The blue water in Beach Belmar in New Jersey

21 Best New Jersey Beaches for 2022 (By a Local)

Visiting the top New Jersey beaches is an essential New Jersey activity. The only challenge is that there are so many beaches to choose from!

As a New Jersey local, I can confirm that our beaches vary in activities, facilities, and the crowds they cater to. There’s literally a New Jersey beach for everyone.

So what are the best New Jersey beaches? Follow along as I take you on a tour of some of the best beaches the Garden State has to offer.

For more trip-planning goodies, be sure to save my guides on the best destinations in New Jersey.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

21 Best Beaches In New Jersey

Diamond Beach

Wildwood Crest, NJ

View of grasses in the sand of Diamond Beach
Sand Dunes at Diamond Beach

Google Maps | Parking: Paid parking lots, metered street parking, as well as some free street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: ICONA Diamond Beach

Wildwood Crest is home to a variety of pristine beaches, including the stand-out favorite Diamond Beach. It’s an outlier from the rest of Wildwood’s beaches partly because Diamond beach is private and requires a fee for entry.

However, this is a small price to pay for an exclusive, relaxing experience unsurpassed by other beaches in the area. This private beach has some of the softest sand you’ll ever feel. Diamond Beach is also home to its namesake; small diamond-like pebbles that many beachgoers love to collect.

👉 Pro Tip: Certain parts of Diamond Beach aren’t private, so you won’t have to pay a fee. To avoid the fee, steer clear of sections of Diamond Beach directly behind or on resort property.

Wildwood Crest Beach

Wildwood Crest, NJ

View of a pier in Wildwood Crest Beach and the clear blue sky in New Jersey
Pier on Crest Beach (photo: Creative Family/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: There are paid parking lots available, as well as metered street parking. Free parking is available just West of Jersey Ave | Best Nearby Hotel: Paradise Oceanfront Resort of Wildwood Crest

Wildwood Crest Beach is one of the most popular of Wildwood’s white-sand beaches. It’s one of the best-maintained beaches and even features a newly expanded boardwalk. The beach is free to enter and, if you don’t mind a longer walk, you can also find free parking. Parking closer to the beach is scarce unless you’re staying at one of the hotels along the beach.

The Wildwood Crest section is quieter than the main downtown area, which adds to the attraction of this relaxing beach. That said, rentals are pricier than most places, so if you can, do bring your own beach gear.

👉 Pro Tip: The boardwalk is pretty long, but there is a tramcar that offers rides for $3.50/person. 

Poverty Beach

Cape May, NJ

View of the colorful sky during sunrise in Poverty Beach
Sunrise over Poverty Beach

Google Maps | Parking: Free street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: La Mer Beach Front Resort

One of the quietest beaches in Cape May, the name Poverty Beach comes from the fact that it used to be designated mainly for those of a lower social class. But there’s nothing poor about this beach!

Beautiful white sand graces this expansive beach. It’s one of those beaches in New Jersey where you can go for a relaxing day without a bunch of people blocking the view. This beach haven is one that many locals try to keep secret, lest the crowds realize how amazing it is. 

Truth be told, this beach is one of the reasons why Cape May made my list of the top places to visit in New Jersey!

Ocean City Beach 

Ocean City, NJ

View of people biking in Ocean City Beach & Boardwalk
Ocean City Beach & Boardwalk (photo: Vlad G/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: There are both paid (monitored lots) and free (unmonitored lots) in the area | Best Nearby Hotel: Biscayne Suites

Often confused with Ocean City in Maryland, Ocean City Beach is located near Cape May. We love it because it’s rarely crowded and, if there are ever any crowds, they arrive on the weekend and stay close to the boardwalk. Go farther north, away from the boardwalk, for a quieter experience if that’s what you prefer.

The beach and sand at Ocean City are nice and clean – it’s an all-around great place to enjoy a beach day with family and friends. The boardwalk also offers great choices for food. If you’re looking for an ice-cold beer, however, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Because of its family-oriented nature, Ocean City is dry, so no alcohol is served, nor can be consumed here.

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Stone Harbor Beach

Stone Harbor, NJ

View of grasses in the sandy beach of Stone Harbor Beach
Stone Harbor Beach

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free street parking closer to downtown. Paid lots closer to the beach between 94th and 96th streets. | Best Nearby Hotel: ICONA Avalon

Stone Harbor Beach is a great stretch of sand with facilities. Though it can get crowded at times, it still has enough space that you’ll be able to find a nice relaxing spot away from other people. Lifeguards are also super vigilant about keeping everyone safe and, compared to most beaches, the walk to and from restrooms and parking is short – it’s great if you’ve got a lot of beach gear in tow.

Stone Harbor locals are like their town – friendly and welcoming. This adds up to a great beach day all around.

👉 Pro Tip: There’s a convenient rental truck on 95th Street where you can get chairs and umbrellas.

Ocean Grove Beach

Ocean Grove, NJ

A staircase going to Ocean Grove Beach
Ocean Grove Beach

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: Majestic Hotel

Another great spot if you’re looking for a quiet beach day, not only is Ocean Grove Beach calm and relaxing, but the nearby boardwalk and town are too. This makes this beach a popular choice for beachgoers who don’t want to deal with massive crowds and busy boardwalks.

It’s also a small beach, only about a mile long, nestled between Asbury Park and Bradley Beach. Despite being small, they still have a few shacks that sell food at reasonable prices. For more food options, you can venture into the downtown area.

👉 Pro Tip: Some visitors have trouble finding the bathrooms and think that there aren’t any. However, if you go to the far end of the boardwalk, you’ll find clean, well-kept bathrooms.

Sandy Hook

Highlands, NJ

View of people enjoying their day in Sandy Hook Beach
Sandy Hook Beach

Google Maps | Parking: Free parking lots and no cost to enter the beach | Best Nearby Hotel: Private Beach Bungalows

My favorite beach of all, parking at Sandy Hook Beach is convenient, the bathrooms are always nice, and the beach is clean and well-kept. There’s no boardwalk, but that’s truly part of the appeal.

It’s a great beach if you’re not into the boardwalk hype. You can grab your friends, pack a lunch, and get ready to enjoy a great day on an expansive, white sandy beach.

👉 Pro Tip: Sandy Hook is out a little ways from any hotels, so your best bets for where to stay nearby are Long Branch and Red Bank. Closer to Sandy Hook Beach you’ll find more residential vacation homes such as Vrbo rental homes and apartments.

Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island, NJ

View from the empty and quiet Long Beach Island in New Jersey
Quiet time on Long Beach Island

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Paid lot $10/day for NJ residents, $20/day non-NJ residents | Best Nearby Hotel: Hotel LBI

A popular summertime destination for New Jersey families, Long Beach Island earns the title of being one of the best beaches in New Jersey as it’s got something for everyone. The white sands and clean waters are only a part of the attraction here as there are great restaurants and bars, a small amusement park to keep the kiddos entertained, and no boardwalk. Of course, the lack of a boardwalk contributes to the fact that the beaches are clean and well-kept.

Long Island Beach sits right in the Atlantic Ocean, giving you great ocean views no matter where you stay on the island. The weekends are busier than the weekdays, so if you can, plan accordingly.

👉 Don’t forget to pack: Sunscreen, bug spray, a microfiber towel, and a lightweight travel umbrella are all great items for a New Jersey beach day.

Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park

Long Branch, NJ

View of people enjoying in Seven Presidents Beach
Seven Presidents Beach (photo Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Paid lot, $10/car. Metered street parking, use pay stations, and read signs carefully | Best Nearby Hotel: Beach House On the Shore

Another beautiful and quiet beach, Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park is located in Long Branch, NJ – about 20 minutes from Sandy Hook. It’s more-or-less off the beaten path, so it doesn’t get as crowded or rowdy as other beaches.

There’s even a nice park for kids to play in that’s divided into two groups – one for the little ones, and another for the older ones. This peaceful beach is family-friendly with clean bathrooms, showers, and great food on the boardwalk.

As with many beaches on the shore, beach badges are required at about $8 each.

Point Pleasant Beach – Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

The Point Pleasant Beach and the clear blue sky
Point Pleasant Beach (photo: Bruce Alan Bennett/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free street parking further from the beach. Paid lots and metered street parking closer to the beach | Best Nearby Hotel: Beach House with pool

One of the most popular beaches in New Jersey, Point Pleasant Beach attracts a younger crowd. Teens, twenty-somethings, and young families are creatures of habit here. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is especially popular because of the many activities available – there’s even an aquarium.

Point Pleasant Beach is one of the beaches I frequented as a child, and the first beach I ever took my daughter to. It’s a lively center of activity during peak beach season but calms down in the late afternoons and evenings as beachgoers head home.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Sometimes the free parking spaces are a bit far from the beach. Because of that, I recommend a good beach cart like the MAC Sports Wagon by Amazon. It can handle all of your beach gear in an easy-to-roll style.

Atlantic City Boardwalk & Beach

Atlantic City, NJ

Beachgoers enjoying in Atlantic City Beach
Beachgoers at Atlantic City Beach (photo: John Arehart/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Paid parking lots and metered street parking close to the boardwalk. Parking lots average $10/day | Best Nearby Hotel: Ocean Casino Resort

Of course, this list has to include the iconic Atlantic City Beach and Boardwalk! To be honest, the beach here is not the best of all the New Jersey beaches, but it certainly is a good time and it made my list of the best New Jersey activities for a reason. The boardwalk alone is what draws in tourists every year. The beach doesn’t require a badge, which is a plus to many.

Keep in mind that the beach can get crowded, but the main attraction is the boardwalk. It features great restaurants, shopping, and sometimes entertainment. There’s even free Wi-Fi if you connect to AC Boardwalk while you’re in the area.

Be sure to check out my epic list of the 27 best things to do and see in Atlantic City.

👉 Pro Tip: The seagulls here can be pretty aggressive. As tempting as it may be to feed them, don’t. That is, unless, you want to be chased down for the rest of your stay.

Brigantine Beach

Brigantine, NJ

Boats and surfboard in Brigantine Beach
Boats at Brigantine Beach (photo: Dominick Corrado/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: All lots require permits, about $25. There’s also free, but limited, street parking. | Best Nearby Hotel: Legacy Vacation Resorts – Brigantine Beach

Down the shore from popular Atlantic City Beach is the much quieter Brigantine Beach. This is the place to go if you want to get away from all the crazy action in Atlantic City’s center. Here you can escape the fanfare but still get a great view of Atlantic City in the distance. Plus, you can even fish in designated areas at Brigantine. 

There aren’t many stores close by, so be sure to pack a lunch if you’re going to enjoy a day at Brigantine Beach.

Seaside Heights Beach

Seaside Heights, NJ

View of people passing through the Seaside Heights Boardwalk
Seaside Heights Boardwalk (photo: Joe Benning/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free parking in the Sumner Avenue lot. Metered parking along the streets | Best Nearby Hotel: Hershey Motel

Seaside Heights is one of the most popular go-to spots for the young crowd looking to have a good time. Teenagers and twenty-somethings flock here every year almost as soon as summer break begins. It features amusement park rides and a hip, fun atmosphere. 

The beach here isn’t the main attraction but is still enjoyable. While you can enjoy the other sights of Seaside Heights, it is worth a stop for a refreshing dip.

Seaside Heights is a summer hotspot, so if you’re looking for a peaceful beach visit, this may not be the place for you. It can get especially crowded on summer weekends but thins out once school is back in.

Seaside Park Beach 

Seaside Park, NJ

A path to the shore in Seaside Park Beach
Path to shore at Seaside Park

Google Maps | Website | Parking: A mix of paid and free lots | Best Nearby Hotel: Four Bedroom Beach Home

Down the shore from Seaside Heights is Seaside Park Beach – a much quieter location. Both are close to each other, but the Heights caters to a livelier crowd. You’ll hear both names used interchangeably but remember – Seaside Park is quieter while Seaside Heights is more lively.

This is a simple beach, featuring a boardwalk with food, some shops, and games. The tides can get a little rough here, so be careful when going into the water. It has the potential to get crowded later in the morning, so go early to avoid them.

Bradley Beach

Bradley Beach, NJ

View of people during a sunny day in Bradley Beach
Sunny day at Bradley Beach (photo: Helen89/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: $1.50/hour from 8am – 7pm. Free parking on the west side of Ocean Avenue | Best Nearby Hotel: Two bedroom Guest House

Bradley Beach, named after the small town it’s a part of, is another quiet beach you can enjoy. It boasts soft sand and beautiful waves. This beach even features a playground right by the beach. This way, you can enjoy beach views while playing with your kids.

There are also areas for volleyball and mini-golf. The town itself is small and friendly and, as a result, the beach and facilities are well-kept and clean.

🛏️ Trying to find accommodation? My article detailing the best areas to stay in New Jersey was designed to help travelers pick great hotels and rentals in the top neighborhoods.

Belmar Beach

Belmar, NJ

View from the Belmar Beach in New Jersey
Belmar Beach (photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free street parking, and metered parking closer to the beach | Best Nearby Hotel: Mayfair Hotel

Also not too far from Point Pleasant and Bradley Beaches is Belmar Beach. It’s a midway point between the livelier Point Pleasant and the sentient Bradley. The boardwalk isn’t as popular, but still offers your typical beach fare such as burgers, fries, and ice cream. There are even places to play arcade games.

Parking is similar to Point Pleasant with free street parking if you don’t mind a walk. Waves here can get a bit dicey, so be sure to check current conditions before you go.

Island Beach State Park 

Seaside Park, NJ

Colorful sky during sunset in Island Beach State Park
Sunset at Island Beach State Park

Google Maps | Website | Parking: $6 weekday and $10 weekend parking for NJ Residents. It may be higher for out-of-state | Best Nearby Hotel: Sea Level Sanctuary 

Island Beach State Park is home to the NJ Governor’s Summer Mansion and is an area where many NJ Governors spend their summers. It’s located close to Seaside Park but is more sedentary.

One of the main appeals of this beach is that you can bring your four-legged friend! Island Beach State Park is dog-friendly, and you can even drive on the beach with a permit. The 9-mile stretch of beach also means that you don’t have to worry about overcrowding. On a clear day, the views of the ocean are magnificent.

👉 Pro Tip: Since there are really no hotels on Island Beach State Park, if you plan on spending the night, check out sites like Vrbo for rentals nearby. 

Asbury Park Beach

Asbury Park, NJ

The boardwalk in Asbury Park Beach
Asbury Park Beach & Boardwalk (photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Paid parking lots and metered street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: The Asbury

Asbury Park Beach may not be the most popular, but it’s still a great place to enjoy a day by the shore. It’s quiet, but parking is a little dicey and can get expensive if you’re trying to park closer to the beach.

The waves are big and the bathrooms are clean. There are great restaurants near the boardwalk as well.

🌊 Are you a die-hard beach bum? Our articles on the best beaches in Florida and the top Puerto Rico beaches will give you some serious travel inspiration!

Avon-By-The-Sea Beach

Avon-By-The-Sea, NJ

A woman sitting on a chair in Avon-By-The-Sea Beach
Avon-by-the-Sea (photo: James Kirkikis/Shutterstock)

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental

Avon-By-The-Sea features clean water and soft, well-kept sand. This beautiful beach has a great boardwalk with typical boardwalk fare. The views of the Atlantic Ocean are gorgeous.

If you like to surf, then this is the perfect place. Surfers love the waves. Be sure to check current water conditions before heading out to make sure the waves are surf-ready.

👉 Pro Tip: Avon-by-the-Sea Public Beach is often used interchangeably with Avon Beach. While the two are very close to one another, they are technically two different beaches. Both are great spots to catch gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean and take a dip on a hot summer day. 

Sea Girt Beach 

Sea Girt, NJ

View of small waves in Sea Girt Beach
Sea Girt Beach

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Free parking available along the boardwalk and sidestreets | Best Nearby Hotel: The Hewitt Wellington Hotel

Sea Girt Beach is one of the most private beaches you’ll find in New Jersey. Because of that, it’s also one of the cleanest you’ll find in the area with plenty of space to spread out. 

Just keep in mind that no eating, drinking, or playing music is allowed – only ball-playing in designated areas. It’s about $10 to get in, which is just a notch above what other beaches charge for a daily beach badge. 

Honestly, I love the fact that it’s so quiet and peaceful. I’m not a big fan of crowded, popular beaches, so this one is right up my alley. 

Spring Lake Beach 

Spring Lake, NJ

View of a boardwalk in Spring Lake Beach
Spring Lake Beach & Boardwalk

Google Maps | Website | Parking: Lots of free parking on Ocean Avenue | Best Nearby Hotel: The Ocean House

Not far from Sea Girt is another peaceful beach, Spring Lake Beach. This beach is quiet with a nice boardwalk that’s perfect for walking, running, and jogging. There are also a few eateries nearby for pizza and ice cream. But, unlike Sea Girt, restrooms are available. 

Parking here is free and relatively easy to find. Be aware though, there are restrictions on coolers and alcohol. Check the website before going to avoid any hassle such as fines.

👉 Read Next: Fun Things to Do in Newark

FAQs about Beaches in New Jersey

What is the nicest beach in New Jersey?

With its pristine beaches and smaller crowds, most beaches in Cape May top the list of New Jersey’s best beaches. Other great beaches include Point Pleasant and Wildwood Crest.

Are New Jersey beaches open?

In general, most New Jersey beaches are open seasonally. Beach season is from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Some beaches also won’t allow you on the beach unless there’s a lifeguard on duty – whether you’ll be swimming or not.

What is the cleanest beach in NJ?

Cape May’s Diamond Beach is the cleanest beach in New Jersey, though Sea Girt and President’s Beach are close contenders. This is due in part to controlled entry. Most beaches that require a beach badge tend to be cleaner, as beach access is limited.

What beaches are closed in New Jersey?

Depending on the time of year, certain beaches in New Jersey are closed or are inaccessible to the public, due to there being no lifeguards are on duty.

***

The New Jersey Shore has a ton of beautiful beaches. Each offers its own unique feel along with beautiful ocean views. This summer, I hope that you can explore and enjoy all that the Jersey Shore has to offer!

Wondering what else the Garden State has to offer? Check out my list of 22 Best Things to Do In New Jersey!

13 Comments

  1. Thanks for the write up Yvette. We just bought a house near LBI and reading about Island Beach State Park made my dogs very happy.

  2. Thank you Yvette for naming Wildwood Crest and Diamond beach as the #1 beach to visit at the Jersey shore. Wildwood Crest has been my vacation destination for 40 years so I can tell you from experience that they work very hard to keep their beaches clean, beautiful and free to all. The Crest is the BEST!

  3. I am happy that LBI was named since I have a house on the ocean in Surf City and our beach is beautiful but I also have a house in Lavallette and my private beach is beautiful and should definitely have made the list.

    1. I have spent most my summers In Avalon, New Jersey. And I love Avalon’s Beaches.
      We have beautiful sunsets on the Bay And his peace and quiet.
      It is not a party town.
      Our police are fantastic in Avalon New Jersey, Jessica warned anybody that wants to think they can do whatever they want that is not the case.
      It is not a party town.
      And it’s going to stay that way!

  4. I go to Sea Girt every summer.. by far the best beach in central nj as it’s so clean and keeps the riff raff away.
    But your info is not correct… there are bathrooms and a concession stand at the north end. Food is allowed and drinks…. but no coolers. Many have beach chairs that have those mini coolers on the back and they don’t bother you with basic sandwiches, fruit and non alcohol drinks

  5. Used to live on LBI. Loved it. Beaches are wonderful and clean. Miss it for sure. Thanks for including my old stomping grounds

  6. My wife and I visited many New Jersey beaches in the last 5 years before deciding to buy. Fourteen months ago decided to build a vacation home in Diamond Beach. We just love the area. It’s clean, quiet, and friendly. This will be our first summer, and the family is very excited. We feel we couldn’t have made a better choice. Thanks for the article.

  7. I just want to clarify, as having had a long time family home at Ocean City, NJ. You are correct in that you cannot buy alcohol on the island, but you certainly are allowed to bring it to your home and consume it on the island.

  8. Agree that Wildwood Crest snd Diamond Beach are the best beaches. As a resident of Diamond Beach, we are always described ad being a part of Wildwood Crest or Cape May. Both are wrong. Diamond Beach is a section of Lower Township which is the largest town in Cape May County.

  9. Wildwood Crest beaches are the cleanest in all of NJ. The Public Works crew cleans the beach daily year round. The LoveBlue volunteers have beach sweeps every week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wildwood Crest is the safest beach with all lifeguards having NJ Lifeguard Certification and NJ State Health Department Certification. Also, Wildwood Crest beach is flat and the widest of all NJ beaches. Easy access to the beach directly from the each street ends and handicap accessible with showers and benches with views of the ocean. A reminder that Wildwood Crest beach is free with “No Smoking” on the beach by NJ State law.

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