Best Beaches Near Jersey City:
It’s summer and let’s be honest, all we really want to do is sit on the beach. Although living in a city makes it hard to get a beach day in, it’s easier than you think. We live fairly close to some of the best beaches around — at the Jersey Shore! Forget what you’ve seen on reality TV and get down to one of these glorious NJ gems for a day trip. It’s fun in the sun for the whole family! Here are some of the best picks.
Sandy Hook is a great day trip for our area. It takes just over an hour by car from downtown Jersey City or 40 minutes by ferry (from Manhattan). There is so much to do because it’s a beach and national park all in one! Besides the beaches, Sandy Hook offers fishing, bike riding, trails and even camping now! The beaches are vast and very clean.
There are parking lots near each beach and bathhouses offering bathrooms and showers. There are even food trucks at some of the beaches. You can also bring your cooler and do a beach picnic, but you must take your trash with you when you leave. A word of caution: Sandy Hook is a popular destination on weekends, once the park is full they close the gates, so be sure to get there early and call ahead to make sure the park is still open to visitors.
The beaches are free, but you must pay to enter the park. Luckily, you pay per car, so it can be more economical than some Jersey Shore beaches. The fee is $15 per car from 7am – 5pm and if you have a Golden Access or Senior Pass (for national parks in the US) the fee $7.50 per car.
Getting There: Sandy Hook is located just outside the Highlands via the Garden State Parkway at exit 117. Ferry service is provided by Seastreak and takes about 40 minutes from East 35th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan. The cost is $45/Adult 13 and over roundtrip and $17/Child 5 – 12 on weekends. Kids are totally free Monday – Friday! Bikes are an extra $5.
Asbury Park is more fun now than ever before! There’s so much to do, including lots of lovely beaches to play on. The infamous Asbury Park Boardwalk offers many events, activities and great restaurants. Some of the great eating options include Pop’s Garage, McLoone’s Asbury Grille and many more. There is even Asbury Splash Park, which you can access all day for $9/children and $5/adults. Parking is available in either metered spots or in paid lots. Meters are $2/hour with a maximum of three hours on Ocean Avenue. Other numbered spots (off of Ocean Avenue) are $1/hour without any time limits. There is even an app for “Pay-By-Cell Parking.” Check out their website for more information. Beach badges are sold on the Boardwalk between 1st and 2nd Avenues and it is cash only.
Getting There: Asbury Park is about an hour away by car via the Garden State Parkway at exit 102. You can also take a NJ Transit train and get off at the Asbury Park Station, which is located on Cookman Avenue. See below for NJ Transit Shore deals information.*
The beaches of Belmar stretch for more than a mile and offer something for everyone in the family. Kids will love the beach playgrounds, which are peppered around every few blocks along the beach. There is even a surf camp with classes for all ages! If you are feeling more into a beach volleyball game, there are nets on the beach, too. There are beach activities like a natural beach with signs that describe various types of plants and birds nearby and 9th Avenue boasts the wreck of SS Malta, which crashed during a storm in 1885 and the stern post is still visible.
The 10th Avenue beach offers umbrella and beach chair rentals – so you don’t have to lug all your gear with you! Click here for a map of the boardwalk and all the beach access points. For a yummy post-beach lunch, check out 10th Avenue Burrito and if you are traveling by car and have some time, take the short ride over to Pete & Elda’s in Neptune for some good pizza.
Beach badges are required for admission to Belmar’s beaches from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 7 days a week from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.
The fee for daily badges is $9 per day (children 15 and under are free).
Seasonal badges are available for $70 and $30 for senior citizens, aged 65 and over with identification verifying age.
Getting There: Belmar is about an hour drive from downtown Jersey City via Garden State Parkway at exit 98. You can also take a NJ Transit train there and get off at the Belmar train station, but take a cab to the beach because it’s a bit of a walk. See below for NJ Transit Shore deals information. *
Point Pleasant Beach has been a favorite in my family for years! Not only do you get the beach here, but you get a great boardwalk, too. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has something for everyone. The amusement rides are a blast and there are many geared toward the younger set, so this is a kiddie favorite. Tuesday and Friday enjoy wristband days for $18/person and ride as many rides as you like.
Jenkinson’s Aquarium is right on the boardwalk, as well and it’s small enough to be very kid-friendly. There are arcades aplenty, mini golf and tons of great boardwalk food choices (think funnel cakes, pizza, ice cream, etc.) Parking is sometimes a challenge. There are metered spots along Ocean Avenue and a large metered lot on the corner of Ocean and Arnold Avenues. Otherwise, Jenkinson’s offers four paid parking lots along the boardwalk. There are free street parking spots on the side streets off of the boardwalk, but they can be hard to find.
Daily rates for the beach do not include use of the bathhouse facilities – it will cost you $4/adult and $3/children. Daily badge prices are: $2.50 for children 5 – 11 on weekdays and weekends, $8.50 for adults 12 and up on weekdays and $9.50 on weekends. You can rent beach chairs for $8/day and umbrellas for $10/day.
Getting There: Point Pleasant Beach is a little over an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City via Garden State Parkway at exit 98. You can also take a NJ Transit train and get off at the Point Pleasant Beach train station. It is a bit of a walk from the beach, but there are usually cabs waiting there, but plan ahead and have a number for a cab service with you. See below for NJ Transit Shore deals information. *
Island Beach State Park is located in Berkeley, just passed Seaside Park at the end of the barrier island. This is a great place to go on a day trip. You can bring a cooler and even a grill and have a full-day beach day. There are main beach areas with bathhouse facilities and parking lots. There are also more remote beach areas with parking spots along the main road, to which you have to hike a little bit out to. Lifeguards are only present at the main “swimming” beaches.
There is much wildlife to be seen, which the kids love! The park boasts almost 10 miles of beach for you to explore. It’s also a great place for bike riding, hiking, surfing, kayaking and fishing. The park opens at 7am during the summer months, but get there early because once the parking spots are filled, they close the gates and vehicles will no longer be able to get in.
During the summer the entrance fee is $10/car for NJ residents and $20/car for non-residents on weekends and $6/car for NJ residents and $12/car for non-residents on weekdays. If you walk or ride your bike into the park, it is free.
Island Beach State Park is most easily accessible by car. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from downtown Jersey City via Garden State Parkway at exit 82. In the summer months this ride takes much longer, so plan accordingly. There is also bus service to Island Beach State Park via the Bus Route 137 from Port Authority Terminal, NYC, but you have to let the driver know to continue on from Seaside Park during the summer weekends.
Updated May 13, 2021