The Ultimate Long Beach Island Vacation Guide
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  • Post published:13/05/2021
  • Post last modified:13/05/2021

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Located along the Atlantic Ocean coast, Long Beach Island is a great fit for short breaks. Whether you’re looking for a weekend family trip or a staycation getaway for a quick vacation, “LBI” has plenty to keep you entertained. Dotted with large-scale waterfront homes, offers travelers a taste of everything, and it has 18 miles of white-sand beaches, amusement parks, local boutiques, sleek eateries, and historical gems. And who’s got the heart to say no to all of these?

If you want to take a break from the urban sprawl, head-off this beach lover’s paradise for a well-deserved vacation time. But first, have a look at our guide and learn what are the best things to do in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Best time to go to Long Beach Island

White sand leads to a beach in Surf City on Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Regarded as home to the best beaches on the east coast, Long Beach Island boasts about 345 of sunshine annually. As for the best time to visit the city, we recommend going during the summer, when temperatures are warm and ranging from 21 °C to 28 °C. This creates the perfect environment for travelers who want to indulge in a slew of outdoor and water activities.

Top Things To Do In Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Parasail Above The Atlantic Ocean

Two people parasailing above the ocean at sunset.

How about starting your vacation with an extra dose of adrenaline? Long Island Beach, in New Jersey, happens to be one of the best destinations for parasailing, which is actually a great family-friendly activity. While flying 250-300ft off the Atlantic, you’ll be able to marvel at the city from a unique perspective and witness not only breathtaking views of the coastline but also dolphins, rays, and other native New Jersey marine species.

Soak Up The Sun At The Long Island Beach State Park

View of the Barnegat State Park located on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

After dosing up on some adrenaline, immerse yourself in nature, and have a well-deserved relaxation time. And, one of the best places to experience nature in its purest form is the Island Beach State Park, a narrow barrier island that stretches for 10 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barnegat Bay. Home to more than 400 identified species of plants, the park is covered by 10 miles of sand dunes and beaches, which welcome a variety of occasional visitors, including falcons, shorebirds, and waterfowls.

Aside from miles of white-sandy beaches, the park also harbors 8 trails — each under one mile— which provide a self-guided tour through the nine plant communities of the barrier island.

Visit The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park 

Barnegat Lighthouse at sunset.

The Barnegat Lighthouse is the ultimate New Jersey symbol, at it stands beautifully on the point of an inlet, overlooking the Atlantic. Also known as “Old Barney”, the lighthouse is located at the northern tip of Long Beach Island and offers a jaw-dropping panoramic view of Island Beach, Barnegat Bay, and Long Beach Island.

Adjacent to the Barnegat Lighthouse is the Barnegat Lighthouse Interpretive Center, a museum that showcases the history of the lighthouse through a myriad of historic photographs.

A great tip is to extend your visit and take an even deeper walk into the past by going to the Barnegat Light Museum. They keep the history of Barnegat Light alive and available to the public by showcasing a slew of artifacts and pictures in the 106-year-old restored schoolhouse museum.

Take The Kids To The Fantasy Island Amusement Park

Long Island Beach has a handful of family-oriented spots. But one of the best is definitely the Fantasy Island Amusement Park, in Beach Haven. Founded in 1985, Fantasy Island is the only amusement park on Long Beach Island, and it features 18 rides and a 12000 sq. ft arcade filled with fun attractions, which are guaranteed to keep the kids entertained. The little ones can indulge in a series of rides, such as bumper cars, giant wheel, and even the 80 feet tall Lighthouse Launch, which is is the tallest ride at Fantasy Island Amusement Park and designed to resemble the Barnegat Lighthouse.

After enjoying the fun rides at Fantasy Island, a good idea is to explore Beach Haven. This small beach community located in the Ocean Country is rich in history, and it displays two of the best museums in Long Beach Island: the New Jersey Maritime Museum and the Long Beach Island Museum. The first one is centered around the New Jersey maritime history, and it houses a collection of artifacts that encourage maritime research. Built in 1882 in a former church, the Long Beach Island Museum is located at the very center of Beach Haven, and it was created to preserve the history of Long Beach Island alive.

Cool Off At The Thundering Surf Water Park

Two kids having fun at a water slide.

The Thundering Surf Water Park is another must-go spot for families in the Beach Haven borough, in Long Beach Island. Run by a family and founded in the summer of 1977, the park became the top Long Beach island attraction for some real fun in the water.

The Thundering Surf Water Park has a myriad of attractions, including 6 different Serptine Tube Slides, a Lazy River with a wave cannon sending a 2-foot wave every 60 seconds, over 200 feet long Rainbow Rides, and a toddler area, among other rides.

Get Competitive At The Hartland Golf & Arcade

A miniature golf course.

Voted the “Number One Mini Golf on Long Beach Island”, the Hartland Golf & Arcade is located in Ship Bottom, in the very heart of the island. The course features 18 holes spread over hills, under ponds, through tunnels, and past obstacles. Every summer they host Golf Tournaments, with trophies for the best scores and over $200 in great prizes.

Uncover The Harvey Cedars Borough And The Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge

Sunset at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Long Beach Township, New Jersey

Placed on the north end of Long Beach Island, Harvey Cedars is a charming retreat filled with large oceanfront houses, which are the perfect place for a relaxing vacation on the beach.

Harvey Cedars is located within 30 minutes from Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which protects more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats. Placed on the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge is a prime Long Beach Island spot for Wildlife Viewing, as it serves as both a transitory route for migrating birds and a seasonal home for many animal species, including whitetail deer, wild turkeys, and squirrels.

Where To Eat In Long Beach Island

Stefano’s Restaurant

Italian home made pasta with fresh seafood.

Placed in the Long Beach Island Township, this sleek modern eatery is the place to go if you’re craving some Italian-inspired meal. Their menu includes a range of seafood-heavy dishes, such as the “Risotto Del Mar”, made with fresh lobster and crabmeat, and the “Calamari Marinari” over homemade linguini.

Aside from dishes made with super fresh seafood, Stefano’s also has a slew of veal and poultry dishes. The highlight? Definitely the “Chicken Siena”, made with prosciutto, fresh mozarella and penne.

Living On The Veg

Fresh organic vegetarian food and glass of kombucha in hipster style cafe

Great news for vegetarians: Long Beach Island also has great restaurants for you too. Living On The Veg, for instance, is one of the best vegetarian eateries in the city, and a must-go place for a cruelty-free and healthy meal. Aside from having delicious treats for breakfast, such as avocado toasts and scrambled wraps, this deli and juice bar also serves a variety of sandwiches, salads, and deli classics. Not to mention their burritos and smoothies, which will surely give you an extra dose of energy at any time of the day.

Uncle Will’s Pancake House, Beach Heaven

Different breakfast meal plates over a table.

Uncle Willi’s motto is “day or night, we feed you right”, and they live up to those words. Located in Beach Haven, this breakfast restaurant is probably the best spot for a family meal in Long Beach Island. To kick-off your day the right way, order “Uncle Willi’s World Famous Pancakes”, which can come in a variety of flavors, such as apple pecan, chocolate chip, and banana. They also have eggs benedict, which are served with either home fries, homemade potato salad, house salad, or fresh fruit medley. For a real carbs overdose, also order Uncle Willi’s french toasts and signature waffles.

Where to stay in Long Beach Island?

Long Island has a variety of ocean-front houses and hotels for a relaxing holiday at the beach. You can either opt for staying at a hotel and enjoy a variety of amenities or opt for a cozy vacation rental by the sea.

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