In 2021, Airbnb named Cape May, NJ as a trending vacation spot for spring/summer. This year, a new report shined a light upon another seaside community—Long Beach Island. Travelpulse recently dubbed LBI the best summer travel destination in all of New Jersey.
Although, we can’t say we’re surprised. The 18-mile sandbar has all the makings of a classic shore getaway but with a more chill vibe than its boardwalk-boasting counterparts. So let’s take a closer look at what makes this barrier island so unique, according to Travelpulse.
Why LBI Is The Best Summer Travel Destination in NJ
It has a “mix of laid-back beaches and towns”
New Jersey’s coastline is peppered with prime vacation destinations. But the sandy shores, small-town charm and surfer vibes of LBI make it a true gem. (And a slice of boardwalk-free bliss.) The best way to take in its beauty? By hanging out on or near the water. This is easy to do, considering that even at the island’s widest point, daytrippers, seasonal visitors and residents alike are never more than a half-mile from the other side.
While relatively small in size, LBI is divided into three parts—the South End, North End and Central Region. To the north, you’ll find Barnegat Light and quaint towns such as Loveladies, Harvey Cedar and North Beach. This area is known for its fishing opportunities, recreational activities, and, of course, idyllic beaches.
More centrally located hotspots include Surf City, Brant Beach and Ship Bottom—a.k.a. The “Gateway To Long Beach Island.” Along with a plethora of boutique shops and restaurants, these areas are perfect if you want to launch your boat, take a post-beach stroll or attend a nighttime concert.
To the south, you’ll find a different, perhaps more upbeat energy. Here, there are great surfing opportunities, attractions galore, museums, historical architecture and a bustling nightlife scene. Beach Haven in particular is home to amusement parks, great bars and restaurants and an array of waterfront hotels.
There are “waves perfect for surfing”
The secret’s out. The best time to surf in New Jersey isn’t the summer but the winter. However, LBI’s swell during the warmer months is still something to brag about. Yes, you can actually surf New Jersey’s waves. Even though some might find that a dip in the Atlantic can be rather chilly.
Pro tip: Head to the South End or Central Region of LBI for a prime surfing experience. Ship Bottom is an area that’s great for wave riders of all levels. This family-friendly beach is even home to one of the best surfing schools on the Jersey Shore—if you’re in need of a lesson or two. While you’re there definitely check out Ron Jon Surf Shop, a specialty board and lifestyle brand with a cult following.
Don’t forget the “remarkably atmospheric Barnegat Lighthouse”
The history of the Barnegat Lighthouse dates all the way back to 1859 when it served as a guide for ships that were making their way up to New York City. In 1957, a 32-acre park was built around it—known today as Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Visitors have the option of climbing to the lightkeepers catwalk for panoramic views of Long Beach Island, Island Beach and Barnegat Bay. Or, if you’d rather skip 217 steps to the top, the park is an excellent spot for birdwatching, taking a scenic stroll along the nature trail, or having a picnic.