New Yorkers who are carless or leery of rising gas prices can escape the city heat and head to the Northern Jersey Shore via NY/NJ Transit. Until September 1, 2008, purchase round trip ride and beach passes for travel from Penn Station, New York to select Shore sights. Sit back and relax, but make sure to transfer at the Long Branch train station. In less than two hours, you will be exploring a Victorian town, soaking up the sun, shopping along the famed Asbury Park boardwalk and of course, reveling in the New Jersey music scene.
Start your day in Ocean Grove, a town designated as a National Historic District, and claims the largest aggregate of Victoriana in the country. Journey back in time as you walk around this Victorian town founded in 1869 by Methodist ministers looking for a permanent camp meeting ground. During the summer, the Historical Society of Ocean Grove offers walking tours of Tent City and the Great Auditorium Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:00 pm and Saturday at 11:00 am. A $6.00 donation per person is requested and reservations are recommended.
For lunch have a Bia burger or Bia salad at Bia, a 60-seat European bistro located inside the Majestic Hotel on Main Avenue or hit up one of the bakeries dotting this quaint Victorian-era street for some lighter fare.
After lunch, be sure to make your way to the sandy beaches, which are open 9:0am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday and on Sundays from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
After your time playing in the sand and surf continue along the boardwalk to neighboring Asbury Park. This historic seaside community just underwent a major facelift including a newly designed boardwalk. Swing by LaPlaca Pottery Works and throw your own pot. Move on to Hot Sands to make your own quick casts, paperweights or tiles. Grab a cone at Eddie Confetti Ice cream where their Chocolate Brownie ice cream is a chocolate lover’s dream or build your own pannini at Casa di Formaggio. Browse through Brielle Cyclery’s Trek concept store and Style Rocket for some unique fashion items. Asbury Park Galleria offers beach supplies such as suntan lotion, beach chairs, and boogie boards, as well as a selection of Ashbury Park photo memorabilia. Be sure to stop by John Cavanaugh’s Rocktography exhibit. This Boardwalk favorite features his photographs of Asbury Park’s legendary musical performances.
Take a break at The Beach Bar on the boardwalk next to the Paramount Theater for happy hour by the shore. Then head over to the Salt Water Beach Café. Try the catch of the day or other local New Jersey seafood.
After a full day exploring the Jersey Shore, head over to the Asbury train station where the last train departs at 10 pm. However, if you want to catch a late night show at the Stone Pony, home to New Jersey legends like Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, you can make it a weekend getaway by staying at the nearby and newly restored Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel.
What & Where:
New Jersey Transit (800-772-2222)
Historical Society of Ocean Grove (Tours begin at 50 Pitman Avenue)
Bia at The Majestic Hotel (19 Main Ave, Ocean Grove; 732-775-6100)
LaPlaca Pottery Works (1200 Ocean Ave , Fifth Avenue Pavilion, Suite #502, Asbury Park; 732-861-2276)
Hot Sands (1200 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park Boardwalk, Asbury Park; 732-927-5475)
Eddie Confetti Ice Cream & Boardwalk Bagels (First Ave Pavillion, Ashbury Park Boardwalk)
Casa di Formaggio (Fifth Ave Pavillion, Ashbury Park Boardwalk)
Brielle Cyclery’s Trek (Fifth Ave Pavilion, Ashbury Park Boardwalk; 732-502-0077)
Style Rocket (Fifth Ave Pavilion, Ashbury Park Boardwalk)
Asbury Park Galleria (Fifth Ave Pavilion, Ashbury Park Boardwalk)
John Cavanaugh’s Rocktography (Asbury Galleria, 1000 Ocean Ave. Asbury Park Boardwalk)
The Beach Bar (The Grande Arcade at Convention Hall, Asbury Park Boardwalk)
Salt Water Beach Café (1200 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park; 732-774-1400)
The Stone Pony (913 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park; 732-502-0600)
Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (1401 Ocean Ave; 732-776-6700)
Helpful Information: Beach/rail packages can be purchased from ticket agents and ticket vending machines along the lines or at the stations listed above. Transportation is not valid during weekday morning and evening peak periods. Also, the beach passes cannot be transferred between towns so pick the place where you’d like to sun. These combos need to be purchased from ticket agents or self-service vending machines (be sure to choose Special Promotions and then select Beach Package).
Next time you head to the Jersey Shore take the Seastreak ferry from East 35th Street or Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Manhattan to the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation area. A combined beach/ferry ticket offered from May 31st through Labor Day, weather permitting, includes a free bus shuttle service and access to Gunnison Beach, North and South Beach, The Fort Hancock Museum, restrooms and concession facilities. Spend the day exploring Sandy Hook Light, America’s oldest operating lighthouse (1764) and other historical sites; walking along the New Jersey Coastal Historical Trail or swimming and sunbathing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Fort Hancock Museum (Sandy Hook Unit Gateway National Recreational Area, Fort Hancock; 732-872-5970 or 732-872-0115)
The round trip off peak ticket is $22.00. These tickets are not issued during peak periods.
WHEN TO VISIT NEW JERSEY
The best time to visit New Jersey is during the early summer months; July and August are often hot and humid, with highs of 86 degrees. Winter is too cold for most tourists, who prefer the moderate climates of autumn and spring.
If you enjoyed this article about Escape the Summer Heat at the Jersey Shore, you’ll also love Historical Spring Lake, New Jersey.
Traveling To New Jersey Soon? Here are a few tips:
How to get there: There are 5 ways to get from New York to New Jersey by train, bus, taxi or car.
Where to stay: There are many places to stay in New Jersey and a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury. For a luxury hotel that won’t break the bank, I recommend the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel which is currently the #1 hotel on Tripadvisor. For a mid-level hotel, I suggest the Empress Hotel. Finally, for a budget hotel, try the Super 8 by Wyndham Asbury Park. You can also check HotelsCombined for the best New Jersey Hotel Rates.
What to pack: A week at the beach should be relaxing—so don’t let packing for it stress you out. Here’s what to pack for a Jersey Shore vacation. A beach bag, flip-flops, you can’t go to the beach without your favorite pair, Waterproof jacket you’ll want a lightweight windbreaker for breezy evenings on the beach and also for the occasional rainy day. Pairs of shorts, preferably in light colors to keep you cool in the sun. T-shirts that has lighter colors are best for days on the boardwalk. Tank tops tanks are standard attire on boardwalks up and down the Jersey Shore. A pair of jeans or linen pants to wear out to dinner or for cooler evenings on the boardwalk.
New Jersey Trip Essentials
6 Indispensable Items to Pack for a New Jersey Vacation
- Get the Fodor’s New York City 2019 (Full-color Travel Guide).
- Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful New jersey beach landscape shots. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
- Summers in New Jersey can be hot, so make sure to bring Neutrogena Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 45
- A great cross body travel bag. They prevent theft and keep all your valuables safe.
- Don’t forget sunglasses for the beautiful sunny days. A.J. Morgan Unisex Sunglasses are a great choice and very affordable!
- Water shoes are a great item to pack for any beach vacation. They take up little room when packing and great if you end up at a beach that is rocky or with very hot sand.
Read More About New Jersey
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.