If you live along the northeast coast of the US and are looking for a beach getaway, look no further than Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The Jersey shore offers some of the best beaches along the coast and "LBI" is right at the center of it. Located off the coast of central New Jersey, it is what is known as a barrier island. Barrier islands are relatively flat land forms that develop parallel to a main coastline. They tend to be long and thin. In fact, Long Beach Island is only one-half mile wide at its widest point. The island stretches for 18 miles with several miles of nature preserve at it’s southern end. It is just north of Atlantic City. The hotels and casinos are visible off the southern tip of the island.
One interesting difference which sets Long Beach Island apart from much of the other shore spots, is it’s lack of boardwalk along the beach. This provides a much quieter atmosphere versus the louder more party atmosphere of some northern destinations. The beaches, though busy in peak season, remain much less crowded than many of the other destinations along the northeast. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the season, classified as Memorial Day to Labor Day. When you are visiting you will need to purchase a Beach Badge. The Beach Badge revenue helps to pay the lifeguards and keep the beaches clean and maintained. Prices, according to the chamber of commerce run at $5.00 per day and $20.00 per week. Badges are needed for ages 12 - 64. Seniors have a discounted rate at 65 and older in some towns, and are free in some municipalities.
There are plenty of hotels and beach house rentals to use while you stay. Vacation rental by owner options abound, or you can use one of the many realtor offices on the island. If you are looking for hotel options, check out the chamber of commerce link above for a variety of choices.
When the fun is winding down and it’s time to eat, that is when the island really shines. Of course seafood is a specialty, being a coastal island. Ship Bottom Shellfish offers fresh fare in a seafood market atmosphere with a dining area for lunch and dinner. They are available for sit down, take out, or fresh seafood to take home and prepare yourself. The local celebrity of restaurants on the island has is The Chicken Or The Egg. They specialize in chicken wings with a variety of sauces, the most famous (and lethal) being the “ludicrous sauce.” There are dozens of pizza places, ice cream shops, and whatever else you can imagine being in the mood for.
Long Beach Island is a great option for families because it is missing much of the atmosphere that draws crowds of college age kids looking to really let loose for the week. There are various arcades available and one amusement park called Fantasy Island.
No trip is complete without a visit to the Barnegat Lighthouse. The lighthouse, known as “Old Barney” to the locals, sits on the northern tip of the island. It is open for anyone to climb the 217 steps to the lookout, for free. There is also a museum and information center on the premise. The climb to the top is mild to moderate in difficulty. The view at the top is very rewarding, and windy.
The peak season, as defined above is when prices run the highest on rentals. However, if you have some flexibility and can go right before or after peak, prices really plummet. For instance, the week after Labor Day, prices on rentals drop from one-half to one-third the price. The weather is still very summer like and water temperatures are at their warmest. Most seasonal businesses do not start closing up until later in September, so this time makes a great vacation with an economical price. Also, the beaches and restaurants are sparse, so you are likely to have plenty of room to relax.
Overall, Long Beach Island has proven itself time and time again, as a prime vacation destination. If you are in the mood for gorgeous beaches, fresh seafood, and a quiet atmosphere, take the Garden State Parkway to exit 63 and head south to “the causeway.” You won’t regret it.
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