Everyone knows the Jersey Shore is the worst, but what you probably didn’t know is that the Jersey Shore is actually not the worst! In fact, it’s a wonderful place filled with Northeast charm, glorious beaches, and remarkable sunsets (if you know where to look). Granted, you’ll find an obnoxious D-Bag on just about any beach if you’re hunting for him, but isn’t that true of everywhere?
Hurricane Sandy may have done a number on a handful of these spots, but unlike Snookie’s appeal, there’s something classic and enduringly timeless about each town on this list. So without further ado, please enjoy the horror (read: actual majestic beauty that you should absolutely visit) that is the Jersey Shore.
Warning: if for some obscure reason you don’t like barrier islands, this is not the list for you and we can’t be friends.
Sea Bright is pretty much the closest beach south of New York City. There’s a river to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east so people enjoy boating, fishing, surfing, and paddle boarding. D-Bag quotient is very low.
Ocean Grove is home to the coolest, most charmingly quaint, exclusive tent city you’ll ever see. Old timey Victorian architecture and a quiet downtown make this the last place you’ll want to pump your fists into oblivion.
Ocean Grove and seagull, New Jersey
If you haven’t heard of Asbury Park by now, you should probably get your hearing checked (Boom! Roasted!). We’ve even mentioned it as a trendy place to get brunch before. The beach in Asbury Park has a lively boardwalk with endless entertainment.
If you hate hydrangeas, a brand new boardwalk (thanks to Hurricane Sandy) and Jack Nicholson — who happens to have grown up here — then yes, the Jersey Shore is the worst! But if you like all those things, you might actually enjoy this old money beach town.
Bay Head is home to several picturesque B&Bs. The town itself is less than one square mile and it offers a quiet retreat from busier spots like Point Pleasant just north. Also, Tyrion Lannister/Peter Dinklage was born here.
Just a few short blocks south of Snookie’s former house-of-recklessness is Seaside Heights’ quieter, more conservative baby sister, Seaside Park. Here, you’ll find some of the East Coast’s best sunsets, soft cushy sand, and family legacies that go back a long, long time.
Island Beach State Park
It might seem redundant, but Island Beach State Park is an extension of the same barrier island as Seaside Park. It’s a massive 3,000 acre reserve of undeveloped land covered in dunes and wildlife where people do all the regular beach stuff, plus acquire special permits to take four-wheelers to the most isolated parts of the beach.
Long Beach Island
LBI is the old standby of N.J. beach tourism. The barrier island’s six different municipalities form one of the state’s most popular summer utopias filled with mini golf, tiny amusement parks, and plenty of restaurants. You’ll find quiet solitude in the north and a little more action in the south.
This century-old Joisey borough is between the Intercostal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, so if you like water and nature, you’ll probably love it here. They’ve hosted a baby parade in July for over 50 years so that people can gawk at cute tiny humans.
Another classic. Cape May, aka exit 0, is the southernmost spot in the state and it’s ALMOST like we’ve saved the best for last. Cape May has some of the coolest Victorian homes on the East Coast and as an extra bonus some of them are haunted. There are also ENORMOUS sharks lurking in the water, so visit at your own risk.
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due to exquisite weather, @woopwoop14 & @sarah_reppert are heading down to the beach for the day and 7p GRIIT will be cancelled tonight! tomorrow: @sarah_reppert will sub for @teamfoolish at 5:30a sprint.GRIIT sign up now at www.arcstu.com/schedule <— #linkinbio #beachday #summer #relaxation #everyonedeservesadayoff #workhard #chillhard #jerseyshore #shore #downtheshore #ocean #nj #newjersey #summertime #july #hiit #griit #fitness #fitfam #fit #primeshots #usaprimeshot #july #2016 photo 📸 @cariannehixson