Article From The Vacationer:
Grab your chair, umbrella and beach bag…the ocean is calling
Ocean City, the town that claims it’s “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” was named New Jersey’s most popular beach in 2015 – for the second year in a row and the third time is the past few years. How great is that?
But, not to be outdone, other Southern New Jersey beaches are right behind Ocean City…Wildwood Crest, Sea Isle City, North Wildwood and Brigantine. Local resorts also fared well in the best day trip beach, best family vacation beach and top beach for ecotourism categories.
The contest is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and Stockton College as a way of making people feel more connected to and protective of the state’s 127-mile coastline.
Of course, we all have our favorite beach….Grant Street beach in Cape May,
Chicken Bone Beach in Atlantic City or Cove Beach in Brigantine where you can drive vehicles onto the beach any time of the year….with the proper permits, of course. Actually, the town gets more revenue from vehicle permits than it does from beach tags…how’s that for a fun fact?
In Wildwood, those huge beaches provide the perfect venue for concerts, tournaments, kite festivals, monster trucks and other exciting events.
Most beaches are guarded by trained lifeguards during the busy summer months who keep a watchful eye on people in the water and monitor the region’s often erratic currents with one goal – to keep all beach goers safe and protected.
Water quality along all beaches in New Jersey is checked weekly by county health departments to ensure it’s 100% safe for swimmers, and, just to double check, the results are reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Many beach communities have reserved parking spaces, ramps, and even surf chairs to accommodate those with physical limitations. Cape May County has a guide to accessing the county’s beaches and surf chairs for people with disabilities. www.cmcods.org; 609-465-4117
The Wildwoods: The Five Mile Beach communities are home to South Jersey’s most popular free beaches. Plus, with two and a half miles of Boardwalk, restaurants, and shops just a seashell’s toss away, there’s plenty to do when you need a break from the sun.
Atlantic City: So much more than casinos and the Boardwalk, select beaches offer spots for surfing, kayaking and windsurfing, even fishing! www.atlanticcitynj.com for more details.
Strathmere: The best of both worlds — free beaches that usually aren’t too crowded (shhhh… don’t tell anyone!).
Bay Beaches: Prefer water sports to sunbathing? Head to the calm Delaware Bay beach that stretches from the Cape May Lewes Ferry north into Cumberland County, perfect for jet-skiing, windsurfing, stand up paddling, kayaking, or fishing. Other bayside beaches include Brigantine, and The Cove which faces Atlantic City along Absecon Inlet. Remember – these beaches are unguarded and are not the place for swimming with the little ones.
Beaches with Tags
Cape May: The charm of an old-fashioned beach, along with all the modern conveniences of parking, restrooms, restaurants and arcades –it’s all here in Victorian Cape May.
Cape May Point: Swim or walk along the water’s edge in the shadow of the Cape May Lighthouse or St. Mary by the Sea on beaches between Lighthouse Avenue and the Alexander Avenue jetty.
Sea Isle City: If you want to give this tagged beach a try — for free! — head to Sea Isle on a Wednesday which is “tag-free” – and enjoy the beachfront promenade that includes an amusement park, arcades, shops and restaurants.
Stone Harbor and Avalon: Seven miles of luxurious white sand — that’s what is waiting for you on these clean, well-guarded beaches, a bit less crowded than many of the surrounding towns. Plus, there’s a bonus: a Stone Harbor tag is good in Avalon, and an Avalon tag works in Stone Harbor.
Ocean City: These beaches are all about family fun, the perfect place to frolic in the waves and cool off on a hot summer day. With nearby rides, miniature golf, go-karts, and other amusements, there’s something for everyone.
Daily, weekly and seasonal beach tags can be purchased at a visitor’s information center, booths at some beach entrances, or from a beach tag checker. Many municipalities offer a pre-season discount.
So, there you have it! Atlantic City to Cape May Point — and everywhere in between — a beach for every style and budget. Grab your beach bag, sun screen and a good book…and get ready to wiggle your toes in the warm sand at your favorite beach.
And our four-legged friends? Malibu Beach is the unofficial “doggie beach” of New Jersey where dogs can enjoy off-leash play in the sand and waves at the far-end of Ocean City. This wildlife conservation area provides a safe and fun environment for dogs without any worry about leash and timing rules …one of the best places to bring dogs. Longport Dog Beach is an off-leash dog beach, open year-round, where dogs of all sizes can play in the sand and water at the base of the Ocean Drive Bridge on the Longport side across from the fishing pier. Owners: please bring water and waste disposal items.