Controversial List Ranks Best Beaches in New Jersey, Leaves Locals Bewildered
I found this ranking NJ.com did of New Jersey's 44 beaches.
While Monmouth and Ocean fared ok, I have some things to say about the rundown.
The authors (and rankers) of this piece did address their criteria.
We judged only oceanfront beaches (no bay, lake or riverfront) on beach quality, crowd type and size, parking availability, and surrounding food, drink, and recreation. We went to one beach per town.
To be fair, the purveyors of this list did say:
...being the worst beach in New Jersey is kind of like being the worst pizza in New Jersey — it's still better than most you'd find anywhere else.
Let's take a look.
44. Seaside Park. (?!)
Maybe I'm biased because I spent my summers growing up in Seaside Park. There is no way it deserves to be dead last. NJ.com says:
"The beach itself is nothing to write home about — not worth the $10 per person daily badge fee. If you’ve made it all the way to vanilla Seaside Park, drive another few miles to Island Beach State Park and have yourself a REAL beach day."
The small crowds help keep the beach in prime condition, though the food and entertainment options are lacking. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, low-key beach, Loch Arbour is a solid bet.
Exactly why it's awesome!
It’s a quiet place, certainly, and if you’re looking for minimal disturbance and a bit of personality, this is your spot. But let’s be real: it’s a pain in the ass.
If it’s good enough for Tony Soprano, it’s good enough for you, right?
Stop it with The Sopranos. Hopefully, that didn't affect Sea Bright's ranking, because 23 is too low.
A clean, long and well-manicured beach. Ample parking. A low-key boardwalk with a pavilion that sells sandwiches, burgers and ice cream. There isn’t a whole lot to do at Spring Lake’s beach, but it’s perfect for a no-frills, no-nonsense day at the beach. A solid place to get away from the stereotypical Jersey Shore crowd.
Based on that description, Spring Lake should be in the top 10.
There is no trendier beach in the Garden State, and for good reason. It's arguably the best surrounding area of any beach in New Jersey, with a broad boardwalk with dining options ranging from quick bites to fancy dinners along with watering holes like the vaunted Wonder Bar and The Stone Pony, the latter of which hosts a summer concert series that routinely draws major acts. The immense popularity exacerbates the beach’s biggest issue: it isn’t big enough to support those massive crowds. On top of that, while I wouldn’t call the sand “dirty” per se, but it’s far from the nicest you’ll find down the shore. And the parking is a disaster, whether you’re going to the beach or hanging out in town.
Much more laid back than its southern cousins, Bradley Beach is family-oriented and understated while still being a really nice, albeit somewhat slim, beach. The boardwalk is made of stone pavers, boasts several food options and even a mini-golf course and is separated from the beach by a row of dunes. If that doesn’t have you sold, the surprisingly ample parking might get you there. And a short walk from the beach is a row of excellent restaurants — we can't recommend breakfast at The Buttered Biscuit enough.
1. Cape May
I really can't argue this choice for the top. I kind of had a feeling that it would land #1.