The best family beaches in NJ are Sandy Hook, Brigitane Beach, Asbury Park Beach, Wildwood Beach, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The Jersey Shore is notorious for wild parties and reality TV, but if you are looking for the best family beaches in NJ, this article has you covered. Whether you want a calm atmosphere or a busy boardwalk, New Jersey has a beach that will suit your needs. Let’s dive in!
My personal favorite family beach on the Jersey Shore is Sandy Hook, a seven mile barrier split located in Middletown Township. There are 6 beaches in this area, although only 5 have lifeguards. If you are coming with children, you will want to stick to the waves at C, D, E, Gunninson, and North beach.
Whichever Sandy Hook beach you choose, you will likely find lighter crowds and more families than at other areas in NJ. There is no set fee to enter the beach, but there will be one to park your car, at around $20 per car. Although this rate is higher than other beaches, the clean sand and mild waves are worth it!
After you are done splashing in the water, you should be sure to check out The Sandy Hook Lighthouse. This is the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States and it’s a National Historic Landmark!
Leashed dogs are welcome on the beach during the offseason, from September 16 to March 14, so be sure to bring them for some frisbee adventures.
Brigantine beach, located right next to Atlantic City, is one of the nicest beaches in NJ. This is because the atmosphere is extremely calm and the crowd is typically families and retirees. It is two hours from New York City, making it more off the beaten path.
The setting in Brigantine is gorgeous, with white sand beaches and steady waves. Brigantine is an alcohol free and smoke free beach, with lifeguards, so it is a comfortable place for you to bring small children. If your kids don’t know how to swim yet, you can even sign them up for swim lessons with the Brigantine Beach Patrol.
To enter the beach, you will need to purchase a $10 beach pass, although if you decide to come more than once, you may want to invest in a discounted season pass. Once you see the beautiful sand and calm ambiance, you will be sure to return!
Asbury Park Beach
Asbury Park Beach, located in Monmouth County, is one of the best family beaches in New Jersey. It is less crowded than other destinations on the Jersey Shore, although, like any beach, it will be more packed on weekends. However, you are sure to find a spot to set up your beach chairs on the mile long stretch of sand.
The best part about this beach is the fact that it is right next to a newly renovated boardwalk. Here you will find easily accessible public restrooms, showers, and water bottle refilling stations.
Additionally, you and your family will be able to grab a quick bite to eat for lunch at one of the many restaurants and food stands, and then jump back in the water to enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
Famous for musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny, Asbury Park’s boardwalk has lots to do and things to see. Huge murals decorate the walls of the buildings and live music is often playing from one of the many concert halls.
There are free beach playgrounds at 2nd and 7th Avenues that are nautical themed and sure to keep your kids busy. These areas are completely free, even without entry to the beach.
Growing up, Wildwood Beach was my favorite place to go on the Jersey Shore. In addition to its long beach and calm, body surfing friendly waves, Wildwood is home to the Wildwoods Boardwalk. This boardwalk is busy and bright, with tons of activities, things to do, and things to eat.
There are over 100 rides and attractions, like a waterpark, a splash zone, carnival games, arcades, as well as shops and restaurants. Your kids will love to hop on the famous Tram Car, which divides the crowds as it transports families down the boardwalk, calling out “Watch the Tram Car Please”.
Wildwoods is a more fast paced and active beach than the rest of the list. The beach itself is an extremely long stretch of sand and this can be difficult for young children. However, once you are at the water, your kids will be able to swim and boogie board all day, with the help of on duty lifeguards.
Point Pleasant Beach
Point Pleasant is a great family beach in Ocean County, New Jersey. There are both public and private beach areas, and with a small fee you can access lifeguard patrolled beaches. The beach itself does not have the best conditions for activities like boogie boarding or swimming, due to large waves and pebbles, but their boardwalk makes up for what the beach lacks.
This famous boardwalk is packed on weekend nights and it is home to a variety of kid friendly activities. Kids (and adults!) will be entertained for hours, as they enjoy arcades, rides, games of chance and skill, the Jenkinson’s Aquarium, mini golf, a funhouse and a newly installed high ropes course. At the end of the day, be sure to stop by the outdoor eateries or ice cream shops.
At the Manasquan Inlet, towards the end of the boardwalk, your family can wave at the boaters that move in and out of the channel. This is a popular spot for recreational boats, as well as party boats and commercial fishermen. You can even try your hand at fishing, renting out equipment on site.
In September, Point Pleasant holds their annual “Festival of the Sea”. This event has amazing fresh seafood as well as craft vendors and live music. Extend your summer for as long as you can, by heading to their beach during the off season.