Jersey Shore

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This article is about the geographical area. For the television show, see Jersey Shore (TV series). For other uses, see Jersey Shore (disambiguation).
Wildwood, New Jersey at night, 2008
The beach in Spring Lake, New Jersey at 7 AM. Spring Lake is one of the most upscale Jersey Shore towns.

The Jersey Shore is the coastal region of the state of New Jersey. Geographically, the term encompasses about 141 miles (227 km) [1] of oceanfront from Carteret in the north to Cape May Point in the south. The Jersey Shore area includes Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Atlantic County, Cape May County, and Ocean county. While there is no defined border between North Jersey and South Jersey, the Raritan River, Manasquan River or Interstate 195 are often mentioned as the border, with most of the shore region being located in South Jersey.[2]

To many New Jersey residents, it is simply referred to as "The Shore."[3] 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.

Notable shore towns[edit]

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.

Middlesex County[edit]

New Brunswick[edit]

New Brunswick is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. It is the county seat of Middlesex,[20][21] and the home of Rutgers University. The city is located on the Northeast Corridor rail line, 27 miles (43 km) southwest of Manhattan, on the southern bank of the Raritan River. At the 2010 United States Census, the population of New Brunswick was 55,181,[8][9][10] reflecting an increase of 6,608 (+13.6%) from the 48,573 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 6,862 (+16.5%) from the 41,711 counted in the 1990 Census.[22] Due to the concentration of medical facilities in the area, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter's University Hospital, as well as Rutgers University's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick is known as "the Healthcare City",[23][24] The corporate headquarters and production facilities of several global pharmaceutical companies are situated in the city, including Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

New Brunswick was formed by Royal charter on December 30, 1730, within other townships in Middlesex County and Somerset County and was reformed by Royal charter with the same boundaries on February 12, 1763, at which time it was divided into north and south wards. New Brunswick was incorporated as a city by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on September 1, 1784.[25]

New Brunswick is noted for its ethnic diversity. At one time, one quarter of the Hungarian population of New Jersey resided in the city and in the 1930s one out of three city residents were Hungarian.[26] The Hungarian community continues to exist, alongside a growing Asian and Hispanic community that has developed around French Street near Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Perth Amboy[edit]

Perth Amboy features a historic waterfront, which has gone through significant revitalization. This is where the city was first settled and one of the few places left in New Jersey that has a historic and marina culture surrounded by water. Local attractions include the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip, two small museums, an art gallery, a yacht club, and a marina. Near the marina lies a park with a small bandshell. On Sunday afternoons in the summertime, Perth Amboy hosts the Concerts by the Bay in the park's bandshell. The waterfront is also characterized by a redbrick promenade near the water and many stately Victorian homes, some on hills overlooking the bay and predominating tree lined streets with well-manicured lawns. It has a number of seafood restaurants, as well. The land rises steeply after two blocks. This hides the rest of the town, making the waterfront look like a quiet fishing village. Points of interest on the waterfront include St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and the Proprietary House, which is now the former governor’s mansion and houses a museum and some offices. Kearny Cottage, which also has a museum, is here. In addition, this section of Perth Amboy once had a thriving Jewish community with yeshivas, synagogues, kosher butchers and bakers.[46] Today however there are only two synagogues left each with only a few members usually over the age of 55. A project called the Landings at Harborside was to have featured 2,100 residential units along with indoor parking, 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) of retail space, a community center, and recreation amenities for the public as well.[47] After meeting with Charles Kushner, the developer who spent two years in prison after being convicted of witness tampering, tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions, Mayor Wilda Diaz endorsed a scaled-back design concept for the development, allowing Section 8 housing rentals instead of owner-occupied units as originally promised.[48]

Laurence Harbor[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP had a total area of 2.953 square miles (7.648 km2), of which, 2.897 square miles (7.503 km2) of it was land and 0.056 square miles (0.145 km2) of it (1.90%) was water.[1][9]

The CDP is located off Exit 120 of the Garden State Parkway. The main routes are Laurence Parkway and Route 35. The railroad, which has no station in Laurence Harbor, divides the town into eastern and western sections, the former being locally referred to as 'The Front'. Cliffwood Beach also borders Laurence Harbor when traveling south.

The shore looks directly upon Staten Island's southern shore; the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Lower Manhattan (including the Empire State Building, on a clear night) and Brooklyn can also be seen.[10]

The lands known today as Laurence Harbor were part of the southernmost region inhabited by the Lenni Lenape tribe (also known as the Delaware) in the 17th century. In 1664, they became part of greater East Jersey, and in 1684 became part of a South Amboy that was much larger than it is today. In 1869, Madison Township split off from South Amboy, and was renamed as Old Bridge Township in 1975.[11]

European settlement of the area was linked to commerce passing through the Amboys along the Raritan River. From a military perspective, the area was useful for its high bayside cliffs, which allowed for strategic observation of ships traveling between New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.

Laurence Harbor is named after land developer Laurence Lamb, who bought property in (what was then known as) Madison Township at the turn of the 20th century and subdivided it into bungalow-sized lots.[10] Lamb established a 400-acre (1.6 km2) shorefront golf and country club on the site. Among those who frequented Mr. Lamb's establishment were Clark Gable, Guy Lombardo, the Prince of Wales and the Vanderbilts, who came to party and eat chingarora oysters, for which Raritan Bay was then famous. In 1928, the golf club was sold to developers for the above-mentioned construction of bungalows. A boardwalk, complete with a dance hall, casino, band shell, concession stands and a merry-go-round that played only one song, Let's Remember Pearl Harbor, provided entertainment, hot dogs and ice cream during the 1940s.

For those traveling south from North Jersey or New York, it was the first stretch of Jersey Shore beachfront before reaching Keansburg or Asbury Park.

According to a local historian who grew up in Old Bridge Township, the area was also used during Prohibition by rum runners who would lower their cargo of bootleg liquor overboard into the bay to be hauled ashore by local fishermen.

The Ochwald Brickworks, a brickyard operated in the area where the Bridgepointe townhouses now stand. The brick plant began operation in the early 1900s and continued to the early 1960s. Its 60 workers produced more than 84,000 bricks per day. Nothing remains of the plant as all was demolished for residential dwellings.

Monmouth County[edit]


Keyport is known for its oyster industry, which had been one of the world's largest suppliers until overfishing and pollution led to a collapse of the industry in the early to mid 20th century.[35] In August 2010, NY/NJ Baykeeper suspended an effort to recreate the oyster reefs in Keyport's Raritan Bay after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection cited concerns that the oysters could be harvested and sold to the public despite the persistent heavy pollution in the water after concerns had been raised by the United States Food and Drug Administration that patrols were insufficient to ensure that the oysters in the reef were not being harvested.[36]

It was the home of the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company which operated from 1914 to 1930 and built seaplanes for the United States Navy during World War I. Its planes were mostly military seaplanes and flying boats, including aircraft that offered some of the first scheduled air service using seaplanes.[37]

Keyport is credited as the birthplace of the "Lazy Susan", designed by William Bedle in 1845.[38] It was the site of the professional dance debut of film star Fred Astaire in 1903 at age four, together with his sister Adele, as part of an act that earned a review that called the duo "the greatest child act in vaudeville.[39]

Keyport is home to many diverse businesses, and has a bustling shopping district located on West Front Street, located one block in from the waterfront. The business district is now under control of the Keyport Bayfront Business Cooperative (which was established in 2011 to replace the now-defunct Keyport Business Alliance) which helps to organize events that benefit the businesses in Keyport as well as the city as a whole.[40]

Keyport is home to Espresso Joe's, a coffee shop and venue for local musical and artistic acts.[41]


The land that is now Keansburg was originally home to the Lenni Lenape Native Americans.

On September 3, 1609, the Half Moon, captained by Henry Hudson, is said to have landed on the shores of present-day Keansburg (although some historians argue that the landing and forthcoming explained events took place at the tip of Sandy Hook). Crewmen of the ship were attacked by the Native Americans when they departed the ship, and John Colman was killed, making him what is said to be the first European to be felled by a Native American arrow.[23] He is believed to have been buried in the area that is today the intersection of Carr Avenue and Beachway in an area known as "Colman's Point".

In the time between 1609 and the early 18th century, the land was gradually purchased from the Lenni Lenape with other surrounding areas. The area was inhabited by Dutch, English, and Scottish settlers. In the 18th century, farming proved to be successful on Keansburg's land, with specialties being pears, apples and corn (maize).

In this time, the settlement took on the name of Waackaack (pronounced "Way-kay-ack"), which came from the term "Wakioak" in the Lenape language meaning "Land of Plenty".[24] The area was also widely known as Tanner's Landing from the early 18th century until approximately 1820, so named for the pier at the end of what was Tanner's Landing Road (now Main Street). Tanner's Landing was a principal port for the area for many years.[25][26]

The are adopted its second official name of Granville, which derived from the importance of the Phillips Mill, and the grain-producing farms in the region. The name held until the 1880s. During the century, Granville became home to its own church, two lighthouses and small businesses. Roadways were beginning to form from repeated use of horse and buggies. The beach was already a favorite to visitors. Population was about 300 people, who mostly farmed and clammed for a living.

On Sunday, March 22, 1877, at "half past 9 o'clock," Granville welcomed the newly assigned pastor of the Granville Methodist Episcopal Church, William W. Ramsay. He later stated: "I arrived at the Granville Methodist Episcopal Church in Keansburg as pastor for the ensuing year. I soon learned that the hamlet consisted of about 300 inhabitants, whose occupations were mainly devoted to clamming & farming."[27] At 19 years of age, Ramsay was slated to serve in the church for just one year. His success at the helm of church led to another year in Granville, after which he decided to make the village his permanent home. Ramsay and his wife, Eliza S. Wood, purchased the land that is 69 Church Street and opened a general store in 1881. In the coming years, Ramsay took greater and greater interest in Granville and eventually arranged a petition to establish a post office. The list of 132 names was passed on to John Kean of Elizabeth, a candidate for Congress. His efforts led to the opening of the post office in 1884, with Mrs. Ramsay serving as its first postmaster. That year, the name Keansburg was adopted in Kean's honor.[20] A school was built at the cost of $30,000 in 1890 and sat on what is today the corner of Ramsay Avenue and Church Street (now Fallon Manor).

Further development continued with the creation of postcards depicting the village and land purchases, including acquisitions by William A. Gehlhaus and the Keansburg Beach Company. The Keansburg Steamboat Company was founded in 1910 primarily by Gelhaus as a means of providing transportation for New Yorkers who were interested in buying homes in Keansburg. In 1893, Gelhaus purchased a bakery business in Atlantic Highlands which he operated with his brothers until 1905. At that time he entered the real estate business in Keansburg. He was president of the New Point Comfort Beach Company which he formed with Jesse Sculthorp and Howard Roberts. The company owned a large real estate development in Keansburg and in 1906 laid out the Beachway. On June 18, 1909, the New Point Comfort Beach Company bought the steamboat Accomack in Norfolk, Virginia, and started a scheduled run from New York to Keansburg on July 1 that was intended as a way to bring prospective property buyers to Keansburg. Another real estate developer, Keansburg Heights Development Co., bought several thousand tickets. By July 21, more than $1,500 worth of tickets had been sold at $0.35 each.[28] As the town became more populated, the Keansburg Beach Company sold off most of the surrounding land on Beachway Ave., keeping "just the boardwalk and amusement area."[29]

Tourists from New York City would ferry over and spend the weekend or summer vacation to escape the city heat, until Hurricane Donna wiped out much of the waterfront area in 1960.[30] In 1969, the borough spent $7.9 million on the Bayshore Hurricane Protection Plan, which had been developed with state and federal funding from The New Jersey Bureau of Navigation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The redevelopment plan increased the size of the beaches to protect against future storms.[31] A number of fires in the 1980s destroyed several structures on the North side of Beachway Avenue. The Dance Hall Auditorium, Keansburg Bowling Alley and the Casino Theater were destroyed by fire during this time.[32]

The Gelhaus family re-acquired the Keansburg Amusement Park in 1995, following a 20-year absence after Henry Gelhaus had sold the property in 1972. The return of the Gelhaus family as proprietors of the amusement park sparked a resurgence of interest in the town. Upgrades were made to the amusement park grounds and a water park was constructed. Runaway rapids was opened in 1996 on the site of the former Crystal Pool.[33] The Keansburg Waterfront Public Library, founded in 2004, was the result of a concerted effort on the part of townspeople and the borough government to provide a high quality library with resources that address the needs and interests of the community.[34] In 2012, the town added a $3 million desalination plant with Federal Stimulus Funds and a low interest loan from the N.J. Environmental Infrastructure Trust, which greatly improved the quality of the water supply. The town had previously stopped providing well water, as saltwater intrusion into the aquifer had exceeded environmental protection standards. The new facility removes contaminants from the water supply through reverse osmosis.[35]

Atlantic Highlands[edit]

The town overlooks where the Atlantic Ocean and Raritan Bay meet at Sandy Hook, and its hills mark the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.[22] south of Maine.

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants were the Lenape, who lived in and along the cliffs and creeks of Atlantic Highlands. The Lenape traded with the Europeans and sold a group of English settlers an area that covered the entire peninsula that was named Portland Poynt. The area was laid out with 10 lots in 1667, making them the first European residents of present-day Atlantic Highlands.[23]

Colonists convened the first Assembly of New Jersey in 1667 in what is now Atlantic Highlands.[24] During Revolutionary War years, loyalists to the English crown and patriots of the new America clashed in repeated raids and counterattacks across these lands. And here passed retreating English troops after their 1778 defeat by Washington at the Battle of Monmouth.

During the late 1800s, the many farms were subdivided by resort developers, church groups and builders who created the Victorian core of the borough, attracting thousands of visitors and year-round residents.

In 1879, a surveyor was engaged to lay roads and lots for a permanent community. The Atlantic Highlands Association was formed by prominent members of the Methodist Church. This organization developed the community of Atlantic Highlands.[25]

Individuals and groups came from New York City and the surrounding vicinity to camp along the water in tent colonies. An outdoor amphitheater was created with a large seating capacity and outstanding acoustics. An indoor auditorium was built, which was utilized for entertaining visitors at the camp meetings. In 1887, Atlantic Highlands was incorporated as a borough, containing 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) of land bordering on the Raritan Bay.[21]

Major construction occurred from the 1880s through 1900. It included hotels, cottages, rooming houses, and private homes. A pier was built extending well into the bay to accommodate steamboats from New York City. The next twenty years saw rapid development within the community. A water and sewer system was constructed, cottages were erected, and the road system was completed. During this period of development a fire department was organized.

A number of churches saw their beginning in the 1880s: the Central Baptist, First Presbyterian, Saint Agnes Roman Catholic, First Methodist, and Saint Paul Baptist Church.

Atlantic Highlands became a haven for bootleggers during Prohibition.[22]

Steamer service was the most important transport during the formation of the borough, and continued through the 1940s. In the 1890s, rail service came to Atlantic Highlands. This opened up Highlands and points south to vacationers. The 1920s saw 26 passenger trains daily passing through the Borough. The Central Railroad of New Jersey built a major pier at the end of First Avenue. Several trains at a time could continue to the end of the pier to offload steamboat passengers. From the 1910s through the 1940s, the steamers Sandy Hook and the Monmouth navigated the waters bringing businessmen and vacationers to Atlantic Highlands.

The Manhattan skyline can be seen from the borough's ridges and its shoreline. Pleasure, fishing and commuter boats sail from its harbor. The municipal harbor was built from 1938 through 1940 with municipal, state, and federal funds. It is the largest on the East Coast, home to 715 craft, including high-speed ferry service to New York City, which was introduced in 1986.[26] In 1966, the Central Railroad of New Jersey pier was destroyed by fire. Its rail route is now used by the Henry Hudson Trail.[27]

The bungalows on the East Side of the borough, which in the 1920s were summer bungalows, are now occupied year-round. Portland Pointe, a five-story senior citizens building, provides housing for the elderly.

Sandy Hook[edit]

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[4] bring beachgoers. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the East Coast.[5][6] 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.

Red Bank[edit]

Red Bank is a noted social and commercial destination, filled with boutiques, designer clothing and home stores, parks, and restaurants. Special events are scheduled throughout the summer, such as the KaBoomFest fireworks on July 3, which attracted as many as 150,000 spectators at its 51st annual event in 2010.[51]

Since the 1950s, Red Bank has held the Annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale. The 58th Annual Sidewalk Sale was held from July 27, 2012 to July 29, 2012,[52] and was seen in "The Sidewalk Stash", the November 11, 2012 episode of the reality TV series Comic Book Men.[53]

The town is considered a center of artistic activity,[54] and is home to the Monmouth County Arts Council,[55] as well as several art and photography galleries.[56]

The Count Basie Theatre has hosted performers such as Kevin Smith, David Sedaris, Tracy Morgan, Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Foreigner, Andy Williams, Brian Setzer, B.B. King, and others.[57] The Count Basie Theatre is also home to Phoenix Productions, a non-profit community theatre founded in 1988 puts on large scale musicals four times a year.[58] The Two River Theater Company opened a large performance space on April 30, 2005, called the Two River Theater.[59] Bruce Springsteen filmed his 2005 VH-1 Storytellers special at the Two River Theatre.[60] The Marion Huber Theater, also operated by the Two River Theater Company, is a small black box theater, with seating for about 100.[61]

Boating, sculling, sailing, and fishing are popular outdoor activities in and near Red Bank; in the winter, ice boats sail on the Navesink when it freezes over, as it did in 2009.[62] The Monmouth Boat Club, Marine Park, and the slips of the Molly Pitcher Inn provide access to the Navesink and, from there, Sandy Hook and the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Jersey Shore and the Atlantic Ocean.[63]

Broad Street is one of the borough's central streets and is known for its lavish Christmas decorations, which appear on the street during the holiday season. The street is closed to traffic for a free concert sponsored by Holiday Express, after which the lights are all lit again.[64] Up to 7,000 people attend the shows annually.[65]

Red Bank hosts the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival in partnership with the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Society. "First Night", a New Year's Eve arts and entertainment festival, is a Red Bank event designed to provide an alternative to alcohol-related events.[66]

Each year from 1960 through 2011, a fireworks display was launched from the Navesink River close to Red Bank on July 3, the eve of Independence Day. "KaBoomFest" was held in Marine Park, where local bands and vendors formed a major gathering.[67]

Long Branch[edit]

Long Branch takes its name from the "long branch" or south branch of the Shrewsbury River.[28][29]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 6.283 square miles (16.274 km2), including 5.274 square miles (13.660 km2) of land and 1.009 square miles (2.614 km2) of water (16.06%).[1][2]

The city borders the Monmouth Conty communities of Deal, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township, Oceanport and West Long Branch.[30]

There are several distinct neighborhoods and areas in the City of Long Branch, each with its own character. Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Branchport, East Long Branch, Elberon (served as ZIP code 07740), Hollywood, Kensington Park, North Long Branch, Pleasure Bay and West End.[31] Other areas include North End (once known as "Atlanticville"), Beachfront North and South (including Pier Village, adjacent to the site of the former Long Branch Pier at the foot of Laird Street), Downtown and Uptown. As the city's redevelopment initiatives continue to expand, the lower Broadway area (a portion of the city's Downtown) will become an Arts District.

In years past, Long Branch was a major destination for beachgoers, along with Asbury Park, and enjoyed an upscale connotation with tourists. Long Branch is home to Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, named for the United States presidents who visited the fashionable resort town, including Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson and James Garfield.[32]

Long Branch's fame as the Nation's First Seaside Resort waned in the years following World War II.[33] The defining moment marking the end of this era occurred on June 8, 1987 when the largest fire in the history of the city destroyed the landmark amusement pier and adjoining Haunted Mansion, "Kid's World" Amusement Park and other businesses.[34]

Broadway Center is a planned entertainment and commercial hub of Long Branch, as envisioned by the City Government and Thompson Design Group, who created the Master Plan for the city. This complex is planned to offer retail shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and two performing arts theaters as well as 500 new residences sitting atop a 1,500 car parking garage. It will be designed by the architectural firms of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK).[35]

In June 2013, the city approved designation of the area around its train station as a transit village, which can bring incentives for revitalization and denser development.[36]

There are several mid-rise buildings lining the oceanfront.[29] In December 2013 another 12-story residential project was approved.[37]


Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Turkey Swamp Park, and Michael J. Tighe Park (formerly known as Liberty Oak Park) are all located in Freehold and provide assorted recreational opportunities. Smaller parks in the township include Durand Park, Whittier Oaks Park, Opatut Park, Wynnefield Park, Stonehurst Park, Sandy Brook Park, Duchess Court Park, Greentree Park, Medford Park, Woodgate Park, Woodcrest Park, Orchard Hills Park and Sargent Park.[82]

The southernmost segment of the Henry Hudson Trail also starts in the township and is used by walkers, runners, and bicyclists.[83]

Michael J. Tighe Park was formerly known as Liberty Oak Park, the park having been renamed in 2001.[84]

Freehold Raceway Mall is a super-regional high-end shopping mall with a gross leasable area of 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m2),[75] making it the second-largest mall in the state, behind Westfield Garden State Plaza.[76]

Diane & Co. is a dress shop featured on the Oxygen Network's show Jersey Couture.[77]

iPlay America is an indoor family entertainment and event center that opened in November 2011, offering rides, arcade games, go karts, carnival games, laser tag, shops and restaurants.[78][79]

Established in 1853, making it the nation's oldest half-mile harness racing track, Freehold Raceway offers horse lovers and bettors an opportunity to see harness racing.[80]

In 2004, the Freehold Township Senior League baseball team won the Senior League World Series. Led by manager Mike Brach of Freehold Township, the team became the first from Freehold Township to make it to the World Series, let alone win it.[81]

Asbury Park[edit]

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[edit]

Ocean Grove was originally developed as a religious summer camp meeting site,[7] and is referred to as "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore".[8] 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.[9] 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.[7] Ocean Grove also had the honor of being named one of the top 15 best beaches by Fodor's in 2014.[10]


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.

Spring Lake[edit]

Spring Lake was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 14, 1892, from portions of Wall Township, based on the results of a referendum held on March 8, 1892. On February 24, 1903, the borough of North Spring Lake was annexed to Spring lake.[22]

During the "Gilded Age" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Spring Lake developed into a coastal resort for members of New York City and Philadelphia high society, in similar fashion to the settlements of Newport, Rhode Island and Bar Harbor, Maine.[23] A surviving example of architecture constructed during this era is the Martin Maloney Cottage on Morris Avenue next to the tycoon's former and no longer existent Ballingarry Estate.[24] Another fine example of period architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the Audenried Cottage on Tuttle Avenue.[25]

The second of the five victims of the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, Charles Bruder, 27, a Swiss bellhop for the Essex and Sussex Hotel, was killed on July 6, 1916, while swimming approximately 130 yards (120 m) from shore in Spring Lake.[26] The wave of attacks took place between July 1 and July 12, 1916, along 80 miles (130 km) of Atlantic Ocean coastline and inspired the novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and corresponding film by Steven Spielberg.[27]

The borough and its environs are known as the "Irish Riviera" because of the large Irish-American population in the area, with Spring Lake having the highest percentage of any municipality in the United States.[28][29]

Spring Lake is home to the Spring Lake 5 Mile Run, a race that was first run in 1977, circling the borough, beginning and ending at the beachfront.[30] The 1999 event drew 15,000 runners.[31] In 2015, the race was listed as one of the top 100 races in America by Runner's World Magazine [32]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.728 square miles (4.475 km2), including 1.330 square miles (3.444 km2) of land and 0.398 square miles (1.031 km2) of water (23.04%).[1][2]

Wreck Pond is a tidal pond located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Wall Township and the boroughs of Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, and Sea Girt, covering an area of 28 acres (11 ha). The Wreck Pond watershed covers about 12 square miles (31 km2) in eastern Monmouth County.[33]

The borough borders the Monmouth County municipalities of Belmar, Lake Como , Sea Girt, Spring Lake Heights and Wall Township.[34]

North Spring Lake was an independent borough established in 1884 which comprised the northern portion of Spring Lake. The borough was disestablished and its territory was annexed by Spring Lake in 1903.[22]


Due to its location bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the population of Manasquan increases dramatically in the summer months as tourists flock to the beach.

The Manasquan Inlet provides surfers with waves that are corralled, refracted and enlarged by the jetty protruding out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Manasquan Inlet, reopened in 1931, is the northern terminus of the inland portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.[74]

Manasquan has a downtown area with many small businesses. Algonquin Arts Theatre has shows and movies that play throughout the year. It is a historic 540-seat theatre, built in 1938 as a movie house but converted to a professional live performance space in May 1994.[75][76]

The demolition of traditional beach bungalows and their replacement with much larger single-family dwellings has helped turn Manasquan into a year-round community.[77] The decrease in tourism and rise in residency can be attributed to the decline of once popular tourist destinations. Manasquan no longer has a 24-hour diner or a miniature golf course, and has lost many of the bars once located in its borders. During the summer months, the local bar and party scene overwhelm the area between Brielle Road and Main Street from the bridges to the ocean, especially with local bars - Leggetts and The Osprey - contributing greatly to the amount of party goers in the town.

The Firemans' Fair occurs every July/August. The fair is the largest source of funds for Manasquan Volunteer Engine Company #2 and dates back to 1974.Though it was on a decade-long hiatus until the late 1990s, the five day-long festivities in 2011 were expected to draw 30,000 attendees.[78][79]

Manasquan was home to the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), the largest registry of pedigreed cats in the world, until 2010.[80]

Ocean County[edit]

Point Pleasant Beach[edit]

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. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has many different attractions, food vendors, and stores. The attractions include a ride park geared towards children. You can go on the rides by purchasing a ticket book. There are also three arcades on the boardwalk Jenkinson’s South Arcade, Jenkinson’s South Beach Arcade, and Frank’s Fun Center. They all have outside game stands that give out prizes. You can also go to the Aquarium that is right on the boardwalk. The aquarium has all types of sea animals including alligators, penguins, seals, and many different types of fish. There are many restaurants ranging from pizza joints, to grills, to ice cream parlors. You can also buy souvenirs at the different shops that line the boardwalk. [11]

Toms River[edit]

The Waterhouse Museum features the works of painter Charles Waterhouse.[71]

The Pine Belt Arena, a public arena connected to Toms River High School North, is used for major concert events and small local events throughout the year to raise money for the school district.

Toms River Fest is held during the summer in Toms River, bringing many people from in and out of the area, with 25,000 attendees at the 2008 event.[72]

The John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex is the only indoor athletic complex bubble in Ocean County and one of the largest in New Jersey. It was severely damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy, reopening in January 2013 after repairs were completed.[73]

Toms River has many shopping malls including Ocean County Mall (the only enclosed mall in Ocean County[70]) and Seacourt Pavilion, located across Bay Avenue from the Ocean County Mall.

Seaside Heights[edit]

Seaside Heights boardwalk looking towards the Funtown Pier

Seaside Heights is famous for its amusement-oriented boardwalk and numerous clubs and bars.[12] 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 (TV series).

Long Beach Island[edit]

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.[13] 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.

A street in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island

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.


The Tuckerton Seaport, which is located in the center of town on Main Street, is a working maritime museum and village, which features several re-created historic buildings and has been a major attraction since its 2000 opening.

Along Main Street in Tuckerton are several shops and stores. South of County Route 539, Main Street is bounded by Lake Pohatcong, which features a duck decoy-shaped billboard advertising the annual Decoy Show held in September at nearby Tip Seaman Park. During the Holidays, the duck is replaced with a Christmas tree. In 1995, a boardwalk was installed along the side of the road overhanging the lake. Also on Main Street is Stewart's Drive-In, which has been open continually since the 1970s.

Atlantic County[edit]

Atlantic City[edit]

Atlantic City, aerial view.

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.[14] 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. 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[edit]

Ocean City[edit]

Ocean City boardwalk

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.[15] 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.[16] In the 2009 Top 10 Beaches Contest, Ocean City ranked first.[17]

The Wildwoods[edit]

Wildwoods sign on boardwalk in Wildwood

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 Chateau Bleu Motel, a typical doo-wop-style motel

The Wildwoods is home to over 200 motels, built during the Doo-Wop era of the 1950s and 1960s,[18] in an area recognized by the state of New Jersey, known as the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District'[19] 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.[20] The motels are unique in appearance, with Vegas-like neon signs and fantastic architecture.[21]

Cape May[edit]

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.[22] 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

Middlesex County

Monmouth County

Ocean County

Atlantic County

Cape May County

Affected by Hurricane Sandy[edit]

A roller coaster sitting in the ocean; a damaged pier
Jet Star roller coaster at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights in the Atlantic Ocean after 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.[23]

Sound and culture[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] In 1999, the music video "Summer Girls" by LFO was filmed in Seaside Heights.[citation needed]

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.[24][25][26]

The 2011 film New Year's Eve was filmed in Seaside Heights.[citation needed]

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.

Stronger than the Storm was media campaign, and title of a jingle made for it, to promote tourism in New Jersey, especially the Shore, in 2013.[27][28][29]

Retail businesses[edit]

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.[30]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ "The Real Jersey Dictionary". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Sea Streak
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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."
  7. ^ a b Wayne T. Bell (2000). Images of America: Ocean Grove. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0425-4. 
  8. ^ 2009 Summer Events, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, p. 1.
  9. ^ Largest organs in the world
  10. ^ Voted Top 15 Beaches By Fodor's
  11. ^
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ 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)."
  14. ^ Today in History: June 26 at the Library of Congress
  15. ^ Best Family Beach of 2005, Travel Channel, March 2005.
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Ocean City wins No. 1 beach in New Jersey for '09, The Star-Ledger, May 19, 2009.
  18. ^ "The '50s and '60s Thrive In Retro Doo-Wop Motels". Washington Post. 24 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  19. ^ Doo Wop Preservation League Web site
  20. ^ Wildwood Crest Historical Society Web site
  21. ^ 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."
  22. ^ 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."
  23. ^ Amy S. Rosenberg (March 13, 2013). "Panel takes sobering look at future of the Shore". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Shore Residents Express Anger with MTV". 
  25. ^ "Shore residents express anger with MTV's Jersey Shore premise". November 29, 2009. 
  26. ^ "MTV's Jersey Shore Garners Critics Over Use of Term 'Guido'". December 11, 2009. 
  27. ^ Nurin, Tara (December 13, 2013). "What Went Wrong with Stronger than the Storm". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  28. ^ Stronger than the Storm website
  29. ^ YouTube: New Jersey: Stronger than the Storm TV Commercial
  30. ^ Warner, Susan (August 14, 2005). "Mom and Pop Hold Sway At the Shore". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°02′53″N 74°03′07″W / 40.048°N 74.052°W / 40.048; -74.052