Surfing Beaches in New Jersey Have Great Waves, Lots of Thrills

It's a looong coastline, so there is a surfing beach for you!

Looking for the best beach for surfing spots in New Jersey? All up and down the New Jersey shore, there are great beaches where the swells and breaks can rival Florida and the Carolinas. Take a drive to Jersey beaches and ask the locals checking out the action in the early a.m.

You can break Jersey Shore beaches up into a couple of main areas, depending on how far you want to drive to check out the action. The northern section starts with Sandy Hook, Long Branch, Deal and Elberon. Then you could check out the action from Asbury Park to Manasquan in a quick drive.

The beaches north of Island Beach State Park run in a nice line and you could check them all out in a half hour's ride. Finally, if you head straight south, hit Island Beach State Park all the way to Atlantic City and Ocean City.

The above links will bring you to all those other beaches, but let's talk about those southern sweet spots!

Go south, young man!

Long Beach Island is an 18 mile long barrier island which is actually off the coast of New Jersey. It's a series of white sandy beaches and small towns and of course, great surf.

At the northern end of the island is primo surfing real estate at Hudson Avenue in Harvey Cedars. This location offers the juiciest peaks around. The beachbreak close to shore serves great lefts and rights. Parking is available, but it is located on the other side of the highway.

But right when you drive into town from the mainland, you'll run into a 7-11, and the beach behind it is called guess what? 7-11. It's a weak beachbreak that sits way out beyond a big trench near the shore, which makes it great for beginners.

Island Beach is one of the only areas in New Jersey where you can drive on the beach. It has multiple sandbars and so it's gonzo fun at the beginning of a groundswell, but watch out for the winds - there's nothing to block them.

In Beach Haven, a favorite hole is Holyoke, with a winding left that breaks off a long jetty. With a nor'easter, it's a simple paddle around the jetty to find lefts that roll forever. A smaller left and right peel off down the beach and are actually better when it's small, but there is a shifting sandbar so every day can be a surprise.

It gets more interesting the further south you go

Heading down to Brigantine, the area known as the Seawall gives you nice, lined-up lefts on a shoulder- to head-high northeast swell. There was a pier there, but now just some supports to stop erosion. The best thing about Seawall is that you can surf all day, even in the summer, but you do have to have a beach badge.

For good lefts and even better rights, head to the Brigantine Inlet Jetty. The shifting peaks wall up down the beach and often end up with a fast, hollow section. Good thing: there is plenty of parking available in the residential district. Restrictions: you have to stay out of the dunes and away from any protected birds, and beach tags and leashes are required during the summer.

The breaks are great down south, too

In Atlantic City, you'll find good rights and lefts break off a wooden groin in the middle of the beach at South Carolina Ave., best on an east/northeast swell, but on a big northeast swell, you have to be careful of drifting into rocks at the south end of the beach, near Central Pier.

Margate allows surfing on both sides of the Margate pier as well as at three other beaches. Here you'll get a shoulder-high swell out of the east/northeast or southeast.

Ocean City is one of the most active and visible surfing communities in New Jersey. During a decent swell, the area from 1st Street through 10th Street offers some of the best-quality action in South Jersey. You can find perfect barrels running down the beach for a block or more off any one of the rock jetties in this part of town. South of that, both the 14th Street Pier and the 59th Street Pier have great rights and lefts, depending on the swell. The only problem is that there are limited areas during the summer, so it can get crowded, and you will need a beach tag.

Off the 3rd Street Jetty, you'll have plenty of opportunities to get in the barrel, especially with stiff offshores and an overhead swell. There is usually a lot of hot surfing between these two jetties.

If you are like a lot of "committed" surfers (or is it "to be committed?"), you will drive all the way up or all the way down the shore to find the perfect wave. It will be worth it.

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