Which Jersey Shore Is Right For You?

If you’ve ever talked to anyone from New Jersey, you know the Jersey Shore is the place to be. Whether you’re looking for warm sand beaches and cool ocean waves, or weekend fun at the casinos and bars, New Jersey’s beaches have you covered. There are so many great beaches to choose from… how do you know which one is right for you?

Let’s break it down by looking at some of New Jersey’s most famous vacation destinations.



If family fun and boardwalk fun are on the menu, head to Ocean City, New Jersey. This 8-mile coastline has a beautifully renovated boardwalk with treats to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you’re hungry from slice to slice Manco and Manco or the famous fudge and salt water taffy at by Shriver, there are plenty of treats to delight your taste buds. As “America’s Largest Family Resort”, Ocean City is known for family fun and is a dry city, so no bars or drink specials are available here.

If you’re looking for family rides and games, stop by Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Where Castaway Cove from Playland one of Ocean City’s famous mini-golf locations on the boards. Fancy some beach-style shopping? Pick one of the little beach-style shops along the coast or walk a few minutes downtown to Stainton Shopping Center for all your purchases.

When you’re ready to hit the sand, be sure to grab your fried Oreo or fried dough, and bring your cooler and beach towel (or chair if you prefer), for an early seat. These warm sandy beaches are ideal for running along the waves, collecting beautiful seashells and even playing a game of Ultimate Frisbee or volleyball. If the ocean is more your style, there’s plenty of room for swimming and horseplay in these temperate waters, too.

Beach pricing

  • $25 per annual beach tag ($20 if purchased before May 31)
  • Daily beach tags available for $5
  • No tag is required from September 6 to June 3

Cape May

If you’re looking for all the family fun and history (with adult drink options), look no further than Cape May, New Jersey. This beautiful coastline features more than 600 Victorian-era homes in the town center and on the beach alone. In addition to historical and educational options such as New Jerseys Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May and Harbor Safari, the original United States resort town features 2.5 miles of beaches and is a prime birding spot where enthusiasts can observe over 450 different species. Cape May is “North America’s premier birding destination” due to its location near flyways and a plethora of marshes, swamps, grasslands and forests. The beautiful beaches feature a paved boardwalk (no boards here) that runs along its 2.5-mile stretch of beach and is open to the public year-round. There are also boating options at Shellinger Landing where you can rent kayaks, fishing boats and even go on whale watching trips. Take a trolley Cold Spring Historic Village to see how people used to live and buy authentic handmade souvenirs to remember your visit here. If beach life is for you, stop by Cape May Point State Park and admire the rocky shoreline of this beautiful place.

If you’re looking for the best view in town, check out the history Cape May Lighthouse. Climb the 199-step spiral staircase to the top, you can see all the best panoramic views of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Looking for last minute shopping ideas? Stop at Washington Street Mall for all your purchases.

Beach pricing

  • $30 per annual beach tag
  • $20 per week beach tag
  • Daily beach tags available for $8
  • No tag is required from September 6 to June 3

Related: These Jersey Shore Boardwalk Foods Are a Rite of Passage

Atlantic City

If casinos and pageantry are your thing, head to Atlantic City, New Jersey. This quirky coastal town is home to the first Resort Casino opened in 1968 and has an original slot machine still in operation in the lobby. These superb casinos with bars, spas, nightclubs and theaters are open 24/7 for all your entertainment needs. Too tired to drive? There are on-site hotels that include full room service and on-site restaurants. While in Atlantic City, enjoy your day on the white sand beaches or take the trolley or wheelchairs for a bite of ice cream at Cafe Tazza on the famous 5 mile long promenade. During your stay, choose from the number of piers overlooking the ocean, including the Central Pier Arcade, Steel Pier Amusement Park, and many other options to impress and entertain. If you’re looking for some educational fun to add to your journey, look no further than the Atlantic City Aquarium located on the waterfront or the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey Absecon Lighthouse a few streets away.

If boxing content or beauty contests are more your speed, check out boardwalk boxing events and contest schedules, including the Mrs. New Jersey America and Miss New Jersey America Strong Pageants. Water sports are also always available at the beaches, so be sure to take advantage of the surfing, swimming or sailing options.

Beach pricing

**Atlantic City beaches are always free** no beach tag required.

Related: You Can See (And Play) Atlantic City’s First-Ever Slot Machine At This Casino

wild forest

Finally, if nightlife is your scene, head to Wildwood, New Jersey. This famous Jersey Shore spot is the perfect spot for beachside rides, clubs and pools. There are private clubs, life-size roller coasters and water slides as well as great dining and shopping options on this 2.5 mile boardwalk. During the day, enjoy monster truck rides on the beach and ride the tram to freshly baked donuts at Fractured Prune where the famous lobster rolls at Quincy’s. If pizza is more your speed, check out Kono pizza for their famous pizza and dessert cones or the world famous gyros at Olympic flame restaurant.

End your evening with one of the indoor event and activity options located by the beach on this famous boardwalk. Whether you are interested in a round of black light mini golf or aquarium nightlife events, There is something here for everyone. Be sure to check Morey Pier for all your amusement park needs.

Beach pricing

**Wildwood beaches are always free** no beach tag required.