Long Branch New Jersey, like so many towns on the Jersey Shore, started out as a resort town that attracted the rich and famous, including presidents. As a matter of fact, so many presidents visited Long Branch New Jersey that a county park was named to commemorate this fact, the Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park. Visitors from Philadelphia and New York City were lured by the healthy sea air, a railway from the city, the gambling casinos and the racetrack. Long Branch New Jersey once boasted the longest pier on the Jersey coast, built in 1902, from which visitors could fish all day long.
Gambling was abolished (although racing is still going strong at Monmouth Racetrack, and is home of the famous Haskell race), economic issues affected the town in the sixties and the pier burned down in the eighties, all leading to a decline in Long Branch's fortunes. But now it is back, and with a vengeance. A new boardwalk was built after a major fire, but then the southern part of it was destroyed by Sandy, but, Jersey Strong, is back and once again welcomes bikers, joggers and walkers, who love the long expanse. The 33 acre Presidents Park offers swimming, boating, picnic tables and a skate park. The families who had the little bungalows on the beach years ago wouldn't recognize the high rise condos that fill the skyline today.
And the reason for all those condos is all the people who are attracted to the new Long Branch life style. Within these few square mile on the beach is some of the best shopping, eating and entertainment on the shore. On top of that, Long Branch and the surrounding communities are vibrant business hubs, so this is one of the few spots on the Jersey Shore where you can soak up the sun on your lunch break, or be on your bike or surfboard a few minutes after you leave the office.
West Long Branch is home to Monmouth University, which boasts as being "among the best-value private universities in New Jersey—we're in the bottom third of cost and the top third in academic quality" (Monmouth University website) and is a major employer as well as academic institution. Monmouth Medical Center, in the middle of Long Branch, is one of the most important health care facilities in the area. Air Safety Equipment, CEI Cosmetics and Vonage Communications are in Holmdel, ten miles away.
Pier Village is a fabulous shopping and eating heaven, with 30 boutiques and restaurants, with luxury condos right above them, situated right next to (and with a stunning view of) the ocean. And there is no end to the restaurants! One of the locals' favorites is Rooney's Oceanfront where fabulous seafood dishes compete with the incredible view. Try the crab burger for a break from the bovine, and the tuna bruschetta adds a new twist to an old favorite. There are great happy hour specials, such as 75 cent clams or $7 appetizers and they even have live music on weekends.
Check out Avenue Nuit Club, an incredible indoor/outdoor nightclub that will make you feel like you are in Paris or St. Tropez, or the cutting edge hip of the Bungalow Hotel, a boutique hotel that feels like it was plucked whole from Manhattan and dropped next to the water here on the Jersey Shore.
The train to New York, or the Garden State Parkway to Northern New Jersey makes commuting a breeze, but there is so much right in Long Branch that, theoretically, you don't ever have to leave. Monmouth University, Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth Race Track, the New Jersey Repertory Company, and a restaurant in every other doorway on Ocean Avenue, from elegant French and Italian inspired venues, to the down to earth but delicious Windmill, famous for its hot dogs.
Swim in the ocean, stroll on the boardwalk, spend a day at the track, take some classes, go to a play, a restaurant or a club. Oh, and did we mention shopping? The What to Do List at Long Branch is never ending.
After all of this activity, treat yourself to a spa day at Ocean Place Spa and Resort to rejuvenate.
Every 4th of July, Long Branch New Jersey celebrates with the biggest Independence Day celebration in New Jersey, Oceanfest, with food, fairs and fireworks.
If you head straight to Seaside, Cape May or Wildwood every summer, maybe it's time you gave this sparkling jewel on the northern end of the Jersey Shore a try!
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