Sand between your toes. The smell of salt air and the rhythmic sound of crashing waves. The warm sun on your face and a refreshing breeze blowing. Your children playing (peacefully! together!) with buckets and shovels nearby. If it’s no longer that you just want to have a day at the beach, if you’re now at the point where you need one, read on. You’ll find suggestions that make a day trip to a beach near Bergen County …well, a day at the beach.
Bayhead/Point Pleasant, NJ
Distance from Bergen County: 80 miles/1.5 hours with no traffic
With a long stretch of beach, a quaint town, and one of the best boardwalks on the Jersey shore – including rides, games, attractions and the one-of-a-kind Jenkinson’s Aquarium (where your little one can adopt an animal), this fun summer spot never gets old.
Stay at: The Grenville Hotel in Bay Head. The Grenville offers a variety of room sizes and suites, is pet friendly and is just a short walk to the beach. Or ride your bike the short mile to all that Point Pleasant has to offer.
Bradley Beach, NJ
Distance from Bergen County: 70 miles/1.3 hours with no traffic
Developed by the same person who developed Asbury Park, this Monmouth County beach is the perfect day trip if you don’t have time to stay over. Clean, quiet stretches of beach, chairs and umbrellas for rent, and surfing in designated areas make this a staycation to remember. And repeat.
Eat at: Mogo Korean Tacos, a Korean fusion eatery where you pick your style, protein and extras and they make your tacos to order. Or, the Speakeatery, home of yummy sandwiches and giant portions. Go hungry or plan to share.
Save Room for: Beach Plum Ice Cream – the perfect end to a perfect day.
Good to Know: The Bradley Beach Lobsterfest is scheduled for Saturday, June 24th and June 25th. This free event boasts bands, a craft fair, kids’ activities and a beer and wine garden (though those last two might be mutually exclusive).
Ocean City, NJ
Distance from Bergen County: 140 miles/2.5 hours with no traffic
“America’s Greatest Family Resort”, also voted one of New Jersey’s best beaches, offers a classic Jersey shore vibe with 8 miles of bay and ocean beachs, a 2.5 mile boardwalk, the OC Waterpark, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, famous for its rides, game and mini golf and the Music Pier, an entertainment venue that is home to the Ocean City Pops and hosts concerts by well-known artists throughout the year.
Stay at: Flanders Hotel, the all suites lodging is in the perfect location and the heated pool makes this a no-brainer for a post beach dip.
Distance from Bergen County: 165 miles/2.5 hours with no traffic
Start your day enjoying the wide beaches and calm waters. Then head over to the Wildwoods Boardwalk with over 100 rides, attractions, arcade games, and rollercoasters. And what trip to Wildwoods would be complete without a ride on the Sightseer Tram Cars, in operation since 1949.
Eat at: Duffers, a one-stop-shop for family-focused food, ice cream and fun. The Duffers experience includes an 18-hole mini-golf course and an arcade. Jersey Girl Drinks and Dining, go for the name, stay because they offer upscale, adult food in a kid-friendly atmosphere.
Save room for: Lizzy’s Ice Cream, open only in the evenings, Lizzy’s menu has ice cream, sundaes, shakes, floats, and fluringos blended drinks.
Stay at: The Starlux, your room at this retro hotel comes complete with lava lamps, twister mats, views of the Morey’s Piers attractions, and access to the all important heated pool. Choose from standard rooms, suites to fit families of almost any size, or, wait for it, one of two vintage Airstream trailers.
Tobay Beach, Long Island
Distance from Bergen County: 54 miles/70 minutes with no traffic
If you’re looking for a little vacay right in the middle of the week, try Tobay Beach on for size. The name is an acronym for Town of Oyster Bay and this town beach, part of Jones Beach park is open to non-residents only on the weekdays. Enjoy the quiet beach then head to the spray park and the playground, complete with snack shack and picnic areas.
Eat at: Canterbury’s Oyster Bar and Grill for food ranging from fresh oysters, shellfish and seafood to salads, sandwiches and BBQ. Sweet Tomato, a healthy eatery serving soups, salads, sandwiches and more.
Save Room for: Some of the best Italian ice you’ll ever taste at Bonanza Stand.
Stay at: Splurge a little and stay at boutique hotel, The Inn at Fox Hollow. Because you deserve a vacation too.
Promised Land State Park, Greentown, PA
Distance from Bergen County: 99 miles/1.5 miles without traffic
You want the beach experience but with a lake, you say? Try Promised Land State Park. With two lakes, hiking, biking, camping, boating and fishing, you could stay for a week, not just a day. If you are staying for more than one day, check out Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania”, while you’re in the area.
Save Room for: Coutt’s Ice Cream, premium ice cream made with only the best ingredients.
Stay at: You’ll have your choice of lodging in these parts with the much beloved Woodloch Pines Resort (boasting its own beach), Skytop Lodge, and Camelback Mountain Resort (with both Camelbeach and Aquatopia) all within easy driving distance of the park.