In a state where we love our beaches so much, is there really such a thing as a little known beach? Absolutely. We have some truly fantastic hidden gems, secluded spots and beaches along bodies of water other than the Atlantic Ocean. While the boardwalks tend to bring in crowds, these New Jersey beaches deliver a more relaxing experience.
1. Stone Harbor Point
This stunning conservation area is not a place for swimming, but rather walking along the shore, enjoying nature and taking in wildlife. Beach tags are required from 10-5, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Free parking is available in the lot. Visit the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary while you're in the area.
2. Pearl Beach
This Cape May Point beach is the least crowded in the area, according to a USA Today article. It neighbors the more popular Sunset Beach and has access points off Pearl Avenue, from Stites Ave. and Brainard Ave.. You'll need to find street parking, but it's worth it for the swimming - a lifeguard has been on duty in season since 2005.
3. Turtle Beach
This grassy beach is the ONLY official beach area on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap. Parking and a picnic area are available, personal grills are permitted. Lifeguards are on duty weekends from mid-June through August. Weekend admission is $10 per carload, up to 7 persons. The beach is located six miles north of I-80 on Old Mine Road.
4. Diamond Beach
Enjoy private beach access in the Wildwood area with your stay at Icona Resorts. Rooms start at around $200 per night on weekdays and residences are also available. Amenities include a heated pool, fitness center, a beach bar and Coastal Blue Bar & Grill. Beachfront fitness classes and surf lessons are available for an added fee. The resort was named the seventh best in the entire United States by TripAdvisor.
5. Hospitality Creek
Located in Williamstown, about halfway between Atlantic City and Philadelphia, Hospitality Creek Campground offers a sandy lakefront beach, Olympic-sized pool, activity pool, rope swing, water slides and so much more. Access is available through a swim club membership or simply by staying at the campground - nightly rates start at $60.
The beach running along the Cape May County town of Strathmere is one of New Jersey's few free beaches. Lifeguards are on duty seasonally, guarding the area between Seaview Ave. South and Nelson Ave.. There is also an area for fishing and surfing.
Avalon isn't one beach, it's a borough with beaches on nearly every block. Miles of beautiful beaches mean that you're sure to find a more secluded spot. A seasonal beach pass is just $27 and also grants you access to Stone Harbor's beaches. You'll find guarded swimming areas, places to raft and places to surf. While there is no commercial boardwalk, you can find a few fun restaurants on Dune Drive including Brian's Waffle House, Diving Horse and Cafe Loren. You can also enjoy shopping and Pirate Island Mini-Golf.
8. Round Valley Reservoir
Offering swimming and boating, this 180-foot-deep lake is also a popular spot for divers. Located near Clinton and Lebanon, Round Valley has a sandy beach and spectacular blue waters. Wilderness campsites are available. Admission to the beach and recreation area is $5 per carload on weekdays and $10 per carload on weekends, for New Jersey residents.
9. North End Beach
This dog friendly Brigantine beach is less crowded, mainly because it is quite a trek to get to. Located three miles from the nearest road, you can get a permit to drive on the sand for the first 1.5 miles, the rest will need to be covered on foot. Swimming is not permitted, but the scenic spot is paradise for photographers.
10. Highlands Beach
Located on the Sandy Hook Bay, this secret beach requires no badge. A great picnic spot, it can be accessed off Central Avenue.
Not all of New Jersey’s beaches are packed with crowds and these offer some of the most serene experiences you can find on the water. From lakes to oceans, you’ll surely love these more secluded and lesser-known spots. What is your favorite New Jersey beach? Do you prefer hidden gems or bustling boardwalks?