am.  Seaside Heights weekly fireworks can be viewed from the beach every Wednesday night.

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Belmar strives to offer the cleanest and healthiest beach environment for  visitors. The beach staff cleans and grooms the beaches every morning, and strictly enforces restrictions that prohibit smoking on the beaches and boardwalk.  Belmar prides itself on having clean, safe and fun beaches for families of all kinds. The beaches are home to the most playgrounds in New Jersey. They were built with children’s fun and safety in mind, and are a great place for the whole family to enjoy.

In addition to the beach playgrounds every few blocks, several of the beaches have activities like boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing. They even offer a surf camp at 3rd Avenue Beach, where kids of all ages can take surfing lessons. For older beach goers who prefer dry land activities, several of the beaches are equipped with poles for volleyball nets. And even if you don’t have your own equipment, it’s usually easy to join a game.  Belmar has also installed cell phone charging stations on every block, along with water bottle refilling stations at the playgrounds.

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Situated between The Wildwoods and Atlantic City, Avalon & Stone Harbor share a barrier island named Seven Mile Beach. Avalon comprises the north side of the island. . The entire island sits a mile seaward than other shore towns, making it a delightful spot to enjoy cool ocean breezes or great waves for surfing. Seven Mile Beach boasts the highest sand dunes on the Jersey Shore, which makes the perfect home for plants and small animals that are indigenous to the area.

Avalon has a quiet, upscale atmosphere, with small boutique stores and several establishments for fine dining. There is no commercial boardwalk on Seven Mile Beach, and most of the island’s guests rent houses for a week or more. Avalon is a perfect destination for families and those who wish for a quiet beach as well as plenty of wildlife sanctuaries and world-class bird watching. Visitors to this beachfront oasis may also visit nearby Atlantic City or Wildwood for exciting nightlife and boardwalk activity.

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Sea Girt

Sea Girt’s beaches and boardwalk are open on a year-round basis. During the summer season, you can swim and sun on the sandy white beaches and take a stroll on the boardwalk that is pleasantly reminiscent of an earlier time. The boardwalk offers an incredible panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean that starts at the Historic Sea Girt Lighthouse and runs to the southern end of our charmingly inviting town.

The general public is allowed to use beach activities including bathing, fishing, surfing, and sunbathing on designated beaches only. The purchase of daily or seasonal beach badges is required for admission onto the beaches. Parking is free for all beach goers.  Beginning Memorial Day weekend, lifeguards are on duty every Saturday and Sunday. Full-time lifeguards are on duty from Father’s Day through Labor Day.

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Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant Beach has both public access and private beaches. The southern end of town is comprised of a public access beach. There is a small fee to get on the beach and lifeguards are present form 9-5 each day. Entrance to this beach can be found on Ocean Avenue. The public beach access here is marked by a small blue sign which is easily overlooked. The entrance is located directly across from the Dunes Motel. The path runs from the street between new homes constructed at Bay Head Point. Yes! This area is public east of the high water line.

In the summer the famous boardwalk comes alive! Friday and Saturday Nights are packed with visitors from all over the area.  All along the southern stretch of the boards (where the action is,) you will find arcades, wheels of chance, games of skill, food, rides and gift shops.

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Today Manasquan remains one of the top New Jersey Shore getaways. Thousands flock to the beach each summer by day – and many more come to Manasquan in the evening to enjoy the fine restaurants and nightlife. Manasquan offers fishing in the ocean and river, as well as one entire beach devoted to the needs of the handicapped.  Sitting just north of Pt. Pleasant, Manasquan NJ is an ideal vacation spot for couples, families, and anyone else looking for lots of sun, sand, and plenty of activity.

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Asbury Park

This historic shore town features one of the best beaches in the state. Along with endless sand, great surf and unlimited fun, you’ll find a revitalized Boardwalk that’s better than ever. Unique shops, eclectic restaurants with breathtaking views and the crown jewel—the restored Paramount Theater and Convention Hall. Visitors to Asbury’s boardwalk can still have their fortunes told at Madam Marie’s Temple of Knowledge and play on vintage pinball machines (preserved at the Silverball Museum), but now they’ll also find clothing and jewelry at the Market at Fifth Avenue, sushi and tacos at Langosta Lounge, and surfboards and skateboards at Lightly Salted. A short walk from the beach, the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten serves almost 100 varieties of beer, and famous venues like the Stone Pony—a Springsteen haunt—are still packed.

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Sea Bright

Sea Bright is a slice of small-town America, very low-key and family-oriented.  From the beaches in Sea Bright, sunbathers can spot the Manhattan skyline 22 miles away — if you really want to.  This is Jersey Shore’s best kept secret, the hidden gem, because no matter where you are, you are one block from the beach.  You can essentially have your own private beach in Sea Bright as few go here, mostly residents.  Bike and jogging paths link Sea Bright to Sandy Hook and are used year-round. Bird-watching is big, too.  The downtown has a handful of restaurants — some down-home, some fancier — and Rumson and Red Bank, via another bridge over the Shrewsbury, offer places to dine and shop.

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Seaside Heights

Seaside Heights Beaches are all public and are open throughout the season. Public Access can be found almost each block and badges can be purchased for the day. Come early to claim your spot for the day! Enjoy a book while relaxing to the fresh ocean breeze.  The northern end of the Seaside Heights Beach provides some of the best surfing NJ has to offer. The natural sandbars create waves, which break far from the beach and maintain size and strength on their journey to shore.  Individual lifeguard towers are spread out the entire length. Beach goers can find surf conditions marked by flags flying. Lifeguards are on duty all hours that the beach is opened. No swimming is allowed after the lifeguards are off duty.

Besides the beaches, the Seaside Heights boardwalk is the main attraction.  During the winter months you will find arcades and pubs open.  There is a calm and casual atmosphere.  Some boardwalk attractions may be open depending on the weather.  In the summer months, everything is open and geared for the crowds.  The boardwalk consists of many wheels of chance where prizes range from small stuffed animals to TV’s, bicycles, and scooters.  Children and adults alike always have a great time!  Aroma from the many pizza shops, sausage stands, and cotton candy machines tempt every body’s taste buds, including the seagulls!

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  1. sarah

    Wow, wow, wow, form where did you get so much knowledge about tourist destinations. You are superb and I already admit that you will be my tourist guide for selecting destinations. I have never been to new jersey, by reading this amazing review I must say my favorite is Cape May, where I would love to go, beautiful, serene and relaxing.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You know most people don’t thing of New Jersey as a place for beaches. There are so many amazing beaches all along the east coast of the U.S. that are just as beautiful as some beaches around the world. New Jersey has it’s share 🙂 Thanks for visiting the best New Jersey beaches.

  2. sarah

    Wow, what a collection of beautiful destinations. I love to travel and I always always admire your work and what your are doing to help us selecting the correct destination. My favorite among all above destinations is Sea Girt , being a mum of two naughtiest kids, I would love to be at this peaceful and quiet place, i think all mums would agree:)s

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I do believe us moms do agree 🙂 And Sea Girt is great! Thanks for visiting the best New Jersey beaches Sarah.

  3. Israel Olatunji

    I must say if I’m also attracted to the bay side of the island, it’s because of the variety of sports and other similar sporting activities that are found in the Ocean City as I like sports so dearly.

    For the fact that Hobie Cat sailboat rentals are also found, people like me who admire a quiet encounter with nature will always love to pay visits. And because thousands of bird species are available during the spring and fall migrations, nature enthusiats will surely be thrilled.

    Thanks for the informative blog post!

    Israel Olatunji

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Israel. New Jersey really does have a great coast line with some great beaches. And of course, as you say great water sports and nature. Thanks for visiting the best New Jersey beaches.

  4. shalisha alston

    If I was going to pick one, it would be Ocean City. Now, I’m not a beach person at all because I hate the sun. BUT because you painted such an awesome picture, with it’s pristine white sand and plenty of room to build sand castles (sounds like the kids would love it), I’m in. Also, the fish must taste super fresh. I’m a big fan of fish, especially flounder, sea bass and bluefish. Yummy. Are visitors allowed to rent fishing boats to go fishing for a day? By the way, the film “Jersey Shore” where was that filmed?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Shalisha, I am glad I talked you into it! Ocean City is a great place to relax, fish, build sand castles…just have a great beach vacation. Yes, you can rent a fishing boat, and that would be a great way to spend the day. Most of the scenes of Jersey Shore were shot in Seaside Heights, New Jersey 🙂 Thanks for visiting the best New Jersey beaches.

  5. Allan Grossman

    Hi Leahrae,
    I just read your post on New Jersey beaches. It was as enjoyable as the beaches themselves. I grew up in Jersey and have always enjoyed the beaches here. I love the water at jersey beaches. I’m a camper and have traveled the east coast and Myrtle Beach is the only rival I’ve found to the Jersey beaches. I like Florida (not in summer) and lived on the Gulf in Mississippi. California beaches are nice but the waters to cold for me. For a family vacation Ocean City, NJ is the best and if you’re a veteran, the beach tag is free.
    Thank you for a great review,

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I have to agree Allan that New Jersey beaches are great, and so many would not even think to go there for a beach vacation. I think the water in Cali is too cold as well, but I also prefer the laid back attitude of the east coast. Much more so than the west coast.

  6. Marc

    Holy mamma, I had no idea there were so many great spots in New Jersey! I am a native New Yorker with family in Philly so I am no stranger to “goin down the shore”, but I never knew about half of these spots.

    Well written with great pictures, this post gave me a smile. Thanks!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Marc! I am glad you enjoyed, and yes many people do not realize how many great beaches there are in Jersey 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  7. Owain

    Hi there, thanks for your review of the best beaches in New Jersey. Very well researched and has some great information.

    I’m quite interested in Ocean City, especially the picture that you’ve got in your review. I am wondering though what shops are available along the beach? It does look like a great place for a holiday.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There are too many shops too list and I am attaching a link that gives them all to you 🙂 It is really a great place to visit!

  8. Albert

    OMG! Did you know that I love to travel and I love beaches? 🙂

    I enjoyed reading your post and looking at the beautiful beach photos. If I come to New Jersey, I would absolutely come to these sceneries.

    I kind of wanted to suggest you to add a photo gallery related to this post with even more beautiful images! What do you think?

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I like the idea Albert and we have the same passion it seems 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

  9. Katherine

    Having grown up in sunny southern California, flip flops are a staple. I’ve purchased many pairs of Clarks shoes in various styles and have yet to try these sandals. Clarks makes a good quality shoe and if they’re anything like my previous purchases, I’m going to love to have these. They look pretty cute and I can’t wait to try them.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Wrong post, but that’s ok. Clarks are great! I personally love them 🙂

  10. Danelle

    I love beaches and traveling as well so I really like your website. I like how you include everything from travel packages to beach gear 😉 You have a lot of great information on here and it’s easy to navigate through. I will like to follow your page for when I take my next vacation so I know what beaches to check out. This looks great!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Danelle. I am trying to provide everything you need for your next beach vacation. Everything that I consider necessary 🙂

  11. Simon

    Thank you for this website. I am living in Europe ( Spain ) and i love to travel. I love white sanded beaches and crystal clear water.
    I am planning to travel to the United States but was not so sure which places to visit. Now i know better and i am sure i will travel to some places that you recommend.
    Thank you again.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much. I have tried to provide a one-stop shop when it comes to beach vacations. Please let me know if you have any questions!

  12. Matt

    The amount of information you have put into this is great! Thanks so much for giving me so many different options/destinations. One question – I have been to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina before, and I loved the atmosphere. Boardwalks, busy night life, etc.. I was wondering if Atlantic City has a similar feel/atmosphere?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, very similar! I love that vibe as well 🙂 Thanks for visiting!


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