Grab a bucket and shovel, a blanket and a picnic lunch, and head south on the Garden State Parkway for a fun-filled family outing to one of New Jersey’s beautiful beaches. Don’t forget the suntan lotion, visor, bathing suit and umbrella, as well as extra clothes because you can spend the whole day, a few days, a week or the entire summer. Featured here are the Garden State Parkway Exits and associated beaches as you travel South, as well as nearby attractions and upcoming events. You never have to leave the state. There’s so much happening here in NJ!
Exit 117 – Sandy Hook
A 7-mile stretch of sandy beaches bordering both the bay and the ocean. Enjoy swimming, sunning and surf fishing. Nearby activities: Gateway National Park, including Fort Hancock and Fort Hancock Museum; Twin Lights; Maritime Museum; hiking; biking; birding. Nearby Attraction: Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Rapids Water Park.
Exit 105 - Seventh President’s Beach and Long Branch
Enjoy the beach, new boardwalk and Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, a 33-acre county park with facilities for swimming, boating and picnicking. Nearby attraction: Pier Village with shops and restaurants. June 12: 46th Annual Irish Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Exit 102 - Bradley Beach
Family friendly with kids’ parks, Victorian Style houses, concert music series, and other entertainment. Surrounded by nearby beaches including Asbury Park, Avon By The Sea, and Ocean Grove. Walk along the revitalized Boardwalk of Asbury Park and you’ll find unique shops, eclectic restaurants and other entertainment. Experience Ocean Grove shops, arts and crafts shows, and the giant flea market at the Great Auditorium. June 25-26: Bradley Beach Lobsterfest!
Exit 98 - Belmar
Stretches across 1.3 miles with a revamped boardwalk for walking, jogging, people watching or relaxing. There are colorful and fun beach playgrounds every few blocks. Try the surf camp for kids of all ages, or beach volleyball (nets all set up, just bring the ball). Farmers Market Every Saturday; July 13: NJ Sandcastle Contest.
Exit 98 – Point Pleasant
All the beach fun plus a mile long boardwalk. Walk along the famous boardwalk with dozens of rides alongside games of chance, some of the most competitive miniature golf and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. There are Kiddie Beach Shows and concerts held throughout the summer. Popular departure spot for fishing excursions. Antique lovers, there’s a large antique center nearby!
Exit 98 – Manasquan
Elks Beach in Manasquan is the only beach dedicated to the handicapped in the Jersey Shore area, providing handicapped parking and a wooden boardwalk to a platform on the beach. In addition, there are several large handicapped chairs available for the use.
Exit 63 – Long Beach Island: A barrier island only accessible by a causeway over the Manahawkin Bridge, the beach is quiet and family oriented. After the beach, visit the amusement park, go mini-golfing, or see a family friendly show at the Surflight Theater. Nearby Attraction: Tuckerton Seaport and Batsto Village. June 11: 5th Annual Privateers and Pirates Festival; June 25-26: 24th Annual Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival.
Exit 40 – Brigantine
Relax on pristine white sandy beaches or get active and try your hand at sport fishing and windsurfing. Kids love Shark Park Playground. Other sites include the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Brigantine Lighthouse and Brigantine Beach Historical Museum. Across the bridge is the world famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. Take a walking tour (approx. 2 miles and 90 min.) of the first boardwalk in the U.S. Then soak up the sun and jump the waves at the beach. Lots of outlet shopping here.
Exit 30 – Ocean City
Located at the tip of Cape May County, Ocean City is family-friendly beach town, complete with Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Amusement Park, an arcade, boardwalk, and mini-golf. For the music lover - Ocean City Pops Orchestra concerts. June 2: Wonder Bear’s Birthday at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier. June 15-18: Miss New Jersey Pagent. June 18: Surfing Contest. July 6: Sand Sculpting Contest
Exit 10A – Stone Harbor
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the East and the Inter-coastal Waterway on the west, Stone Harbor is known as Seven Mile Island and has endless beautiful, family beaches. Non-beach activity: Wetlands Institute, a nature center, featuring exhibits on marine live; dune walks and kayaking.
Exit 4B – Wildwood
Voted one of the top New Jersey beaches, Wildwood has it all – powder white beaches, an abundance of sport opportunities, amusement parks, water parks and more. Best of all – no badge fee! Other activities include historical tours, zoo, dolphin tours, horticultural gardens and more.
Exit 0 – Cape May
Located at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Cape May is a perfect destination for both couples and families. There are beautiful powdery beaches, plus its biggest attractions, the Cape May County Park and Zoo, Nature Center of Cape May, and Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum at Cape May Airport. June 4-5: Free Cold Spring Country Fair and June 11-12 Hands-On History, both at Historic Cold Spring Village.
Important: Beach Badges and Daily Fees apply and differ for all beaches. For most, kids under 12 are Free.