When the summer sun is shining, the Jersey Shore calls. Pack your SPF and your towel and head out in search of your favorite beach on the over 140 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline in the Garden State. Not sure where to start? Here are five perennial favorites.
1. Asbury Park Beach
Known for: A classic wooden boardwalk and plenty of songs written about the beach by New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. The vibe: On any summer weekend, you’ll find the beach packed with families jockeying for the perfect spot to cool off. This family-friendly beach has plenty of activities, including a classic pinball arcade, oceanfront mini-golf, and enough food trucks and stalls that everyone can get just what they want for lunch. If your family includes the four-legged variety, you’ll be happy to know that in the off season, the beach is pet-friendly — nearby Wonder Bar even hosts a regular Yappy Hour. Don’t miss: The Stone Pony has been the place to enjoy live music in Asbury Park since 1974. In the summer, they move outdoors, hosting an oceanfront concert series on the Stone Pony Summer Stage.
Known for: Endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, whether your idea of a good time is kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, surfing or just frolicking along the white sand beach. The vibe: Avalon is a picture-perfect beach town, filled with pristine shoreline, large dunes and stately beach homes. The town’s motto is “cooler by a mile,” which ostensibly refers to Avalon’s position one mile farther into the Atlantic than other nearby barrier islands, but you can’t deny that it has an upscale feel. Don’t miss: Walk the Avalon jetty, accessible on the northern side of town. The wide, quarter-mile-long jetty gives you incredible views of the coastline. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Atlantic City.
3. Beach Haven
Known for: Pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, ideal for fishing, swimming and beach combing; a small-town feel; everything you need within walking distance. The vibe: Beach Haven, located on the southern end of Long Beach Island, has all the trappings of a classic beach getaway: charming local shops and food vendors, quirky local signage and a popular amusement park. Don’t miss: The town, founded in 1874, boasts a wonderful array of well-kept Victorian architecture. Tour pre-1900s homes and buildings alongside a local guide.
4. Ocean Grove
Known for: A quaint and quiet feel with a century-old religious tradition and unique tent houses on the shore. The vibe: Once known as a summertime religious retreat, Ocean Grove is now popular with families who want to enjoy the Jersey Shore without all the ruckus. With a laid-back and welcoming feel, Ocean Grove is a magnet for artists, writers and the LGBTQ community.Don’t miss: Set aside an afternoon to explore the Main Avenue Galleria, where you can shop for fine art, pottery, jewelry, mosaics and wood carvings from local artists. You can even embrace your inner artist with an art class, available for all ages and abilities.
5. Cape May
Known for: Being New Jersey’s original seaside resort — and its award-winning beaches. The vibe: The Cape May Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can expect a classic beach getaway with ample dining options, a low-key feel and plenty of summer events, among them a strawberry festival, air show, jazz festival and harvest festival. Don’t miss: Walk through town early in the morning to marvel at the pastel colors and intricate details of the many 19th-century homes sprinkled through town. Feeling brave? Take the Historic Haunts tour of the Emlen Physick Estate, known as Cape May’s original haunted house.
Lay claim to your favorite New Jersey beach
Every Jersey Shore beach offers something different — which will be your favorite? Co-owning a Pacaso home in a New Jersey beach town is a great way to take in everything this East Coast paradise has to offer.