Long Beach Island Guide: 6 Beach Towns and 6 Different Experiences

Located off New Jersey’s east coast, Long Beach Island (LBI) is a barrier island surrounded by two bodies of water: Barnegat Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Situated on the island, vacationers find six beach communities that offer their own flair and attractions. Water recreation, amusement parks, secluded beaches – the area has it all. Not sure where to start? Check out this quick Long Beach Island guide to all six towns.

Long Beach Island Guide for Central Jersey Shore Visitors

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Barnegat Light

Barnegat Light sits on the northern tip of Long Beach Island and measures 1 square mile. This quaint town offers wide beaches suited for water recreation such as fishing, parasailing, boat tours and paragliding.

In addition, visitors see Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, the area’s main attraction. Tour the historic lighthouse and interpretive center, or venture out to see wildlife. Ideal for a quick hike, maritime forest trail measures 1/5-mile and winds through a scenic environment. Make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch to share with family and friends.

Then learn about the town’s history and fishing industry at historic Viking Village. This shopping district houses small boutiques selling antiques, fashion, local art and fresh foods. Spend time searching for home decor, or prepare for an at-home dinner at Frank’s Produce and Cassidy’s Fish Market. Viking Village also hosts family-friendly events starting in early summer through late fall.

Beach Haven

Located just 55 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Beach Haven offers a charming beach community families and singles can explore. Affectionately known as Queen City, this beach town has pristine beaches, bay access, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. The area measures only a square mile but offers plenty to do.

When not playing on the beach, visit Fantasy Island Amusement Park. This Beach Haven attraction has carnival-style rides for all ages, fun games, an arcade, and shows in summer months. Other top sites in Beach Haven include Thundering Surf Waterpark, Museum of New Jersey Maritime History and Surflight Theater. Visitors also enjoy browsing dozens of shops and restaurants located throughout the town.

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Harvey Cedars

Escape the hustle and bustle in Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island. This town offers a more residential and remote location with beach entry, a park, and access to nearby Barnegat Light Yacht Club and Long Beach Island Fishing Club. To get the full experience, biking and boating are the most popular types of transportation here.

Sunset Park, located on the bay, has paved walkways, a children’s playground, ball field, picnic tables, and tennis and basketball courts. Guests also have access to restrooms, providing a convenient option for a day outdoors. Harvey Cedars also serves as a popular Christian retreat and conference center.

Long Beach Township

Showcasing 18 miles of beaches, Long Beach Township ranks as the largest section of LBI. The laid-back town offers easy access to action-packed entertainment in nearby areas and other beach communities. Most of the area remains residential, but beaches attract vacationers in the summer. During busy season – from mid-June to Labor Day – guests ages 12 to 64 should have a beach badge.

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Ship Bottom

Ship Bottom, which measures a quarter-mile wide, offers resort-style vibes paired with scenic beach settings.

Water recreation ranks among the most popular things to do. Ship Bottom Beach offers the perfect place for shelling, relaxing, sunset viewing and dolphin-watching. Families also enjoy having quick access to surfing and paddleboard lessons, mini-golf courses, boutique spas, and casual dining options.

Surf City

Another top spot on Long Beach Island is Surf City, a popular destination for family-friendly entertainment. Stroll down the main strip and browse local shops for souvenirs and gifts. Or take a break with loved ones, and eat an ice cream cone or sip a fresh cup of coffee.

Families also have access to mini-golf courses, an art gallery and spas for those who need pampering. In addition, Surf City houses a low-key bay beach suited for young children and those who want a more remote location.