Winter is a tough time for people who love to feel the sand beneath their toes and relax on a sunny beach — and since we here in New Jersey consider beach days part of our identity, winters can feel like an especially long haul. While it might be too cold to take a dip in the ocean, you can still take a trip to your favorite beach towns along the Jersey Shore. Read on to find out about NJ beaches that you can visit in the winter.
Asbury Park | Exit 102
This small beach town is known for its boardwalk lined with shops, arcades, and cafes. In the winter, you can have fun hopping along its many bars and music venues. Be sure to visit the Wonder Bar, a popular spot for impromptu jam sessions with New Jerseyans Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Stop by Talula’s for dinner and try one of their artisanal pizzas.
Read More: 11 East Coast Getaways to Visit This Winter
Bay Head | Exit 98
Pick up a brochure from the Bay Head Historical Society and take a self-guided tour of its historic homes and buildings, such as The Grenville, a bubblegum-pink Victorian hotel. Finish the visit with a meal at Charlie’s, an upscale restaurant with waterfront views, steak and seafood dishes, and cocktails.
Cape May | Exit 0
There are plenty of cold weather activities in this picturesque beach town. Enjoy a wine tasting at Willow Creek Winery or sample craft beers at the Cape May Brewing Company. Be sure to visit the Harriet Tubman Museum and learn about the abolitionist who lived there in the early 1850s, working to help fund her trips to rescue enslaved people.
Long Beach Island | Exit 63
While the popular Fantasy Island rides are closed in the winter, you can still have some family fun at their arcade. Art lovers can explore the many galleries like the M.T. Burton Gallery, and even take a class. No visit would be complete without a plate of wings at The Chicken or the Egg.
Point Pleasant | Exit 98
No matter the weather, Jenkinson’s Arcade is a must-see stop for families visiting Point Pleasant. While you are there, you can also enjoy the sea life at the aquarium. Cap the day off by eating at Woodchuck’s BBQ, which has an entire menu devoted to hot dogs.
Red Bank | Exit 109
You’ll have fun browsing this beach town’s unique boutiques and shops, like Kevin Smith’s comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Theater lovers can catch a show at the Two River Theater or Count Basie Theater. JBJ’s Soul Kitchen is a popular restaurant, run by the Jon Bon Jovi Foundation. The menu has no prices; guests can donate money or volunteer to pay for their meals.
See More: 15 Northeast Winter Getaways on Airbnb
Stone Harbor | Exit 10A
Brave souls who are missing their ocean fix can participate in the annual Stone Harbor Shiver, which takes place in March. Those who prefer to stay dry can tour the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. For breakfast, order blueberry pancakes at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. It also has locations in other Jersey Shore towns.