Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yes, There Are Some Free Beaches in New Jersey

The Jersey Shore is not known for free beaches (or free parking), but you can find some free beaches all along our coast.

Atlantic City is a free beach town and Downtown Beach at Raleigh Avenue, Crystal Beach at New Hampshire Avenue or the Delaware Avenue Beach is open to surfers. Kayakers and wind surfers are allowed at the Jackson Avenue Beach. Want to surf cast? Fishing is allowed from10 am – 6 pm.

The free beaches at the Wildwoods offers 5 miles of wide, powdery sand.

Barnegat Beach in Barnegat Township has free access to Barnegat Bay, a public dock for boat launching, crabbing and fishing, and a boardwalk and the beach along with a historic and walkable downtown.

Cheesequake State Park in Matawan and Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park have free beaches if you pay for parking your carload of people.

Likewise, there are no entrance fees for Gateway National Recreation Area which includes Sandy Hook, but fees are charged for expanded amenities including beach parking to access beach centers.

Looking south toward Barnegat Inlet from the end of Island Beach State Park  (Wikimedia)
The website also suggests some lesser-known free beach opportunities at the Jersey Shore:

  • Corson’s Inlet State Park, Strathmere - an undeveloped beach area, where shorebirds, terns and gulls can be spotted along the forested sand dunes. 
  • Highlands Beach - has small beaches between marinas with good views of sailboats, fishing boats and nearby seafood restaurants, shops and fishing rental spots. 
  • Ideal Beach, Middletown Township - quiet and less congestion without a boardwalk
  • Jennifer Lane Beach, Lower Township - at the southern edge of New Jersey, this is a great spot for dramatic sunsets at the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. Try the sandy shoreline at Beach Haven W. Boulevard. 
  • Manahawkin Beach, Stafford Township - summer months lifeguards are on duty and there are several parks nearby for activities such as volleyball, paths for walking and biking, fishing pier and a roller hockey pit. 
  • Keansburg Beach - a kid-friendly beach with a pier and old-fashioned boardwalk.
  • Leonardo Beach, Middletown Township - 1.3-acre beach can be accessed through the parking area for Leonardo State Marina, for swimming and fishing.
  • Ocean County Park, Lakewood - free sandy beach and swimming area, tennis courts, open play fields, beach volleyball and a driving range, along with plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas. 
  • Strathmere, Upper Township - located between Ocean City and Sea Isle City, this low-key, off-the-beaten path spot offers a beach experience minues the honky-tonk boardwalk.
  • Union Beach's northeastern point has a quiet beach along the edge of extensive salt marshes. A great vantage point for birding. Park in the lot at the end of Front Street. 
  • William Morrow Beach, Somers Point - a small sandy shoreline that also offers a free concert series on Friday nights during the summer. 
  1. Barnegat Beach
  2. Atlantic City beaches
  3. City of WildwoodNorth Wildwood and Wildwood Crest beaches
  4. Island Beach State Park
  5. Cheesequake State Park
  6. Sandy Hook
  7. Corson’s Inlet
  8. Highlands Beach
  9. Ideal Beach
  10. Lower Township
  11. Manahawkin Beach
  12. Keansburg Amusement Park & Rapids Water Park and Keansburg Beach
  13. Somers Point beach and its summer beach concert series
  14. Union Beach
  15. Strathmere
  16. Leonardo Beach

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