New Jersey is known for a lot of things, and you can bet that the state’s fabled beach towns are one of them. And we can only snicker when their beaches are mentioned in the same breath as a certain reality TV show. But every Garden State-native knows the best boardwalks in New Jersey offer more than a cheap MTV thrill. Rather, a plethora of summer entertainment options and epitomize the state’s subtle charm and beauty.
Every New Jerseyan has their favorite boardwalk, and it’s no different for us here at The Digest. So for some, this list may seem a bit obvious. Nevertheless, we’re ranking the top boardwalks along the famous coastline. Factors such as food and drink, accessibility, history, attraction variety and nightlife were taken into account when ranking the following shore towns. No matter which shore point you choose, there is simply no summer adventure that can rival New Jersey’s finest boardwalks.
Point Pleasant Beach
Area: 1.744 square miles
Widely considered a hot spot amongst New Jersey’s northern population, Point Pleasant Beach offers a quintessential boardwalk experience. Most famously, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk makes this town a fun experience for families in particular. Multiple visits to Point Pleasant Beach are surely necessary to take in everything it has to offer.
Similar to many towns on this list, Point Pleasant Beach saw a rise in popularity primarily during the 1950s. Jenkinson’s was able to better accommodate the crowds around this time after slowly building up a reliable attraction infrastructure since opening in 1928.
- Jenkinson’s Rides
- Jenkinson’s Aquarium
- Manasquan Inlet
- Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway
- Jenkinson’s Pavilion Bar and Restaurant
- Ancient Bread Pizza
- The Food Shack
- Shipwreck Point
One-Day Beach Pass: $9 weekdays, $10 weekends and holidays
Area: 1.394 square miles
Wildwood boasts the most extensive boardwalk in the state. For those who have failed to make the trek to the single-digit exits of the Garden State Parkway, this boardwalk offers rides that could rival most regional amusement parks. Morey’s Piers, the owners of the town’s top attractions, presents an extremely diverse ride collection in addition to miles of charming restaurants and shops. Without a doubt, Wildwood has one of the best boardwalks in New Jersey.
Wildwood’s boardwalk history goes back farther than most on this list. The town’s first year-round boardwalk was completed in 1900. An economic boom after World War II gave Wildwood the green light to expand attraction and hotel options for eager vacationers.
- Morey’s Piers
- Sightseers Trams
- Doo Wop Preservation League Museum
- Wildwoods Beach Ball Sign
- Boathouse Restaurant
- Doo-Wop Diner
One-Day Beach Pass: Free
Area: 2.320 square miles
Families would be hard-pressed to find a town that exemplifies the Jersey shore feel more than Beach Haven. If one was given a single day to show people from out of town what the atmosphere is of the state in the summer, a trip to this famed shore town would surely suffice.
There is perhaps no better word to describe Beach Haven than, historic. Many local restaurants and shops are family owned and have been in operation since the early 20th century. Beach Haven is widely considered a driving force for LBI’s popularity boom several decades ago.
- Fantasy Island
- New Jersey Maritime Museum
- Surflight Theatre
- Country Kettle Fudge Shop
- Black Whale Bar And Fish House
- Tuckers Tavern
- Living On The Veg
- Uncle Will’s (breakfast only)
One-Day Beach Pass: $5 for people between 12 and 65 years old
Area: 0.746 square miles
Nearly a decade after Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey, Seaside Heights has managed to fully restore its former glory. Located just off of exit 82 of the Garden State Parkway, Casino Pier and surrounding attractions have been entertaining guests more than ever in recent years.
Seaside’s famous boardwalk was the site of some of the most heartbreaking imagery from the superstorm’s 2012 reign of terror. Yet, the shore community proved that it truly was ‘stronger than the storm.’ In addition to rebuilding the boardwalk, the town raised the necessary funds in 2017 to expand upon the area’s summer offerings.
- Hydrus Roller Coaster
- Casino Pier
- RetroCade Arcade
- Seaside Scooter Rentals
- JR’s Ocean Bar And Grill
- EJ’s Tap House
- Park Seafood
One-Day Beach Pass: $8 for 12+
Area: 1.603 square miles
A trip to Asbury Park will offer a truly unique boardwalk experience. Unlike many of the destinations mentioned in this list, you will not find thrilling rides or overpriced games on this boardwalk. Rather, a distinct atmospheric feel and culture await vacationers off of exit 102. And though the town has a unique charm inland, it is still home to one of the best boardwalks in New Jersey.
The City by the Sea, as some refer to it, became a signature shore location in the early 20th century. The construction of the Garden State Parkway in the 1950s brought a flood of tourists to the historic town. The area’s history is simply impossible to miss when strolling through its streets. Relics of the past, such as the abandoned Asbury Park Casino and New Jersey icon, Tillie mural, signify a period of time when the state was becoming a tourist hot spot.
- Silverball Pinball Museum
- Asbury Splash Park
- Paramount Theater And Convention Hall
- Annual Jersey Pride LGBT Festival (Slated for October 2020)
- Cardinal Provisions
- Pascal & Sabine
One-Day Beach Pass: $5 weekdays; $7 weekends and holidays
About the Author/s
Christian Milcos is currently pursuing a degree in Communications at Marist College. After serving as Editor-In-Chief of his high school's newspaper for two years, he has since continued writing for a variety of blogs. His content has been featured on Fansided, Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report.