Beach Guide: Monmouth County

A town-by-town guide to Monmouth County beaches.

New Jersey Monthly Magazine - The Shore Issue - June 2013

Sandy Hook, Exit 117
When Sandy Hit: Sandy Hook never looked truer to its name than when Sandy struck. “The roads were covered with sand,” says Daphne Yun, a public affairs representative for Gateway National Recreation Area. “The parking lots looked like snow-covered mountains, or deserts.” The historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse came through unscathed; and the military artifacts at the Fort Hancock Museum had been moved to avoid damage. However, a number of the area’s beach pavilions sustained water damage, and the water and sewage systems were compromised. The worst victim was the scenic five-mile Multi-Use Pathway, which ruptured in several spots.

The Recovery: Sandy Hook officially opened for the season May 1, thanks to infusions of $30 million from the National Park Service and $5.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Initial open areas include Beach Area B, North Beach and Gunnison Beach (the state’s only legal nude beach). More areas may open as the season progresses, but some might have only temporary restroom facilities. The campgrounds and all areas for bird watching will also be open, and park officials expect the Multi-Use Pathway to be repaired by Memorial Day weekend. The Fort Hancock Museum and Battery Potter could reopen later in the season.

Don’t Miss: Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook Foundation’s Beach Concert Series.

Beach Fee: Free Parking: Season, $75; daily, $15; seniors, 50% discount. Lots B, D, I, J and K open.

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Sea Bright, Exit N-105/S-117
When Sandy Hit: Despite its high seawall, many of Sea Bright’s waterfront homes suffered significant damage. Almost every downtown business was flooded out, and all but two of Sea Bright’s beloved beach clubs were damaged to the point of demolition. Five months after the storm, only about 500 of 1,400 residents were able to return to their homes.

The Recovery: Most of the beach clubs have to be rebuilt, but they expect to open. A number of restaurants and bars plan to return this summer, possibly including the Mad Hatter. McLoone’s Rum Runner and Donovan’s Reef will not be among them. The beach will be open with temporary facilities.

Beach Fee: Season, $100; seniors, $35. Daily, $8. Parking: Free.

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Monmouth Beach, Exit 105
When Sandy Hit: The beach was largely undisturbed, although it lost some sand. The brunt of the damage was sustained by buildings, boats and attractions on the Shrewsbury River, such as Sallee Tee’s Grille and the Channel Club Marina.

The Recovery: The marina and Sallee Tee’s expect to open with a more resort-like feel, including a new floating dock system, more outdoor seating and transient docking. On the oceanfront, the bathing pavilion and the Monmouth Beach Bath & Tennis Club are expected to open by Memorial Day weekend.

Beach Fee: Season, $75. Daily, $9. Under 12, free.
Parking: Season, $40. Daily, free.

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Long Branch, Exit 105
When Sandy Hit: Pier Village and Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park survived intact, but town beaches and several neighborhoods suffered flood and wind damage and sand displacement. The town’s famous beach bluffs were severely eroded, and the boardwalk south of Pier Village was completely destroyed.
The Recovery: The beaches that escaped severe erosion will be open by Memorial Day weekend, but most of the boardwalk will be missing.

Don’t Miss: Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Pier Village, Blues by the Beach (Sunday evenings starting June 9), Thursday night concerts (starting June 13), Jazz & Blues Festival (August 24).

Beach Fee: Season, $45; ages 14-17, $30. Daily, $5; 14-17, $3. Weekends and holidays, $7; 14-17, $3. Under 14 and seniors over 61, free. Parking: Free and paid lots, street parking.

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Deal, Exit N-98/S-105
When Sandy Hit: The south end of the beach mostly escaped havoc, but at the north end, the Conover Pavilion and public beach facilities were destroyed. Many roads and homes were bludgeoned by wind and water.

The Recovery: The Conover Pavilion will be open with limited facilities (no showers). The private Deal Casino Bathing Club is also expected to reopen.

Beach Fee: Call for prices. Parking: Free.

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Asbury Park, Exit N-100A/S-102
When Sandy Hit: The city sustained severe damage, flooding and power outages. Thirty percent of the boardwalk was ripped up, although the structural underpinning held firm. Several boardwalk businesses also suffered severe water damage.

The Recovery: The boardwalk will be repaired in time for summer, says director of commerce Tom Gilmour. Most boardwalk businesses reopened within months of the storm, except for Langosta Lounge, which was due to reopen by May 1.

Don’t Miss: Asbury Lanes, the Stone Pony, Cookman Avenue, Antique Emporium, First Saturday (April 6-September 7: shops and cafes open late), Oysterfest (September 6-8).

Beach Fee: Season, $70; ages 13-17, $21; over 61, $20. Daily, $5. Weekends, $6. Under 12, free. Parking: Metered.

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Ocean Grove, Exit N-100/S-100B
When Sandy Hit: Most of Ocean Grove’s boardwalk was damaged, and the fishing pier was lost to the ocean. However, the boardwalk served as a buffer, protecting homes; even the Great Auditorium suffered only minimal wind damage, with part of the roof blown off.

The Recovery: The Great Auditorium’s roof was resealed 10 days after the storm, and the boardwalk will largely be repaired for summer visitors; certain areas will have temporary blacktop walkways. The fishing pier won’t be rebuilt until 2014.

Don’t Miss: The Great Auditorium, Tent City, Sand Sculpture Contest (June 6), Bridgefest Beach Festival (June 22), Boogie Board Races (August 10).

Beach Fee: Season, $80 ($75 before May 18); ages 12-17, $40; seniors, $45. Weekly, $40. Daily, $8.

Parking: Free.

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Bradley Beach, Exit N-100/S-100B
When Sandy Hit: Sand dunes took the brunt of the storm, sparing the town significant damage except around Sylvan Lake, which overflowed its banks. The boardwalk, which is mostly tiled, remained largely intact, although some structures were damaged.

The Recovery: The dunes are being repaired, and the boardwalk and pavilions will be ready for the season. A new gazebo is being installed in time for summer.

Don’t Miss: Lobsterfest (July 13-14) on the boardwalk, summer concert series at the Fifth Avenue Gazebo, Bradley Beach Miniature Golf Course.

Beach Fee: Season, $70; over 64, $30; 13-15 $25. Daily, $7. Weekend $8.

Parking: Free and metered.

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Avon-by-the-Sea, Exit N-100A/S-100B
When Sandy Hit: The half-mile boardwalk was washed away and all the beachfront properties, including the Avon Pavilion, were severely damaged.

The Recovery: Boardwalk repair is expected to be completed by summer. A temporary structure will stand in this season for the Avon Pavilion.

Don’t Miss: Shark River Inlet for fishing, historic downtown Main Street.

Beach Fee: Season, $90; over 64, $45; ages 12-18, $45. Daily, $9. Under 12, free. Parking: Free.

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Belmar, Exit 98
When Sandy Hit: Most of the town was flooded, property damage was extensive and the boardwalk was destroyed. The four beachfront pavilions were wrecked and had to be demolished. On the river side of town, the Belmar Marina incurred $4 million of damage.

The Recovery: Belmar’s all-new, handicapped-accessible boardwalk will be ready for summer, albeit with temporary facilities. The pavilions will not be replaced until next year. Repairs at the marina are complete.

Don’t Miss: New Jersey Seafood Festival (June 7-9), Sandcastle Contest (June 17), Belmar Pro Surf (September 12-15), Ninth Avenue Pier Mini-Golf.

Beach Fee: Season, $50; seniors and disabled, $15. Daily, $7. Under 12, free.

Parking: Free and metered.

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Spring Lake, Exit 98
When Sandy Hit: The boardwalk sustained considerable damage, but beachfront landmarks such as the Breakers Hotel escaped major harm.

The Recovery: Boardwalk repairs should be complete and everything open for Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t Miss: Shops along Third Avenue, Hoffman’s Ice Cream, the Scone Pony. Beach Fee: Season, $105 ($65 after July 31). Daily, $10.

Parking: Free.

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Sea Girt, Exit 98
When Sandy Hit: Sea Girt’s exceptionally high dunes largely protected the town, although the ¾-mile boardwalk was destroyed and a section of the Beacon Beach pavilion was damaged.

The Recovery: The town is planning a picnic and grand opening for the beach around June 1. Phase One of reconstruction on the boardwalk (from Beacon to New York) was to be completed by May 14; the rest of the boardwalk should be completed by late June.

Don’t Miss: Sea Girt Lighthouse, Crescent Park, Rod’s Olde Irish Tavern, the Parker House, Joe Leone’s.

Beach Fee: Season, $110; seniors, $60. Daily, $10.

Parking: Free.

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Manasquan, Exit N-90/S-98
When Sandy Hit: “It was a little bit of everything,” says beach manager Wally Wall of Sandy’s toll on Manasquan. Sand blew into beachfront homes and streets. The storm surge poured over the dunes, overflowing local creeks and waterways and flooding much of the town. Beachfront walkways, gazebos, restrooms and concession stands all were hammered. The floor at Gee Gee’s Restaurant and Arcade collapsed into the basement.

The Recovery: The town expects new walkways, gazebos and other beachfront amenities to be ready by summer. Leggett’s Sand Bar reopened quickly. Gee-Gee’s expects to return, but with limited space and a new layout.

Don’t Miss: Manasquan Beach House, a new branch of Chocolate Bar, formerly in Beach Haven.

Beach Fee: Season, $70; ages 12-16, $35; over 65, $25. Daily, $8.

Parking: Season, $75; free street.

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