Hop between a collection of attractive seaside townships and popular surf spots at the center of the Jersey Shore coastline.
Long Beach Island is a utopia for beach lovers, courting couples, families, partygoers and surfers. Discover the individual character of over half a dozen towns that spread along the 18-mile-long (29-kilometer) barrier island of Long Beach Island. Here stylish homes look out over waves crashing on the seashore and boats offer fishing tours from oceanfront marinas. Bars and restaurants line a central boulevard and a nature reserve teems with wildlife.
At the island’s northern tip is Barnegat Light, where vegetation-covered dunes spill down to the pristine white sand of Atlantic Ocean Beachfront. Stroll along a scenic pier at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and climb to the top of Barnegat Lighthouse. Parasailing excursions, party boats and sport fishing tours depart from Lighthouse Marina. Marvel at the luxurious mansions and watch beautiful sunsets in Harvey Cedars.
Surf City and Ship Bottom stand on either side of the causeway connecting to the mainland and are popular with daytrippers. Appropriately, Surf City is a great place to take surf lessons and ride rolling waves. Visit the bars, design stores, galleries, restaurants and surf shops on Long Beach Boulevard. To the south, Brant Beach and Long Beach Township offer similar activities at a slower pace.
Make your way to Beach Haven, the island’s action-packed and youthful entertainment center. Fantasy Island Amusement Park and Thundering Surf Water and Adventure Golf are major attractions. Browse maritime artifacts at the New Jersey Maritime Museum. October’s annual LBI Fly International Kite Festival takes place here and at other beaches.
For something different, visit Holgate Wilderness Area, which forms part of the larger Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Walk the deserted beaches, observe coastal vegetation and spot birdlife such as American oystercatchers and black skimmers.
Long Beach Island is 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Philadelphia. The free LBI Shuttle bus makes getting between the townships easy without a car. Alternatively, travel via rented bike; it’ll take about 90 minutes to cross the entire island.