Buckle up, Jersey Shore locals. From now until Labor Day, our friends from up north and out west will be migrating to our beautiful beaches and contributing billions, yes, billions with a b, to the shore's local economy.
Many New Jerseyans refer to these people as "bennies," and it's usually meant in the least affectionate way possible.
Instead of putting a "Bennies Go Home" sticker on your back bumper and alienating the people that keep your town above water, there's another strategy you can use for the 2017 summer season: Go to one of these five quiet beaches that are some of the Jersey Shore's best kept secrets.
Here are five great quiet beaches along the Jersey Shore, in order from north to south:
5. Sandy Hook, Monmouth County
Sandy Hook is the first official beach of the Jersey Shore coastline. You can clearly see the iconic New York City skyline when you look out into the Atlantic.
Sandy Hook often gets overlooked by Jersey Shore visitors because it isn't the most convenient place to get to. It involves a lot of driving on Route 36, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
In addition to your normal array of beach day activities, Sandy Hook offers hiking trails, a picnic area, and even a chance to visit the oldest working lighthouse in the United States.
In the mood to be nude? Sandy Hook has you covered. Gunnison Beach, New Jersey's only legal clothing-optional beach, exists within the Sandy Hook unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. No sex allowed.
4. Avon-by-the-Sea, Monmouth County
This little slice of heaven is tucked between Bradley Beach and one of the most popular beaches in New Jersey — Belmar. Their police department is a bit aggressive. I'd highly recommend following the 25 mph speed limit like it's in the Bible and double-checking all parking signs.
3. Lavallette, Ocean County
Lavallette is a small beach town sandwiched between two of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, Point Pleasant and Seaside.
The small town does get some spillover from both of those hubs, but it's not enough to disturb you on any given day.
If I could, I would rent a house in Lavallette for a week every summer. The family friendly beaches are pristine and there's more than enough entertainment to go around in the surrounding towns. On certain nights you can see fireworks on both sides of you.
If you want to party, an $11-15 Uber ride can get you to Seaside. An Uber to Point Pleasant is slightly more, most likely in the $19-25 range. Lavallette is also home to one of my favorite mini golf courses in the state.
2. Seven Mile Island, Cape May County
There are two towns that occupy Seven Mile Island, and they both happen to be two of the quietest, cleanest, and well-organized beach destinations you could ever ask for.
While Avalon and Stone Harbor both offer activities for families and kids of all ages, these towns are tailor made for couples looking to get away from it all for a couple of days. Avalon and Stone Harbor are excellent places to celebrate your wedding anniversary.
The restaurants found in Stone Harbor and Avalon are hard to beat. No matter where you wind up, you'll always feel like you are in paradise. My go to choices are Cafe Loren and Uncle Bill's Pancake House in Avalon, and Jay's On Third in Stone Harbor.
1. Sunset Beach, Cape May County
Located at the very bottom of the Garden State is one of our few beaches where you can watch the sunset over the water.
When you look out into the ocean, you may see dolphins swimming in the distance. Peaking above the waves is the remaining wreckage of the S.S. Atlantus. Since the 1920s, the concrete ship has become a popular tourist attraction. Personally, I wish I was able to go back in time and see the S.S. Atlantus when it had a billboard on it.
Simply put, there is a whole lot of coastline to explore. What better time to check it out than now?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.