Long Beach Island wants you to know it’s different from other spots along the Jersey Shore. Its official slogan — “Beach Culture Redefined” — signals to locals and visitors that this is the sunny refuge they seek.
“This is a place where memories are made through quality downtime, exciting festivals, delicious meals, and artistic expression,” said Lori Pepenella, CEO of LBI’s Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.
Here are some places to check out in Long Beach Island.
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Start at this park, complete with an interpretive tourist center and maritime forest. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the “Old Barney” Lighthouse is closed to the public. But make it a point to return after restrictions are lifted. You will want to see the natural beauty of Long Beach Island or enjoy views of the bay from the jetty.
A quick drive south to the historic village provides free behind-the-scene dock tours each Friday morning during the summer. It also features a fish market and access to the Miss Barnegat Light, a fishing and cruise boat that accommodates deep-sea fishing tours during the day and sunset cruises at night.
For more than 70 seasons, the Beach Haven venue has hosted a lineup of main-stage and children’s productions each night. Bonus: The theater houses an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with servers who sing and dance. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the box office is closed. Call for tickets.
When you’ve had your fill of salt water, consider a visit to the family-owned park, a staple of Long Beach Island for more than 40 years. Founders Chris and Julie Mesanko and their children oversee dozens of water slides, pools, and an adventure golf course. The park opens on Memorial Day weekend (weather permitting).
📍 300 Taylor Ave., Beach Haven, 🌐 thunderingsurfwaterpark.com, 📞 609-492-0869, 📷@thunderingsurfwaterpark, 🕑 Memorial Day 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m., otherwise Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
The island’s only amusement park, based in Beach Haven, introduced new rides and expanded its arcade about two years ago.
Food and drink
For beachside dining, dip into LBI favorites like Howard’s in Long Beach Township, which has been in business since 1950, and serves a mean fried lobster.
This Memorial Day, the quirky Beach Haven restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary, having opened Memorial Day 1991. The Chegg (as it’s known by regulars) can attribute its staying power to its creative presentation, its creative breakfast menu, and its juicy wings.
Gotta love the creamy fudge at Country Kettle, spun with a special recipe that was handed down from science teacher to his students, along with the business.
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The parlor pairs its home-spun ice cream with a wonderful name and creative takes on everyone’s favorite Shore dessert.
Great place to meet friends for cocktails and a bite to eat, and an extensive wine, beer and, naturally, oyster menus.
While at Daddy O’s, which also houses a hotel, be sure to try the Burden of Proof (rye, bourbon, raspberry purée, orange) on the rooftop bar that overlooks both the bay and Atlantic Ocean.
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Sits on the bay side of LBI, where one can try a Parker’s Pearl Oyster, custom-cultivated for the restaurant by Barnegat Oyster Collective in Rose Cove. It’s the only raw bar in New Jersey that can claim having its own unique oyster variety.
Hotel LBI, the swanky luxury hotel that opened in 2019, includes 102 guest suites, a premium spa and pool, plus a rooftop deck. It also includes several venues, including the 200-seat Salt Kitchen & Cocktail Bar for “casual fine dining.”
This article has been updated since it first published.
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