Jersey Shore, NJ Overview
When To Go
While the summer months offer the most to do, there is something awfully romantic about a walk on a deserted beach and lunch in a cozy pub beside a roaring fire during the winter.
Like most resort areas, the population at the Jersey Shore swells dramatically during the summer months, but it is not unbearable. There is certainly more traffic and more people, but the roadways are not clogged like the Hamptons and the streets are not jammed with people like in Newport.
Our “Jersey Shore” is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from New York and Philadelphia, an hour from Princeton and an hour from Newark Liberty Airport and 1 1/2 hours from Philadelphia airport. Private planes can fly into Monmouth Airport in Wall and there are marina slips, like Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle, available for boaters.
The area is fairly spread out so you will need a car to get around, however Uber is readily available should you choose not to have a car.
Things To Do
There are miles of clean, well maintained beaches supported by the sale of daily and seasonal beach badges. Daily badges cost between $4-$8 depending on the beach. Monmouth County boasts 6 public golf courses, two of which are consistently rated in the Top 100 by Golf Digest Magazine. There are miles of bike and nature walks through parks and reservoirs and Brielle is the deep sea fishing capital of the East with some of the best tuna and shark fishing anywhere. You can enjoy a day at the races at the magnificent Monmouth Park racetrack or take an hour’s drive and try your luck at the tables in Atlantic City. There are open air concerts with big name entertainment, art shows in the little beach towns and the largest hot air balloon festival in the country is just a short drive away. You can rent boats and kayaks, play tennis or just relax in a hammock.
All of the beaches at the Jersey Shore are clean and well maintained by the individual town’s beach departments. Beach maintenance is supported by the sale of daily and seasonal beach badges. Cost is $4-8 per day. Manasquan and Point Pleasant beaches are more family oriented with snack bars, arcades and rides. Spring Lake and Sea Girt are more adult friendly and are quieter, fewer children. Our favorite has always been the south end of Sea Girt beach at Philadelphia Blvd.
Sea Watch, at the north end of Manasquan Beach have changing facilities and showers. Good if you are staying farther north but want to stay down for dinner.
Monmouth County offers 6 public golf courses, two of which Howell and Hominy Hill, are consistently rated among the top public courses in the country. Our choice is Hominy Hill in Colts Neck, about a 15 minute drive from the Shore. Great layout, well maintained, well managed. Zagat called it, “. Augusta of New Jersey.”
Manasquan (2nd Ave. Stockton Beach Park), Brielle (Union lane and South Street) and Spring Lake (Passaic Ave.) all offer outdoor public courts.
The “boards” as the boardwalks are called are ideal and scenic for walking or running along the ocean. Spring Lake is the longest about 4 miles up and back, followed by Sea Girt at just under 2 miles both ways, Manasquan is a mile each way. Bikes are only allowed on the boardwalks before 9am in season, anytime out of season. The Manasquan Reservoir, located about 20 minutes away is a natural preserve and has a beautiful 5 mile trail through the woods and along the reservoir. Wonderful place to walk, run or bike. There is a lengthy bike path through the woods, starting on North Main Street in Manasquan and stretching out almost to Allaire State Park. See also the Manasquan Reservoir above. Bikes can be rented a Shore Riders Bike Rentals in Point Pleasant.
Kayaking in and around the Manasquan River is both great exercise and wonderful way to spend an hour or two. Glide past the beautiful riverfront homes of Brielle or marvel at the wildlife in the small tributaries of the river. Now there’s a place in Manasquan that rents kayaks by the hour or day. Paddle Out in Manasquan at 537 Main Street opens at 10am, but if you call the night before they’ll meet you as early as 8am and there are special early bird rates. regular hourly rates are $20 single and $30 double. They have car top holders and also offer guided tours.
Spring Lake Theatre Company 3rd Ave, Spring Lake For 26 years the Spring Lake Theatre Company has been producing quality theatrical productions like South Pacific, Man of LaMancha, Scrooge and more. Usually 5-6 plays a year.
Surf fishing is very popular in the area with striped bass and blue fish the usual catch. Young guy recently caught a 52lb striper in the surf. You’ll have to bring your own pole, but you can get everything else you need at Bogan’s Basin in Brielle, on Higgins Ave. Brielle is the deep sea fishing capital of the East offering both charter boats and party boats. Charter boat fees run about $500 per half day and $1100 full day. The local’s choice for charter boats is the Captain Kel and the Barb Gail IV, the Jamaica II for fluke and the Paramount for sea bass.
Monmouth Park Rt. 36, Long Branch No better way to spend a cloudy day than the beautiful Monmouth Park. Clean, well managed facility with manicured grounds, top horses and jockeys. Season runs late May to late September. Watch the races in the Clubhouse, less crowded than the grandstand and it has dining facilities.
The PNC Bank Arts Center Located in Holmdel about a 30 minute drive north on the Garden State Parkway. This outdoor amphitheatre is a beautiful venue and hosts some of the top acts touring each summer. Tailgate early in the parking lot on grassy meridians and enjoy great sounds under the summer sky. Count Basie Theater is on Monmouth Ave. in Red Bank This small indoor theater offers interesting concert and theatrt productions throughout the year. It’s intimate setting gets you up close to the performers.
There are many quaint and interesting shops in the towns of Spring Lake, Manasquan and Point Pleasant. Two full size malls in Eatontown and Toms River are within a 20 minute drive and there are 2 factory outlet malls one in Tinton Falls and a very large one in Jackson about 20 minutes away on Rt. 195.
- Morning coffee at the Manasquan Inlet
- Back porch at the Parker House after the beach
- Cocktails outside at Waypoint 622
- A rainy day at Harpoon Willys
- Dinner at Shipwreck Grill
- A day at Monmouth Park
Good to Know, Good to Go
News and Resources
Food & Drink
Committed Pig, Main Street in downtown Manasquan. Creative and delicious breakfasts. John & Elaine’s, Rt. 35 Point Pleasant. The local’s favorite place. Love the cozy booths in the main room. Pancakes to die for, try the pumpkin pancakes in the Fall. Buttered Biscuit, Bradley Beach. Worth the trip no matter where you are staying. Best corned beef hash around. Fresh squeezed OJ, grilled crumb cake. Great home fries. Turning Point, the Jersey Shore’s own “chain” serves breakfast, brunch and lunch in a stylish setting with great food. Locations in Sea Girt, Brick, Long Branch, Little Silver, Holmdel and Manalapan. The River Cafe, Brielle, a local’s favorite where you are more than likely to see someone you know. Toast City Diner is also a local’s favorite with locations in Asbury Park and Red Bank. Enjoy brunch on the water at Rooney’s Oceanfront in Long Branch, Salt Creek Grille in Rumson and Drifthouse by David Burke in Sea Bright.
In the warmer weather the Porch at the Parker House in Sea Girt is delightful, as is the outside bar at Waypoint 622 in Brielle. In cooler weather, head to Rod’s or Harrigan’s in Sea Girt, St. Stephen’s in Spring Lake Heights or Harpoon Willy’s on the river in Manasquan for excellent pub food. Half Moon Point in Point Pleasant has a delightful covered outside terrace.
If you are looking for a leisurely lunch with wonderful ocean views, we love the French bistro Avenue in Long Branch. Excellent food and wonderful wine list. raw bar. Deck overlooking the ocean.
After the Beach
Parker House Back Porch 1st Avenue, Sea Girt. Mini burgers ($1.50), shrimp and clams, 1 lb lobsters ($8), lots of cold beer and reggae music make this outdoor porch behind the Parker House a favorite of the locals. Tough to get a table after 3:30pm. (Seasonal) Martell’s Tiki Bar Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant. If you are looking for something a little more wild after the beach, this is the place. Right on the ocean, tons of people, 4 bars, live music and dancing. Frozen drinks, decent appetizers, very cold beer. (Seasonal) Waypoint 622 Green Ave, Brielle. Sit outside overlooking the Manasquan River. Raw bar, outside grill. Good appetizers and drinks. Cold beer. Weekend entertainment. Outside the Box (Shrimp Box) Point Pleasant. On the river, great people. Fresh squeezed OJ. Good apps. Bar Anticipation, Lake Como. Great outdoor bars. Excellent apps, fresh squeezed juices. Live entertainment.
Harpoon Willy’s, Manasquan, on the river. Great view, a roaring fire in winter, music many nights and delicious food. Rod’s Olde Irish Tavern. Washington Blvd., Sea Girt. Cozy booths, lots of TV’s, great food, fun bartenders, well trained wait staff. Perfect place for lunch, after the beach or Sunday brunch. Everyone feels welcome here. Make their own croutons, salad dressings, chicken fingers (the buffalo are the best), roast their own turkeys and they offer the best prime rib anywhere but usually only on Friday nights. Best place for St. Patrick’s Day or any televised sporting event. Lots of fresh daily specials including fish. Decent wine list, the hottest beers, very good Sunday brunch, very reasonable prices.
Harrigan’s Pub. Rt. 71 Sea Girt. Top sirloin comes out sizzling in its own garlic butter with fries. $14.95. Also HUGE shrimp, great chili and burgers. Favorite of the locals.
Red’s Lobster Pot Channel Drive in Point Pleasant. No frills, BYOB spot on the water. All kinds of seafood, but people come for the lobster. Get there around sunset for a glorious display from Mother Nature. No reservations.
Opened in 2020, Point Lobster Bar & Grill in Point Pleasant has a fantastic raw bar and delicious wines to wash down your favorite shellfish. Rooney’s Oceanfront in Long Branch has a great raw bar and ocean views.
I’ve enjoyed the pizza at Squan Tavern in Manasquan my whole life. It is still my go-to pizza place in the area. Pete & Elda’s. Rt. 35, Neptune. Super thin crust pizza that locals will drive miles to get. Eat an Extra Large by yourself and you get a t-shirt. DeLorenzo’s in Robbinsville. It is a 40 minute drive from the Shore, but if you are a pizza fanatic, this is like going to the Pizza Mecca. They will take a reservation, but you better be there on time. This is, however, the best pizza you will ever experience.
When you visit the Jersey Shore you want water views or fireplaces with your cocktails…oh and the cocktails should be good too! Waterfront restaurants, In no particular order. (*) denotes fireplace or also good for winter.
Jack Baker’s Wharfside – Point Pleasant
The Shrimp Box – Point Pleasant
Waypoint 622 – Brielle
Harpoon Willy’s – Manasquan (*)
La Terrazza – Belmar
The Columns – Avon
Robinson Ale House – Asbury Park (*)
Langosta Lounge – Asbury Park
Mister C’s – Allenhurst (*)
Rooney’s Oceanfront – Long Branch (*)
Avenue – Long Branch (*)
Drifthouse by David Burke – Sea Bright (*)
Salt Creek Grille – Rumson (*)
After Dinner Fun
The club scene is strong at Bar Anticipation, D’Jais, The Headliner and The Columns. More sedate entertainment is available at Harpoon Willy’s, Half Moon Point, Reef & Barrel, St Stephens Green and more. Visit ShoreFoodie.com for entertainment schedules.
If you are an early riser, stop at the 7-Eleven on Main Street in Manasquan for coffee (this is where the locals get their coffee, fresh all day) and a newspaper and then head on down Main Street to the beach. Turn right at the end onto 1st Ave and drive to the inlet. Park your car and walk up to the pavilion overlooking the beach and inlet. The sun will be splashing over the beach, fishing trawlers will be heading to sea and the surfers will be catching the first waves of the day. It’s peaceful, the air is fresh a great way to start the day.
Head to Center Food Market in Manasquan or Joe Leone’s in Sea Girt or Point Pleasant for your lunch and then the Bottle Shop in Spring Lake if you want some wine. Best choices for your picnic are; The Lake in Spring Lake, The Manasquan Reservoir, Howell. This 5 mile nature preserve around the reservoir takes you through the woods and beside the water. Plenty of private spots for an intimate picnic. Fisherman’s Cove, Manasquan. Throw down a blanket, watch the boats go by and enjoy this protected nature preserve
Greetings From Asbury Park
Immortalized by Bruce Springsteen in his debut album, Asbury Park, NJ has suffered from urban blight for many years. The once glamorous seaside community was beset by political corruption, fleeing merchants and declining property values.
I have fond memories of the town from growing up in the area. I saw the Rolling Stones there at Convention Hall in 1968 (how old am I?). I took dates to the Paramount Theater where they piped in clouds as you were watching a movie and my friends and I used to drive to Asbury for cardboard “containers” of beer after the bars closed.
Thankfully there is a resurgence under way that makes Asbury, once again a great place for an evening. Great restaurants, bars and entertainment. Perfect for a pub crawl.
Pleasant Water Taxi. Sample six restaurants on the Manasquan River by water taxi. Cocktails and appetizers at one, dinner at another and dessert at a third. Taxi stops every hour. Beer and soda served on board. $16 for the night. $20 on Saturday. No reservations required. Pick up taxi at Waypoint 622 or River House in Brielle.
A Day at the Races
Late morning head to Pier Village on Ocean Avenue in Long Branch for lunch. Browse the wonderful little shops in the Village and have lunch at Avenue, a delightful and elegant brasserie right on the ocean. Inside is stylish with a sleek bar, high ceilings and a wonderful fireplace. Outside on the deck the view is gorgeous. Excellent food, wonderful wine list. After the track, head over to the Mix Lounge on Brighton Ave in Long Branch. Best martini selection around, great snacking food and a hip atmosphere.
Where To Stay
Chateau Inn & Suites, Spring Lake
OVERVIEW Long the standard for accommodations and service in this part of the Jersey Shore, The Chateau Inn and Suites in Spring Lake remains the choice of many, including celebrities who visit the area. They raised the bar even higher a few years ago with their departure from the “Victorian and wicker” decor that characterizes...…View Property Details
Inn on Main, Manasquan
OVERVIEWWe were thrilled a few years back when Inn on Main opened in our little town. There had not been many properties if this caliber in the area, so this was a welcome addition. Ideally located in the center of town, within walking distance of the train station and restaurants, and just a mile from...…View Property Details
Ocean Place Resort & Spa, Long Branch
OVERVIEWSitting right next to the lively Pier Village with its boutique shops and restaurants, Ocean Place is the only full service hotel directly on the ocean at the Jersey Shore. The views from the rooms are spectacular up and down the beach. THE ROOMS This recently renovated gem offers generous sized rooms decorated in a...…View Property Details
Oyster Point Hotel, Red Bank
OVERVIEWRed Bank is just about the hottest town in this part of the Jersey Shore. Great restaurants, a hopping night scene, delightful shops and boutiques and wonderful antique stores are all part of a revitalization project started about 10 years ago. It is working beyond anyone’s imagination. This is a fun town, day or night....…View Property Details
The Breakers on the Ocean
OVERVIEW Nestled in the heart of the “Irish Riviera” in Spring Lake, NJ, The Breakers on the Ocean is an elegant, full service hotel, just steps from the beach and the Atlantic. A delightful wrap-around porch offers the opportunity to soak in the ocean views while enjoying a book or a cocktail. Whether you are...…View Property Details
Where To Eat
Towering ceilings and lots of windows make Avenue seem somewhat cavernous at first glance, but then you notice the warming fireplace, the long stainless bar, the booths in the bar area, a raw bar right out on the floor and of course, the amazing ocean views. The beige palette is soothing, the staff young and…View Restaurant Details >
There's two reasons locals love Brandl. The first is that the food is awfully good and the second is that everybody likes chef-owner Chris Brandl himself. We'll talk about the food in a minute. Brandl is one of those guys who never stops giving of himself and his talent. He's involved in virtually every local event…View Restaurant Details >
Drifthouse By David Burke
Acclaimed celebrity chef David Burke is a Jersey Shore product (he worked at the original Fromagerie) and he came back two years ago to open Drifthouse by David Burke in Sea Bright on the second level of the Driftwood Cabana Club. Burke's 30+ year career began at the Culinary Institute of America and has included…View Restaurant Details >
If there was a "Cheers" at the Jersey Shore it would be Harpoon Willy's. Located on the westbound side of Rt. 70 just before the Brielle Bridge this is everyone's "go to" for cocktails, rainy/snowy days, a casual meal, to watch a game or for great live weekend music. A grill behind the bar puts out…View Restaurant Details >
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a delightful oceanfront restaurant in Belmar serving lunch and dinner every day. Outside is a canopied patio with about 20 tables which can be closed in during inclement weather and is a delightful place to enjoy the beach beyond and people watchand there are sure some characters around! While the inside is…View Restaurant Details >
I have lived at the Jersey Shore for most of my life and I cannot remember a better restaurant here than Restaurant Nicholas. But, Nicholas and Melissa Harary's elegant restaurant is not just extraordinary by Jersey Shore standards, but by any standard. Its food and service can hold its own against the finest New York has…View Restaurant Details >
Pascal & Sabine
If Pascal & Sabine were in my neighborhood, I would probably eat there a couple times a week. Wonderful decor (who doesn't like booths?), excellent bistro food, a very good wine list, a fantastic Sunday brunch with live jazz and a really enjoyable staff makes this a favorite at the Jersey Shore. Pascal and Sabine are characters…View Restaurant Details >
When you go for dinner in the middle of the week and the parking lot is full, the bar crowded and all the tables occupied, it's a pretty good tip-off that the food is going to be good and the Shipwreck doesn't disappoint. It's become kind of the "go to" place for locals, a restaurant that delivers…View Restaurant Details >