Sandy Hook is a great place for those who don’t want the boardwalk experience, and want more to do than just sit on the beach. Plus it’s only $15 entrance for a whole carload of people. Parking is free and the money goes to the National Park Service. Sandy Hook is a “barrier spit” that’s 6-7 miles long, a mile wide at some points, and accessed via bridge.
Ride a Bike: Bring your own or rent one (there’s a rental place at Beach B – first right after the pay station). Lots of trails – 7 miles of them starting at the park entrance, out to Fort Hancock at the end.
Fishing: fishing is allowed at all beaches without lifeguards on duty.
If you’re looking for a traditional New Jersey boardwalk experience, Point Pleasant does the trick. It has rides, games, hermit crabs, taffy, fudge, greasy food, the beach and other things going for it.
I really like the Asbury Park boardwalk. There are no arcades, no rides, and the stores are a bit nicer. It’s not big, and it’s understated. Plus it has the Silverball Museum, where you can play pinball for hours (you pay an hourly rate, so it’s not quite the same as an arcade).
Here are some things you should know if you go to the Asbury Park boardwalk/beach:
The stand food looks good, including a crepe stand, sausage stand, the Mayfair Boardwalk Grill, Ralph’s Italian Ice, and ice cream (pictured below). As for restaurants, there are many to choose from. A friend recommends Langosta Lounge. We’ve enjoyed eating at Siculiana’s Italian Bread and Pizza twice (it’s next to the Silverball Museum). Wonderbar is famous, and you can bring your pets to the outdoor area during Yappy Hours (kids 8-14 are admitted to the Yappy Hour food area).
Just got back from a few days in Ocean City, which gets accolades as the most family-friendly town, and best boardwalk on the shore. I don’t have much to compare it to, but we had a great time and indeed, it was a great boardwalk. Thought I’d do a photo highlight of the boardwalk. Of course it rained while we were there, so the boardwalk photo is gray.
A: Ocean City is built for families. It’s a completely dry town (not even BYOB!) and its boardwalk is built for people who want to stroll with a stroller or two. The ride piers cater to families, too. Sure, your teenagers will find some thrills and spills, but there’s tons of stuff for the littler ones, too.
Q: What are the top 3 fun/unique places on the shore to visit with kids?
A: Take them for a ride on the Carousel at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City. This is one of the few places where you can reach out and grab the golden ring from a carousel. It’s a gorgeous piece of art, too, that you can ride!
–Silverball Pinball Museum in Asbury Park. This place is amazing. For a flat fee, you can play the machines inside this pinball museum, which is located right on the boardwalk. VERY popular with parents, too!