Long Beach Island has been a favorite summer spot for visitors since the 1860’s. Today, more than 8500 residents call the Island home all year round. In the summer, the numbers swell and more than 100,000 visitors descend on Long Beach Island to take advantage of the beaches, gorgeous scenery and opportunities for a variety of activities.
Finding a place to stay on Long Beach Island isn’t much of a challenge, although visitors who plan to come during the peak season should make their reservations early. There are a number of beach cottages, bed and breakfasts and hotels from which to choose. Many are pet friendly and most are just steps from the beach. Even those that are not directly on the shore are just a short walk away.
Long Beach Island is a barrier island that is located off of the coast of New Jersey. It is just 18 miles long, but there is plenty to do and see in that relatively small space. The Barnegat Lighthouse is probably the most well-known attraction on the island. The current lighthouse was built in 1859 after the original,
built in 1835, was damaged in a storm.
Another popular attraction on Long Beach Island, which is made up of 20 individual communities, is the Holgate Wildlife Refuge. Part of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, this park is home to box turtles, white tailed deer and many types of birds. There are miles of hiking trails, some as short as a half mile so that people of most fitness levels will be able to enjoy the refuge.
There are also wineries on Long Beach Island. Visitors often choose to spend a day of their vacation visiting a few and doing wine tastings. A local favorite is cranberry wine, and many visitors bring home several bottles to enjoy during the holiday season.
There are spas, fabulous restaurants – some of which are open year round – as well as a number of family friendly attractions. One of the most popular is Fantasy Island. This amusement park features rides, arcade games and more.
On a hot New Jersey day, the whole family will appreciate a visit to Thundering Surf Water Slides where there are a variety of ways to cool down. After a few hours on the slides, stop for an ice cream on your way back to the cottage or hotel room.
For all of the wonderful attractions on Long Beach Island, the beaches are the stars of the show. With sand that glistens like sugar, and waves that at times draw surfers, the beaches are the most popular spots on the island.
Many of the cottages sit just steps from the water. Because the island is far less narrow than it is long, visitors are never far from the ocean. Not surprisingly, many of the activities that keep the visitors coming back year and after year revolve around the water.
There are boat rentals and charters. Visitors can go on a guided fishing excursion or rent a small boat for their personal use. Kayaking, surfing and swimming are also popular. The areas off of Long Beach Island beaches are wonderful for SCUBA diving. There are lessons available for beginners and more experienced divers and if a visitor does not have their own gear, they can rent it on the island.
Another fun adventure is para-sailing. This doesn’t require any special skill and is appropriate for most visitors. Get a bird’s eye view of the ocean and the surrounding shore.
Those who love the nightlife will not be disappointed with Long Beach Island’s offerings. There are a number of bars, some of which feature live bands each night during the summer.
While the bulk of activities are for the summer, many choose a winter visit to Long Beach Island. They prefer the island when the crowds have gone and the prices are low. It will be too cold to swim, but much of the charm of the island is there all year long.
The locals are quite proud of the history of Long Beach Island. The Long Beach Island Museum is manned mostly by volunteers. Free lectures about various aspects of the heritage of the island are offered each week in July and August at the museum.
There is a reason that visitors keep coming year after year. A rich heritage, a number of fun attractions, beautiful beaches and gorgeous scenery all add up to a fabulous vacation destination.