Life's a Beach on the Central Jersey Coast
A stroll along the beach - with sun, sand and surf inviting you onward.
Sep 28, 2018 at 8:00 AM in Things to Do by
If you like the beach–and all the phantasmagoric fun that goes with the best of them; the sandy swathes at Ocean Grove, Asbury Park and Bradley Beach will thrill you as much as a dip in the ocean on a hot summer day. They have it all here in this part of the central Jersey coast:seemingly infinite views of the Atlantic Ocean, soft-sand beaches maintained daily by a squadron of beach cleaners, bronzed lifeguards that look as though they just stepped out of Jersey Shore or Baywatch, warm water bubbling with all kinds of surf (depending on the weather) and best of all, big boardwalks made for endless hours of strolling for young and old.
And how about the food? It almost seems as though it’s all about eating here as you pass concession after concession that serve up the most mouthwatering burgers, beach fries, grilled and fried seafood, specialty coffees, crepes, milkshakes, cotton candy and much more mile after mile after mile. OK, maybe not so many miles but you get the idea. And virtually every international cuisine is represented;Mogo Korean Fusion Tacos and Hoagitos, both in Asbury Park, rank among some of the best loved. Just steps away from these pleasure-seeking pathways, you can find restaurants that offer stunning ocean views and fine dining, high-end establishments that rival some of the best in the big cities. It’s no surprise because Manhattan and Philadelphia are only about an hour’s drive away.
You’ll find a big slice of the Italian-American culture of the Jersey Shore at Vic’s, a Bradley Beach staple since 1947. Originally found by Vittorio “Vic” Giunco, an Italian immigrant, Vic’s has been a family-owned business for four generations and today–just like in the beginning–they continue the tradition of serving up delicious Italian food from pizza pie to veal parmigiana. This is just one of many beloved Italian restaurants to pepper the area; enjoy checking out many more with the help of your Discovery Map.
Wow, and as if that isn’t enough, you’ll find all kinds of mini golfs and other cute and kitsch-y family fun centers tucked along and near the boardwalk. Indeed, they’ve come a long way since the days of the old wooden roller coasters! Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach and surrounding Avon-by-the-Sea and Neptune are all big destinations for day trippers from the City. Actually there’s so much to do here that a week won’t be enough. Plus, you have to work on your tan.
Check with your place of lodging or the visitor’s centers to find out about procuring a beach and parking pass. You don’t need one for the boardwalk, which always offers great oceanfront views and much to see and do.
Bradley Beach puts on a host of free events, many in the gazebo along the boardwalk, that will have you singing and dancing all summer long. There’s often Shakespeare there as well.
In Asbury Park, the vibrant boardwalk begins at Convention Hall and stretches one-mile south to Casino Pier. Expect some of the best people watching in the world!
Or maybe you just want to go out for ice cream near the beach? Day’s, located in Ocean Grove, is the place to go for some of the best sweet stuff around. They have soy ice cream, Italian ices and big fat sundaes, too.
When all the elements line up correctly, you can catch some World Class waves, typically late summer and fall. Surfers take note! The beaches are also great for boogie and skim boarding.
If you want to be out on calmer waters, Deal Lake Dock Company can set you up with kayaks and SUPs for Sunset Lake where it’s nice to dial it down.
Good news is that you can find your way to these beloved seaside destinations quite easily on NJ Transit. Why be stuck in traffic when you can cruise along in a climate-controlled train? Surf Taxi also provides excellent service locally and with airport transfers.
Whatever you choose to do, know that in Asbury Park, Bradley Beach and Ocean Grove, it’s much about embracing the free-spirited vibe that makes vacationing here such a blast.