With summertime crowds departing, Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park is a great place for a little recreational saltwater fishing.
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Island Beach State Park
Seaside Park (Ocean County); 732-793-0506
Size of park: 3,003 acres
October is an ideal month to visit Island Beach State Park—without the summertime crowds. The park, located on a barrier island between Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic, is accessible through the gatehouse at the end of Route 35 South.
On the ocean side, surf fishing is the most popular fall activity; striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, albacore, and other species are abundant. Licenses are not required for recreational saltwater fishing but state regulations apply. Serious anglers compete in the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, held on the first Sunday of October.
Fishing is not the only game here. Hike to the southern tip of the park for a beautiful view of the Barnegat Lighthouse. On the bay side, kayaking is a popular activity (bring your own, but no trailers permitted). Clams are prolific in the shallow marshes around the bay if you don’t mind squishing around in bare feet to find them.
There are eight short hiking trails; two lead to bird blinds, another to a butterfly garden, another to a freshwater wetland habitat, and yet another to a cranberry bog. (Nearby Double Trouble State Park celebrates the cranberry harvest each October. Call 732-341-6662 for exact dates.)
Island Beach is open daily 8 am until dusk; entry fee is $5 per vehicle.
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