This is one story in a series where we feature one family-friendly day trip idea a day. Read the entire series and find great ideas for things to do with kids in NJ here.

If you’re planning on taking the family on a picnic this weekend, why not go all out and turn it into an all-day event at Island Beach State Park.


Spend the day at one of New Jersey’s most popular state parks and see what the Jersey Shore looked like in its natural state when Henry Hudson first described it in 1609.

The narrow 10-mile barrier island includes activities the entire family can enjoy like fishing, swimming, biking, scuba diving, horseback riding, hiking and much more.

The kids will love playing in the sand and surf on Island Beach State Park's pristine shoreline. The one-mile long bathing beach is in the center of the park and has lifeguards, changing areas, bathrooms and concessions.

For the kids, Island Beach State Park’s WildChild programs offer interactive, fun activities that really take advantage of the park’s natural resources including stories, crafts, wildlife and fishing.  Call the Park Office for more information about the WildChild Program at 732-793-0506

History buffs can take the Time-Travel Trail hike where you can see the site of Reed’s Hotel, used by 19th century sportsmen hunting waterfowl on Barnegat Bay.

Take a kayak tour with one of the park naturalists where you can learn about clamming, oyster harvesting, salt hay farming and even catch a glimpse at Babe Ruth’s favorite duck hunting spot.

The shallow bayside waters in the southern end of the park offer a great spot for crabbing and clamming.


Island Beach State Park is open all summer from 7 a.m. to dusk.  Park management considers the park full when all parking spaces are full and does not let any more vehicles enter the park at this time.  This is a fairly common occurrence during summer weekends and holidays, so plan accordingly.

Over the summer Island Beach State Park’s entry fee is $10 per car over the weekend and $6 per car during the week for New Jersey residents and the price is doubled for non-residents.

Pets are not permitted on the Ocean Swimming Beaches. Pets are permitted south of the Ocean Swimming Areas but must be held on a leash.

For more information call the Island Beach State Park office at 732-793-0506 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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watch a video from island beach state park