The Jersey Shore has been typically prone to stereotypes about drunk, frat-boy meatheads and cat-fighting women in their 20’s. They hang out there, for sure, but there are many beaches along the Shore that offer up beautiful views, family crowds, drinks, and tons of fun things to do in the area.
Ortley Beach and Lavallette
Tucked a few miles north of the Seaside Heights boardwalk (which can get a little sleazy at night) is this more serene hip township that caters to a middle-aged crowd with families. Right on the beach, located at 1900 Ocean Avenue in Ortley Beach is one of my favorite haunts — Joey Harrison’s Beach Club, where you can indulge in margaritas, beers, and a nice dinner. The club hosts live bands and have dance parties on the weekends. They even give the place a west coast feel with a few fake palm trees. Along the 3-4 mile strip are family-run motels, restaurants, and mini-golf courses.
Beach Haven – Long Beach Island
Fun for the entire family. Located at Beach Haven is Fantasy Island, the only amusement park on the 12-mile island with amusement rides for young kids. There are also many mini-golf courses in the surrounding area. Across the street are a seaport-style strip of restaurants and a few ice creams shops. The beach is sadly eroding, but catch some sun rays here and throw the Frisbee around.
There is a two-mile boardwalk here, along with some beautiful houses, hotels, and bed n’ breakfasts. It is more family friendly and cleaner than the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Alcoholics beware! Ocean City is a dry town, and no alcohol is sold there. You need to travel outside the city limits to wet your whistle.
Located 45 miles south of Atlantic City, Wildwood is considered one of the best beaches in NJ. The beaches are free, and there are plenty of things to do. There are three water parks, a boardwalk, mini-golf courses, plenty of attractions, arcades, and a few roller coasters.
For New York City and Northern NJ vacationers who don’t want to travel down to the southern end of the Garden State, Point Pleasant has a boardwalk, a clean well-maintained beach, a small amusement park for the kids, and live entertainment. The boardwalk gets crowded on warm summer nights, but its conveniently located less than 90 miles from Manhattan.
The hot spots at the Jersey Shore, like the Seaside Heights boardwalk, offer up great rides, carnival games, and a wide variety of food ( seafood, cheese-steaks, ice cream, cotton candy) but the downside is the massive crowds. If you’re looking for more low-key places, check out some of the beaches listed above. You can fall in love with parts of the Jersey Shore.