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Jersey Shore, NJ
Weekend Vacation Getaway

Destination Overview

It is unfortunate that the image many have of New Jersey is represented by the oil refineries surrounding Newark (Liberty) Airport and the New Jersey Turnpike. In truth, the State’s nickname, “The Garden State” more accurately reflects its true nature. While the state is one of the most densely populated in the country, large areas are devoted to vegetable and fruit farming and horse breeding. The northwestern part of the state is mountainous and sparsely populated and the eastern part of the state enjoys some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Here are some things I bet you didn’t know about New Jersey:

  • New Jersey has the most diners in the world
  • There are more racehorses in New Jersey than in Kentucky
  • New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production
  • 80% of what the US imports comes through the Elizabeth Seaport
  • The light bulb, phonograph and motion picture were invented by Thomas Edison in New Jersey
  • The first Indian Reservation was in the Watchung Mountains
  • The first baseball game was played in Hoboken
  • The first college football game was played in New Brunswick

The “Jersey Shore” is the area bordering the Atlantic Ocean and stretches from Sandy Hook (about 45 minutes from NYC) down past Atlantic City. Honky Tonk towns like Seaside Heights share the coastline with a revived Asbury Park, sleepy summer towns like Bay Head and Stone Harbor and beautiful year round communities like Spring Lake and Brielle and the gambling mecca of Atlantic City. My favorite section is the area from Red Bank, south to Bay Head and including Long Branch, Belmar, Spring Lake, Manasquan, Brielle and Point Pleasant among others.

I love this area, grew up here in a kind of Mayberry existence, lived away for 10 years and then moved back to bring up my family. My closest friends, many of whom still live here, are from my high school days. The area has magnificent beaches, wonderful restaurants, great places to stay and a host of things to keep you busy. It is a great weekend retreat.

Click picture to enlargeRod's Olde Irish TavernBrielle BoatsParker House Porch

Getting There

Our “Jersey Shore” is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from New York and Philadelphia, an hour from Princeton and an hour from Newark Liberty Airport and 1 1/2 hours from Philadelphia airport. Private planes can fly into Monmouth  Airport in Wall and there are marina slips available for boaters coming up the Intercoastal.

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Click picture to enlargeSquan SurfThe MillBoardwalk

When To Go

While the summer months offer the most to do, there is something awfully romantic about a walk on a deserted beach and lunch in a cozy pub beside a roaring fire during the winter.

Like most resort areas, the population at the Jersey Shore swells dramatically during the summer months, but it is not unbearable. There is certainly more traffic and more people, but the roadways are not clogged like the Hamptons and the streets are not jammed with people like in Newport.

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Getting Around

The area is fairly spread out so you will need a car to get around.

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There’s no longer any need to roll the dice on where you stay or to settle and stay at a “safe” national chain. BestWeekends Travel Advance Team takes the worry out of where to stay when you go away.


The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team does all the work for you. We research each destination by scouring the guidebooks, articles, blogs, reviews and rating systems. Then we visit the destination and stay in the properties. Finally, we talk to the locals to be sure we didn’t miss anything. The result: we post on our site only the best of what we experienced. You can book with confidence knowing that “we’ve been there” and that no one pays us for a review. Inside see our Featured Properties.

When you are away on vacation, there’s few things worse than a bad dining experience. We agree, so we follow the same process for identifying restaurants as we do for accommodations, but with an extra step. We believe that the best dining experience has the strongest combination of food, ambiance and service. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but the best food in the world just doesn’t taste as good in a poor setting and the best setting with poor service just doesn’t cut it for us. The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team only presents those restaurants that meet our strict criteria. Mangia….enjoy! Click here to see our Favorites

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Things To Do

There are miles of clean, well maintained beaches supported by the sale of daily and seasonal beach badges. Daily badges cost between $4-$6 depending on the beach. Monmouth County boasts 6 public golf courses, two of which are consistently rated in the Top 100 by Golf Digest Magazine. There are miles of bike and nature walks through parks and reservoirs and Brielle is the deep sea fishing capital of the East with some of the best tuna and shark fishing anywhere. You can enjoy a day at the races at the magnificent Monmouth Park racetrack or take an hour’s drive and try your luck at the tables in Atlantic City. There are open air concerts with big name entertainment, art shows in the little beach towns and the largest hot air balloon festival in the country is just a short drive away. You can rent boats and kayaks, play tennis or just relax in a hammock. Click here to see our complete list of Things To Do.

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BestWeekend' s Exclusives

After selecting our favorite places to stay and eat, we sat down and made a list of all the other things that would save you time and make your stay more enjoyable. The result is “Special Things” and “Good To Know, Good To Go,” BestWeekends Exclusives.

Special Things identifies unique, fun and romantic things for couples to do together in a particular destination. Good to Know is our list of the “best” of everything from breakfast to burgers, cocktails to after dinner fun and much, much more. Why stumble around trying to find the “best”….we’ve already done it for you!

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Don't Miss

  • Morning coffee at the Manasquan Inlet
  • Back porch at the Parker House after the beach
  • Cocktails at the River House
  • A rainy day at Rod’s
  • Dinner at Nicholas
  • A day at Monmouth  Park
See the Jersey Shore in pictures.

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News and Resources

Take a look at the weekend edition of the Asbury Park Press or click on the Metromix to see what is going on at the Shore.

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