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15 of the Best Beaches in New Jersey to Spend Your Summer Holidays

By | Last Updated : 23rd June 2022

Summertime makes New Jersey beaches and boardwalks buzz with visitors. While many beaches require a beach tag to access them, others require no entry fee. Whether you want to indulge in water sports like surfing and boogie-boarding or spend a quiet time away from the crowd, these beaches would not disappoint you. Besides the beach activities, you will also find Victorian houses and amusement parks that are worth visiting.

Beaches in New Jersey

1. Cape May Beach

Cape May Beach in New Jersey

If you enjoy a blend of beach activities and historical insights, the city of Cape May would be the right place for you. Taking a walk to see the attractive 600 Victorian buildings lined along its 2.5-mile coastline will surely transfer you back in time. Besides, on its sandy beach, there are 16 beaches to explore. While Sunset Beach attracts families to spend a relaxing time by the water, Higbee Beach is ideal for hiking the many trails and spotting different birds. You can also enjoy surfing in the constant waves at Broadway Beach. Also, keep your eyes peeled for whales if you visit Cape May anytime between May and December.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, windsurfing, hiking, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are only permissible from November through March.

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2. Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey

Point Pleasant Beach draws young adults and couples who enjoy late-night clubs. Even if you’re planning a visit with family, you need not be disappointed as you’ll find ample family-friendly activities, including kayaking and picnicking. Despite the strong tides, the lifeguards on duty ensure visitors enjoy cooling off safely in the water. It’s also a hub for surfers who head to the inlet area called ‘The Pocket.’

Apart from the water activities, another main attraction of the beach is the one-mile-long Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. It features various amusement park rides, eateries, a miniature golf course, and an aquarium for beachgoers’ entertainment.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, picnicking

Best Time to Visit: Mid-June to Late-September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are allowed during the off-season (October through April) from 8 am to 3 pm.

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3. Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park in New Jersey

Island Beach State Park is a sandy beach in the borough of Seaside Park. With about 10 miles of untouched shoreline lying between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, the beach offers many water activities to enjoy, including surfing and canoeing. Swimming is also ideal in the designated area of about one mile under the watchful eye of lifeguards on duty from 10 am to 6 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Other facilities include picnic areas, bathrooms, and shower facilities.

You can also tread along nature trails to observe the various plant species and spot ospreys and other shorebirds flying overhead. It’s also a wheelchair-friendly beach where you can rent a beach wheelchair to use in the designated areas.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: June to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Yes

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4. Wildwood Beaches

Wildwood Beaches in New Jersey

If searching for free public beaches in New Jersey, don’t miss visiting Wildwood Beaches. Beachgoers often flock to the Wildwoods, a resort city that is home to some of the cleanest beaches in the state. It requires no entry fee and is also accessible by wheelchairs.

The flat and wide stretch of sand extending about 5 miles is home to one of the most recognizable 38-block boardwalks that features over 100 exciting rides and souvenir shops. For those who are’nt willing to walk the length of the boardwalk, they can hop into the iconic tram car for about $ 4 per person. Besides this, you can enjoy various events on its clear white sands, including concerts, car shows, hockey tournaments, and kite festivals.

While you are here, you can walk to the Diamond Beach, which lies between the historic Cape May and the Wildwood Crest. It’s a secluded private beach, accessible by purchasing a beach tag at a reasonable rate. You could spend some quiet time here and have fun collecting the unique pebbles resembling bits of diamonds. If you wish to explore more, don’t miss visiting the nearby Cape May County Park and Zoo or North Windwood Seawall, a pathway that provides impressive ocean views.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, suring, jet-skiing, boogie-boarding, sailing, paddleboarding, parasailing

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Yes

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5. Sandy Hook Beaches

Sandy Hook Beaches in New Jersey

Located within Gateway National Recreational Area in Monmouth County, Sandy Hook is home to many ocean and bay beaches. They offer a wide variety of water sports, including kayaking, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. Many canoe cruises on the bay led by the park rangers give a spectacular view of the sandy stretch and its surroundings.

 If preferring to stay on the land, you can enjoy biking on the trails or shore-fishing and birdwatching on the bay beaches. You can also get an idea of the area’s past by visiting the nearby historic Fort Hancock, where the nation’s oldest operating lighthouse sits.

Those seeking a nude beach in New Jersey can visit Gunnison Beach, the state’s only legal nude beach. On the bay side of the beach, you will find several campsites that would be ideal for an overnight primitive camping experience. If planning a visit in winter, you can see groups of seals basking in the sun on the shores.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, hiking, biking, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: May

Dog/Pet Friendly: While dogs are allowed all year round on the park’s inlet side, the beaches facing the ocean do not allow pets from March 15 through Labor Day.

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6. Brigantine Beach

Brigantine Beach in New Jersey

Brigantine Beach is a less-visited beach as compared to the nearby Atlantic City Beach. Its clean and serene setting attracts several families to spend a peaceful time here. While you take a stroll along its shoreline, you will be able to see the historical Brigantine Lighthouse on Brigantine Island. In the water, you can enjoy swimming and surfing at the designated points. With alert lifeguards monitoring the entire beach area from mid-June to Labor Day, beachgoers can have fun in the water without worrying from 10 am to 5:30 pm. On land, you could ride on horseback if visiting from October through March. Remember to acquire a permit if you wish to access your jet-ski into water or drive a 4×4.

When you feel hungry after a day’s activity, head to the picnic spot to enjoy a barbecue treat. On summer nights, you could sit back and watch a free movie with your family on the beach premises. Make sure to carry your food as you will not find many restaurants or concession stands here.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, surfing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, kitesurfing, jet-skiing, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking

Best Time to Visit: May to June

Dog/Pet Friendly: Yes

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7. Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island in New Jersey

Long Beach Island, or LBI as locals call it, boasts 18 miles of sandy stretch along the Jersey Coast. With a plethora of beaches here, you can choose one as per your preference. While Ship Bottom Beach is ideal for spending a family time, you could head to Brant Beach to enjoy several activities like fishing or surfing. After spending time at the beach, you could visit the adjoining Fantasy Island Amusement Park with your kids or check out the nearby Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. With so much to do here, Long Beach Island is indeed an all-time favorite among beachgoers.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, hiking, sightseeing, picnicking

Best Time to Visit: July to October

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach island from May 1 to October 1.

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8. Belmar Beaches

Belmar Beaches in New Jersey

The clean and peaceful public beaches in Belmar, like Bradley Beach and 7th Avenue Beach, make it a favorite among beachgoers of all ages throughout the year. They are easy to access, even by visitors in wheelchairs. The pristine beaches offer a plethora of fun-filled activities throughout the year, from surfing to boogie boarding. While on land, walking on the one-mile-long boardwalk allows one to get gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean. Children, too, can have a joyful time running and swinging at the adjoining playgrounds.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, boogie boarding, surfing

Best Time to Visit: May and June

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs on leash are permitted from October 1 to April 30.

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9. Ocean City Beach

Ocean City Beach in New Jersey

Ocean City Beach is rightly nicknamed ‘America’s Greatest Family Resort,’ as it’s a sought-after vacation destination for families. It expands for about 8 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Great Egg Harbor Bay. If planning to enjoy surfing, you’ll find continuous waves at Waverly Boulevard and 16th Street. The famous two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk is one of the attractions that provide a plethora of meals, rides, games, and a water park. If planning a weekend trip to Ocean City, you can choose a quiet spot at the far north end of the beach as it’s away from the usually crowded boardwalk.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, hiking

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: You cannot bring your dogs from May 1 to September 30.

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10. Avalon Beach

Avalon Beach in New Jersey

You will find the calm and charming Avalon Beach on the barrier island of Seven Mile Beach. The gentle waves and pristine sand make it ideal for families seeking a low-key beach vacation. Your kids will enjoy being at one of the nine parks and playgrounds. Meanwhile, you can relax on the white sand admiring the colorful views of sailboats and yachts on the water.

In addition to Avalon Beach, the adjacent Stone Harbor Beach are excellent options to visit if you wish to avoid the more crowded Cape May beaches.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, sailing,

Best Time to Visit: mid-August to mid-November

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach from March 1 to September 30.

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11. Long Branch Beach

Long Branch Beach in New Jersey

An hour’s drive from northern New Jersey and New Your City, Long Branch Beach lies in the resort town of Long Branch. The clean, white sand and serene setting draw family and friends for gatherings and spend a nice time by the sparkling water. There’s a volleyball net and several nearby restaurants and resorts. Despite many visitors flocking to the beach during weekends, the beach area seems uncrowded. However, plan to go early as the parking area fills quickly.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing,

Best Time to Visit: May, June, and July

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are allowed only from September through May.

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12. Ocean Grove Beach

Ocean Grove Beach in New Jersey

The charming coastal town of Ocean Grove attracts adventure seekers and families alike. While the strong waves are ideal for surfing and boogie boarding, the shallow waters make it well-liked by families with kids who prefer spending a hassle-free vacation. The lifeguards patrolling the swimming area during the peak time add to their safety. Amenities like clean bathrooms and showers add to the pleasure of visiting the beach. After having fun in the water, you can stroll on the half-mile boardwalk in the evening to enjoy the impressive ocean views. Do remember that while kids below the age of 12 require no fees to pay, there is an entry fee of $ 10 for each adult.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, surfing, boogie boarding

Best Time to Visit: May and June

Dog/Pet Friendly: No       

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13. Spring Lake Beach

Spring Lake Beach in New Jersey

The quaint and calm beach of Spring Lake should definitely be on your list of quiet beaches in New Jersey. It stretches for about two miles and features a boardwalk for jogging or enjoying leisure walks. Visitors can avail themselves of the facility of free parking near the beach area by arriving early. Besides this, the surrounding Victorian buildings and mansions allow you to appreciate the stunning architecture of the nineteenth century. Remember that no food is permitted on the beach premises. However, you can enjoy your meals at the picnic areas or on benches along the boardwalk.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing

Best Time to Visit: May and June

Dog/Pet Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed to enter the beach area only from October 1 to May 15.

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14. Asbury Park Beach

Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey

The one-mile-long Asbury Park Beach is mainly known for its boardwalk. With shops and restaurants lined along it, visitors can enjoy shopping or having meals here. As for the beach activities, you can spend time kayaking or try stand-up paddleboarding. The enormous waves hitting its shore make it perfect to surf. Even if you don’t want to indulge in any activities, you can sit on the clean white sands and watch the seagulls fly over the vast ocean.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding,

Best Time to Visit: June to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: While dogs are allowed access within the Asbury Park 8th Avenue Dog Beach, they are also welcomed on the boardwalk from mid-September to mid-May.

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15. Margate Beach

Margate Beach in New Jersey

The city of Margate is home to some of the quietest beaches of New Jersey. The combination of soft sand and shallow water makes it excellent for kids to enjoy splashing water and making sandcastles. You can also take them to the nearby Dreamland amusement park, which has plenty of exciting rides for children and adults alike. When hungry, you can easily find a restaurant or café in the vicinity to enjoy a meal. Before returning to your vehicle, don’t forget to see the historical landmark, Lucy the Elephant, constructed with wood in 1881.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding

Best Time to Visit: July to mid-November

Dog/Pet Friendly: No

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TOP PICKS

Best Beaches for Dogs: Wildwood Beach, Brigantine Beach, Island Beach State Park

Best Beaches for Families: Brigantine Beach, Sandy Hook Beach, Long Branch Beach

Best Beaches for Surfing: Island Beach State Park, Brigantine Beach, Belmar Beach

Best Beaches for Camping: Sandy Hook Beaches, Cape May Beaches

Best Beaches for Swimming: Avalon, Ocean Grove Beach, Long Beach Island

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