What are Beach TagsBy Aimee Amodio
Beach tags must be purchased in order to use many of the beaches along the Jersey Shore. Beaches with a beach-tag program use the proceeds to offset the maintenance and staffing costs associated with running a beach.
Typically, children under 12 are free at Jersey Shore beaches, but everyone else must pay for, and present, a tag in order to utilize beaches with a beach-tag program. Most beaches also offer discounts to seniors. Contact the municipality of the beach that you wish to attend in order to determine current policies and rates.
Daily, weekly and seasonal tags are usually available from most beaches, though the costs of each varies depending on the beach.
Daily tags are usually around $6, but if you're just visiting the Jersey Shore and plan on visiting the beach 2 or 3 times throughout your stay, weekly tags usually offer a better value.
If you live in the New Jersey Shore area, or plan on visiting an area beach multiple times throughout the season, then the seasonal ticket is clearly your best value. Seasonal tickets are usually $25-$30, and offer unlimited use of the beach for the summer season. Seasonal tickets quickly pay for themselves after only 5 or 6 visits.
Why do I need beach tags?Beaches that require beach-tags normally have staff that patrol the beach looking for people who are not displaying their tag. Guests who do not have a tag will be asked to purchase a beach-tag, or leave the beach.
Beach-tags are very controversial as many guests cannot understand why they must pay to visit some beaches and not others. Many guests also feel that if they are going to pay for the use of a beach, that beach should offer services above and beyond those services offered by free beaches.
Proponents of the beach tags suggest that they improve the cleanliness and safety of the beaches and that they lower the crime rates as well by allowing a better police presence along the shore.
Beach tag proceeds are also used to staff the beach with more life-guards. This improves not only the standards of safety for guests on the beach, but also allows for larger beaches with more bathing and swimming areas.
Often the beaches that require beach tags are those located in smaller cities that would not otherwise have the funds to maintain a safe and clean beach. Larger cities have a larger pool of resources available to maintain and improve their beaches. Beach tags act as an equalizer: they allow these smaller cities and towns to offer a similar product to the larger centers, despite their more limited resources.
The prices of beach tags are also usually very reasonable: around $6 for a day at the beach. When compared to a movie ticket or some other form of entertainment, beach tags are great value for your money.
(Prices are subject to change. Please contact the municipality of the beach you wish to attend for current prices)
Which beaches do not require beach tags?The following beaches do not require beach tags as of the 2013 beach season. Please call the municipality to confirm.