Living in New York City also means having the opportunity to escape the summer heat and hustle and bustle of the city every now and then. While some of us enjoy going to the Hamptons my weekends are always filled with amazing trips down the shore. A weekend or a day down the shore is one of my favorite things to do in New Jersey.
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Especially now since we have learned that beaches will be back open by Memorial Day weekend, lets narrow down what you can experience down the shore.
You’re not sure if the Jersey Shore is fun? Let me share my summer experiences with you and show you that there’s more to this area than the TV Show “Jersey Shore” ever presented. There are so many fun things to do at the Jersey Shore, here are my 7 favorites.
Jersey Shore and coronavirus
Summer of 2020 will look a lot different than previous summers because of the pandemic affecting the nation. Governor Murphy has announced that beaches will be open for the summer but with certain restrictions. Boardwalk restaurants are only allowed for take-out service and city officials are limiting the number of people on the beach. Organized games and team sports are strictly prohibited. Also, drinking fountains, playgrounds, and visitor centers will be shut.
How to get to the Jersey Shore
Before I tell you more about my favorite things to do at the Jersey Shore, let’s find out first how to get to the Jersey Shore. There are many ways to get to the Jersey Shore from New York City. We usually decide to take the car, since we’re local. It is also the fastest and cheapest way to get there. Here is a quick overview of the easiest ways to get to the Jersey Shore from the city.
- North Jersey Coast Line towards Bay Head from Penn Station to Point Pleasant Station (Please check the schedule here)
- The fastest & easiest way: Rental Car
- Bus from Port Authority (Please check the schedule here)
- Ferry from Lower Manhattan / Wall Street (Please check the schedule here)
If you are traveling from NYC and you want to take the train, the North Jersey Coast Line takes you from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan in approximately 2 hours straight to the Jersey Shore. Costs: $16.75 per person
We highly recommend renting a car at and leave early in the morning or late at night to avoid traffic. You will get to the Jersey Shore in about 90 minutes.
There are also several buses that take you from Port Authority on 42nd Street in Manhattan to the Jersey Shore. In most cases, you will have to uber to your final destination. For Mantoloking Beach / Brick Township: Bus 137, for Asbury Park and Belmar service, take the 130 toward Union Hill and then transfer to Bus No 836 toward Asbury Park. If you want to go to Belmar transfer again to North Jersey Coast Line train toward Bay Head. Costs: up to $15 per person
Operating seasonally from May 25 – September 22, ferries are available in the northernmost part of the shore, including Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands, and the southernmost part of shore at Cape May. The SeaStreak ferry that leaves from the Wall Street terminal in Manhattan provides service between Monmouth County and Manhattan, with daily weekday stops in Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, and Sandy Hook. If you want to go further you would have to take an uber here as well. Costs: up to $27 per person
Things to do at the Jersey Shore this summer
Explore Belmar during the day and night
Belmar is everything you can expect when searching for the classic Jersey Shore town. A day in Belmar is exciting, fun and should definitely be on your list of the best things to do at the Jersey Shore. Belmar offers great beaches with soft, white sand and the restless Atlantic ocean right ahead of you. It is also one of the most popular beaches which is why it can become really crowded on the weekends. Plan smart and come on a weekday.
Belmar is known for its youthful crowd that hangs out on the beach by day and parties all night. Belmar actually has a reputation for being the Jersey Shore’s party destination. If you want to experience a little bit of this party life head to either D’Jais (Ocean Ave.) or Bar Anticipation (16th Ave.) on a hot summer night. This is where you will find the best parties in Belmar all summer long.
Go to the best beaches at the Jersey Shore
When you are heading down the shore, pack your beachwear and beach chairs. There’s nothing like a relaxing day at one of the best beaches at the Jersey Shore. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the beaches at the Jersey Shore charge you to get a beach pass for the day. So, what are the nicest beaches at the Jersey Shore?
My absolute insider tip, if you are looking for more of a private beach vibe with super soft sand and beautiful scenery, visit Mantoloking Beach, near Brick Township. You will get to see some of the most expensive houses down the shore as well. The residences are right by the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Other than the beach there’s nothing else around though. So only come here when you like it calm and quiet. Day pass: $10 per person.
If you want music, bars, and restaurants near you, Asbury Park Beach will be the best bet. The beach is more crowded but just as nice. The good thing is that you have everything you need within walking distance. It’s the complete opposite of Mantoloking Beach because, at the beach in Asbury Park, there’s a lot going on until late at night. Day pass: $5 weekdays; $7 weekends and holidays; free for children 12 and younger.
Especially great for kids the area of Point Pleasant Beach with the beaches Jenkinson’s, Martell’s, Bradshaw’s, Risden’s and Maryland Avenue Beaches are worth a trip. A lot of families come to Point Pleasant for a day at the beach. Day pass: $9 weekdays, $10 weekends and holidays for those 12 and older.
Spend the afternoon at Asbury Park
We all remember the Bruce Springsteen album from 1973 named “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., right? Live music in Asbury Park’s secret sauce until today. With lots of bars and restaurants by the beach, Asbury Park offers the ultimate Jersey Shore experience. Don’t miss some of the world-famous music venues and clubs, plus more award-winning food and drink locations.
From the 70s to 2000s Asbury Park was experiencing some rough times but it used to be the go-to spot for the upper class who came from out of town. You can still see the ghosts from the past in many of its remaining structures that are still in use today. The Convention Hall located on the boardwalk is home to the Paramount Theater which today attracts people with its unique shops, fancy restaurants, and great events during the summer. The old Casino is an excellent authentic reminder of the “old” Asbury Park. Today Asbury Park is a funky, gentrifying, up and coming town.
The Boardwalk itself is a must-do in Asbury Park as well. Stroll along the coast, have a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars, get your hand palm read and enjoy some delicious ice cream. When we are in the are these are our favorite bars to go to:
- Festhalle & Biergarten Rooftop Bar (Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, 527 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ) With 31 beers on tap and 60 in the bottle, it’s not hard to spend an entire or afternoon here with family and friends. Their rooftop bar is definitely the main attraction which is overlooking the Ocean and the area of Asbury Park.
- The Stone Pony (The Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, USA) It owns the reputation of being the greatest music venues of all time thanks to the legendary musicians (Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi) in the ’70s and ’80s.
- The Wonder Bar (The Wonder Bar, Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, USA) Asbury Park is a very dog-friendly place
But what else is there to do in Asbury Park? After spending your day or afternoon there, make sure to grab a blanket or beach chair and join one of the bonfires on the beach. Bonfires are held weekly (Fridays at 7 p.m. in June and September, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in July and August).
Visit the Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant
One of the best things to do at the Jersey Shore for families is to visit the Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant. Along the famous Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, which stretches a mile along the shore, you will find lots of different activities for the entire family. Our favorite is Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant which opened in 1991. You can spend up to 2 hours here and watch the penguins, turtles, stingrays and many other fish and ocean species.
Once you’re back on the Boardwalk make sure to get some Ice-Cream at Hoffman’s Ice Cream, which is an institution down the shore since 1976. They serve unusual flavors like the signature Jersey Monkey (banana ice cream with peanut butter swirls and chocolate chips).
For the adults, we recommend a pit stop at the one and only Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant Martell’s which you can find right by the beach. Great drinks, dancing and a lot of beach fun are guaranteed.
Have some fun at Seaside Heights
Thanks to MTV, when people think about the Jersey Shore, all they have in mind is a party place called Seaside Heights. They think of the famous Jersey Shore house, drinking and endless parties at club Karma down the shore. As mentioned earlier there is way more to the story. Especially Seaside Heights, it is trying to get rid of the ghost of the Jersey Shore TV show and everything that comes with it.
After Hurricane Sandy, Seaside Heights had to go under renovation because a lot got destroyed in the tragic storm a few years back. The famous roller coaster ended up in the water so the beloved amusement park at Casino Pier got an upgrade as well.
Casino Pier is a must-do while visiting the Jersey Shore with your kids and a beautiful area to visit. There are many beautiful beach houses, a yacht club, great beaches and lots of fun things to do for the family. If you were ever wondering what is there to do at the Jersey Shore come to Seaside. The boardwalk is the busiest at the shore with a lot of attractions, restaurants, mini-golf, go-karts, boardwalk games, nice arcades, and stores.
If you still want to get a taste of the TV show, “Jersey Shore”, then we have this option for you. How much does it cost to rent the “Jersey Shore” house? In case you have some extra cash to blow, feel free to spend $2,900 per night and the place is all yours. During the season from May 1 – July 15 it’s available to rent for $6,500 or $4,500 per night when you book 2 or more nights.
Get lost inside Island Beach State Park
After visiting Seaside Heights head south to Island State Beach Park. The park is a 10-mile stretch of unmarred and undeveloped beach with white sands and nature programs such as kayaking, surf fishing, shellfish gardening and other special programs throughout the summer.
Island Beach State Park is one of New Jersey’s last significant remnants of a barrier island ecosystem. It used to exist along much of the coast and is also one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic coast. The entire park is incredibly beautiful and worth the trip. From all the things to do at the Jersey Shore, this is probably my favorite. How much does it cost to go to Island Beach State Park? You pay per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day which is $6/NJ Resident and $12/Non-Resident on weekdays and $10/NJ Resident and $20/Non-Resident
Have some delicious seafood
The Jersey Shore is famous for its Seafood and every town you’re going to visit, there are great seafood restaurants for you have to try. You can find these excellent restaurants in various locations like right by the wide sandy beaches, close to dune grasses, right by scenic riverbanks and even at bustling marinas.
We had seafood at Bum Rogers Crabhouse at the Seaside Heights right before we entered the Island Beach State Park the last time we went. It’s very laid back, casual and the food was delicious. Here are some more recommendations for the best seafood at the Jersey Shore.
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Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.