20 Best Beaches in New Jersey (NJ) For A Sun-Kissed Vacay

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Dec 26, 2019
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New Jersey is an oceanfront escape dotted with plenty of popular as well as lesser-known beaches. A lovely Asbury Park Beach, bustling Atlantic City Beach, secluded Bradley Beach, or hidden Fisherman’s Cove, you will find a plethora of New Jersey beaches to choose from. So, we have compiled a list of the best beaches in New Jersey for you. Even though some of these beaches are located a stone’s throw away from each other, every place offers a unique experience. A seashore at its best, any vacation in NJ is bound to be a memorable one with this detailed list!

1. Point Pleasant Beach - A family-friendly delight

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Point Pleasant Beach is an expansive stretch of sand that allows you to sunbathe to your heart’s content and where a picturesque boardwalk invites you for a leisurely stroll.

Point Pleasant has been long known for its family-friendly facilities. Be it the miniature golf at the beach or Jenkinson’s Aquarium nearby, it is dotted with such points of interest. Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, also offers swimming and surfing opportunities.

This beach is not free and charges a small amount as an entry fee. But, it is worth the money with all the amenities it offers. Keep in mind that some parts of the beach are a little rough with pebbles and shells.

2. Asbury Park Beach - Something for everyone

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Asbury Park Beach is a popular summer destination for beachgoers and has rightfully become one of the top beaches in New Jersey over the last few years.

A mile-long combination of white sand and dark blue water, this area is known for vibrant musical entertainment, different water-front eateries, and plenty of shopping options nearby. If you are interested in activities, then go fishing, ride a wave, and take a dip in the ocean when visiting Asbury Park.

Asbury Park Beach is also one of the pet-friendly beaches in New Jersey for a few months, each year. So now you know a perfect place to visit with your furry friends when in NJ.

3. Cape May - A sea of beach options

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Cape May is a seaside area full of tiny beaches where you find serene beauty, bustling crowds, beachfront restaurants, and a plethora of activities. You will come across Higbee Beach which is known to be a secluded delight. The Poverty Beach that is rich with natural beauty and Steger Beach that has plenty of activities for you are some of the cleanest beaches in NJ. Whichever beach you chose, you are guaranteed to soak in solitude. Open to the public throughout the year, spending some time on the Cape May beaches will be the highlight of your trip.

4. Belmar Beach - A bustling area

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Belmar Beach in New Jersey is a classic example of how a sandy shore should look like for those who love a good old sun n’ sand vacation. Even though families are welcome on the beach of Belmar, it is mostly about partying and entertainment. There are some parts that are ideal for surfers or volleyball players and other parts where several beach-front restaurants are clustered. And there you will find corners away from all the hustle and bustle to lay on the sand and catch some tan. With so many things on a single shore, Belmar Beach is rightfully one of the best New Jersey beaches.

5. Wildwood Beach - A plethora of fun activities

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The 5-mile stretch of sand that is known as Wildwood is home to some of the best free beaches in New Jersey where you can spend an entire day full of fun. Those interested in watersports find Wildwood an exciting place to be as it has swimming, surfing, sailing, powerboating, parasailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, and boogie boarding. This beach also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year including Monster Truck Races and Wildwood International Kite Festival. Do not miss a chance to go to Wildwood boardwalk as this is where you can enjoy places like Splash Zone Waterpark as well as Ocean Oasis Waterpark.

6. Long Beach Island - Shoreline full of beaches

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Long Beach Island is a little slice of paradise for all beach lovers. Its postcard-perfect beauty has also made it one of the most popular beaches in New Jersey. From the well-known beaches like Ship Bottom or Beach Heaven to the hidden gems like Harvey Cedars and Surf City, the 18-mile long shoreline of the island is dotted with all types of beaches. Full of shopping and dining opportunities, beaches of Long Beach Island will keep you engaged throughout your vacation. Different tourist attractions like Thundering Surf Water Park & Adventure Golf as well as Fantasy Island Amusement Park are also a stone’s throw away from these beaches.

7. Atlantic City Beach - An ultimate beachy destination

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Atlantic City Beach, without any doubt, is one of the top-rated New Jersey beaches with boardwalks as this iconic waterfront area is full of fun and history. The city that is famous for bustling casinos and peppy nightlife is equally abuzz with all the beach activities. Be it windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing or shopping, dining, and bar hopping, Atlantic City Beach ensures you can do it all. The Atlantic City Boardwalk is also a favorite spot for different events that you can be a part of. And when you are done with all the things to do on the beach, head off to the nearby Absecon Lighthouse which is one of the tallest lighthouses in the USA.

8. Avon by the Sea - The best public beach in NJ

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Visit Avon by the Sea and you will realize why it is one of the top public beaches in New Jersey. Keep in mind that it also makes this beach a little crowded on some days.

The beach that is open year-round is located in a family-friendly town. There are designated areas for swimming and surfing monitored by lifeguards on weekends. The nearby boardwalk is dotted with cafes and restaurants ready to pamper your taste buds. Amenities like free parking areas and restrooms are also available at Avon by the Sea. 

Remember that beach badges are required during the summer months here and there are 3 tag booths around the city to purchase these badges.

9. Ocean Grove Beach - A peaceful getaway

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The tiny town of Ocean Grove is blessed with a pretty beach where you can make the most of your New Jersey vacation.

Frolic in the sun, dip in the ocean, or simply laze around on the shore, Ocean Grove Beach lets you do it all. Even though the beach area is well-maintained and offers basic amenities, it is still not yet a popular destination. And that means you get to explore this sandy shore without any touristy crowd to disturb you.

Ocean Grove Beach is not free to enter and you need to purchase daily/weekly/yearly badges before planning your visit.

10. Spring Lake Beach - Home to a pretty boardwalk

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Spring Lake is one of the most affluent resort towns around and its 2-mile long sparkling beach reflects its relaxed royal vibes pretty well.

Home to one of the longest beach boardwalks in NJ, this lovely beach area is everything a beach-bum dreams of. Surfing and paddle-boarding are enough for adventure enthusiasts whereas restaurants and candy shops offer delicious treats for everyone. There aren’t any play areas for kids, but an entire beach is perfect to build sandcastles.

Spring Lake Beach has free parking spots but does charge a small entry fee.

11. Sea Bright Beach - Improved and funky

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A small fishing town of Sea Bright has transformed into a lovely destination for those who are looking for the best New Jersey beach vacations.

The beach managed to rebuild itself to its former popularity after surviving the damage by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, its added facilities and improved structure have made it one of the best NJ beaches. Recreational activities like fishing or suntanning can be enjoyed here and if the day is clear, you get to see the stunning Manhattan skyline from the beach.

Its proximity to the town and booming dining scenes along the shore will give you a chance to be a part of the local canvas when visiting Sea Bright Beach.

12. Lavallette Beach - A place blessed with beauty

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Lavallette Beach is a surprise for beach-goers as it is a combination of two lovely white sand beaches. A mile-long boardwalk is, of course, an added bonus!

The powdery sand and mild waves create a perfect place where you can spend an entire day lazing around. And if you want to try mouth-watering food, different restaurants are located a stone’s throw away from the shore. The beach area is off-limits for dogs, but you can take your four-pawed friend for a stroll on the boardwalk.

Remember that you need to wear a badge when lifeguards are on duty. But, you are not required to buy a badge when lifeguards are off duty.

13. Sandy Hook Beach - Blend of different NJ beaches

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The barrier spit of Sandy Hook is adorned with a number of beaches, creating a combination of popular as well as lesser-known vacation spots.

Visiting North Beach will give you a chance to have a leisurely time whereas Southern Beaches will offer a number of hiking trails and biking paths to explore. These have become some of the top family beaches in New Jersey today. Gunnison Beach, New Jersey's only legal clothing-optional beach, is also found here.

When you are done with lazing around, you must go to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse as it is the oldest operating lighthouse in the U.S.

14. Avalon Beach - A place full of activities

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Avalon Beach is also known as Seven Mile Beach and has been ranked to be one of the famous beaches in New Jersey.

If you do not mind a small hike to reach the beach, then Avalon Beach is for you! And what do you get in return? A shore that is not crowded, a beach that is clean, and an ocean ideal for surfing, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. You can also play volleyball and Frisbee in designated areas and enjoy swimming in protected areas.

15. Island Beach State Park - Away from all the hustle-bustle

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When you visit this narrow barrier island in New Jersey, you will be swept off your feet by the beauty that is far away from all the modernization.

Island Beach State Park that is divided into two parts is a treat to eyes with its powdery white sand and blue water tides. Surf and swim or fish and kayak, the choice is yours when you are here. Some of the best beaches in NJ can be found here without any doubt. Offering 3,000 acres of coastal dunes, this island is a perfect destination for adventure seekers.

The park is also known for its bird watching opportunities where osprey nests and bird blinds are set up.

16. Bradley Beach - Soak in the relaxing vibes 

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Located near Asbury Park and yet different from its party-vibes, Bradley Beach is for those who want a laid-back vacation.

You can explore its serene shore with man-made dunes or if visiting in the summers, you can attend different concerts at the beachfront promenade. Even though the water current is not too strong here, swimming in unprotected waters is not advisable. Do check if lifeguards are available on the beach before stepping in the water.

It may not have many amenities, but you will find a miniature golf course as well as grills along the boardwalk.

17. Keansburg Beach - New Jersey’s best free beach

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Keansburg Beach is one of the top free NJ beaches where a spectacular view of NYC’s skyline welcomes you.

A fishing pier is ideal for those who are looking forward to casting their line and the bay walk area is for those who want to take leisurely strolls along the shore. As there are no lifeguards on the beach, take necessary precautions before swimming. Also, beach fires and grills are strictly not allowed here.

18. Strathmere - A place for fishing enthusiasts

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Strathmere is known to be one of the few shores in NJ where free public access to oceanfront beaches is granted and is also monitored by lifeguards.

Spread over one and a half miles, this beach is pretty, peaceful, and full of powdery sand. When visiting in summers, you will get to take part in different fishing tournaments. Surfing is permitted but only in few protected parts. Keep in mind that beach parties and fires along with any kind of alcoholic beverages are not allowed on Strathmere beach.

19. Stone Harbor Beach - A stretch full of activities

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Soft sand, dark blue water, and leisure-seeking crowd define Stone Harbor Beach aptly. It is favored by locals and travelers alike for its recreational vibes.

A number of different activities including beach volleyball, surfing, jet skiing, fishing, sailing, and swimming can be enjoyed on this beach without tackling any crowds. The sailing facilities offered here attract many enthusiasts. Its proximity to the town makes it an ideal place for those who want to pamper their taste buds with local food.

A beach pavilion here is a great place to sit and catch a beautiful sunrise or to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

20. Fisherman’s Cove - lovely shelling beach in NJ

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Fisherman’s Cove is located on Manasquan Inlet and is part of the Monmouth County Park system. It is also one of the few non-commercialized beach areas around.

Your search for the best shelling beaches in New Jersey ends when you visit Fisherman’s Cove. Go for fishing, enjoy boating, or opt for jogging on the beach. You can do different activities when visiting this area. If you are a dog parent, then a nearby dog park is perfect to take your pet for off-leash running.

So, with this list of top 20 NJ beaches, it’s time to take your shoes off and get some sand on your toes!