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Long Beach Island, New Jersey: Enjoy a Family Friendly Beach Vacation on the Best Beaches of LBI, NJ (Video)

Updated on February 6, 2016
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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

Long Beach Island


Long Beach Island, New Jersey: Great Beach Vacation

If you're looking to go on a relaxing East Coast beach vacation with your family but you don't like the crowded beaches of Atlantic City or other shore cities, try Long Beach Island, New Jersey. About 25 miles north of Atlantic City, Long Beach Island, or LBI, has eighteen miles of beautiful, clean and private beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

My family and I have visited LBI several times. We love going back when we can in the summertime. Together with other members of our extended family, we have rented houses in both Ship Bottom and Holgate.

The houses, depending on your budget, can range from small and cozy to incredibly large, and can be rented on the bay side or ocean side. We tend to rent a house on the ocean side in the middle range of size: not too small and not too large. The houses have been clean and remodeled, but nothing too fancy, which is perfect when you have sandy kids coming back from the beach. There are also many muti-million dollar homes there that are very modern and elegant, but they tend to be the most expensive to rent.

Each little town on the island has a corresponding stretch of beach, all clean and well maintained (In fact, the island spent millions of dollars in recent years reestablishing the shoreline after too many years of erosion had threatened the beaches and the dunes). In order to access the beaches, each guest is required to wear a beach tag, which can be purchased for a daily visit, a weekly visit or a season pass. Many of the rental properties have season passes that they provide to guests, so if you're renting a home, there's usually no need to go out and buy a tag.

Lifeguards and beach patrol are on the beaches from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., keeping the beaches safe for families. I have witnessed them in several instances even running training and re-training sessions while they are on duty, keeping themselves on the ball in case of actual emergencies.

Dress is beach-casual almost everywhere you go on the island. Most people, especially in the summer, will go everywhere in their bathing suits or beach attire, so be prepared! There are many shops and even restaurants that do not require regular attire, so there may be people fresh off the beach shopping and dining with you in their shorts and bathing suits.

LBI: Ship Bottom and Holgate

Ship Bottom, NJ:
Ship Bottom, NJ, USA

get directions

I have stayed in Ship Bottom several times. It is my favorite town on the island!

Holgate, NJ:
Holgate Ave, Long Beach, NJ 08008, USA

get directions

I stayed in Holgate once. It is at the South end of the island, near the nature preserve.

LBI: Long Beach Island Specifics

LBI is considered part of Ocean County, NJ. The only entrance to the island is a single bridge known there as The Causeway, which takes you to Ship Bottom, the widest part of LBI. Once off the bridge, you can go north or south on the island on the main 'highway', Route 72.

If you go North, you will drive through Surf City, North Beach, Harvey Cedars, Loveladies and Barnegat Light, which are all 'towns' on the island.

If you travel South, you will drive through ShipBottom, Long Beach Township (including Brant Beach, Beach Haven Crest, Brighton Beach, Peahala Park, Beach Haven Park, Haven Beach, The Dunes, Beach Haven Terrace, Beach Haven Gardens, and Spray Beach) North Beach Haven, Beach Haven and Holgate.

Activities for Families on LBI

Aside from spending time on the beach, there are many things for families to do on LBI. Along the main road, there are many great little restaurants. There are also mini-golf/arcades, an amusement park, shops, day spas, art galleries, and museums.

If you'd like a little adventure, there are bicycle rentals and surfing lessons. There are also boat rentals and jet skis if you'd like to have fun in the ocean.

If you'd like to relax and you like to fish on the beach or go crabbing on the bay, there are quite a few bait and tackle shops where you can get all the equipment you need. You'll also find that many of the rental homes have equipment and you will just need to get a fishing license.

If you would rather find an indoor venue to relax, there are movie theaters to enjoy, which are great for rainy days or when you want to cool off. Another way to cool off is to visit the ice cream shops that are on the island.

Barnegat Lighthouse on LBI: History

At the northernmost tip of the island rests the historical Barnegat Lighthouse, known locally as 'Old Barney'. Built in 1859, this lighthouse was used to warn ships coming from New York down to New Jersey about the potentially dangerous conditions and areas surrounding the island. It was deactivated in 1944, but in the 1950s the lighthouse was opened to visitors. The surrounding land was designated as a state park and a museum with the lighthouse's history was housed nearby.

Today, visitors to Old Barney can still climb to the top to see its panoramic views of LBI. I have climbed the tower several times; it is no easy feat, but if you are healthy enough and willing to try, I say go for it!

Barnegat Lighthouse on LBI

Barnegat Lighthouse, LBI
Barnegat Lighthouse, LBI | Source

Visit LBI Anytime, Like During Chowder Fest!

LBI, while a popular summer destination, can be visited year round. One of their most popular fall festivities is the Chowder Fest, a celebration of clam chowder that includes a chowder competition, music and other festivities.

The island is open all year long. Even if you can't swim or enjoy the beach as much, people still visit the island in the winter to get some peace and quiet as the summer crowd isn't there. The weather isn't too extreme in the winter due to being on the Atlantic Ocean, so you won't be facing massive snowfall if you should choose to visit in the winter.

Anytime you go, you will really enjoy Long Beach Island, New Jersey. It truly is one of the nicest beach spots on the Atlantic Coast. Visit LBI!


Have you been to LBI? Do you wish to go there? Leave me a comment! Thanks!

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    • dappledesigns profile image


      6 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

      I love LBI - gosh, we used to go every summer! It's been 3 years since I've been back because we are now in the Midwest. :/ Chowder Fest is outstanding and they keep the beaches really clean. We love the little cottages that are family owned - they have that great beachy feel to them and for the most part are all a quick walk to the beach.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      Graham, it is a nice restful place, even during the busy beach hours! Thanks for watching. :)

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      8 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi ThePracticalMommy. This looks a peaceful place to be. Great holiday home, so restful and cool. Thank you.


    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      tillsontitan, I'm jealous that your daughter owns a house so close to LBI! That's great that she can just hop on over to the island in such a short drive.

      We visit the lighthouse every time we go. The kids love seeing it! I didn't know about the popcorn zoo; we'll have to check that out next time we're down there.

      Thank you very much for watching and commenting! :)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      Ardie, you and the kids would love LBI. Houses book up fast though, so get moving on it! ;)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      LBI is a great place to visit! Additionally, you can rent a place in a surrounding area and still enjoy the LBI beach. My daughter owns a house in Manahawkin and it's only a ten to fifteen minute drive the beach - they rent house out in Manahawin as well. Great hub and info. P.S. The lighthouse is a treat and a favorite. Also, about twenty minutes away is a popcorn zoo great for kids.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Ardie profile image


      8 years ago from Neverland

      I plan on taking my girls to the beach/ocean this summer and New Jersey has really gotten my attention :)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      Movie Master, you would really enjoy yourself. It truly is a beautiful place. The visitor friendly lighthouse is a plus! The view from the top is spectacular.

      Thanks so much for watching and commenting! :)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow 20 miles of sandy beach and I have always wanted to climb to the top of a lighthouse - I would love to visit!

      it sounds fabulous.

      Thank you and voted up.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      mio cid, thanks for stopping by again! New Jersey is the Garden State, but you just have to find the right parts of Jersey for that, right? ;)

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      of course I agree, love the jersey shore from sandy hook to cape may, who wouldn't?you'd have to be a card carrying communist and hate America not to, oh wait......I'm a socialist, never mind that, everybody needs to come to New Jersey , and see that we really are the garden state.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      thebookmom, you should go! You'll love it. Rentals are filled early, so if you wanted to go this year, you should start looking now. Thanks so much for reading, watching and commenting! :)

    • thebookmom profile image


      8 years ago from Nebraska

      Fantastic work! I so want to vacation there. Your hub does a great job of presenting the town and giving practical advice about how to vacation successfully there. Well done.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      mio cid, I'm glad you love the island too! I wasn't going to mention the flies, but I have to agree with you. We check for the fly situation as well and try to stay in Ship Bottom or further north to stay away from the nature preserve where they can get bad at certain times of the year. We really only had a problem with them once, though. Other than that, I'd have to say there are no other complaints with LBI. Agree? :)

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      I love long beach island but before I go I have to check if there's flies that year because if there are they're unbearable


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