With Memorial Day Weekend just a week away, it’s hard to focus on work instead of daydreaming about the summer sun and the beach days ahead. One of the best parts about living in New Jersey, of course, is that you’re only ever one drive away from the beach.
Heading down the parkway to the Jersey Shore is a summer staple for most North Jersey residents. Many New Jerseyans who were born and raised in the Garden State often return to the same beach summer after summer, especially if that’s the beach they went to with their family and friends as children.
While some spots along the Jersey Shore cater to older beachgoers, there are so many family-friendly beaches in New Jersey that appeal to adults and kids alike. Read on for some of our favorite Jersey Shore beaches kids and adults can have fun this summer.
(Photo credit: @jenksboardwalk)
Avon-by-the-Sea is one of the most family-friendly beaches you’ll find in New Jersey. With a playground for the kids, if they get bored of building sandcastles, and the Avon Pavillion, a snack shack with tons of to-go options, there’s always something to do. The town itself is walkable, allowing families to take a break from the beach and hit a local restaurant, such as The Columns, or walk down to Main Street to pick up sandwiches from Bing’s Deli. While on the beach, there are lifeguards from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Kids 11 and under don’t need beach badges during the summer, either, saving parents a few extra bucks. Parking is free, as well, though sometimes it can take a while to find a spot on busy days.
Like Avon-by-the-Sea, Asbury Park also has playgrounds for kids to enjoy while at the beach with their families. While Avon’s boardwalk has the one family-friendly snack shack, Asbury Park has a boardwalk featuring multiple shops and eateries for families to pop into, including the Convention Hall. Parking is free in Asbury Park, as well, and has lifeguards on duty throughout the summer.
Read More: A Trip to Congress Hall in Cape May
If your family loves visiting amusement parks together, Wildwood is the beach for you. The beach itself is family-friendly with shallow water, lifeguards on duty, and room to spread out for the day, it’s the boardwalk that adventurous families will really enjoy. Between the water parks and roller coasters on the pier, you and your kids will never want your vacation to end.
Beach Haven is another great option for active families. Sitting on the beach and reading a book is great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to play a round of mini-golf together or get some shopping in. Beach Haven features Thundering Surf Water Park, Fantasy Island Amusement Park, and two mini-golf courses. Bay Village is an outdoor shopping mall with plenty of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and more, all within walking distance of the beach.
Point Pleasant offers a great alternative to Wildwood and Beach Haven if your kids are a bit younger. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk features a smaller amusement park geared towards young kids, as well as an arcade and an aquarium. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of options for the older kids and adults in the group, either. Beachgoers can enjoy mini golf, an adventure ropes course, restaurants, bars and more.
See More: Your Guide to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Sandy Hook Beach
If you and your kids hate leaving your pup at home when embarking on a beach day, you should plan a day at Sandy Hook Beach. The western shore of Sandy Hook is dog-friendly, so, your pup can enjoy the sand, water, and sun with the whole family. Sandy Hook also features a multi-purpose trail so you can bike ride, skate, or just take for a walk with the family. Bike rentals are available on the island, as well, so you don’t even need to pack your own if you don’t want to. Guests do have to pay a parking fee during the busy summer months, however, there are multiple lots to choose from, which can make it easier to find a space than at other Jersey Shore beaches. Sandy Hook has lifeguards on duty from 10 am to 6 pm from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Ocean City’s tagline is “America’s greatest family resort” and it’s with good reason. There’s something for everyone in Ocean City. If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing time at the beach with your family, there’s a stretch of Ocean City that fits the bill. If you’re looking for shops, amusement parks, and restaurants, the boardwalk in Ocean City is where you want to be. Every Thursday night in July and August, Ocean City hosts a family night on the boardwalk featuring face painting, karaoke, live music, and more and it’s all free, which is definitely a bonus.
No matter how you and your family like to spend time at the beach, there’s a perfect spot for everyone on the Jersey Shore.