-- Beach Guide
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought uncertainty over the use of New Jersey beaches during the 2020 season. As new information is provided, this page will be updated. Information on this page is based on the 2019 season, but it is suggested that readers confirm with individual beaches current badge and use information.
* Beaches * State Parks * National Parks
* Waterparks * Swimming holes/Lakes
* Zoos/Aquariums * Amusement parks
- Public Trust Doctrine and Beach Access
New Jersey's coastal beaches are subject to a legal principle, dating to ancient Rome and carried down in the common law of medieval England, of the "public trust" in which the sovereign government owns lands subject to tidal flows and that the public accordingly has the right to access the tidal waters and their shorelines. As the sovereign in its territory, the state of New Jersey owns tide-flowed (also called "riparian") lands as trustee for the public's reasonable use. Under the state Constitution, revenue from the sale or lease of tide-flowed property by the state is dedicated to support of the public schools. For much of the state's history, coastal municipalities acted with wide discretion in controlling access to beaches and setting rules for their use. A law enacted in 1955 authorized New Jersey municipalities bordering the Atlantic Ocean, tidal water bays or rivers to charge a fee to beachgoers in order to help pay for associated maintenance and safety costs.
Over the last few decades however, court decisions have increasingly limited the freedom of local governments in managing access to their beaches. In 1972, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a municipality could not charge higher fees to non-residents than to residents for use of its municipal beaches, Borough of Neptune City v. Borough of Avon-by-the-Sea, 61 N.J. 296 (1972), and a few years later also ruled that a municipality could not set aside part of a public beach for exclusive use by residents. Van Ness v. Borough of Deal, 78 N.J. 174 (1978). In 1984, the Court also extended the public trust obligation to a private association established by beachfront homeowners, concluding that it acted in a "quasi-public" capacity in attempting to restrict beach access only to association members and accordingly violated the right of the general public to gain access. Matthews v. Bay Head Improvement Association, 95 N.J. 306 (1984). More recently, legal disputes have arisen over the state's efforts to acquire through eminent domain coastal property to build dunes and other shore protection measures, particularly after the massive damage caused by tidal surges during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
The Department of Environmental Protection is the primary state agency with jurisdiction over coastal resources under authority provided it by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1970 and a series of state laws, commencing in 1914 with the Waterfront Development Law and followed by the Wetlands Act of 1970 and the Coastal Area Facility Review Act of 1973. Pursuant to its statutory authority, the DEP has issued a series of regulations, including those relating to public access, designated as its Coastal Zone Management Rules, with revisions currently under review in the fall of 2016. The DEP also requires public access to the shore and tidal waterways under its Coastal Permit Program for private development and use.
Many shore towns offer discounted rates for beach badges purchased prior to the summer season. The following rates are those available after discounts have ended.
* Asbury Park
Monday through Friday: $5
Children 12 and under, active military personnel, and disabled veterans free.
Ages 18-61: $70
Ages 13-17 and 62 and over: $20
* Atlantic City
Active military and their immediate family and veterans eligible for free beach tags. Avalon beach tags also accepted in Stone Harbor.
Seniors' season badges and teens aged 12-18 $45. Children ages 11 and under \free
Surfing allowed at "L Jetty" Washington Avenue
* Barnegat Light
Daily: $5 (under 12 free)
Season: $40; seniors 65 and over $12
Badges purchased on beach from beach badge checkers are $1 extra.
* Bay Head
* Beach Haven
Free for children and seniors 65 and over.
Active military and their immediate family may receive free weekly wristbands; veterans may receive free seasonal badge with proper ID
Surfing allowed at 99th Street
Daily: $8 (children 15 and under free);
Ages 15 through 61: $55
Ages 62 and older and disabled: $15
Free for military and Monmouth County first responders
Surfing allowed at 10th Avenue
* Bradley Beach
$9 (ages 12 and under, active military and veterans with ID free)
Adult $75; seniors 65 and over $30; Junior ages13-15 $25
* Brick Township
Daily: $5 (seniors 65 and over free)
Daily: $10 (seniors 65 and over free);
Free for seniors 65 and over. Active military and their families (up to four tags), and veterans, are eligible for free beach tags.
* Cape May
Daily: $6; 3-day $12 (active military and veterans with ID free)
Active military and veterans eligible for free beach tags
* Cape May Point State Park
Active military and veterans eligible for free beach tags
Daily: Children 12 and under free; ages 12 and older weekdays $8; weekends/holidays $10
Surfing allowed at Ocean Lane
* Harvey Cedars
Daily: $6 (free for active military and veterans with ID)
Season: $40; seniors 65 and over $9
$10 (children under age 12 free)
$30 (Saturday through following Saturday)
Season: $50; $15 for 65 years of age or over, any totally disabled person, and for all disabled veterans of any military service and all military service personnel on active duty
* Loch Arbour
Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays $6; Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays $10
Ages 12+: $95
* Long Beach Township (includes High Bar Harbor, Loveladies, North Beach, Brant Beach, Beach Haven Crest, Brighton Beach, Peahala Park, Beach Haven Park, Haven Beach, The Dunes, Beach Haven Terrace, Beach Haven Gardens, Bay Vista, Spray Beach, North Beach Haven, Beach Haven Heights, Silver Sands, Beach Haven Inlet and Holgate)
Long Beach Island shoreline named as one of 10 Best Beaches in US for Families in 2017 by Family Critic.com
Daily: $7 (veterans free with ID)
Season: $40 (seniors 65 and over $5)
* Long Branch
Daily Weekday $5; Weekend $7; $3 ages 14-17, under 13 are free.
Ages 18-61 years: $45
Ages 14-17 years: $30
* Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch
Daily: $8 ages 18 years old and over, 17 and under free; weekends and holidays $8 for age 13 and over; 12 and under free. Daily parking pass $10
Season: $70 for adults 18 to 64; and $25 for adults 65 and older. Children under 18 are free
Season: $30 ages 12-64 (seniors 65 and older $10)
-- Continued Beaches M-Z