10 Top Jersey Shore Locations for Families

Family vacation time is something we look forward every year. It is the one time of year that you can slow down and enjoy the sun and the fun of summertime.New Jersey is a great beach location for the family with its 130 miles of shoreline and its beautiful beaches. And it has a little bit of everything from boardwalks with rides to water parks, quiet wildlife sanctuaries and lighthouses and playgrounds.

Here are 10 top Jersey Shore Locations for Families:

1. Sandy Hook National Seashore

Sandy Hook has a seven-mile stretch of beach and a national park that the family can explore. You can fish, swim, even bird-watch and you are only a 30-minute ferry ride from New York City. Sandy Hook National Seashore gets crowded quick though so try to get on the beach early because they do close the gates when they reach capacity.

2. Long Branch

Long Branch also has plenty of beach and waterfront property and lots of shops and restaurants as well, like Pier Village. Hot spots to check out include McLoone’s Pier House and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

3. Asbury Park

Asbury Park has become a cool spot for twenty and thirty-somethings and their young families. They host cool festivals like the Bamboozle Festival. In Asbury Park, you will also get to enjoy unique eats at the North East Food Trucks Park and the Asbury Splash Park. If you love pinball machines, you will also want to visit the Silverball Museum Arcade.

4. Point Pleasant Beach

Situated between Monmouth County and Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach is a quieter stretch of beach which is perfect for family time. Cool attractions include Jenkinson’s Beach and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. There is very limited on-street parking though so get there early.

5. Island Beach State Park

At Island Beach State Park, you and your family will have both bay and ocean beaches. It is perfect for both long trips and day trips. You can even bring a grill onto the beach. If you have small kids, keep in mind that the bathrooms are located at the main beach areas.

There is also plenty of wildlife on the Island Beach State Park including foxes and osprey and plenty of sporting activities like biking, surf fishing, swimming, scuba, hiking, horseback riding and kayaking.

6. Long Beach Island

On this 18-mile long barrier island there is plenty of sand, ocean and fun to be had. And with 17 towns along the island there is no shortage of nightlife either. Keep in mind, there is only way onto the island, driving over the Barnegat Bay Causeway. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy the historic Barnegat Lighthouse while you are there.

7. Atlantic City

In southern New Jersey, Atlantic City is a hot spot for the young and old alike. There is so much to choose from, from the beach and boards, to casinos and concerts and all the great restaurants in-between. Looking for ways to entertain the kids while not on the beach? Then make sure you check out Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the boardwalk rides at the Steel Pier.

8. Ocean City

Ocean City is another popular south Jersey beach town. With eight miles of beach and more than two miles of boardwalk, it is a perfect family vacation spot. The boards are great for morning bike rides and amusement park rides for the kids in the afternoon and in the evening. Don’t miss Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and Playland’s Castaway Cove.

If you like to have some adult beverages while on vacation, remember that Ocean City is a dry town so you will need to bring your alcohol in with you.

9. Wildwoods

If you remember your childhood summers in Wildwood fondly, why not bring your own family to create new memories. The Wildwoods are made up of three towns: Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. There are plenty of places to stay whether you are coming for a week or just a weekend and plenty of entertainment. Morey’s Piers are a hot spot for the kids for water rides and amusement park rides. Wildwood is also one of the few places where the beaches are free.

10. Cape May

If deep down you love an old-fashioned vibe and historic settings, then you will love Cape May with its historic Victorian buildings and quaint downtown. There are even some B&Bs if you want to make it just an adult getaway.

For the nature and animal lovers among you, there is also whale-watching, bird-watching and visits to the Cape May County Zoo and the Cape May State Park, which are both free.

Important Tips for When You Go:

  • Most New Jersey beaches require you to purchase a beach tag so make sure you check into this before you get there to make sure you have enough money to cover everything.
  • During the summer months, parking is at a premium at these beach towns, especially closest to the beach and boardwalks so scout out the area if you can before your trip. Get a lay of the land so you know where parking lots and parking meters are so you can figure out how much you may have to pay for parking.
  • Also before you go, find out what restrictions, if any, are on the beaches you are going. Sometimes there are food and beverage restrictions while on the beach and most have rules about pets on the beach.
  • For you and your family’s safety, check lifeguard hours and keep everyone within the lifeguard-appointed swim zones while you are in the water.
  • Watch out for sunburn and heat illness while on the beach. Sunscreen, hats and umbrellas can all keep you and your kids safe if you are spending all day outdoors. Pack lots of cold water too to ward off dehydration.
  • Most boardwalks offer discounts and coupons for their amusement park piers at different times throughout the summer so a call to them ahead of time might score you some money off kid entertainment.

For more information about the top Jersey Shore Locations for families, click here.