10 Amazing Family Friendly Beaches You Can Find at the Jersey Shore
If you hear "Jersey Shore" and think Snookie and The Situation, it's time to rethink the Garden State's 130 miles of golden sand shores fronting the Atlantic Ocean.
Take Exit 1 from New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway and you’ll discover this charming Victorian beach town whose tree-lined streets are lined with gingerbread-trimmed guesthouses. This is one of those Jersey Shore beaches that has a pedestrian cobble-stone mall with toy stores and ice cream shops, a small boardwalk with an arcade, and the country’s oldest beachfront resort: Congress Hall Hotel. Not in the Mideast? Here are some of our favorite family-friendly beaches around the country.
New Jersey’s most popular family beach destination, Wildwood, New Jersey, has a free beach that’s so wide—nearly 2,000 feet in spots!—that there’s actually a taxi service to get you to the water. The boardwalk here is legendary, stretching for 38 blocks, nearly two miles, with attractions, stores, restaurants, live entertainment, arcades, and water parks all vying for your attention. Morey’s Piers, is the classic seaside amusement park here, family-owned and operated since 1969, with more than 100 rides ranging from a photo-worthy Ferris Wheel to a raging roller coaster to little kid-friendly spinners on three separate piers along six beach blocks in addition to two spotless beachfront water parks.
A truly family-oriented beach, the boardwalk in this dry town (meaning no beers, bars, or gambling near your kids) is eight blocks of food and fun, with free live entertainment every night of the week ranging from Philadelphia’s high-stepping, strings-playing Mummers bands to Christmas in July. There are two piers filled with rides, and incredible “must eats” including Manco & Manco Pizza, Kohr’s frozen custard, and Johnson’s Caramel Corn.
Avalon and Stone Harbor
A quiet 7-mile barrier island is home to these two non-commercial gem Jersey Shore beaches. You’ll find wide beaches, lots of space to spread out, a 25-mile speed limit for the whole island, a kid-size arcade in Avalon and homemade ice cream at Springer’s in Stone Harbor. Don’t miss the Stone Harbor Wetland’s Institute to learn about the marsh and visit resident turtles, see migrating birds, and take a boat safari, always a big hit with families. For the perfect trip, make sure you remember these 9 lifesaving tips for beach safety.
Long Beach Island
An 18-mile barrier island that’s just a quarter mile wide, giving families equal access to the quiet bay for boating and fishing and soft sand beaches for ocean swimming and water sports. With 20 small towns on the island, there’s a beach getaway for every taste, but the two main appeals for families are Beach Haven, the activity center of the island with an amusement park, water park, adventure miniature golf, and Bay Village for shopping and dining, and Barnegat Light home of the island’s iconic lighthouse and Viking Village commercial seaport. Planning a beach getaway? Keep your home safe by doing these 13 things before you go on vacation.
Bordering the quiet Manasquan Inlet, a great fishing spot for junior anglers, and the Atlantic Ocean, the beach is here is wide and clean, the ocean perfect for body surfing, and there’s also Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, full of rides and games, mini golf, plus a kid-pleasing aquarium, and lots of indulgent boardwalk ice creams and snack spots.
OK, yes, this is where MTV’s Jersey Shore was filmed. But it’s been a decade since the show was filmed, and lots has changed in this beautiful seaside spot, including Superstorm Sandy, which ripped apart sections of the boardwalk but also gave the town a chance to rebuild and launch itself anew as a family-friendly destination, which they’re doing with flying colors. Now you’ll find the beautiful beach along with numerous attractions for kids and families such as the Sky Ride that gives visitors an elevated perspective of the Jersey Shore beaches.
Not your average shore town, this hip bit of urban cool at the beach offers arts, music, and great food in addition to sand and sea. Teens especially enjoy the trendy foodie options offered up in renovated shipping containers, the Pinball Museum, where you can play as much as you want for a small hourly fee, and the unique shops and crafts that line the small boardwalk. Asbury Park is also home to a renowned set of live music and entertainment venues including The Stone Pony, where both Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi both played starting out their careers, the Wonder Bar, Asbury Lanes, and Convention Center. Keep an eye out for all-ages outdoor concerts that take place throughout the summer. For more beach wanderlust, check out these 11 amazing beaches you need to add to your bucket list ASAP.
Easily accessible via the train from New York City, the beach here is clean and wide with attentive lifeguards, and Pier Village, which sits at the beach’s entrance, offers a wide array of restaurants, shops, and activities for everyone to enjoy along the small boardwalk. The Ocean Place Resort is also right on the beach, so it’s easy to plan for an overnight or weekend stay without having to bring a car.
A Jersey Shore insider secret, this quiet beach is perfect for families with small children due to its comfy Beach Club, which is accessible for the price of a beach pass (around $10). Your admission cost grants access to showers, bathrooms, a pool, a snack bar, and a big open deck to eat lunch out of the sand. Now that’s a great way to spend a Jersey Shore day!