New Jersey boasts more than 130 miles of Atlantic coastline from Sandy Hook to Cape May, and about another 150 from the western end of the southern tip up along the Delaware Bay and Delaware River.

But it is the eastern portion, the geographical Jersey Shore, around which much of the Garden State's annual tourism is built. In parts of 12 Shore towns, locals and visitors (yes, bennies or shoobies) can get on the beach for free year-round.

The state Division of Travel and Tourism's official website, VisitNJ.org, keeps a list of these beaches, some of which are well-known to New Jerseyans and others that may not be.

Jersey Shore Prepares For Memorial Day Weekend And Summer Season
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With summer fast approaching, New Jersey 101.5 is also maintaining a sampling of 2022 beach fees at some of the state's most popular Shore destinations.

But first, the free beaches and the towns they're in. Keep in mind this does not include any potential parking fees — just where it costs nothing to get from the street or the boardwalk onto the sand.

Free beaches in Atlantic City

Atlantic City beach
Atlantic City beach (Dennis Malloy, Townsquare Media NJ)
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A visitor to AC might spend a lot elsewhere, but not to get on the beach.

Free beaches in Highlands

Highlands
Highlands (Bud McCormick)
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The state's tourism website says Highlands' beaches are tucked in between "bustling marinas," and in close proximity to shops and restaurants.

Free beaches in Keansburg

Keansburg
Keansburg (Bud McCormick)
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The shores of Keansburg have been listed among the "Best Restored Beaches" in the U.S. by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Society, according to VisitNJ.org.

Bay Front (Free beach in Lower Township)

Lower Township
Lower Township (Google Maps)
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Technically on the Delaware Bay side, this stretch northwest of Cape May covers about 5 miles, from West Miami Avenue down to Lincoln Boulevard.

Ideal Beach & Leonardo Beach (Free beaches in Middletown)

Google Maps
Google Maps
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VisitNJ.org says beachgoers will find places to eat and mini golf near Leonardo, while Ideal Beach is encased in a 25-acre park.

William Morrow Beach (Free beach in Somers Point)

William Morrow Beach in Somers Point
William Morrow Beach in Somers Point (Google Maps)
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A map might also identify this area as "Municipal Beach Park," between Higbee and New Jersey avenues.

Jennifer Lane Bay Beach (Free beach in Stafford)

Google Maps
Google Maps
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According to VisitNJ.org, lifeguards are on duty during summer months if swimmers desire to take a dip into the Manahawkin Bay.

Free beaches in Union Beach

Beautiful, sunny skies over the Raritan Bay over Union Beach. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
Beautiful, sunny skies over the Raritan Bay over Union Beach. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
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Union Beach is a prime spot for birdwatching at its northeastern end, according to the state, where the sand meets the salt marshes.

Beesley's Point & Strathmere (Free beaches in Upper Township)

(Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)
(Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)
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Pictured above is Strathmere, where there is no boardwalk, but plenty of sand for a quiet time. Beesley's Point, meanwhile, is good for kayaking, VisitNJ.org says, in the Great Egg Harbor Bay.

The Wildwoods (Free beaches in Wildwood City, North Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest)

Entrance ramp to boardwalk in North Wildwood (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)
Entrance ramp to boardwalk in North Wildwood (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)
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This 5-mile span of sand in far South Jersey is one of the Jersey Shore's most famous and enduring destinations, stretched across parts of three adjacent municipalities.

And now, some of the more familiar places where a fee is required for beach access.

NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches

When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.

With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.

In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.

With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.

Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)

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