Top 10 Beaches in New Jersey

Published on August 10th, 2021

What are the Most Popular Beaches in New Jersey?

With 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, New Jersey could reasonably be called an underrated beach state — although those in the know certainly know all about long, languid days spent “down the shore.” We’ve gathered the top 10 unbeatable New Jersey beaches that you truly don’t want to miss next time you make your way through the garden state.

Top Beaches in New Jersey

1. Cape May Beach

2. Wildwood Beach

3. The Beach at Avalon

4. Ocean City

5. Island Beach State Park

6. Seaside Heights

7. Point Pleasant Beach

8. Ocean Grove Beach

9. Asbury Park Beach

10. Sandy Hook Beach

New Jersey Beaches

While there are even more beaches than this in New Jersey to visit, here are the ones to be sure to add to your itinerary.

1. Cape May Beach

Aerial view of a beach in Cape May, New Jersey, USA with a lifeguard boat

Starting out with a bang — Cape May Beach is easily one of the most recognizable oceanside beach names in the entire United States, let alone New Jersey itself. Nestled at the extreme southern terminus of the state, Cape May has long been seen as an important property for military and protective reasons, and is home to a beautiful and fascinating historic lighthouse first built back in 1857. But all that is putting the cart before the horse: the main draw to this incredible landscape is the beach itself, which is fully two miles long and broad enough to offer everyone ample space to lay down a towel. To your back, a bevvy of preserved Victorian-era buildings stand sentinel, abiding recollections of a simpler time — or at least a bygone one!

Things to do near Cape May Beach: That lighthouse we mentioned is, today, open for tours, and more than 2.5 million visitors have climbed to the top to take in the epic view since it first opened in 1988. Additionally, there are plenty of excellent eateries and bars located within easy walking distance of the shoreline, so you can easily turn it into a full day of sand, suds, and snacks. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider and our guide to the Jersey Shore for good measure.

2. Wildwood Beach

Wildwood Crest wide beach from above, New Jersey, USA

Only a short way north up the road from Cape May, Wildwood Beach offers another gorgeous expanse of oceanfront, and is particularly popular amongst surfers who take bravely to its raucous waves. A resort city in the truest sense of the word, Wildwood is home to Sightseer tram cars, an iconic feature that runs right along the Wildwood Boardwalk, toting visitors past the many shops, restaurants, bars, and other exciting to-dos that are just a stone’s throw from the soft sands and rhythmic waves of the beach itself. Do be forewarned, though — as one of the most popular beaches in the state, this is easily one of the most crowded, so arrive early and give yourself plenty of time to find parking and a great spot to sit!

Things to do near Wildwood Beach: Given its resort city status, Wildwood Beach is utterly surrounded by fun to-dos for the whole family, such as the Seaport Aquarium and the Doo Wop Experience, which is set up exactly like the old soda fountains you might just remember. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider, as well as our guide to the Jersey Shore!

3. The Beach at Avalon

AVALON, NJ, USA-AUGUST 27, 2014: Life boat resting on the beach in the early morning sun. Summer is winding down and the beaches are becoming deserted. M

Looking for a slightly different taste of the Jersey Shore? The Beach at Avalon offers a slower-paced look at the shoreline life, and is characterized by a beautifully diverse ecosystem. Backed up by a complex of teeming wetlands, this beach offers all the classic white sands and blue waters, but within an easy day’s drive of some beautiful marshlands that are filled with plenty of unique local flora and fauna. Thanks to this combination of characteristics, this beach has been known as an oceanside destination for years, and the untouched oceanfront has plenty of playgrounds, parks, and other local fixtures nearby.

Things to do near The Beach at Avalon: If you’re curious to learn more about this stretch of New Jersey oceanside, head to the Avalon History Center for plenty of photos, artifacts, and information, including a real-life boat from circa 1925. And, of course, the wetlands themselves are a major draw here, so be sure to save some time to stop by the Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area. Here are some area RVshare rentals to consider — and some great area campgrounds to take them to!

4. Ocean City

OCEAN CITY, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 05, 2018: People walking and biking along the famous boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, USA.

When it comes to a New Jersey beach, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Ocean City: just a few miles south of famed Atlantic City, this is the family-friendly answer to the wilder, more nightlife- and gambling-heavy sister shoreline to the north. Ocean City is home to a stunning, shimmering beachfront, of course, but also several distinct amusement parks, making it an uber-popular option for families: there’s enough to do in the area to keep kids of all ages satisfied with their vacation experience, and it’s also possible to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the sound of the waves rolling in. Whatever your fancy!

Things to do near Ocean City: Playland’s Castaway Cove includes both thrill rides and a fun arcade experience, and the OC Waterpark is the perfect place to head if you’re looking for yet another way to cool off under the hot summer sun. There’s even a haunted indoor mini-golf course, which is not an attraction we’ve seen in many other places! Here are some area RVshare rentals to choose from.

5. Island Beach State Park

Sunset at the Jersey Shore's Island Beach State Park

Situated on a stunning barrier island just about midway up the New Jersey coast, Island Beach State Park is exactly what it sounds like: a well-preserved, natural landscape of sea and sand, surrounded on multiple sides by waterfront views. Because it’s a nature preserve, this state park offers visitors the opportunity to lounge in the lush, natural surroundings that have characterized this part of the state since time immemorial. And because there are waterfront stretches on both sides of the barrier island, this state park includes a whopping 10 miles of shorefront to choose from.

Things to do near Island beach State Park: If this natural landscape doesn’t get you your fill of pristine outdoor recreation time, not to worry — there are plenty of other nearby wildernesses to explore. Head inland to the Forked River Mountain Wildlife Management Area or Double Trouble State Park, which features cranberry bogs, a preserved 19th-century town, nature trails and more. Here are some RVshare rentals in the area to help you string together a comfy-cozy trip!

6. Seaside Heights

Long shadows are cast along the sand beneath the Fun Town Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

As you continue to follow that barrier island further north, you’ll find yourself directly across the stretch of Barnetget Bay from the city of Toms River, at one of the most beautiful and amenity-filled vacation destination beaches in the state. Seaside Heights is known for its casinos, its scenic pier with amusement park rides, and, yes, for its status as home to the Jersey Shore house — yes, as in that “Jersey Shore.” The town offers the perfect combination of high-quality attractions for prices that won’t break the bank, and there are plenty of restaurants, night clubs, and other amusements to keep you entertained for your entire trip.

Things to do near Seaside Heights: As mentioned, there is a nearly endless procession of tourist destinations in the city of Seaside Heights itself — but the best part is, it’s also conveniently located within an easily drivable distance of other, quieter locales. Head south toward the state park listed above for a more serene beach experience, or head inland toward preserves like Cattus Island County Park for some greenery. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for your journey!

7. Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach aerial view

Looking for all the fun and festivities of beaches like Seaside Heights along with the sparkling-clean waters and soft, sandy stretches of Island Beach State Park? Point Pleasant Beach might be exactly what you’re looking for: the town is populated with plenty of fun to-dos, including a well-known comedy club, but the beach itself is still characterized by a laid-back atmosphere that easily lends itself to naps under the sun or long walks along its sugary shores. Not far away, find a boardwalk populated with amusement centers, arcades, ice cream stands and more. In any case, the place certainly lives up to its name, and then some!

Things to do near Point Pleasant Beach: Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club is a great place to see both up-and-coming funny folks as well as more established comedians in an intimate setting, and Jenkinson’s Aquarium is a great place to go with the whole family, particularly if you’re interested in learning more about the local sealife. Here are some local RVshare rentals to help you take to the road in ease and style!

8. Ocean Grove Beach

Sunrises at the New Jersey Seashore

Just south of world-famous Asbury Park, Ocean Grove Beach offers small-town charm with the epic, beautiful beachfronts of some of New Jersey’s begger shoreside cities, having long drawn both visitors and residents with its soft golden sands, turquoise waters, and surfable waves. In addition, the city behind the beach is populated with Victorian-era buildings dating back to the city’s foundation in 1869, giving beachgoers a scenic and historic backdrop to their day of waterside fun.

Things to do near Ocean Grove Beach: Just a couple of blocks from the beach itself, you’ll find even more waterfront along Wesley Lake, which is bounded by the beautiful Founders Park on one shore and a hip walking district with tons of restaurants, shops, and other fun to-dos on the other. Here are some local RVshare rentals in the area to help you make a whole trip of it.

9. Asbury Park Beach

Aerial view of beach goers in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Memorial Day Weekend 2019

Long a seaside destination for folks from across the tri-state area and beyond, Asbury Park has always offered a gorgeous beachfront — and these days, it’s a thriving LGBTQ community, too. Its famed boardwalk is dotted with historic venues that have hosted such musicians as Jack Valentine, Bruce Springsteen, and so many others. In fact, this is the part of New Jersey where that gritty, well-loved sound was born. (But even if rock & roll isn’t your thing, no worries: the beach itself is well worth the effort on its own!)

Things to do near Asbury Park Beach: Swing on by the Stone Pony for a pint and some great entertainment, or head a bit further north to the section of the beach known as Bradley Cove, where furry, four-legged friends are more than welcome. Meanwhile, here are the best local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to consider for your stay.

10. Sandy Hook Beach

Early morning on Sandy Hook Beach, New Jersey, USA. Scenic view over Atlantic ocean, sky, horizon, running waves over the shore. Instagram filtered look.

Nestled onto one of the most unique portions of New Jersey — and the entire northeast, for that matter — Sandy Hook Beach beach sits on the southern end of the spit of land known as Sandy Hook, overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean to the east. Soft sands, clear waters, and bright sunny days make this a popular beach trip from many area cities, even though it’s a bit further off the beaten path than some other “down the shore” options. You’ll also be right in the shadow of the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, one of the largest and most intriguing NPS-managed sites in the country.

Things to do near Sandy Hook Beach: Along with Sandy Hook Beach itself, the island offers a huge diversity of waterfront sand stretches, including Bunker Beach and Seal Beach to the west and Gunnison Beach a bit further north. Additionally, because of its unique location, it had a tactical advantage that made the U.S. government choose it as the base for Fort Hancock, many of whose historic batteries visitors can still see today. Here are some local RVshare rentals in the area.

Planning an RV Trip to New Jersey

While New Jersey’s beaches may be well worth basking on, they’re far from the only reason to visit the state. The good news is, we’ve gathered all the deets you need to make your visit fun, comfortable, easy and well-informed.

For starters (of course), we’ve got all the best rental RVs in New Jersey, as well as the best campgrounds to take them to — throughout the state and on the shore specifically. We’ve penned guides to the best state parks in New Jersey to explore and stay in, and also Newark, Trenton, and the shore itself.

So get out there and enjoy some fun in the sun!

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