Here's what to do at Jersey's Most Popular Beaches updated with 2024 Free Events

Summer is almost here! The famous Jersey Shore has so much to offer. From Sandy Hook all the way to Cape May are some of New Jersey’s most gorgeous beaches. You’ll find many fun family things to do: play on sandy beaches, climb up classic lighthouses, feast your eyes on scenic views, stroll along beautiful boardwalks, get in touch with nature and experience unique events.

We've listed some of our favorite free events. Each beach exit off the Garden State Parkway (GSP) offers a perfect day trip or getaway. Explore nearby attractions and you'll most likely find many other fun things to do around the area.  Beach entry is free to all prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day (unless specified) and most are free for kids under 5 and others are free for kids under 12. 

Please check our online calendars for upcoming events this summer of 2024. Here are some of the most popular Jersey Shore Beach Exits: 

Exit 117 Sandy Hook (image above)

Sandy Hook is a 7-mile barrier stretch of sandy beaches at the North end of New Jersey with access to both the bay and the Atlantic ocean sides. Enjoy swimming, sunning, water sports, and surf casting. Nearby activities: Explore Gateway National Park at Sandy Hook, the Nike Missile Radar Site, Fort Hancock Museum, Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Sports activities: birding, biking, boating, canoeing, hiking; kayaking, and picnicking. Fees: Free admission to the beach. $20 daily parking/$50 oversized vehicles. 

  • June 2024: Sandy Hook Light House Tours every Monday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 1-3:30pm until June 30. First come first serve. Guide up 95 stairs and nine rung ladder to the lantern room. Children must be 48 inches tall to climb the tower. Lighthouse tour sign-ups start at 12:30 PM in the 1883 Keepers’ Quarters.
  • June 14, 2024: Twilight Seining, 6pm at Sandy Hook 
  • August 1 - 3, 2024: 29th Annual Clam Festival @ Buddy Park, Highlands, NJ. Scrumptious seafood, entertainment, contests, vendors, crafters and activities for the kids, too. 
  • September 29, 2024: Jersey Shore Half Marathon Race @ Gateway National Recreation
  • October 12, 2024: 4th Annual Fall Taste of Highlands @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Fee. Feature a Fall theme with 5 hours of delicious food samplings and cocktails. Rain or shine. 
  • October 5, 2024: 23rd Annual Oktoberfest @ 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm Veterans Park, Highlands


Exit 105 Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park (and Beach)

Monmouth County Park System's Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park is a 38-acre beach park offering families a great place to enjoy swimming, sunning, and beach fun. It has a snack bar, eating areas, changing area, and showers. You'll also find Volleyball area. Fees: $10 daily parking, guarded swimming, designated areas for surfing. The park also offers a reservable picnic tent for groups up to 50. There is a park fee. Children 17 and under are free. The beach is open for guarded swimming weekends only (including Memorial Day) May 27- June 11; and daily June 17 through Labor Day. Guarded swimming hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; weather and conditions permitting.  In 1869, President Grant made the city the nation's "Summer Capital," a tradition followed by Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, and Wilson, hence its name, Seven Presidents. 

Other Activities: Tony's Place, a universal accessible playground; Skateplex offering skaters a skating bowl with ramps, floating ramps, planters, and steel rails. Walk along the beach promenade all the way to Pier Village (a short walkable distance away) and enjoy the boutique shops and cafes. The kids will surely be entertained at the Pier Village Arcade, Boardwalk Fun N’ Games. Fun for all ages and skill levels featuring state of the art virtual reality games, skee ball, crane games and an abundance of skill and chance games to win points for redemption. Take a ride by the sea in the unique and imaginative iconic Carousel. With hotels right on the beach, this makes a perfect weekend getaway.

Exit 105 Long Branch Beach & Pier Village

Miles of sand at the public beaches at Long Branch NJ. Enjoy the sand, water, and surf. There are playgrounds at each of the 4 beach locations, Cottage, Great Lawn, Laird and Melrose. Lifeguards on duty, plenty of restrooms and concessions. Fees. No beach fee for kids 13 & under, and for seniors 62 years and over. Disabled people are free. Attractions: Have some fun at Pier Village boardwalk with shops and restaurants, Merry Go Round. Boardwalk extends 8.2 miles out and back trail, offering scenic views. Trail is great for walking, running and biking. Plus there are weekly scavenger hunts too!

  • June - August: Thursdays: By the Sea Free Concert Series by Pier Village @ 7-8:30pm. FREE 
  • June 11, 2024: Portuguese Celebration, 10PM
  • June 16, 2024: Cruise to the Jersey Show Car Show - 9am-3pm, Promenade Beach Club
  • June 19, 2024: June Teenth + Fun Day. Food vendors and local businesses. Bucky James Ctr. 
  • July 4, 2024: Oceanfest, Long Branch
  • July 4, 2024: Poetry Festival, Pier Village, 10-12PM
  • July 13, 2024: Run, Swim, Run. Pier Village.
  • Sundays June - August, 2024: Bands on the Beach, West End
  • Tuesdays June - August, 2024: Broadway Band Shell,  
  • Thursdays June - August, 2024: Thursdays by the Sea, Pier Village, 7-8:30pm
  • August 4, 2024: Ocean Mile Swim, 8AM Pier Village 
  • August 7-11, 2024: 48th Italian American Association Festival @ 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Joe Palaia Park, Oakhurst
  • August 17, 2024: West End Cruise Night & Classic Car Show @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Concert @ 7:30 
  • August 24, 2024: Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival @ 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Featuring music and vendors on the beach front. Fireworks at dark.


Exit 102 Bradley Beach

Bring the sand toys. Family friendly shore town with pristine beaches, perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunning. Lifeguards on duty. Fees: $12 daily. No beach fee for kids 12 & under. Boardwalk with free concerts and arts events. Nearby is Avon by the Sea, another fabulous family friendly beach. 

  • June 25, 2024: Sounds of Summer- 10-11pm 
  • Wednessday in the Park Concert Series @ 7-9PM, held at Riley Park
  • Saturdays in the Park Concert Series @ 5PM, Riley Park
  • August 3-4, 2024: Main Street Market
  • August 31 - Sept 2, 2024: Visual Art Show


Exit 102 Ocean Grove

New Jersey's finest year-round family seashore resort with one square mile of natural beauty. Experience Ocean Grove’s eclectic main street with rows of colorful Victorian houses, quaint shops, arts and crafts shows, ice cream and cafes, and the giant flea market at the Great Auditorium.  Fees: $5 daily. No beach badge fee for kids 11 & under.

  •  May 4, 2024: Ocean Grove’s Spring Flea Market @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. FREE, Rain or Shine. Held at the Great Auditorium.
  • June 15, 2024: Giant Craft Show  


Exit 98 Belmar

Clean, safe, fun, family friendly beaches at Belmar. Colorful and fun beach playgrounds every few blocks. Belmar's composite made no splinter boardwalk is ideal for walking, jogging, and relaxing. The beaches are cleaned and groomed every morning. Kids playgrounds at 4th, 8th, 12th & 16th Avenues.  Fees: $10 daily. No beach fee for kids 15 & under. 

  • August 30-31, 2024: 5 mile Run
  • September 8, 2024: 20th Annual Autism Beach Bash 
  • September 7, 2024: Belmar Feast of San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore
  • Free Movies  Thursdays
  • Belmar Farmer's Market Wednesdays, 4pm


Exit 98 Asbury Park

Asbury Park is a historic shore town known for miles of sand and water. The beaches here are for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing, and people watching. The revitalized boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, arcades, cafes, mini-golf, and music. Lifeguards on duty. Fees: $6 daily weekday, $9 weekends and holidays. No beach fee for kids 12 & under. Attractions: Visit The Silver Ball Museum Arcade, houses vintage arcade games and pinball machines. Kids can get soaked at the Asbury Splash Park.

  • June 7-9, 2024: Asbury Fest @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Music, Food and Fun for all at AsburyFest Across from Convention Hall
  •  June 10-30, 2024: North to Shore Festival. NJ’s statewide art, music, comedy, film and tech extravaganza is back for 2024 and groovin’ all June. 


Exit 98 Spring Lake

Quiet and beautiful beach at Spring Lake. Children can play on the sand, build sand castles, and enjoy the water. There are no playgrounds. Non-commercial boardwalk where families can go for a gentle stroll. No coolers are allowed on the beach. Spring Lake is a quaint town with Victorian mansions, bed and breakfasts, cute shops and restaurants. Food, outdoor showers, and restrooms. Fees: $12 daily. No beach fee for kids 5 & under. 


Exit 98 Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant has a mile long white sand beach and is fun for the whole family. Bring your beach chairs and play in the water or relax on the beach. Swim in life guarded areas. Visit Jenkinson’s boardwalk for rides, games, and sweet shops. Play miniature golf or explore Jenkinson’s Aquarium. Jenkinson's Fees: $4 daily for children 5-11/$5 weekends and holidays, No beach fee for kids 4 & under. 

  • May 24, 2024: JUMPSTART TO SUMMER with Z100 @ Jenkinsons, 10AM
  • June 16, 2024: Father's Day @ Jenkinson's Boardwalk. Free admission for dads with paying child.
  • June 1, 2024: Point Pleasant 33rd Annual Summerfest 2024
  • June 25 - August 27, 2024: Tuesday Free Movies at the Beach, Jenkinson's @ 9-10:30PM 


Exit 98 Manasquan

Manasquan is home beautiful beaches. Families can swim, sun, relax, and surf. Popular beaches include: Elks Beach, Main Beach, Brielle Road Beach and Inlet Beach. Elks Beach in Manasquan offers beach access to guests who need special assistance or have physical disabilities with special needs. There are 5 surf chairs available for use and is free for handicapped guests or those with physical challenges to access the beach. Inlet Beach offers surfing year round. Lifeguards are on duty. Fees: $10 daily.   

Exit 89 Bricktown

Brick Township operates three ocean beaches and one riverfront beach at Windward Beach Park. Clean, family friendly beaches with easy parking, snack bar, bathrooms, and lifeguards. Fees: $10 daily. No beach fee for kids 12 & under, and for seniors 65 years and over. July 6:

  • July 11, 2024: Brick Township’s Summerfest @ 7:00 pm  


Exit 82 Seaside Heights 

The Jersey Shore comes alive at Seaside Heights. 15 blocks of award winning beach with soft white sand. Swim in the ocean when life guards are on duty.  Attractions: Boardwalk, Casino Pier, Breakwater Beach Waterpark, Concerts, Special Events. Nearby beaches include Ortley and Lavalette, both are family friendly beaches with little beach towns. Fees: $8 daily, $35 weeklyNo . beach tag fee for kids 11 & under. Access to the Bay Beach is FREE every day for all.

  • June 15, 2024: Seaside Heights Food Truck & Music Festival, 11:30am-8pm
  • October 11, 2024: 33rd Annual Ocean County Italian Festival


Exit 98 or 82 to Lavalette and Ortley Beaches 

Lavalette and Ortley both are family friendly beaches with little beach towns, perfect to escape the crowds of Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant. Lavalette is one of the nicest beach communities on the Barnegat Peninsula. You'll find a quaint beach town away from the hustle of the larger beaches with commercial boardwalks. Enjoy a stroll through its mile long non-commercial boardwalk, and ready access to the ocean beach and the Barnegat Bay Shoreline. It's a small beach town with plenty of places to shops and eat in town. The beach meets the bay within 2-4 blocks depending on where you are. Next town over is Ortley Beach, an unincorporated community located within Toms River. It's a nice, clean beach, less fancy than its neighboring Lavalette but still has much of the same charm. The Surf Club beach has snack bars, showers and there is a great playground on the bay side. Lavalette Fees: $12 daily. Children 11 years and under are free. Ortley Fees: $11 daily, Children 12 years and under are free.

  •  June 22, 2024: Kickoff To Summer Food Truck Festival @ 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Lavalette Bay Front & Philadelphia Ave
  • July and August, 2024: Sunday Concert Series, Lavalette, 7PM
  • Tuesday July and August, 2024: starts July 9: Movies in the Bay, 8:30PM
  • July 24, Aug 7, 21, 2024: LVA Sidewalk Sales

Exit 63 Long Beach Island - LBI

Long Beach Island encompasses 18 miles of beach fun with 6 unique towns: Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City. Things to do: beach, sunning, water sports, fishing, bicycling, boating, kayaking, walking, and exploring. Attractions for kids: Thundering Surf Water Park, Mini Golf at Jen's Links, Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Fees vary for each beach, averaging $10.   

  • June 5 - 9, 2024: Lighthouse International Film Festival 2024 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 pm LINK
  • June 28, 2024: Firepit Fridays Summer Concert Series, 7-9PM
  • June 29, 2024: Kick Off to Summer Beach Campfire! @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Barnagat Lighthouse State Park
  • July 27 2024: Barnegat Light Ocean Mile Swim


Exit 40 Brigantine

Relax on pristine white sandy beaches at Brigantine Beach. Go swimming in the ocean, try sport fishing or windsurfing. Lifeguards on duty. Attractions: Shark Park Playground, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Brigantine Lighthouse and Brigantine Beach Historical Museum. Fees: $10 daily. No Beach Tag fee for kids 11 & under and. for seniors 65 years and over.



Exit 36 Margate

Life Guarded beaches where families can spend a relaxing day. Clean and family friendly beach. Enjoy watersports, including paddle-boarding, jet skiing, fishing and boating. Attractions: Visit Lucy The Elephant, a national historical landmark six stories high.  Children 11 and under are free. Visit the newest water attraction: Island Aqua Park. 


Exit 30 Ocean City

The beaches at Ocean City New Jersey are perfect for families and kids of all ages. You can't go wrong with 8 miles of white sandy beaches. Enjoy the waves, sun, and sand. Lifeguards on duty. Fees: $5 daily, $10 weekly. No beach fee for kids 11 & under. Attractions: Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Amusement Park, Playland’s Castaway Cove, Boardwalk Adventures Water Park, arcades, boardwalk, and mini-golf. 

  • June 6, 2024: Wonder's Birthday Bash @ 6-9PM. Celebrating 93 years on Ocean City's Boardwalk
  • June 7-9, 2024: Ocean City Flower Show
  • July 4, 2024: Bike Parade
  • July 10, 2024: Freckle Contest
  • July 11, August 1, 2024: Sand Sculpting Contest, 9-11:30AM
  • July 20, 2024: Night in Venice, 6-9PM
  • July 31, 2024: Twins Contest
  • August 2, 3, 4, 2024: Annual Boardwalk Art Show
  • August 8, 2024: Annual Baby Parade
  • August 16, 2024: OC Green Fair
  • September 8, 2024: OC Airport Festival
  • September 21, 2024: Jeep Invasion
  • October 19, 2024: Porche Boardwalk Reunion
  • October 24, 2024: Halloween Parade
  • October 26-27, 2024: Dog Days
  • July - August: Funtastic Tuesdays– 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Asbury Ave. Entertainment, Face Painters, Balloon Sculptors.
  • July - August: Wacky Wednesdays

Exit 17 Sea Isle City

There are all types of beaches at Sea Isle City: bathing beaches, catamaran and sailboat launching beaches, kayaking beaches, kiteboarding beaches, rafting beaches, surf-fishing beaches, and volleyball beaches. Fees: $5 daily, $10 weekly. No beach tag fee for kids 11 & under. Free on Wednesdays.  Activities: biking and inline skating, sailing lessons, family fun nights and family dance parties at Excursion Park.

June 15, 2024: Skimmer Festival. Seaside vendor craft market, amusement rides, photo opps, sand art, Art Bar & more at the Jersey Shore.


Exit 11 Atlantic City

FREE beach access to Atlantic City beaches. No badges required. Spend a day having fun playing in the water or walking in the sand. Explore Atlantic City's Boardwalk and salt water taffy shops. Enjoy beach activities, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. Attractions: Abescon Lighthouse, Atlantic City Aquarium, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Steel Pier amusement center, Outlet Shopping.

  • July 13, 2024: AC Beer & Music Fest. Cheers to 100+ breweries and other crafted seltzers, RTDs and THC drinks in Bader Field.
  • August 13-14, 2024: AC Airshow. Be inspired by this mesmerizing airshow which is “A Salute to Those Who Serve.” 


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. Swimming, rafts, and surfboards are permitted on select beaches. Fees: $8 daily, $17 weekly.



Exit 4B Wildwood

FREE access to 5 miles of clean and safe Wildwood beaches. No badge fee required. Voted one of the top New Jersey beaches, Wildwood has so much to do for families and kids. You've got wide white powder beaches, perfect for swimming, sun bathing, playing, and relaxing. Swim in life guarded beaches. Attractions: Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks, Surfside Pier, Mariner's Landing, Adventure Pier, Raging Waters Waterpark, Doo Wop Experience Museum.

  • June 20-23, 2024: Barefoot Country Music Fest
  • June 17-20, 2024: National Marbles Tournament. An official national competition for boys and girls.
  • July - August 2024: Wednesdays thru Aug 21 - Wildwood Crest Summer Music Series & Food Truck Festival
  • July 12, 2024: Wildwood Crest Sand Sculpting Festival @ 9am-2pm 
  • July 13-14, 2024: Wildwood Jeep Invasion. 9-5pm
  • July 13-14, 2024: NJ State BBQ Championship & Anglesea Blues Festival
  • July 20, 2024: Christmas in July with Santa Claus
  • July 31, 2024: Baby Parade
  • August 25-29, 2024: Restaurant Week



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 families. There miles of beautiful clean powdery beaches. Go swimming near life guard stations. Fees: $8 daily. No beach tag fee for kids 11 & under. Walk along the Cape May Promenade. Attractions: Cape May County Park and Zoo, Nature Center of Cape May, Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum at Cape May Airport, Cape May Lighthouse.



Where are the boardwalks?  See our Guide to the top NJ Boardwalks that are perfect for families and kids.

Check out Things To do this month.