Taylor-Sunset-Cape-May3

Two women enjoying sunset on the bay in Lavallette - one of the best Jersey Sore beach towns.

As a Jersey girl, there is no better feeling than when a summer weekend arrives. For over 30-something years, I’ve followed the same summer routine of packing up my car (or, when I was a kid, my parent’s car), stopping at a Dunkin Donuts and hitting the Garden State Parkway South to enjoy the best Jersey Shore beach towns from Lavallette to Point Pleasant Beach.

Unless you grew up in New Jersey and know how special going “down the shore” is during the summer months, most people sleep on a New Jersey Shore getaway. The Garden State has beautiful beaches with powdery soft sand, sapphire blue waters, picturesque dunes, quintessential downtowns, idyllic cedar wood homes, fun boardwalks and water parks, as well as great restaurants and ice cream parlors.

You can find New Jersey’s best beaches in Monmouth County, which is in Central Jersey; along the Barnegat Inlet in Ocean County; on Long Beach Island in Ocean County; and in Atlantic County and Cape May County in South Jersey. In this article, discover the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit this summer.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Best Jersey Shore Beach Towns to Visit This Summer

Getting Around the New Jersey Coast:

A woman on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

When visiting the Jersey Shore. The best airports to fly into are Newark Liberty International Airport, Atlantic City International Airport, Trenton-Mercer Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

The easiest way to get around the Jersey Shore is by having your own vehicle. If you’re flying into New Jersey for a summer vacation, you can easily rent a car at one of the airports.

For those who don’t drive and rely on public transportation, the New Jersey Transit is the main rail and bus network in the Garden State. You can also learn more about New Jersey’s public transit by clicking here.

You can easily get around by walking or biking at many of these Jersey Shore points.

Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.

Weather at the Jersey Shore during Summer:

A woman enjoying a beach day in Lavallette, New Jersey.

One of the prime reasons why New Jersey makes for a great summer escape is because the weather is perfect! Summers are warm with mild humidity, especially on the Jersey Shore.

Overall, July is the hottest and rainiest month in NJ. However, the ocean tides are calm and low, making it ideal for swimming! August is the start of hurricane season when the ocean tends to be rougher with rip tides. Thankfully, the Jersey Shore beach towns I discuss below have lifeguards during the summer beach season.

Below are the average temperatures for the Jersey Shore during summertime:

June: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

July: Average highs in the upper 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

August: Average highs in the mid 80s°F with average lows in the mid 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

10 New Jersey Beach Towns for the Best Jersey Shore Vacations:

A woman enjoying a beach vacation in Cape May, NJ - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

As I mentioned above, New Jersey has beautiful beaches! They are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, boogie boarding, skim boarding, and playing games like paddle boarding and seashell hunting.

With 130 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean of the East Coast of the United States, you can’t go wrong with a Jersey Shore vacation. Here are the leading beach towns with the best sandy beaches to check out at the Jersey Shore this summer:

Point Pleasant Beach:

Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach.

Point Pleasant Beach is one of the most popular shore towns along New Jersey’s coastline. It’s a family-friendly beach town with a boardwalk, amusement rides, arcade games, fun nightlife and a charming downtown area.

Point Pleasant Beach is the northernmost coastal town in Ocean County. It’s the gateway town to the Barnegat Peninsula near the beautiful towns of Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brielle and Manasquan.

A great place to stay in Point Pleasant Beach is The White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa. The best restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach are B2 Bistro + Bar, Point Lobster Bar & Grill and Red’s Lobster Pot. The best spots to get ice cream are Kohr’s Frozen Custard on the boardwalk and Hoffman’s on Route 35 South.

While in Point Pleasant Beach, enjoying the beach, walking Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, going on the rides and playing a few arcade games is a must. What makes Jenkinson’s Boardwalk different from the nearby Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is its aquarium and one of the best fun houses. You can also choose from two mini golf courses to play at – Jenkinson’s Miniature Golf and Castaway Cove Mini Golf.

For those 21 and older, you can make memories at Martell’s Tiki Bar, an oceanfront bar with a live music venue, and Jenks Club, a day and night club. Other great places to have fun in Point Pleasant Beach are The Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar and Last Wave Brewing Company.

If you want to escape the crowds, I recommend walking through Point Pleasant Beach’s downtown area. The town is filled with antique shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Mueller’s Bakery in Bay Head is one of the best bakeries to visit nearby.

Unique activities to enjoy in Point Pleasant Beach during summer are parasailing through Point Pleasant Parasail, enjoying a dinner cruise along the Barnegat Pay, Manasquan River and Point Pleasant Canal with The River Queen and seeing a show at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club.

Cape May:

A woman at Peter Shield's Inn in Cape May during summer.

Located at the Southernmost point of New Jersey, Cape May is “America’s Oldest Seaside Resort” town. It’s famous for having the second-largest collection of Victorian homes after San Francisco. What makes Cape May one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit in summer is its quintessential charm.

One of the best places to stay in Cape May, New Jersey is Congress Hall. It’s the main attraction in Cape May and is also renowned for being the first seafront resort in America. The top places to eat in Cape May are Peter Shield’s Inn & Restaurant, Washington Inn & Wine Bar and The Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar.

During your time in Cape May, enjoy the stunning white sand beaches, treat yourself to retail therapy at the Washington Street Mall, watch the sunset at the Cape May Lighthouse, go wine tasting at Cape May Winery, take a historic trolley tour through the Cape May MAC and walk around Beach Plum Farms. You will be amazed by all the beauty of Cape May County.

Taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware is essential during a summer vacation. The ferry ride is around an hour and a half long. While onboard, you can admire the beautiful views of Delaware Bay, enjoy a refreshing beverage and relax.

In Lewes, Delaware, stroll through the charming downtown area. It’s filled with local shops, restaurants, museums and churches. I suggest checking out Zwaanendael Museum and Park, seeing the Lightship Overfalls, touring the Cannonball House and exploring Cape Henlopen State Park.

The best spots to eat and drink in the Lewes area are Kindle, a lovely French restaurant, Beach Time Distilling and Notting Hill Coffee Roastery.

Lavallette:

An ice cream shop in Lavallette, New Jersey.

A leading shore town to visit in New Jersey is Lavallette. It’s located on the Barnegat Peninsula, a barrier island less than 100 miles outside New York City. This small town is located between Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights.

The best place to stay in Lavallette, New Jersey is the Lamplight Motel. Great dining options in this quaint town are Lobster Dock, Ohana Grill, Sand Dollar Pancake House and Hoshino Sushi. Two excellent spots to enjoy a fun evening in Lavallette are the Crabs Claw Inn and Castaway’s Pub.

It’s no secret that the best thing to do in Lavallette during summer is to spend a day at the beach! I also love that Lavallette has a boardwalk to help you stay active during your getaway. It runs 2.5 miles (round trip) and is perfect for walking, running, bike riding and beach house viewing. (The homes on the Lavallette Boardwalk are beautiful!)

Lavallette’s downtown area features incredible clothing boutiques, home décor shops, beach stores, cafés and ice cream parlors. You must visit Hazel Boutique & Café for coffee and great shopping, Iceberg Ice Cream for homemade ice cream and Salted Gems for crystals. Don’t forget to visit Lava Golf for a fun mini-golf game.

Another of the best things to do in Lavallette, New Jersey is enjoy a leisure bike ride to the bay in time for sunset! During certain evenings, the Lavallette Gazebo will host free concerts, live music and movies on the bay. There’s nothing like being on the Barnegat Bay during this time of the day!

(You can rent bikes in Lavallette from Beach Authority.)

Other memorable outdoor activities and water sports at the Lavallette Bay include pickleball, tennis and basketball. You can also go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, boating, fishing, crabbing and more.

Learning to surf is one of the most fun activities during a Lavallette vacation! Through Coastline Adventures Surfing School in Normandy Beach, which is accredited by the National Surf School and Instructor Association, you can take a private, semi-private and group surfing lesson. There are lessons for all levels.

Brigantine Beach:

Two women parasailing in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Brigantine is one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit this summer! It’s located just north of Atlantic City and offers a peaceful escape from all the action.

The best hotel on Brigantine Beach is Legacy Vacation Resort. Great restaurants to visit are LaScala’s Beach House, a fun oceanfront seafood restaurant with live music and corn hole; Mystic Lobster Roll Co. for delicious lobster rolls and the Pirates Den for breakfast.

Based on my experiences, Brigantine Beach has one of the most beautiful beaches along the Jersey Shore coastline. It’s perfect for taking a nap, reading a book, building sandcastles and swimming!

Other great things to do in this underrated beach town in Atlantic County are to see the Brigantine Lighthouse and the Absecon Lighthouse. You must also visit the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and have fun at Brigantine Mini Golf.

A getaway to Brigantine Beach should include spending time in Atlantic City. Have fun parasailing during the day with Atlantic City Parasail. Also, attend a pool party at Ocean Casino Resort, visit one of the many casinos, like Harrah’s, make memories at Steel Pier amusement park, as well as see a show.

Seaside Park:

A woman doing yoga at Island Beach State Park.

Another one of the best NJ shore towns on the Barnegat Inlet is Seaside Park! This Jersey Shore location is perfect because it sits right below Seaside Heights, which has a thriving boardwalk and borders the beautiful Island Beach State Park for adventure enthusiasts.

Island Beach Motor Lodge is the top accommodation in Seaside Park. It’s on one of the last streets in town, right next to the Island Beach State Park entrance. Another reason why this hotel is ideal is because it’s on the same block as the oceanfront Chef Mike’s Atlantic Bar & Grill.

Other great dining options in Seaside Park are Bum Rogers Crab House & Tavern for seafood and Island Beach Fish Company for casual beach food and drinks. Additionally, head over to Park Bakery for amazing baked goods and White Oak Market for fresh deli sandwiches.

If you’re wondering what to do in Seaside Park during summer, you must go to the beach and head to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights. You can ride the roller coasters and Ferris wheel here! Additionally, cool off at the Breakwater Beach water park, visit Heavy Reel Brewing Co. and go jet skiing at The Dock Outfitters.

A beach getaway to Seaside Park is incomplete without exploring Island Beach State Park. It’s located at the southern tip of the barrier island in Ocean County and is a nature lover’s paradise.

Overall, Island Beach State Park has over 10 miles and 3,000 acres of coastal dunes and fascinating biodiversity. While here, you can enjoy easy-to-moderate hiking and walking trails over dunes and salt marshes. This incredible State Park is also perfect for bird watching, fishing and kayaking.

Beach Haven:

A woman enjoying the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Long Beach Island (LBI) in southern Ocean County is another beautiful barrier island with great beaches. One of the best Jersey Shore beach towns in LBI is Beach Haven.

The Hideaway is the finest hotel in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Great restaurants are The Chicken or the Egg for breakfast, Dock & Claw Clam Bar for seafood, Pearl Street Market for lobster rolls and deli sandwiches and Skipper Dipper for ice cream.

In addition to enjoying the beach in Beach Haven, other fun activities are learning how to surf through Sandy Avocado Surf, enjoying the rides and arcade games at Fantasy Island Amusement Park, having a thrilling water park day at Thundering Surf Adventure Park and fishing on Manahawkin Bay.

Another epic thing to do here is to go boating and enjoy fun water sports. Wakeboarding, tubing, water skiing, etc., through LBI Aquasports in Beach Haven will give you lasting memories.  

Long Branch:

Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Long Branch offers one of the best beaches in New Jersey, especially in Monmouth County. Located just north of the famous Asbury Park, Long Branch boasts Pier Village, renowned for its shops, high-end restaurants and bars, as well as its beautiful beach!

Wave Resort is the best accommodation in Long Branch, New Jersey. McLoone’s Pier House and Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant are the top seafood dining spots, followed by Trama’s Trattoria for Italian cuisine and Mar Belo for Portuguese food.

Great things to do during a summer getaway to Long Branch are to enjoy the beach, stroll around Pier Village and have refreshing cocktails with a view at Avenue’s beach bar. You must also rent bikes and visit Asbury Park.

(You can rent bikes in Long Branch at The Peddler.)

Famous for being the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen, a visit to Asbury Park must be included in your Jersey Shore summer weekend itinerary.

While in Asbury Park, walk the boardwalk and visit Silverball Retro Arcade and see the Paramount Theater. A fun ice cream parlor to cool off at is Coney Waffle. In the evening, catch a live performance at the Stone Pony.

Avalon & Stone Harbor:

Homes in Avalon, NJ.

Two lovely Jersey Shore beach towns to add to your East Coast summer vacation bucket list are Avalon and Stone Harbor. They are located on an island in Cape May County, in South Jersey. Just north of this area is Sea Isle City and south are The Wildwoods.

The best hotel on this beautiful island is The Reeds at Shelter Haven, which is in Stone Harbor. The top restaurants in Avalon and Stone Harbor are Princeton Bar & Grill for American dining, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House for breakfast, Water Star Grille for waterfront dining and seafood and Springer’s for homemade ice cream.

Wonderful summer activities in Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, include relaxing at the beach, visiting The Wetlands Institute to learn about the biodiversity in the nearby wetlands, bird-watching at the Bird Sanctuary of Stone Harbor, playing mini golf at Pirate Island Golf, shopping along 96th Street, enjoying watersports at Avalon’s Kayak Park and taking in the natural beauty on the Avalon Boardwalk.

Since The Wildwoods are located south of these two beautiful towns, driving there and enjoying New Jersey’s most extensive beaches is a must. Also located in The Wildwoods are Morey’s Piers. It’s one of the Garden State’s most famous boardwalks with three waterparks and hundreds of arcade games.

Sandy Hook:

Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

The beautiful Sandy Hook is located at the northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore line in Monmouth County. It’s situated outside Atlantic Highlands and north of Sea Bright.

What’s cool about visiting Sandy Hook, NJ, is that it has a National Park, and on a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline. You can easily visit Sandy Hook from the city through the Seastreak Ferry.

The best accommodation for a summer beach escape to Sandy Hook is Beachwalk at Sea Bright. Mule Barn Tavern, at the tip of Sandy Hook, 2nd Jetty Seafood in Seabright, Navesink Fishery and Christine’s in Atlantic Highlands are good restaurants to visit.

One of the best ways to explore Sandy Hook is by renting a bike and riding along the five-mile trail. In addition to enjoying the beaches, check out the Gateway National Recreation Area and Fort Hancock, which date back to the Revolutionary War.

(You can rent bikes in Sandy Hook at SAHO Bike Rentals.)

Suppose you’re looking for the best views in Sandy Hook. In that case, I suggest climbing to the top of the Gunnison Battery, located at Gunnison Beach. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby NYC.

A fun summer activity near Sandy Hook is catching one of the horse races at Monmouth Park. Nearby is Blu Grotto, a live music venue and an Italian restaurant to enjoy afterward.

Spring Lake:

Spring Lake - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Spring Lake is also located in Monmouth County. It’s one of the most charming Jersey Shore beach towns in the Garden State.

Situated between Belmar and Sea Girt, Spring Lake is a family-friendly shore town famous for its boutique shopping, idyllic Cape Cod-style homes, historic inns and renowned dining. It is considered the “Jewel of the Jersey Shore.”

The best place to stay in Spring Lake, New Jersey, is The Hewitt Wellington. I suggest visiting Amelia’s By The Sea for fine dining, Spring Lake Seafood and Rella’s Italian Tavern in Brielle for great food. A popular spot to have fun at night in the Spring Lake area is Parker House in Sea Girt.

While you’re in Spring Lake, relax at the beautiful beach, stroll through the historic downtown and shop at boutiques like Waterlily, cool off to delicious ice cream at Belle’s Ice Cream Shop and also enjoy the attractions at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at the nearby Point Pleasant Beach.

Here are other great beach towns to discover in New Jersey:
Hotel LBI on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Ocean City: Located in Cape May County, Ocean City, NJ is a charming beach town with a pristine beach, 2.5 miles of boardwalk, fun rides and attractions and excellent dining options.

Wildwood Crest: Located in Cape May County, Wildwood Crest is a family-friendly beach destination. It has one of the biggest beaches on the East Coast and a renowned amusement park called Morey’s Pier.

Bay Head: Located in Ocean County, on the Barnegat Inlet, Bay Head is a charming shore town. In fact, it will transport you to Nantucket! Bay Head is a quiet haven below Point Pleasant Beach with a beautiful coast to enjoy. It also has Cape Code-style homes, a few boutiques and some of the best restaurants on the barrier island, like Theresa’s South.

Ocean Grove: Located in Monmouth County, Ocean Grove is a quiet town famous for its lovely Victorian houses. It has a boardwalk, a beautiful white-sand beach, ice cream parlors and more. Since it’s Christain-based, Ocean Grove is a dry town, so you won’t find bars here. However, you can always go to the venues in the surrounding towns – Asbury Park, Bradley Beach and Neptune.

Ortley Beach: Located in Ocean County, on the Barnegat Inlet, Ortley Beach is nestled between Lavallette and Seaside Heights. Ortley boasts many great restaurants, a lovely beach and a fun mini-golf and arcade called Barnacle Bill’s Amusements.

Ship Bottom and Surf City: Located in Ocean County, Ship Bottom and Surf City are also great Jersey Shore beach towns to visit. Both shore towns are on Long Beach Island. They boast great restaurants and shops, a boutique hotel called Hotel LBI and fun watersports to enjoy.


Lavallette Bay during summer.

Love New Jersey? Check out these other awesome articles:

An Amazing New Jersey Summer Road Trip

Short Stay Hotels in New Jersey for Your Bucket List

12 Amazing Things to Do in NJ for Free this Summer

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best Jersey Shore beach towns to check out during the summer. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NJ State Capital: Trenton, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my Jersey Shore Summer Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on June 15, 2024 at 7:42 am

    This was a great read on all the stunning New Jersey beach towns. Best places to be on the weekends in NJ. Loved all the great recommendations. I have been to a lot of these beaches but there still are a few I will need to experience. Of course my favorite is Lavallette ~ great guide on the gorgeous NJ beach towns. Love you, 👩🏻 mom xoxo 💖

    • Taylor Deer on June 19, 2024 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you mom! They all are the best for a summer destination in their own ways. <3 Love you too!

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Sunset-Cape-May3

Two women enjoying sunset on the bay in Lavallette - one of the best Jersey Sore beach towns.

As a Jersey girl, there is no better feeling than when a summer weekend arrives. For over 30-something years, I’ve followed the same summer routine of packing up my car (or, when I was a kid, my parent’s car), stopping at a Dunkin Donuts and hitting the Garden State Parkway South to enjoy the best Jersey Shore beach towns from Lavallette to Point Pleasant Beach.

Unless you grew up in New Jersey and know how special going “down the shore” is during the summer months, most people sleep on a New Jersey Shore getaway. The Garden State has beautiful beaches with powdery soft sand, sapphire blue waters, picturesque dunes, quintessential downtowns, idyllic cedar wood homes, fun boardwalks and water parks, as well as great restaurants and ice cream parlors.

You can find New Jersey’s best beaches in Monmouth County, which is in Central Jersey; along the Barnegat Inlet in Ocean County; on Long Beach Island in Ocean County; and in Atlantic County and Cape May County in South Jersey. In this article, discover the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit this summer.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Best Jersey Shore Beach Towns to Visit This Summer

Getting Around the New Jersey Coast:

A woman on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

When visiting the Jersey Shore. The best airports to fly into are Newark Liberty International Airport, Atlantic City International Airport, Trenton-Mercer Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

The easiest way to get around the Jersey Shore is by having your own vehicle. If you’re flying into New Jersey for a summer vacation, you can easily rent a car at one of the airports.

For those who don’t drive and rely on public transportation, the New Jersey Transit is the main rail and bus network in the Garden State. You can also learn more about New Jersey’s public transit by clicking here.

You can easily get around by walking or biking at many of these Jersey Shore points.

Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.

Weather at the Jersey Shore during Summer:

A woman enjoying a beach day in Lavallette, New Jersey.

One of the prime reasons why New Jersey makes for a great summer escape is because the weather is perfect! Summers are warm with mild humidity, especially on the Jersey Shore.

Overall, July is the hottest and rainiest month in NJ. However, the ocean tides are calm and low, making it ideal for swimming! August is the start of hurricane season when the ocean tends to be rougher with rip tides. Thankfully, the Jersey Shore beach towns I discuss below have lifeguards during the summer beach season.

Below are the average temperatures for the Jersey Shore during summertime:

June: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

July: Average highs in the upper 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

August: Average highs in the mid 80s°F with average lows in the mid 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

10 New Jersey Beach Towns for the Best Jersey Shore Vacations:

A woman enjoying a beach vacation in Cape May, NJ - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

As I mentioned above, New Jersey has beautiful beaches! They are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, boogie boarding, skim boarding, and playing games like paddle boarding and seashell hunting.

With 130 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean of the East Coast of the United States, you can’t go wrong with a Jersey Shore vacation. Here are the leading beach towns with the best sandy beaches to check out at the Jersey Shore this summer:

Point Pleasant Beach:

Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach.

Point Pleasant Beach is one of the most popular shore towns along New Jersey’s coastline. It’s a family-friendly beach town with a boardwalk, amusement rides, arcade games, fun nightlife and a charming downtown area.

Point Pleasant Beach is the northernmost coastal town in Ocean County. It’s the gateway town to the Barnegat Peninsula near the beautiful towns of Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brielle and Manasquan.

A great place to stay in Point Pleasant Beach is The White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa. The best restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach are B2 Bistro + Bar, Point Lobster Bar & Grill and Red’s Lobster Pot. The best spots to get ice cream are Kohr’s Frozen Custard on the boardwalk and Hoffman’s on Route 35 South.

While in Point Pleasant Beach, enjoying the beach, walking Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, going on the rides and playing a few arcade games is a must. What makes Jenkinson’s Boardwalk different from the nearby Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is its aquarium and one of the best fun houses. You can also choose from two mini golf courses to play at – Jenkinson’s Miniature Golf and Castaway Cove Mini Golf.

For those 21 and older, you can make memories at Martell’s Tiki Bar, an oceanfront bar with a live music venue, and Jenks Club, a day and night club. Other great places to have fun in Point Pleasant Beach are The Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar and Last Wave Brewing Company.

If you want to escape the crowds, I recommend walking through Point Pleasant Beach’s downtown area. The town is filled with antique shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Mueller’s Bakery in Bay Head is one of the best bakeries to visit nearby.

Unique activities to enjoy in Point Pleasant Beach during summer are parasailing through Point Pleasant Parasail, enjoying a dinner cruise along the Barnegat Pay, Manasquan River and Point Pleasant Canal with The River Queen and seeing a show at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club.

Cape May:

A woman at Peter Shield's Inn in Cape May during summer.

Located at the Southernmost point of New Jersey, Cape May is “America’s Oldest Seaside Resort” town. It’s famous for having the second-largest collection of Victorian homes after San Francisco. What makes Cape May one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit in summer is its quintessential charm.

One of the best places to stay in Cape May, New Jersey is Congress Hall. It’s the main attraction in Cape May and is also renowned for being the first seafront resort in America. The top places to eat in Cape May are Peter Shield’s Inn & Restaurant, Washington Inn & Wine Bar and The Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar.

During your time in Cape May, enjoy the stunning white sand beaches, treat yourself to retail therapy at the Washington Street Mall, watch the sunset at the Cape May Lighthouse, go wine tasting at Cape May Winery, take a historic trolley tour through the Cape May MAC and walk around Beach Plum Farms. You will be amazed by all the beauty of Cape May County.

Taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware is essential during a summer vacation. The ferry ride is around an hour and a half long. While onboard, you can admire the beautiful views of Delaware Bay, enjoy a refreshing beverage and relax.

In Lewes, Delaware, stroll through the charming downtown area. It’s filled with local shops, restaurants, museums and churches. I suggest checking out Zwaanendael Museum and Park, seeing the Lightship Overfalls, touring the Cannonball House and exploring Cape Henlopen State Park.

The best spots to eat and drink in the Lewes area are Kindle, a lovely French restaurant, Beach Time Distilling and Notting Hill Coffee Roastery.

Lavallette:

An ice cream shop in Lavallette, New Jersey.

A leading shore town to visit in New Jersey is Lavallette. It’s located on the Barnegat Peninsula, a barrier island less than 100 miles outside New York City. This small town is located between Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights.

The best place to stay in Lavallette, New Jersey is the Lamplight Motel. Great dining options in this quaint town are Lobster Dock, Ohana Grill, Sand Dollar Pancake House and Hoshino Sushi. Two excellent spots to enjoy a fun evening in Lavallette are the Crabs Claw Inn and Castaway’s Pub.

It’s no secret that the best thing to do in Lavallette during summer is to spend a day at the beach! I also love that Lavallette has a boardwalk to help you stay active during your getaway. It runs 2.5 miles (round trip) and is perfect for walking, running, bike riding and beach house viewing. (The homes on the Lavallette Boardwalk are beautiful!)

Lavallette’s downtown area features incredible clothing boutiques, home décor shops, beach stores, cafés and ice cream parlors. You must visit Hazel Boutique & Café for coffee and great shopping, Iceberg Ice Cream for homemade ice cream and Salted Gems for crystals. Don’t forget to visit Lava Golf for a fun mini-golf game.

Another of the best things to do in Lavallette, New Jersey is enjoy a leisure bike ride to the bay in time for sunset! During certain evenings, the Lavallette Gazebo will host free concerts, live music and movies on the bay. There’s nothing like being on the Barnegat Bay during this time of the day!

(You can rent bikes in Lavallette from Beach Authority.)

Other memorable outdoor activities and water sports at the Lavallette Bay include pickleball, tennis and basketball. You can also go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, boating, fishing, crabbing and more.

Learning to surf is one of the most fun activities during a Lavallette vacation! Through Coastline Adventures Surfing School in Normandy Beach, which is accredited by the National Surf School and Instructor Association, you can take a private, semi-private and group surfing lesson. There are lessons for all levels.

Brigantine Beach:

Two women parasailing in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Brigantine is one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns to visit this summer! It’s located just north of Atlantic City and offers a peaceful escape from all the action.

The best hotel on Brigantine Beach is Legacy Vacation Resort. Great restaurants to visit are LaScala’s Beach House, a fun oceanfront seafood restaurant with live music and corn hole; Mystic Lobster Roll Co. for delicious lobster rolls and the Pirates Den for breakfast.

Based on my experiences, Brigantine Beach has one of the most beautiful beaches along the Jersey Shore coastline. It’s perfect for taking a nap, reading a book, building sandcastles and swimming!

Other great things to do in this underrated beach town in Atlantic County are to see the Brigantine Lighthouse and the Absecon Lighthouse. You must also visit the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and have fun at Brigantine Mini Golf.

A getaway to Brigantine Beach should include spending time in Atlantic City. Have fun parasailing during the day with Atlantic City Parasail. Also, attend a pool party at Ocean Casino Resort, visit one of the many casinos, like Harrah’s, make memories at Steel Pier amusement park, as well as see a show.

Seaside Park:

A woman doing yoga at Island Beach State Park.

Another one of the best NJ shore towns on the Barnegat Inlet is Seaside Park! This Jersey Shore location is perfect because it sits right below Seaside Heights, which has a thriving boardwalk and borders the beautiful Island Beach State Park for adventure enthusiasts.

Island Beach Motor Lodge is the top accommodation in Seaside Park. It’s on one of the last streets in town, right next to the Island Beach State Park entrance. Another reason why this hotel is ideal is because it’s on the same block as the oceanfront Chef Mike’s Atlantic Bar & Grill.

Other great dining options in Seaside Park are Bum Rogers Crab House & Tavern for seafood and Island Beach Fish Company for casual beach food and drinks. Additionally, head over to Park Bakery for amazing baked goods and White Oak Market for fresh deli sandwiches.

If you’re wondering what to do in Seaside Park during summer, you must go to the beach and head to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights. You can ride the roller coasters and Ferris wheel here! Additionally, cool off at the Breakwater Beach water park, visit Heavy Reel Brewing Co. and go jet skiing at The Dock Outfitters.

A beach getaway to Seaside Park is incomplete without exploring Island Beach State Park. It’s located at the southern tip of the barrier island in Ocean County and is a nature lover’s paradise.

Overall, Island Beach State Park has over 10 miles and 3,000 acres of coastal dunes and fascinating biodiversity. While here, you can enjoy easy-to-moderate hiking and walking trails over dunes and salt marshes. This incredible State Park is also perfect for bird watching, fishing and kayaking.

Beach Haven:

A woman enjoying the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Long Beach Island (LBI) in southern Ocean County is another beautiful barrier island with great beaches. One of the best Jersey Shore beach towns in LBI is Beach Haven.

The Hideaway is the finest hotel in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Great restaurants are The Chicken or the Egg for breakfast, Dock & Claw Clam Bar for seafood, Pearl Street Market for lobster rolls and deli sandwiches and Skipper Dipper for ice cream.

In addition to enjoying the beach in Beach Haven, other fun activities are learning how to surf through Sandy Avocado Surf, enjoying the rides and arcade games at Fantasy Island Amusement Park, having a thrilling water park day at Thundering Surf Adventure Park and fishing on Manahawkin Bay.

Another epic thing to do here is to go boating and enjoy fun water sports. Wakeboarding, tubing, water skiing, etc., through LBI Aquasports in Beach Haven will give you lasting memories.  

Long Branch:

Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Long Branch offers one of the best beaches in New Jersey, especially in Monmouth County. Located just north of the famous Asbury Park, Long Branch boasts Pier Village, renowned for its shops, high-end restaurants and bars, as well as its beautiful beach!

Wave Resort is the best accommodation in Long Branch, New Jersey. McLoone’s Pier House and Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant are the top seafood dining spots, followed by Trama’s Trattoria for Italian cuisine and Mar Belo for Portuguese food.

Great things to do during a summer getaway to Long Branch are to enjoy the beach, stroll around Pier Village and have refreshing cocktails with a view at Avenue’s beach bar. You must also rent bikes and visit Asbury Park.

(You can rent bikes in Long Branch at The Peddler.)

Famous for being the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen, a visit to Asbury Park must be included in your Jersey Shore summer weekend itinerary.

While in Asbury Park, walk the boardwalk and visit Silverball Retro Arcade and see the Paramount Theater. A fun ice cream parlor to cool off at is Coney Waffle. In the evening, catch a live performance at the Stone Pony.

Avalon & Stone Harbor:

Homes in Avalon, NJ.

Two lovely Jersey Shore beach towns to add to your East Coast summer vacation bucket list are Avalon and Stone Harbor. They are located on an island in Cape May County, in South Jersey. Just north of this area is Sea Isle City and south are The Wildwoods.

The best hotel on this beautiful island is The Reeds at Shelter Haven, which is in Stone Harbor. The top restaurants in Avalon and Stone Harbor are Princeton Bar & Grill for American dining, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House for breakfast, Water Star Grille for waterfront dining and seafood and Springer’s for homemade ice cream.

Wonderful summer activities in Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, include relaxing at the beach, visiting The Wetlands Institute to learn about the biodiversity in the nearby wetlands, bird-watching at the Bird Sanctuary of Stone Harbor, playing mini golf at Pirate Island Golf, shopping along 96th Street, enjoying watersports at Avalon’s Kayak Park and taking in the natural beauty on the Avalon Boardwalk.

Since The Wildwoods are located south of these two beautiful towns, driving there and enjoying New Jersey’s most extensive beaches is a must. Also located in The Wildwoods are Morey’s Piers. It’s one of the Garden State’s most famous boardwalks with three waterparks and hundreds of arcade games.

Sandy Hook:

Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

The beautiful Sandy Hook is located at the northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore line in Monmouth County. It’s situated outside Atlantic Highlands and north of Sea Bright.

What’s cool about visiting Sandy Hook, NJ, is that it has a National Park, and on a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline. You can easily visit Sandy Hook from the city through the Seastreak Ferry.

The best accommodation for a summer beach escape to Sandy Hook is Beachwalk at Sea Bright. Mule Barn Tavern, at the tip of Sandy Hook, 2nd Jetty Seafood in Seabright, Navesink Fishery and Christine’s in Atlantic Highlands are good restaurants to visit.

One of the best ways to explore Sandy Hook is by renting a bike and riding along the five-mile trail. In addition to enjoying the beaches, check out the Gateway National Recreation Area and Fort Hancock, which date back to the Revolutionary War.

(You can rent bikes in Sandy Hook at SAHO Bike Rentals.)

Suppose you’re looking for the best views in Sandy Hook. In that case, I suggest climbing to the top of the Gunnison Battery, located at Gunnison Beach. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby NYC.

A fun summer activity near Sandy Hook is catching one of the horse races at Monmouth Park. Nearby is Blu Grotto, a live music venue and an Italian restaurant to enjoy afterward.

Spring Lake:

Spring Lake - one of the best Jersey Shore beach towns.

Spring Lake is also located in Monmouth County. It’s one of the most charming Jersey Shore beach towns in the Garden State.

Situated between Belmar and Sea Girt, Spring Lake is a family-friendly shore town famous for its boutique shopping, idyllic Cape Cod-style homes, historic inns and renowned dining. It is considered the “Jewel of the Jersey Shore.”

The best place to stay in Spring Lake, New Jersey, is The Hewitt Wellington. I suggest visiting Amelia’s By The Sea for fine dining, Spring Lake Seafood and Rella’s Italian Tavern in Brielle for great food. A popular spot to have fun at night in the Spring Lake area is Parker House in Sea Girt.

While you’re in Spring Lake, relax at the beautiful beach, stroll through the historic downtown and shop at boutiques like Waterlily, cool off to delicious ice cream at Belle’s Ice Cream Shop and also enjoy the attractions at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at the nearby Point Pleasant Beach.

Here are other great beach towns to discover in New Jersey:
Hotel LBI on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Ocean City: Located in Cape May County, Ocean City, NJ is a charming beach town with a pristine beach, 2.5 miles of boardwalk, fun rides and attractions and excellent dining options.

Wildwood Crest: Located in Cape May County, Wildwood Crest is a family-friendly beach destination. It has one of the biggest beaches on the East Coast and a renowned amusement park called Morey’s Pier.

Bay Head: Located in Ocean County, on the Barnegat Inlet, Bay Head is a charming shore town. In fact, it will transport you to Nantucket! Bay Head is a quiet haven below Point Pleasant Beach with a beautiful coast to enjoy. It also has Cape Code-style homes, a few boutiques and some of the best restaurants on the barrier island, like Theresa’s South.

Ocean Grove: Located in Monmouth County, Ocean Grove is a quiet town famous for its lovely Victorian houses. It has a boardwalk, a beautiful white-sand beach, ice cream parlors and more. Since it’s Christain-based, Ocean Grove is a dry town, so you won’t find bars here. However, you can always go to the venues in the surrounding towns – Asbury Park, Bradley Beach and Neptune.

Ortley Beach: Located in Ocean County, on the Barnegat Inlet, Ortley Beach is nestled between Lavallette and Seaside Heights. Ortley boasts many great restaurants, a lovely beach and a fun mini-golf and arcade called Barnacle Bill’s Amusements.

Ship Bottom and Surf City: Located in Ocean County, Ship Bottom and Surf City are also great Jersey Shore beach towns to visit. Both shore towns are on Long Beach Island. They boast great restaurants and shops, a boutique hotel called Hotel LBI and fun watersports to enjoy.


Lavallette Bay during summer.

Love New Jersey? Check out these other awesome articles:

An Amazing New Jersey Summer Road Trip

Short Stay Hotels in New Jersey for Your Bucket List

12 Amazing Things to Do in NJ for Free this Summer

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best Jersey Shore beach towns to check out during the summer. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NJ State Capital: Trenton, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on June 15, 2024 at 7:42 am

    This was a great read on all the stunning New Jersey beach towns. Best places to be on the weekends in NJ. Loved all the great recommendations. I have been to a lot of these beaches but there still are a few I will need to experience. Of course my favorite is Lavallette ~ great guide on the gorgeous NJ beach towns. Love you, 👩🏻 mom xoxo 💖

    • Taylor Deer on June 19, 2024 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you mom! They all are the best for a summer destination in their own ways. <3 Love you too!

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