The Best Beaches in Jersey Vie for Title of Top Beach

What makes a beach one of the BEST BEACHES? Well, it's all a matter of taste, and that's what makes New Jersey beaches so wonderful-there is a beach for everyone's taste.

All of the beaches on the New Jersey Coast have the prime ingredients - wide expanses of soft, clean sand, and the beautiful sea-in this case the Atlantic Ocean. But are you the type who wants to sit on the sand, mesmerized by the site and sound of the ocean, or do you crave more action from your beach vacation? This will determine which is the top beach FOR YOU.

Have a look at these thumbnail sketches of the best beaches and you can make this decision easy.

Some best beach notes

(These are some of the best beaches based on popularity. If you are the "off the beaten track" type, you may want to try some of the other, less traveled, but no less beautiful beaches such as Avon-by-the-Sea, The Highlands, Bradley Beach or Brielle.

(Of course, if you have small children, you may want to concentrate on beaches that are best for safe play in the surf and maybe have the rides the kids want. Look at Best Beaches for Kids for some ideas about where to go with the little ones.)

A couple of the most popular

For the true Jersey Shore experience, Belmar is the real deal. Yes, this is where you will find the guidos and guidettes working on their tans and showing off their bods.

For a reality show experience, after a day of sun, the thing to do is head back to the house you rented with 20 of your best friends, shower, have a little barbecue, then hit D'Jais across from the boardwalk, or the Boathouse or or Bar Anticipation. (Just make sure you call it Bar A.)

Just two beaches down, but a world apart from Belmar is Manasquan, known more for its surfing and its summer rentals than babes and bars. Although it doesn't do too badly in those departments, Belmar has the rep.

Wildwood nights (and days)

For a "wild and crazy" time, Wildwood Beach is the one for you. No, it didn't get it's name that way, but it sure turned out that way. Wildwood has the widest beaches on the Jersey Shore, just right for the whole gang to spread out and hang out together and one of the main things that makes it one of the best beaches. Room for frisbee tossing, volleyball playing or even a little dancing on the beach. And the off the beach action is just as much fun.

The Wildwood boardwalk has more rides than any other boardwalk, including a number of roller coasters, kiddie rides, water parks and so much more. Things don't slow down at night, either. Family fun nights, classic car parades, fireworks and even movies on the beach keep this town hoppin' day and night.

Wildwood is known for its almost classic fifties era motels. If you are into retro, you will really enjoy the rock and roll ambiance that these beauties offer. (If Wildwood is a little too rock and roll for you, try its quieter sister, Wildwood Crest.)

And for something completely different...

Not far away by distance, but miles away in spirit is the beautiful town of Cape May. Calm, dignified, and stately, Cape May still boasts the most beautiful best beaches that make the Jersey Shore a perfect summer spot, but in a lovely turn of the century setting that literally takes you back in time.

There are many lovely bed and breakfasts, lovingly furnished with antiques and charming decor that will tempt you to turn off your Blackberry and step back to a slower, calmer era. Dozens of turn of the century buildings, from the stately to the whimsical, offer their guests a wonderful breakfast, a brisk swim and soothing walk and then a nice relaxing rock on the porch. It is almost like "taking the cure" in bygone days.

That doesn't mean that there is nothing to do in Cape May. In addition to days at the beach there are concerts and museums, birding and eco-tours, whale watching, house tours and vineyard visits, to name a few activities.

The boss' favorite beach

"Greetings from Asbury Park" is not just a Bruce Springsteen album, but a sincere welcome from the residents and businesses in this revitalized town on the water. Asbury Park is proud to call itself the "Eclectic, Diverse City by the Sea" and the town just throbs with excitement. Something new and wonderful is going on or added every day in this exciting, vibrant town!


Antique shops, great restaurants, beautiful architecture and lots of music formed this city into a mecca for urban types who still want the sea, the sand and the sun. It is well known as one of the premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resorts in the country and was ranked 6th best beach in New Jersey by the Marine Sciences Consortium.

And of course, there is the music. The Stone Pony and the Saint have been the birthplace of dozens of great musicians, and the world renowned Jazz Festival of free music is now in its 20th year!

A tale of two beaches: quiet elegance or the beach that never sleeps

A Beach Ball's throw from Asbury and the "wild side" of beach life, is the stately, quiet town of Spring Lake. As different in temperament from its rowdy neighbor as one beach town can be from another, this enclave of multimillion dollar homes shows its pedigree as one of the best beaches as well as one of the most beautiful towns. A quiet boardwalk with two small snack stands, no rides, no shops and no restaurants. If you prefer the dignity of a clean, quiet beach where you know you won't be hit by a stray volleyball, Spring Lake may be for you!

But if sea, sand, music, shows and boardwalk rides are still not enough for you, you must be a candidate for Atlantic City! This is a dynamo town that never sleeps, and once you step into any of its hotels or casinos, you'll see what makes it so special. It actually may not be one of the best beaches at the Jersey Shore, but that doesn't stop folks from flocking there.

Seaside Heights is another top New Jersey beach for the lively crowd. But unlike Wildwood, which tends to attract the teens through twenties crowd, Seaside is all about families. You're more likely to find a toddler with a shovel than a teen with a frisbee patrolling the sands here, and the boardwalk entertainment reflects the family focus.

Water parks, arcades, carousels and miniature golf courts are the entertainment of the day when you're off the beach. This doesn't mean that mom and dad can't find a little rest and relaxation. There are plenty of clubs and pubs to kick up your heels or unwind at. Efficiency motels are a popular choice for lodging; most families like the convenience of quick easy meals and snacks in place of a restaurant every night. And don't forget Seaside Park if you are looking for a family beach that is a little on the quieter side.

For nature lovers, no beach in the area can offer the peace, serenity and pristine sands of Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook has no beach town and little commercial activity; it is actually a National Park and wildlife refuge, and visitors stay in Highlands, which is across the bay. Flora and fauna abound, including a bird sanctuary run by the Audubon Society.

(But for great rides and lots of attractions just a stone's throw from Sandy Hook, just check out Keansburg.)


Sandy Hook itself is a barrier peninsula, directly across from and with a beautiful view of Manhattan. A relaxing ferry ride can bring visitors to the foot of Manhattan from Highlands. Swimmers, surfers, surf fishers, bikers and walkers enjoy the quiet beauty of The lack of attractions and restaurants (there is only one, Seagull's Nest, on the peninsula) is what guarantees peace and serenity on this one of the best beaches.

These are also the properties that caused one section, Gunnison Beach, to evolve into a popular "clothing optional" (read: nudist) beach. Bring your windsurfer, fishing gear and walking shoes and you can spend a full, active day at Sandy Hook. But, at least in one spot, you can leave the bathing suit at home.

You can't possibly think that is a total list of the best beaches on the New Jersey Shore! Go here for

More Beaches!

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