What do Kauai, Hawaii, and Asbury Park, New Jersey have in common?

They are home to two of the best beaches in America, according to the writers at Travel and Leisure.

"Not all sandy stretches are created equal," the article reads, and then goes on to talk about sand, waves, boardwalks and activities available to tourists.

It is in the latter categories that Asbury Park shines.

Asbury Park boardwalk
Asbury Park boardwalk (Chris Eannucci - Townsquare Media)

Anyone from New Jersey knows that parking can be a nightmare and there are more attractive stretches of sand along the Garden State shoreline, but no beach can boast the history and entertainment options in Asbury.

Asbury Park St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017
Credit: Chris Eannucci, Townsquare Media

Travel and Leisure says Asbury Park's beach is "backed by a historic beachfront boardwalk bustling with restaurants, bars, fast food, and interesting shops," and is home to the fabled Stone Pony, "made famous by locals Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi."

Stretching about a mile along New Jersey's Atlantic coast, Asbury Park Beach is a lively, clean, white-sand beach. Sunbathing, swimming, surfing, fishing, and people-watching are favorite activities here. It's backed by a historic beachfront boardwalk bustling with restaurants, bars, fast food, and interesting shops, in addition to a splash park and miniature golf. The Silverball Museum boasts more than 600 working pinball machines dating back to the 1930s. And just across the street is the fabled bar, The Stone Pony, made famous by locals Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. - Travel and Leisure

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In thier list, Asbury Park comes in at 20 on the Top 25 list.

12 of the top 25 are on the East Coast. Ocean City, MD, comes in at number 2.

Vermont, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama beaches also made the list, which can be viewed here.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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