The Jersey Shore is the coastal region of the state of New Jersey. Geographically, the term encompasses about 127 miles (204 km)  of oceanfront from Sandy Hook in the north to Cape May in the south. The Jersey Shore area includes the easternmost portions of Monmouth, Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean counties. While there is no defined border between North Jersey and South Jersey, the Manasquan River or Interstate 195 are often mentioned as the border, with most of the shore region being located in South Jersey.
To many New Jersey residents, it is simply referred to as "The Shore." A commonly-said phrase within New Jersey is to go "down the shore", or to have done something "down the shore".
Famous for its many boardwalks with arcades, water parks, and amusement parks boasting hundreds of rides and attractions, the Jersey Shore is a popular vacation spot for New Jerseyans, New Yorkers, and Pennsylvanians, and various other states in the Northeastern United States. Certain communities are also popular with visitors from the nearby Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
- 1 Notable shore towns
- 2 Beaches
- 3 Affected by Hurricane Sandy
- 4 Sound and culture
- 5 Retail businesses
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Notable shore towns
The Jersey Shore is lined with over 40 communities, each with a different character and flavor. Some cater to summer tourists and visitors, others are completely full-year residential communities, others still are a mix of both. Below are some of the most notable oceanfront communities.
Sandy Hook is a long, narrow peninsula managed by the National Park Service as the a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The eastern shoreline consists of various public and fishing beaches, including North Beach and Gunnison Beach. The peninsula's ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and are a popular destination for recreation in summer when seasonal ferries bring beachgoers. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the East Coast. The northern end of the island is home to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, and restored buildings of the former Fort Hancock Coast Guard Station. Spread across the peninsula are former military installations, including four ammunitions bunkers, two gun stations, and a Nike Missile Base.
Asbury Park was developed through the 1920s and 1930s as a resort destination for the New York Metro Area, and it remained that way through World War II. The post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s saw the construction of the Garden State Parkway and the Monmouth Mall, taking visitors away from Asbury Park. Race riots on July 4, 1970 resulted in the destruction of various buildings across the city. Since the early 2000s, a burgeoning crowd of artists along with local political leaders have helped push the town through major redevelopment which is still ongoing. Asbury Park has emerged as a prime LGBT destination and still retains its lively music scene which made it famous, with locales such as the Stone Pony, a music bar which is frequented by artist such as Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny.
Ocean Grove was originally developed as a religious summer camp meeting site, and is referred to as "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore". Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture. It is home to The Great Auditorium, a 5,500-seat indoor arena constructed in 1894 on bridge-like iron trusses laid on stone foundations. The Auditorium contains a pipe organ that is one of the 25 largest in the world. Surrounding the Auditorium are 114 tents, which are occupied from May to September, just as they have been since 1869. These rustic throwbacks adjoin to rear sheds containing a kitchen and bathroom. The tents are stored in the sheds during the winter. They are in such demand that there is a waiting list of some ten years for summer rentals. Ocean Grove also had the honor of being named one of the top 15 best beaches by Fodor's in 2014.
Belmar is a popular vacation destination due to its natural and recreational resources. Its boardwalk and town offer shops, restaurants, an active arts scene, sporting events, festivals, and a variety of family-oriented activities. Belmar is among the most popular surf spots on the East Coast, frequently hosting surfing events and competitions.
Point Pleasant Beach
The Point Pleasant boardwalk is approximately one mile long, spanning the coastline from the Manasquan Inlet at the north to New Jersey Avenue in the south. The central third of the boardwalk contains amusement rides, arcades, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, and miniature golf courses. Point Pleasant Beach is also the northern terminus of the East Coast's Intracoastal Waterway. The town is home to Jenkinson's Aquarium, Jenkinson's Boardwalk amusement park, and Jenkinson's Beach.
Seaside Heights is famous for its amusement-oriented boardwalk and numerous clubs and bars. Casino Pier and Funtown Piers are amusement parks, each situated on a pier extending approximately 300 feet (100 m) into the Atlantic Ocean. Each of the two piers is part of a boardwalk that stretches for 2 miles (3.2 km), which offers many family-friendly attractions from arcades to a wide variety of foods and desserts, all within walking distance. Breakwater Beach is a water park situated across the street from Casino Pier. Seaside Heights was boosted into the national spotlight by MTV with shows such as Jersey Shore
Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island is a barrier island and collection of several shore communities. Long Beach Island is approximately 18 miles (29 km) in length, which includes three miles (5 km) of nature reserve located on the southern tip. Bisecting the middle of the island is the sole access point for road vehicles, via State Route 72, which consists of the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge (locally known as "The Causeway"). The bridge is known for its "String of Pearls", a row of lights mounted on the railings lining the length of the bridge. This beach is popular spot for people who want to relax in the sun all day and don't particularly like the boardwalk. Most places are in walking distance and there is a downtown area with stores and restaurants.
The presence of the bisecting roadway, located in Ship Bottom, results in the division of the island into a northern portion and a southern portion. In Beach Haven is The Chicken or The Egg restaurant, that has been serving up delicious meals and debate since 1991. From the bridge northward, the island includes the communities of Surf City, North Beach (a section of Long Beach Township), Harvey Cedars, Loveladies (the northernmost section of Long Beach Township), High Bar Harbor, and Barnegat Light. From the bridge southward, the island includes the communities of Long Beach Township (including the census-designated place of North Beach Haven) and Beach Haven, with the Holgate section of Long Beach Township at the southernmost tip of the island. The island is home to attractions such as Barnegat Light, the Fantasy Island amusement park, as well as the original Ron Jon Surf Shop location.
Atlantic City is a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is considered the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast" and is second to Las Vegas in number of casinos, yearly gaming revenue, and number of rooms. The Atlantic City Skyline has been transformed by construction of new casino hotels and condominia. Atlantic City is also home to numerous shopping malls and districts.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk was one of the first boardwalks of its type in the United States, having opened on June 26, 1870. The Boardwalk starts at Absecon Inlet and runs along the beach for four miles (six kilometers) to the city limit. An additional one and one half miles (two kilometers) of the Boardwalk extend into Ventnor City. Casino/hotels front the boardwalk, as well as retail stores, restaurants, and amusements. Notable attractions include the Boardwalk Hall, the Steel Pier, and the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. Formerly home of the Miss America pageant, Atlantic City has been featured in numerous films and television series, most notably the setting of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
Cape May County
Ocean City is home to a boardwalk with several shops and amusement areas. Known as a family-oriented seaside resort, Ocean City has prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages within its limits since its founding in 1879. Ocean City has miles of guarded beaches, a 2.5-mile boardwalk, and a downtown shopping and dining district. The Travel Channel rated Ocean City as the Best Family Beach of 2005. It was ranked the third best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. In the 2009 Top 10 Beaches Contest, Ocean City ranked first.
The Wildwoods is used as a collective term for the four communities that have "Wildwood" as part of the municipality name — the Borough of Wildwood Crest, City of Wildwood, Borough of West Wildwood and the City of North Wildwood — together with Diamond Beach, a portion of Lower Township situated on the island. Its most notable features are its beach and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) boardwalk, home to the Morey's Piers amusement complex and Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis waterparks owned by Morey's Piers. The boardwalk features a trolley called the "Tramcar", which runs from end to end.
The Wildwoods is home to over 200 motels, built during the Doo-Wop era of the 1950s and 1960s, in an area recognized by the state of New Jersey, known as the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District' The term doo-wop was coined by Cape May's Mid-Atlantic Center For The Arts in the early 1990s to describe the unique, space-age architectural style, which is also referred to as the Googie or populuxe style. The motels are unique in appearance, with Vegas-like neon signs and fantastic architecture.
Cape May is at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the country's oldest vacation resort destinations. With a rich history, award-winning beaches, designation as a top birding location, and many Victorian structures, Cape May is a seaside resort drawing visitors from around the world. The Cape May – Lewes Ferry connects the town to Lewes, Delaware.
The following is a list of all the beaches located within the state of New Jersey, listed north to south
Affected by Hurricane Sandy
The entirety of the Jersey Shore region was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The devastating effect of the storm surge on property adjacent to the beach resulted in substantial cost to the reinsurance industry which has since advocated avoidance of rebuilding closely packed middle-class residences or flimsy commercial structures adjacent to the beach. It is felt insuring property in the area may be impossible if a configuration of buildings is constructed which have a high probability of suffering massive damage in future storms.
Sound and culture
The Jersey Shore is home to numerous rock and roll clubs, most famously in Asbury Park, where Bruce Springsteen honed his skills at now defunct clubs like The Upstage and the Student Prince. He still makes periodic live appearances at The Stone Pony bar or at Convention Hall as either a solo act, with the E Street Band, or with other artists. Furthermore, Bill Haley and the Comets performed "Rock Around the Clock" for the first time live at the Hoff Brau in Wildwood.
A style of music known as the Jersey Shore sound evolved from this scene. The Springsteen song "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" is one of several Springsteen songs that contains references to the Jersey shore scene of the early 1970s.
MTV also used Seaside Heights as the location of their Summer Beach House in 1998 and again in 2002, and for two episodes of True Life about adults in their 20's and 30's living "down the shore" for the summer. In 1999, the music video "Summer Girls" by LFO was filmed in Seaside Heights.
The Jersey Shore area rose to international fame in 2009 after MTV started airing the reality series Jersey Shore. The popular show, filmed mostly in Seaside Heights, debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of the words "Guido/Guidette", portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes, and scrutiny from locals because the cast members, with the exception of three, are not New Jersey residents.
Some episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, season four, took place at the Jersey Shore. As discussed on the show, the families of cast members Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga have houses in Toms River, and Kathy Wakile's family also rented a house at the shore.
Unlike areas in the interior of the state, which has many big box stores and malls, small businesses make a significant portion of the economy of barrier island Jersey Shore towns. This is because small businesses can more easily adapt to the seasonal nature of business in shore towns. Stores that are located at the shore are all unique ranging from psychics and accessories at Ocean City to home-made chocolates in Long Beach Island. In addition many shore towns deliberately stymie the entry of big box stores because they want to reduce traffic. In addition, many tourists visit shore towns in order to be in an environment without big box stores. In some shore towns Wawa Inc. designs its stores to match the aesthetic and changes its operating procedures to adapt to the shore culture. It is the only retailer on the island of Cape May to have a significant number of stores.
- Galant, Debra. "JERSEY; South Jersey Is Friendlier? Oh, Shut Up And Drive", The New York Times, April 9, 2000, accessed April 11, 2008. "For the purposes of dividing North Jersey from South Jersey, Gannett drew a line between Monmouth County and Ocean County. I decided that it would be amusing to drive down to this dividing line — which turned out to be the Manasquan River — and test the hypothesis."
- "The Real Jersey Dictionary". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Sea Streak
- Trebay, Guy (September 2, 2001). "All Undressed and So Many Places to Go". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
Crowds are also increasing these final summer days at Blacks Beach near San Diego, at Mazo Beach on the lower Wisconsin River and at Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a dress optional sand strip run by the National Park Service that was recently deemed by the Clean Beaches Council, an environmental group, one of the top 10 beaches in the United States.
- Flam, Faye. "Clothing optional may not be way of historical human", The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2006. Accessed June 17, 2007. "Sandy Hook boasts the biggest nude beach along the Atlantic. The clothing-optional part is called Gunnison Beach and there's even a picture showing people of varying shapes and sizes frolicking in their birthday suits."
- Wayne T. Bell (2000). Images of America: Ocean Grove. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0425-4.
- 2009 Summer Events, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, p. 1.
- Largest organs in the world
- Voted Top 15 Beaches By Fodor's
- Mansnerus, Laura. "So, Just Who Goes Where When Going to the Shore?", The New York Times, June 6, 1999. Accessed July 13, 2011. "Seaside Heights, with a summer population of about 65,000, is packed, one of the few shore towns with larger apartment buildings. The boardwalk has almost a mile of skeeball and video arcades and enough fast food and bars to amuse the young into the early-morning hours. 'I don't think they let you into Seaside Heights if you're over 21,' said Kristin Farfalla, a sales representative at Midway Beach Real Estate in South Seaside Park."
- Long beach island, Ocean County Historical Society. Accessed July 20, 2007. "Long Beach Island lies off the New Jersey Coast about 65 miles (105 km) south of Manhattan and 57 miles (92 km) east and slightly south of Philadelphia. The island follows the coast for a distance of 18 miles (29 km) in a roughly northeast-to-southwest direction. Barnegat Bay, which separates it from the mainland, is approximately two to six miles (10 km) wide. The width of the island ranges from more than a mile to less than 200 yards (180 m)."
- Today in History: June 26 at the Library of Congress
- Best Family Beach of 2005, Travel Channel, March 2005.
- Urgo, Jacqueline L. (May 23, 2008). "Triumph for South Jersey". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Ocean City wins No. 1 beach in New Jersey for '09, The Star-Ledger, May 19, 2009.
- "The '50s and '60s Thrive In Retro Doo-Wop Motels". Washington Post. 24 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- Doo Wop Preservation League Web site
- Wildwood Crest Historical Society Web site
- Fancher, Emily. "Doo Wop" architecture lures tourists back to seaside town, Columbia News Service, June 10, 2002. Accessed June 17, 2007. "Just about everything in Wildwood, N.J. has been touched by 'Doo Wop'. The term describes the distinctively kitschy flair of the town's 200 motels, which were built in the 1950s and '60s. Reflecting the popular cultural themes of the era, the motels have Hawaiian and Polynesian designs, Space Age accents or rock 'n' roll details."
- Johnson, Charles P. "Many Drive To Resorts On Atlantic: Coast Places Draw Drivers From Pittsburgh District", The Pittsburgh Press, June 22, 1930, p. 3 of the Automobile section. Accessed July 4, 2011. "The southern part of New Jersey largely in Cape May County contains other popular resorts. Cape May City, the southernmost part of New Jersey, is said to be the oldest vacation resort in the United States."
- Amy S. Rosenberg (March 13, 2013). "Panel takes sobering look at future of the Shore". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
- "Shore Residents Express Anger with MTV". PointPleasantChamber.com.
- "Shore residents express anger with MTV's Jersey Shore premise". app.com. November 29, 2009.
- "MTV's Jersey Shore Garners Critics Over Use of Term 'Guido'". abcnews.com. December 11, 2009.
- Nurin, Tara (December 13, 2013). "What Went Wrong with Stronger than the Storm". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Stronger than the Storm website
- YouTube: New Jersey: Stronger than the Storm TV Commercial
- Warner, Susan (August 14, 2005). "Mom and Pop Hold Sway At the Shore". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- New Jersey Shore Events, History Hotels, Dining and Articles
- 17 New Jersey Shore Newspapers serving Atlantic and Cape May Counties
- Historical Postcards - Jersey Shore
- Highlights New Jersey Shore Events and activities