Long Beach Island, better known as LBI, has long been a summer destination for mid-Atlantic vacationers, especially those who love the water. No matter your age or interest, LBI has the best things to do under the sun- and salty air!
Long Beach Island’s Convenient Layout
LBI is conveniently located in the middle of New Jersey. The entrance to the island is about 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia and about 75 miles south of New York City. Long Beach Island is accessible off the Garden State Parkway or by Route 9 via the Manahawkin exit, crossing over the Manahawkin Bay Bridge on 72. By car, this is the only way on and off this 18-mile-long island, which is five miles longer than the city of Manhattan! While nowhere nearly as crowded as New York City, there are so many special Long Beach Island things to do among its quaint shore towns spanning from Barnegat Light and all the way down to Beach Haven.
No pressure to do anything
If you just feel like being a beach bum and getting away from the hustle and bustle, head to the northern half of the island. There, among the quiet towns of Loveladies, North Beach, Harvey Cedar, and Surf City, the vibe is very relaxed. This part of LBI is so far under the radar that even some celebrities escape to a beachfront home here. You could also book a beachfront hotel so your frequent walks to the ocean will be effortless and devoid of traffic and parking hassles.
Beach Haven and the tourist district
If you’d rather be in the middle of all the action, visit the southern part of the island. Ship Bottom, Holgate, Brant Beach, and Beach Haven are clustered together to make up the most tourist-friendly sections packed full of fun. The island’s hot spots are charming and tasteful and geared towards families, as opposed to the image set by the wild and crazy cast member of Jersey Shore.
Regardless of where you are on the island, you’re never too far from both the beach and the bay. At its widest point in Ship Bottom, LBI, the island is only about a half mile wide. Therefore, there is no great need to decide whether you want to hang at the bay to the west or the ocean to the east. You can easily do both in one afternoon!
Long Beach Island NJ Things to Do at the Beach
Long Beach Island’s beaches offer visitors much more than simply sunbathing and wading in the water. LBI Lifeguards are on duty during peak season, supervising safe swim areas and monitoring public restrooms that help to keep the beaches clean and safe. If you have kids, your favorite beaches will be the ones in Beach Haven and Brant Beach. Various shops line the beaches so you have access to boogie boards, sand toys, and kites. Wherever you plan to go, make sure to get a seasonal beach badge. (Prices start at $30, but some LBI Hotels provide badges to guests at no extra cost.)
Surfing in LBI
Perhaps the first thing on your mind is that ocean + waves = surf. On an island with a beach town specifically named Surf City, you’re sure to see surfers and have the chance to catch some waves of your own. First time surfer or semi-pro, LBI has over 20 surfing beaches and 18 surf shops, including the original Ron Jon Surf Shop. If you’re shaky about getting out there on your own, you can take lessons (and rent gear) from one of the seasoned local professionals at LBI Surfing. LBI Surfing also offers skim boarding camp in July for youngsters age 5 and up.
Maybe you’re coming to LBI with your own boat and you want to surprise your family with a thrilling water sport like tubing or wakeboarding. You can dock your boat at one of the marinas or rent a charter boat for an afternoon of nautical fun! Another popular activity for those qualified for operation is renting jet skis so you can go speeding across the surface of the water.
Long Beach Island Things to Do at the Bay
The west side also offers sandy beaches (so remember to bring those beach badges here, too). Many east side beach entrances have a neighboring west side bay beach. Bay beaches are ideal for small children and those who want to swim in calmer, shallower waters. Three notable bayside beaches for swimming, sand, playgrounds and bathroom facilities are 15th Street in Ship Bottom, Bayview Park on 68th Street in Brant Beach, and Beach Haven Terrace on New Jersey Avenue and 131st Street.
While there are piers and docks for fishing and crabbing on the ocean side, the bay side is definitely more popular for such activities since it is calmer. The best time to catch fish and crabs is at high tide. The island is full of hidden treasures and coves for viewing and catching critters, so don’t be shy to ask the locals where this season’s hot spot is. No license is required for recreational fishing and crabbing in New Jersey, but make sure what you plan to keep adheres to state regulations.
The most laid back, family-friendly spot for both fishing and crabbing is Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars at West Salem Avenue because it has a fishing pier, gazebo, playground, restrooms, and plenty of parking. If you want a place that’s not so out-of-the-way, stick closer to Beach Haven.
Get up close and personal with the water (without all the waves crashing on you) with a trending sport called stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the bay. You’ll enjoy a smooth ride on the bay, and a relaxing view of the water on the horizon. South End Surf ‘n Paddle offers lessons and scenic tours the whole family can do together.
Find the Best Things to Do in LBI
An 18-mile stretch of land with fun, sun, chills and thrills all surrounded by water, there is no shortage of Long Beach Island things to do. Whether you decide to do a beach house rental or a short hotel stay, LBI will welcome you home for the summer!