Take the Kids Crabbing in NJ for a Fun Day by the Water- Daily Day Trip
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.
Find out where to crab in New Jersey and take the family on an affordable day trip next to the water.
Why we love Crabbing in NJ
Crabbing in NJ is a relaxing, fun activity for families that won't break the bank.
Crabbing supplies are relatively inexpensive and can be used multiple times. Also, if you're lucky, you'll bring home a bushel of blue crabs for dinner.
There are many crabbing spots in NJ to discover, but here are some suggestions on where to crab in NJ:
Bass River Bridge in New Gretna has a great spot for crabbing under the Parkway and Route 9 bridge. There are some huge ruts in the road along the bridge to be careful parking.
Berkeley Island County Park is another top crabbing spot in NJ because it has a fishing and crabbing pier, a gentle bay-bathing beach, a picnic area and a playground area for kids. Also there are public restrooms.
Mantoloking Bridge on the border of Mantoloking and Brick is the perfect spot to go crabbing in NJ because the kids are away from the roadway in the concrete crabbing area under the bridge along the bulkhead. There's a bait shop nearby on Mantoloking Road where you can pick up supplies. There is parking available at the foot of the bridge.
In fact, the biggest blue crab on record in NJ was caught May 21, 2006 off the Mantoloking Road and was 8.5 inches from point to point.
Windward Beach off Princeton Avenue in Brick Twp. has a fishing pier for crabbing with a depth of six to eight feet. There's no entrance fee for the park and parking is free and plentiful. Winward Beach also has playgrounds for kids and a large sandy beach area that opens up to the bay.
These are just some suggestions, there are tons of crabbing spots all over the state. As a general rule, where there's a bait shop, there's a crabbing spot nearby. To find the crabbing spot closest to you, give your closest bait shop a call and ask them where the best spot is.
Hours, Prices, crabbing Regulations
The best time to go crabbing in NJ is early morning between the hours of 4:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. when the crabs are most active. Blue crab season runs from April 6 to Dec. 4 in the Delaware Bay and tributaries.
Crab season runs from March 15 to Nov. 30 in all other NJ waterways but crabbing is prohibited from the Newark Bay Complex.
Jersey Coast Bait & Tackle Shop in Mantoloking says a large net runs from $9 to $12 and a four-door box crab pot starts at $11 and goes up.
Weighted drop lines are the best value at around $2 each.
You can use bunker as bait, bunker usually sells for about a dollar each.
Make sure you're storing your caught crabs in a bushell basket that's kept out of direct sunlight and covered with a moist towel. Bushell baskets cost about $8.99 and up depending on size.
You do not need a fishing license to catch blue crabs in NJ, but you're limited to harvesting one bushel per day.
NJ crabbing regulations say to throw back any female crabs or any hard-shelled blue crabs less than 4.5 inches from point to point (your iPhone is about 4.5 inches long).
Female crabs have a v-shaped apron on the underside and male crabs have a long t-shaped apron on the underside and blue claws.
MORE DAILY DAY TRIP IDEAS:
- Turtle Back Zoo a Family Favorite in NJ
- The Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Six Flags Safari
- Catch Breathtaking Sunsets Over the Water in NJ at Sunset Beach in Cape May
- Kids Love Whale Watching in Cape May
- A Dose of History, Family Fun at Allaire State Park
- Pick Your Own Peaches at Battleview Orchards in Freehold
Do you have a great crabbing spot in NJ to recommend? Share it below