Looking for a mini vacay just for the day? Sand, sun, water and fun for the entire family are just a short drive away. New Jersey (and just over the border) boasts a large number of natural and man-made beaches that will entertain kids of all ages. Check out one – or more – of these family-friendly beaches that are doable in a day for a guaranteed good time this summer.
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch Think of everything you could need for a day of keeping the family happy at the beach, and Seven Presidents will deliver. In addition to the wide, sandy beach, there is also a snack bar, volleyball area, skatepark, surfing area and playground. The boardwalk is great for taking a mid-day stroll or grabbing a bite at one of the restaurants, and did we mention kids under 18 are FREE?
Money Island Beach, Toms River This hidden gem sits on a small stretch of bay beach, and is a great option for families who prefer a quiet day and less chaos, without the worry of big ocean waves that can tackle the littlest kids. Kids can paddle board in the clean water, and with parking a few feet away, you can easily bring all of your toys and more -- without the workout.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach While some families can easily spend all day in the sand and sea, some may need something more. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is a great option for mixing up the day in the sun. Grab your tickets for games and rides for tots to teens or visit the aquarium to cool off. Plus, all summer long they have special events going on, such as kite festivals, movies on the beach, animal shows and much more.
Darlington County Park, Mahwah White sandy beaches in Bergen County? Look no further than Darlington Beach, which sits on a lake and has plenty of fun for kids and adults. With its short drive, spend an hour or the day soaking up the sun and enjoying the two splash zones -- one for bigger kids and adults, and one built for younger kids. This inflatable obstacle course is 50-minutes of non-stop fun, and with basketball courts and picnic areas surrounding, it’s easy to make it a full day affair.
Lake Welch Beach, Harriman State Park If you’re looking for calmer waters than what the Jersey shore offers, Lake Welch Beach in nearby Stony Point, NY is a half-mile stretch of sandy beach that offers swimming, fishing and boating. Bring your own food, as there are plenty of areas to barbeque and picnic so you can stay in your suits and easily return to the water. Lake Tiorati in Harriman State Park is another close option for a calm beach visit on the lake.
Sandy Hook As the northernmost section of Jersey shore beach, Sandy Hook is a great option for families looking to avoid a longer drive. This no-frills beach has a bike path that runs along the sand, and kayaks are available to rent as well. Plus, the close distance from the parking lot makes it easy to bring all of your beach gear. If the kids get tired of the sun, sneak in a history lesson and check out the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is the oldest operating lighthouse in the US.
Asbury Park You may know it thanks to Bruce Springsteen, but Asbury Park is more than a nostalgic music destination. Its shops, playgrounds, arcades and mini-golf are fun complements to the beach and boardwalk. There are plenty of restaurants close to the beach, as well as splash parks for a change of scenery.