"You see, there’s much more to do on Long Beach Island than just go to the beach."
Apr 10, 2020 at 8:00 AM
Known as the “Gateway to Long Beach Island,” you arrive in Ship Bottom once you cross over the causeway. So it should come as no surprise that here you’ll find the largest concentration of goods and services on the island. Stop into the Information Center of Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to collect some pointers and brochures on all that there is to do and see on the island. While you’re here, check out the Ron Jon Surf Shop, an institution of sorts on LBI that dates back to 1961. Just down the coast a bit, you can sign up for some adventure at LBI Surfing & SUP Lessons. If you’re here for a romantic getaway, spend some time at Hotel LBI, a swanky establishment, that’s a must-see on the island. Here’s a cool anecdote: the name Ship Bottom was derived from a ship’s accident in 1817. A woman was saved from a wreck when rescuers chopped through the hull of a boat to free her.
Heading north, Surf City does not disappoint in terms of its beach scene yet it also distinguishes itself for its vibrant arts scene. From jewelry to stained glass to paintings, pottery and more, here you can discover a sea of galleries and boutiques that showcase works from local and regional artists. Fortunately Surf City’s array of eateries offer a palette of sophisticated and casual dining options as well.
On your way to Barnegat Light at the northernmost end of LBI, enjoy the tranquil setting of Harvey Cedars, a small borough of predominantly second home owners. Here at one of the most narrow parts of the island, you can enjoy both Barnegat Bay and Atlantic Ocean views as you cruise along Long Beach Boulevard. Sigh, pick out which house you might like to summer in–all you need is a couple of million to call it your own.
Loveladies is another lovely neighborhood that you’ll pass through on your way north to Barnegat Light. Named after a small island owned by a certain Mr. Lovelady, this area became known as Loveladies. Don’t you love it?
Any LBI traveler worth his (or her) salt, heads up to Barnegat Light. The fifteen-minute drive can amount to considerably more during the busy summer months but it’s worth it for there’s much to do here. Start out at the Barnegat Light Museum & Gardens for a good dose of maritime history. Add on a visit to “Old Barney,” the red-and-white color-banded Barnegat Lighthouse where you’ll also take in some of the best views on the island. Note that this 172-foot structure, commissioned in 1859, is the second tallest lighthouse in the United States. Leave plenty of time to walk around Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, especially if you’re a birdwatcher since the area serves as a favorite resting place on the migratory path of all kinds of birds throughout the year.
Be sure to explore the streets of this quaint town and the delightful shops and restaurants you find in this burrough of some 1,100 people. Those interested in knowing more about the exciting world of commercial fishing, should check out Viking Village. Founded during the 1920s by Scandinavian fishermen, this port of approximately forty independently owned fishing vessels bustles with activity as they haul in and pack out about five million pounds of seafood a year. Tours may be arranged or you can just stand aside and watch the fishing boats come and go. You can stop at the coffee bar, the fresh seafood market year and other shops as well. Ocean cruises and deep sea fishing excursions also leave from Barnegat Light on the Miss Barnegat Light. There’s so much happening here that you might want to reserve a couple of nights in one of the the town’s quaint B & Bs.
Toward the opposite end of LBI, south of the causeway and Ship Bottom, you’ll find all kinds of doings at Beach Haven. Set against a backdrop of Edwardian- and Victorian-era buildings, many of which have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s fun to stroll around this old beachside community while checking out their jumble of shops, restaurants and bars. There’s even a theater here, called Surflight, founded in 1950, that puts on all kinds of shows from Broadway musicals to children’s theater, comedy and concerts. For an extra serving of old fashioned fun, go to The Showplace Ice Cream Parlor for an exciting evening of cabaret and ice cream. An LBI tradition since 1975, you have to see it to believe.
You see, there’s much more to do on Long Beach Island than just go to the beach.