Jersey Shore Beaches: Which one to choose?

Travel Tips — By melodymoser on June 17, 2010 at 8:26 pm

If you’re a new visitor to the Jersey Shore you might have a tough time knowing which beach to visit.  There are a few things to consider, such as the cost of parking, beach tags, and what there is to do nearby.  To help you make a decision, here is a roundup of the Jersey Shore beaches from Atlantic City to Cape May Point.

Atlantic City

Not too far off exit 38B on the Parkway, Atlantic City’s beaches are free, a real plus considering you will probably have to pay to park at a meter or in paid lots.  While here, don’t miss a stroll on the Boardwalk, and a visit to Fralinger’s or It’s Sugar for some chewy Salt Water Taffy.

Atlantic City Beach

One of Atlantic City's beaches


Brigantine is an island off Atlantic City best reached from Parkway exit 38.  Beach tags cost $18 for the season, $14 for a week, or $8  per day.  Seniors and children under 12 are free.  There is limited free parking.  If you’re here, stop in for a visit at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to learn how they rescue stranded marine mammals and sea turtles.


Ventnor, also off Parkway exit 38, is quieter and more residential than Atlantic City.  Beach tags cost $15 for the season here, $10 per week, and seniors pay $3.50.  Children under 12 are free.  When you want to get off the beach, check out Ventnor City Beachfront Park at new Haven Avenue and the boardwalk.


Margate, off Parkway exit 36, is a peaceful community with beautiful beaches and is the home of Lucy the Elephant.  Season beach tags here cost $15; children under 12 are free.  Free 2-hour parking spaces are available.

Gulls on a dune path

Gulls on a dune path


Even quieter than Margate is Longport, located at the southern tip of Absecon Island.  Take Parkway exit 36 to get here, where both metered and free parking spaces are available.  Season beach tags here cost $30 while seniors pay $5 and children under 12 are free.  Consider dining at the Shore Club Crab House Bar & Grill when you get off the beach.

Ocean City

Ocean City is a family beach resort located off Parkway exit 30 (south) and 25 (north).  Its downtown area offers trendy shops and eateries, and its boardwalk is lined with kitsch souvenir shops, clothing, jewelry and surf wear boutiques.  Try your hand at miniature golf for something different.  Season beach tags cost $20.  They’re $10 by the week, $5 per day, and children under 12 are free.    Metered and free parking and private lots are available.

Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor

The small towns of Sea Isle City (Parkway exit 14 north and 17 south), Avalon (Parkway exit 13), and Stone Harbor (Parkway exit 10) have pleasant, quiet beaches, great for families or anyone who prefers to be away from the hustle and bustle of Atlantic City and Absecon Island.  Each has free or metered parking.  Season tags are $25, weekly tags are $12 and day tags are $6 ($20, $10 and $5, respectively, in Sea Isle City).

A Pectoral Sandpiper at Cape May Point State Park, New Jersey

A Pectoral Sandpiper at Cape May Point State Park, New Jersey

The Wildwoods

The Wildwoods, at Parkway exit 4B, have a boardwalk known for its neon lights, carnival games and amusement rides.  In fact – their 38-block boardwalk boasts more rides than Disneyland!  They’ve got everything from kiddie rides to looping, world-class rollercoasters.  Also, the Wildwood powdery-white beaches stretch for miles, and there’s a bonus:  The beaches are free.  Free and metered spots and private parking lots are available.

Cape May and Cape May Point

At the southern tip of the Cape May Peninsula where the waters of the Delaware Bay meet the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find Cape May, New Jersey’s charming Victorian town.

Cape May is a prime birding location, with lovely beaches.  The beach fees at both Cape May and Cape May Point are $25 for the season.  Cape May charges $13 for the week, $10 for a three-day pass, or $5 per day.  The borough of Cape May Point charges $15 for the week or $6 per day.  At both, children under 12 are free.  While in Cape May Point be sure to visit the Cape May Lighthouse, which offers panoramic views across the water.

Cape May itself has so much to offer you may want to forego some of your beach time to ramble among the Victorian houses, have a meal at one of the town’s many quirky restaurants, or take a tour of the Emlen Physick estate.

Photos courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (top two) and Peter Massas (Pectoral Sandpiper).

Tags: Atlantic City, beaches, Boardwalk