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Best Beaches in New Jersey

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Come summertime, East Coasters flock to New Jersey's beaches and boardwalks. For travelers hoping to catch some sun or stroll along the coast, it can be tough to pick which stretch of sand to visit. Based on factors such as accessibility, amenities, cleanliness and the opinions of travelers and experts, U.S. News determined the best beaches in New Jersey. We want your feedback, too, so vote for your favorite sandy spots below. (Note: Many New Jersey beaches require a "beach tag" for access. Daily tags cost between $5 and $10, and weekly tags are available at discounted rates. Some hotels and vacation rentals include tags in the quoted rate.)

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#1 Cape May

#1 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May is known for its colorful 19th-century architecture, oceanfront dining options and beautiful beaches. With nearly 3 miles of coastline, there is truly a stretch of sand for everyone. Visitors can plan for a beachfront picnic, play some beach volleyball at Steger Beach and Second Avenue Beach or simply enjoy a day of solitude and relaxation. 

Cape May
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#2 Avalon

#2 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

Early birds are sure to love the stunning sunrises that grace Avalon each morning. Later in the day, visitors can surf, swim or lounge on inflatable rafts at this southern New Jersey beach. The town prides itself on its accessible beaches and surf chair program, which allows wheelchair-using visitors to experience the beach. 

Avalon
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#3 Ocean City, NJ

#3 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

Home to one of the most recognizable boardwalks in the country, Ocean City lives up to its self-proclaimed nickname of "America's Greatest Family Resort." The city is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Great Egg Harbor Bay on the other, allowing for an array of activities that range from surf lessons to boat cruises. 

Ocean City
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#4 Asbury Park

#4 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

Hip culture collides with beachfront views in this New Jersey town. Visitors to Asbury Park can explore its boardwalk, check out a show at various music venues, dine at trendy, one-of-a-kind eateries and stay in unique hotels. The mile-long beach caters to surfers, swimmers, sunbathers and people-watchers.

Asbury Park
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#5 Barnegat Peninsula

#5 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

Known colloquially as "the barrier island," the 22-mile-long Barnegat Peninsula is technically connected to mainland New Jersey. The northern end of the peninsula draws sun-seekers and surfers, while its southern end attracts photographers and nature-enthusiasts to Island Beach State Park, New Jersey's longest stretch of undeveloped coastline. 

Barnegat Peninsula
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#6 Wildwood

#6 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

The resort city of Wildwood is unique in that the space between its boardwalk and oceanfront is 500 yards wide at some points, allowing its sprawling beaches to host events ranging from monster truck rallies to concerts. With Ultimate Frisbee tournaments and adrenaline-pumping amusement park rides, this energetic town isn't for those looking for quiet relaxation. What's more, Wildwood's beaches are free to access.

Wildwood
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#7 Atlantic City

#7 in Best Beaches in New Jersey

The Atlantic City Boardwalk has been an icon since its construction in 1870. Visitors can turn inland to find everything from retail stores to saltwater taffy shops. Or, they can walk to the water and enjoy kayaking, windsurfing and fishing. Later, visitors can test their luck at the casinos or take the kids to the amusement parks. Best of all, Atlantic City's beaches are free to access. Read More »

Atlantic City Boardwalk View 15 photos
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