The Jersey Shore
Today when people hear the words “Jersey Shore” the first thing that pops into their minds is the MTV series of the same name. Luckily, the actual Jersey Shore is nothing like the MTV show. Technically the Jersey Shore includes every beach from Sandy Hook to Cape May, a 127-mile stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, but many of those beaches are either difficult to access or of no interest to anyone other than locals.
Some New Jersey Facts
- In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to explore the New Jersey coast.
- On December 12, 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. New Jersey was also the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights in 1789.
- Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb, the motion picture camera and the phonograph in New Jersey.
- On June 19, 1846, Elysian Field in Hoboken was the site of the first organized game of baseball that followed modern rules.
- Atlantic City’s boardwalk was built in 1870 and is the world’s first boardwalk. At 4.5 miles long, it is also the world’s longest boardwalk.
- Atlantic City is the setting for the game of Monopoly.
- Cape May is the oldest seaside resort in the United States.
The Jersey Shore’s Major Vacation Destinations
There are 11 primary beach communities or tourist destinations on the Jersey Shore. From north to south these communities are:
Belmar’s beaches stretch for over a mile and offer something for everyone. It’s a particularly good location for families because Belmar is lower key and less crowded than many of the other Jersey Shore beaches.
“Spring Lake, a beautifully maintained Victorian resort community, is home to awe-inspiring homes and quaint bed and breakfast inns.” (http://www.visitnj.org/sites/visitnj.org/files/fun-n-facts_0.pdf)
Manasquan is a funky beach town with the famous Gee Gee’s Restaurant and Arcade right at the beach. Kids love it.
Point Pleasant boasts a busy boardwalk and is home to Jenkinson’s Pavilion and Aquarium.
Seaside Heights is where the MTV series Jersey Shore is based and shot. Notwithstanding that dubious claim to fame, Seaside Heights is a beach town with a fast paced, energetic atmosphere.
Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island (LBI) is a narrow sliver of land that runs parallel to the Jersey Coast for 20 miles. Obviously, there are many different beaches on Long Beach Island, but they all share a quiet, pristine, family atmosphere.
People go to Atlantic City for its casinos and boardwalk, not the beach.
Ocean City calls itself “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” Visitors to Ocean City tend to spend their time at the beach and adjacent 2.5-mile boardwalk.
Sea Isle City
Sea Isle City is similar to Long Beach Island with its peaceful, unspoiled, family-oriented character.
The beach at the Wildwoods is the widest in New Jersey and it is magnificent. In addition to the beach, Wildwood has a popular boardwalk and is the site of some very unique 1950s “doo wop” architecture.
Cape May is another Victorian gem on the Jersey Shore. The town has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is probably the Jersey Shore’s most well-known seaside resort.
Hotels, Inns and Bed & Breakfast’s Along the Jersey Shore
According to tripadvisor, there are 703 resorts, hotels, B&Bs, and inns on the Jersey Shore. Most of these lodgings are found in Atlantic City, The Wildwoods, and Cape May. Some of the Jersey Shore’s better-known hotels and inns include:
- Saltwater Inn in Belmar
- Tandem Bike Inn in Belmar
- Inn at the Shore in Belmar
- Hewitt Wellington in Spring Lake
- The Ocean House in Spring Lake
- Evergreen Inn in Spring Lake
- Inn on Main in Manasquan
- Nathaniel Morris B & B in Manasquan
- Twin Oaks Motel in Manasquan
- The Tower Cottage B & B in Point Pleasant
- Gates at the Inlet in Point Pleasant
- Sunburst Hotels in Seaside Heights
- Seaside Colony Motel in Seaside Heights
- Bay Breeze Motel in Seaside Heights
- Williams Cottage Inn on Long Beach Island
- Victoria Guest House on Long Beach Island
- The Islander Motel on Long Beach Island
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City
- Wyndham Skyline Tower in Atlantic City
- Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City
- Northwood Inn in Ocean City
- Plymouth Inn in Ocean City
- Seaport Inn Motel in Ocean City
- Colonnade Inn in Sea Isle City
- Marlane Motel in Wildwood
- Sea-n-Sun Resort Motel in Wildwood
- Sea Gypsy B & B in Wildwood
- Candlelight Inn in North Wildwood
- The Queen Victoria in Cape May
- Congress Hall in Cape May
- Sea Crest Motor Inn in Cape May
Jersey Shore Vacation Rentals
With all the commercial lodging on the Jersey Shore, there are even more rental homes and condos available in its beach communities than there are resorts, hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts.
Another option is to contact local real estate agents. To find rental agents, search for real estate companies in the area where you want to travel. Most real estate companies in popular vacation spots have short-term rental agents too. Talk to a few different rental agents until you find one you like. Never pay a rental agent a fee. The owner pays them. If you are asked for a fee, don’t work with that agent and/or agency.
Whether you are booking your vacation rental online or through a real estate agent there are certain things you should determine before finalizing your plans. They are:
- Know your budget before looking at rentals.
- Think about how many people will be traveling with you since vacation rentals range from studios with one bath to family homes with multiple bedrooms and baths.
- Make a list of your “essentials” — the things you can’t live without in order to enjoy your vacation. These “essentials” can be amenities you will have access to, how far the beach house is from the shore, and so on. You may not be able to find a rental with everything you’d like that fits within your budget, but if you know what is most important to you, you can find something that you will be happy with.
- Do not just compare prices; compare quality and services too.
Things to Do Along the Jersey Shore
When we talk about activities at the Jersey Shore we are talking about a large area. What there is to do in Atlantic City is very different than what there is to do in Spring Lake. Given that, the guide below identifies some of the general things you may want to do on your Jersey Shore vacation.
Sightseeing – There are a few museums and aquariums along the Jersey Shore. Cape May has some wineries. There are also quite a few lighthouses, water parks, amusement parks, and nature tours on land and sea. Then there are the boardwalks. Nothing says Jersey Shore like boardwalks and they are usually the center of the action in every beach town.
Dining – Tourists like to eat and seaside resort communities like to feed them. As a result, you will find many different dining options along the Jersey Shore.
Shopping – The same is true for shopping. Tourists like to shop and stores want to sell them stuff.
Casinos – If you like to gamble, Atlantic City is your only option.
Water Sports – Water sports are why many of us go to the beach and there is no shortage of water sports on the Jersey Shore. Some of the water sports you can partake in include:
- Boogie boarding
- Paddle boarding
- Skim boarding
- Jet skiing
Land Sports – In addition to the usual beach sports like volleyball and classic beach games, there are other land sports available on your Jersey Shore vacation. They are golf, tennis, mini golf, and bird watching.
Beach Weddings – If you love the beach, then you’ve probably thought of getting married on one of your favorites surrounded by your loved ones. As with any great beach destination, the Jersey Shore is the preferred location for many people’s beach weddings. Luckily, there are a number of companies that will arrange beach weddings for you and your loved ones on the Jersey Shore.
Planning Your Jersey Shore Vacation
Some things you may want to consider when planning your vacation to the beaches on the Jersey Shore are …
How much do you want to spend?
How do you want to book your Jersey Shore vacation?
Are you interested in vacation packages or do you prefer to look for independent vacation deals from individual hotels and airlines? Booking a package is definitely faster and may be cheaper, but booking independently provides you with more choices and–contrary to popular belief — can even be less expensive.
Where do you want to go while you are there?
When planning your vacation to the Jersey Shore you’ll want to orient yourself. Use this map to locate the places you want to visit.
What time of year do you want to visit? / What’s the weather?
New Jersey has a moderate climate with 4 seasons. Winters are relatively cold and summers tend to be warm and humid. Temperatures range from an average low of 30°F in the winter to an average high of 80°F in the summer (-1.1°C – 26.6°C). Precipitation is fairly evenly spread throughout the year with 3 to 4 inches per month being typical. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, although odds of being in New Jersey during a hurricane are low at any given time.
The Jersey Shore with its many seaside towns, convenient access to New York and Philadelphia, and fun beaches and boardwalks is a great place to take a vacation. So pack up your loved ones and head to the Jersey Shore for a fantastic beach vacation.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin