Shore Things: Shopping

Looking to pick up a few beach items for your Shore vacation? We've got a list of places to pop into where you'll find exactly what you need.

Ben Franklin in Lavallette.
Photo by Colin Archer and Marc Steiner/ANJ.


Ben Franklin
Co-owner Jason Boekholp describes the Ben Franklin store as a “gift shop/beach shop/everything shop.” A family business since 1948, the used-to-be five and ten store, carries more than 35,000 items. “Everything you forget on vacation, you can get at our store,” says Boekholp, who owns the shop with his brother, Jamie. Blow dryers, boogies boards, flip-flops, seashells, dog leashes, bug spray, picture frames, volleyballs, candles, toys—Ben Franklin has it all. (1205 Grand Central Ave, 732- 830-3790)

Lavallette Yard Sale
The annual Lavallette Town-Wide Yard Sale takes place from 9 am to 4 pm on June 6 and 7, rain or shine. “There’s a little bit of everything,” says Lavallette Municipal Alliance director Kathleen Mango. “Whatever you can imagine at a garage sale, it’s there.” About 300 homes regularly participate in the sale, which is spread throughout the town (maps that pinpoint participating homes are available at the library and borough hall, and each sale spot will have balloons). Local churches and organizations will sell food for bargain hunters, who come to the borough in droves every year. (

Pier Village
Long Branch
Even if the neo-retro look of Pier Village strikes you as ersatz, there’s no denying you can find something authentic there almost any weekend of the year: visitors, and lots of them. You can shop till you drop, with an array of stores, including several clothing boutiques, a family bookstore, a surf shop, a pet boutique, a maternity store, and a running-shoe store. Once you’re done shopping, there are plenty of dining choices, plus summer events, including Movies Under the Stars and Sounds of Summer steel drum concerts in July and August; weekly Thursday by the Sea rock and jazz concerts; and monthly Sandy Hookers Triathlon Club races. (

Ron Jon Surf Shop
Ship Bottom
The Original Ron Jon Surf Shop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What started as a cozy shack peddling surfing gear in 1959 has metamorphosized into a four-level behemoth offering all-season gear. This Long Beach Island landmark (is your house left or right of “the shop”?) offers all kinds of board rentals. If you’ve got feet, they can put a board under them. (801 Central Ave, 609-494-8844,

Unshredded Nostalgia
An illegal $20 casino chip from the Brighton, a former Atlantic City resort. A limited-edition Yogi Bear animation cel. A vintage 1961 Raisin in the Sun movie poster. A Vendo 39 Coca Cola machine from the 1950s. A painted mirror from Club Harlem in Atlantic City. At Unshredded Nostalgia, such items are for sale, but together they also serve as a kind of museum of the bygone. There are hundreds of thousands of photographs, as well as Disney animation cels, retro movie posters, old menus, signs, and other collectibles. In addition to your stroll through time, you can get a history lesson from shop owner Jim Episale. (323 S Main St, 800-872-9990)

Viking Village
Barnegat Light
Set aside the fact that it is the biggest scallop-fishing port in New Jersey, beloved by restaurateurs for the quality of its catch. Viking Village, at the north end of Long Beach Island, also reels in visitors. Many of the dockside shanties have been converted to boutiques selling crafts, clothing, art, antiques, toys, and candy. There are also a takeout seafood shop and an espresso bar. From July to September you can take a tour of the working docks. Juried arts and crafts shows are scheduled for August 2 and September 6; 30-dealer antiques and collectibles shows are August 9 and September 20. (19th and Bayview,

When you do decide to head to the beach, consult our 2009 Summer Beach Guide for beach badge prices, parking information and exit numbers (if you don’t know them by heart). Click here to view the beach guide (PDF format)

Click on the links below to read the different categories of our 100 Shore Things Guide:

Family Fun



Great Outdoors


Atlantic City’s Shore Things

Asbury Park’s Shore Things

Click on the links below to read more in-depth articles about Shore destinations and developments:

Will Tough Times Yield Good Deals? A Gaming Resort Tries to Look Beyond the Recession

Touching All the Bases: Lakewood’s Minor League BlueClaws Have Become A Major Hit

Wave Master: Brian Wynn Is The Go-To Guy For Custom Surfboards on the Shore

Boardwalk Into Controvesy: Wildwood’s Apparent Use of Rain-Forest Wood Irks Environmentalists

Wrecking Crew: Seeking Sunken Treasures (Or Just a Few Fish) in Jersey’s Chilly Coastal Waters

Cape May’s Sparkling Stones: Cape May "Diamonds"?

Come As You Are Bars: Flip-Flops and a Bathing Suit Are Not Problem At These Hot Spots on the Beach

Greetings From Asbury Park (Again): Amid Economic Slowdown, A Legendary Shore Town Awaits the Fruits of Redevelopment

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