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Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach

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Why Go: If you’re looking for the ideal boardwalk experience, Point Pleasant is the place to go. The mile-long boardwalk is lined with the usual arcade games, thrill rides, and souvenir shops, plus all the tasty deep-fried foodstuffs you dream of. Bordering the sea is Jenkinson’s Beach, a well-maintained classic complete with lifeguards and bathhouses.

Where to Stay: The Tower Cottage is a lovingly restored Victorian mansion whose interior is filled with Italian tilework and marble-framed fireplaces. Expect amenities like aromatherapy toiletries plus a breakfast of inspired dishes like pina colada sorbets and pumpkin spice cakes.


 

Asbury Park Beach

Asbury Park Beach

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Why Go: Asbury Park has held a remarkable place in the history of American arts, from vaudeville acts to Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band. Today, the beach town is experiencing a vibrant renaissance, now home to a bustling boardwalk, music clubs, jazz fests, and a lifeguard-supervised strand to top it all off.

Where to Stay: Just four miles down the road in Belmar, find the Tandem Bike Inn, a conveniently placed and perfectly priced inn. Included in your stay? Beach tags, chairs, towels, umbrellas and even -- as its name would imply -- use of the property’s tandem bikes. What better way to get to the Asbury Park beachfront?


 

Beach Haven, Long Beach Island

Beach Haven, Long Beach Island

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Why Go: A picturesque 18-mile island, called “LBI” by those in the know, is home to a number of quaint shore towns and tidy beaches, including Beach Haven. The resort has a waterpark and many of the island’s top shops and bars. It also has a stretch of guarded, groomed, picture-perfect beach.

Where to Stay: The moss-green Williams Cottage Inn has eight rooms with private baths and period details, from chandeliers to antique headboards. Rooms on the second and third floors have some of Beach Haven’s best sea views.


 

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Spring Lake Beach

Spring Lake Beach

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Why Go: In many ways, Spring Lake feels worlds away from much of the Jersey Shore. Stately private homes surround a quaint shopping village. Two miles of pristine beach and its namesake spring-fed lake offer plenty of recreation, and a handful of historical inns and fine restaurants ensure a decidedly upscale vacation.

Where to Stay: The White Lilac Inn is capital-G grand, from its triple-tiered verandahs to its double Jacuzzi tubs. Planning a romantic vacation or a honeymoon weekend? Bed down in the Victorian Treasure Suite, where not one but two fireplaces and an exclusive in-room breakfast await.


 

Ocean City Beach

Ocean City Beach

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Why Go: Winner of Coastal Magazine’s 2016 best beach award, Ocean City has won applause for its family-friendly amenities. Every summer Thursday brings free kid-approved extras like facepainting right to the sands. And the town is dry, which means no clubs, bars, and beer bottles junking up the sand.

Where to Stay: Guests have loved the Scarborough Inn’s wraparound verandah and outdoor bathhouse (convenient for washing off sand before entering the quaint 1895 inn). Just as thoughtful? An on-site guest laundry for long vacations.

 


 

The Cove, Cape May

The Cove, Cape May

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Why Go: This Cape May spot is popular for its surfing waves and hot-pink summer sunsets; even locals plunk down their beach chairs for the show. (Get there early, catch the sun, then hop a Victorian-era horse-and-carriage ride to one of Cape May’s top restaurants.) In fall, expect to see birdwatchers and beachwalkers enjoying the soft, clean sands too.

Where to Stay: The Harrison is a B&B with real boutique flair. A former summer residence, it’s since been converted into a modern, elegant inn with sky-high guest reviews. The rooms are right out of a design magazine, complete with goodies (that clawfoot tub!) and a crisp palette of dove grey and cream.


 

The Wildwoods

The Wildwoods

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Why Go: Five miles of connected beach stretch across Wildwood, North Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest. Not only is the region perfectly retro, with its pastel-painted motels and neon signs, it’s also perfectly free! Beach access is complimentary, while a slate of free events, live music, festivals and fireworks displays add even more value.

Where to Stay: The Sea Gypsy B&B has traditional guest rooms in its main inn and deluxe suites in its nearby bungalow, both mere blocks from the beachfront. Need a little something sweet? Each guest at this Queen Anne stunner has access to lemonade and an old-fashioned candy cupboard.


 

—by Dara Continenza

 

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Content sponsored by New Jersey Travel & Tourism. Any references to accommodations does not constitute or imply an endorsement from NJ T&T.