Popular NJ barrier island named top summer vacation destination
Not everybody who is a fan of the Jersey Shore is familiar with Long Beach Island. It’s commonly called LBI. New Jersey Digest has named Long Beach Island its best summer travel destination in the state.
The reason for it being one of the less traveled or trampled parts of the shore is simple. There is one way in and one way out.
It doesn’t connect to the north — Island Beach State Park and Seaside Park beyond — and it doesn’t connect to the south, being Brigantine and Atlantic City.
So you have to enter through Manahawkin on the Route 72 Causeway bridge, through a lot of traffic lights. It was very popular amongst the people I grew up with in Burlington County. Maybe because it was one of the closest destinations to our part of the state.
Since there is limited access unlike other barrier islands which you can reach from the north and the south LBI does not have the “through traffic" that other Shore destinations have.
Although each of the towns is slightly different there is one main characteristic throughout the whole island. No boardwalk! But the town does have a great amusement park for kids of all ages called Fantasy Island.
Long Beach Island also suffered a devastating Nor'easter in 1962 called the Ash Wednesday Storm which cut the island in half right around the town of Harvey Cedars.
It took a while for people to gain the courage to settle there again but over the following decades it thrived in a very exclusive, expensive way.
I spent the better part of two decades as an adult traveling there weekly during spring, summer and fall to go fishing at the northern end at Barnegat Light.
The fishery has changed since superstorm Sandy for local sport fishermen. There is still quite a fleet of commercial boats that call Barnegat Light home.
For vacationers, the choice is usually renting a house for a week or two at a premium price depending on the town.
There are some hotels that take nightly or weekly visitors in Surf City, Spray Beach and Beach Haven and mostly one or two of the very southern tip in the town of Holgate. If you’ve never been it’s definitely worth a day trip to explore it.
On summer weekends, leave very early and plan to be in more traffic to the south if you head toward Beach Haven and lighter traffic if you’re more of a nature lover and want to explore the jetties and lighthouse at Barnegat Light.
It definitely deserves the designation as New Jersey’s top summer travel destination — not only because of its unique character but also because of its pristine beauty in many areas as well.
If you've got kids or you just want to ride a bike through a cool Jersey Shore town, make a right off the bridge and head to Beach Haven. If a quieter trip is your thing check out Kubel's in Barnegat Light for a fresh seafood dinner and take a walk along the jetty past the lighthouse.
If you’re feeling extra energetic, climb to the top and check out some spectacular views on a clear day (once the lighthouse reopens after a restoration project).
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
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