Long Beach Island – or LBI, as the locals call it – is an 18-mile-long haven off the New Jersey coast that offers several stretches of sand to choose from. One of the most popular is Ship Bottom Beach in the center of the island, which previous visitors praised for its peaceful and uncrowded setting (though parking can be difficult, depending on the time of year). Alternatively, try out Brant Beach for fishing, surfing and swimming or head to Beach Haven to visit the Fantasy Island Amusement Park.
LBI is conveniently located in the middle of New Jersey. The entrance to the island is about 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia and about 75 miles south of New York City. Long Beach Island is accessible off the Garden State Parkway or by Route 9 via the Manahawkin exit, crossing over the Manahawkin Bay Bridge on 72. By car, this is the only way on and off this 18-mile-long island, which is five miles longer than the city of Manhattan! While nowhere nearly as crowded as New York City, there are so many special Long Beach Island things to do among its quaint shore towns spanning from Barnegat Light and all the way down to Beach Haven. The beautiful towns of Long Beach Island are listed below.
Long Beach Island Towns
Growing up in the Garden State, I looked forward to going to the Jersey Shore every summer. Now I enjoy taking my family to visit the same great beaches, and to share the same fun experiences. We spend our summers at our home on Long Beach Island, frequenting the hidden gems that make it such a wonderful place.
LBI is a good choice for a fun, kid-friendly beach. In addition to the beach by the ocean, a bay beach with a playground is located at 15th Street, and it’s a good spot for families with young children. For non-beach fun, a fishing and crabbing pier is located at 25th Street and the Bay, and the John J. Guld Jr. Recreation Area and Ball Field, located at West 5th and 6th at Barnegat Avenue, also has family outdoor activities such as bocce ball, shuffleboard, tennis courts, and horseshoes.
In a place called Surf City of course there has to be surfing—designated as the area between North First and North Third streets. There also is a fishing beach from North 23rd to North 25th streets, and a kid-friendly bay beach at 15th Street and Barnegat Avenue. A public rest room is located at the municipal building on Ninth Street, which is also where you can purchase beach badges (you can buy them on the beach too).
A very popular choice for readers, Beach Haven is a kid-friendly beach community that has a little something for everyone. Kids will enjoy boogie boarding and skim boarding at one of the many guarded beaches (11 locations spanning from 12th Street to Leeward Avenue), and you can also rent bicycles at local bike rentals. Accessible rest rooms, places to eat (such as the popular “The Chicken or the Egg” on North Bay Avenue), and nearby downtown shopping at the Bay Village Shops also account for its popularity. Beach badges are required; you can buy them at the Borough Hall beach badge office, at Bay and Engleside avenues.
Home to wide, smooth beaches and plenty of open ocean, it’s no surprise that Brant Beach is described by moms as clean, pleasant, and good for boogie boarding, body surfing, and skim boarding. All of the town’s beaches are patrolled by lifeguards daily from 10am to 5pm through Labor Day. There is a parking lot for beach visitors (and a public rest room) at BayView Park, 68th Street and Long Beach Boulevard.
If you’d rather be in the middle of all the action, visit the southern part of the island. Ship Bottom, Holgate, Brant Beach, and Beach Haven are clustered together to make up the most tourist-friendly sections packed full of fun. The island’s hot spots are charming and tasteful and geared towards families, as opposed to the image set by the wild and crazy cast member of Jersey Shore.
Regardless of where you are on the island, you’re never too far from both the beach and the bay. At its widest point in Ship Bottom, LBI, the island is only about a half mile wide. Therefore, there is no great need to decide whether you want to hang at the bay to the west or the ocean to the east. You can easily do both in one afternoon!
Long Beach Island’s beaches offer visitors much more than simply sunbathing and wading in the water. Lbi Lifeguards are on duty during peak season, supervising safe swim areas and monitoring public restrooms that help to keep the beaches clean and safe. If you have kids, your favorite beaches will be the ones in Beach Haven and Brant Beach. Various shops line the beaches so you have access to boogie boards, sand toys, and kites. Wherever you plan to go, make sure to get a weekly or a seasonal beach badge.
One thing about vacation planning often goes overlooked: hassle-free transportation. Nobody wants to be bothered with expensive rental cars and finding the right parking spaces. The LBI Shuttle is one of Long Beach Island’s best-kept secrets. It’s convenient, it’s reliable, and it’s free! Riding on the LBI shuttle is a safe, comfortable and eco-friendly way to cover the 18-mile island. However, the very best part about the LBI shuttle is that it’s absolutely free for the locals and the tourists. With quite a few easy to locate designated stop areas, all you need to do is signal a trolley and you will traveling effortlessly to your next destination. Catering to the young, the not so young, and the disabled, all LBI Shuttles are strollers and wheel chair accessible. There’s no better way to explore the many beach towns on Long Beach Island.
The online Shuttle Schedule provides information on the availability of the shuttle during peak season. Shuttle operations begin around Memorial Day weekend and continue through early October. The LBI Shuttle starts out the year with weekends-only service but it goes full swing for peak season
If you prefer to use an alternative method of transportation besides the LBI Shuttle, there are some other options available to you. These options will not be as convenient and it’s going to cost you, but here are some other ways to get around Long Beach Island:
If your idea of fun involves riding around in the comfort of your own vehicle, you’re not alone. You can control the temperature and music and avoid having to share space with a stranger if you take your own car. Long Beach Island is a driver-friendly place with clearly marked streets and plenty of parking. If you’re staying at a home with minimal parking your best option is to park your car early since the street parking fills up quickly in the summer. There are also parking lots scattered around the island but you should expect to spend between $10-20 each time you want to park your car in such a place.
If you want to take a car but you don’t want to deal with driving or parking, a taxicab might be the right choice. Besides the convenience of going directly to your destination without making stops along the way, a taxi is better than the LBI shuttle because you don’t need to think about operating hours. The LBI shuttle stops runs by 11pm most nights, so you’ll need a different ride home if you’re staying out very late. There are several taxi services that you could call if you don’t find an empty cab on the street as you’re out and about.
Bike riding is a fantastic experience on Long Beach Island. It is a safe and convenient way to get around, especially since there is a bike riders lane on the main streets. Rental bikes are easy to find in Beach Haven and Ship Bottom, and they’re very affordable. You can rent bikes for your whole family for less money than a taxi would cost in most cases. There’s a popular bike loop and pedal-friendly trails all over the island.