The Jersey Shore is the coastal region of the U.S. state of New Jersey. Geographically, the term encompasses about 141 miles (227 km) of oceanfront from Perth Amboy in the north to Cape May Point in the south, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The Jersey Shore area includes Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties. While there is no defined border between North Jersey and South Jersey, the Raritan River, Manasquan River or I-195 are often mentioned as the border, with most of the shore region being located in South Jersey. Many New Jersey residents refer to it simply as "The Shore", as in to go "down the shore", or to have done something "down the shore".
Famous for its many boardwalks with arcades, water parks, and amusement parks boasting hundreds of rides and attractions, the Jersey Shore is a popular vacation spot for New Jerseyans, New Yorkers, and Pennsylvanians. Certain communities are also popular with visitors from the nearby states of Virginia and Maryland, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec. Superstorm Sandy in 2012 has spawned the demolition and rebuilding of entire neighborhoods, with reinvention on a physically and financially elevated and economically upscale level; this process of gentrification is transforming many communities on the Jersey Shore into a second home for the New York financial community, akin to the more established Hamptons.
The Jersey Shore is lined with over 40 communities, each with a different character and flavor. Some cater to summer tourists and visitors, and others are completely full-year residential communities, while still others are a mix of both. Below are some of the most notable shore points.
There are several "Gateway towns" that are part of the Jersey Shore, and on the way to the main towns. They are also historically part of the Jersey Shore, for several reasons, including the fact that there used to be boardwalks along the Raritan River, and the fact that there are several historical sights in the area, including the Thomas Edison memorial and Menlo Park building in Edison, and several waterfront parks, including one in Metuchen. In Middlesex County, these towns include Woodbridge Township, Metuchen, Carteret, Edison, and New Brunswick.
Including Middlesex county as part of the Jersey shore is a stretch at best
The two towns that make up The Amboys are Perth Amboy and South Amboy. Perth Amboy's history dates back to 1651 when August Herman bought a point of land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. The land, which was called "Ompoge" by the Native Americans, gradually changed its name to "Emboyle", then "Amboyle". When the city was incorporated in 1683, settlers began to call the land "Ambo" or "Amboy Point", and finally "Amboy." The name means "place resembling a bowl."
In 1686, when the settlement became the capital of East Jersey, Perth was added to the name in honor of one of the Proprietors under the Royal grant, James Drummond, 1st Duke of Perth. This town caters mostly to year-round residents and has a beach, a few fishing piers, and a few marinas, therefore making it part of the Jersey Shore.
Keansburg is one of the most tourism-oriented towns along the Raritan Bayshore region, Keansburg is home to the Keansburg Amusement Park and the Runaway Rapids Waterpark. It is also home to a small boardwalk that runs along the Raritan Bay, sometimes offering views of the New York City skyline.
Keyport, nicknamed the "Pearl of the Bayshore", is located along the coast of the Raritan Bay and is known for its iconic waterfront and fishing pier, traditional downtown and local restaurants and bars. Many boaters utilize Keyport's marinas that give ideal access to fishing, crabbing and watersports.
Atlantic Highlands, which overlooks where the Atlantic Ocean and Raritan Bay meet at Sandy Hook, contains Mount Mitchill, the highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine, rising 266 feet (81 m) above sea level.
The New York City skyline can be seen from the borough's ridges and its shoreline. Pleasure, fishing and commuter boats sail from its harbor. The municipal harbor was built from 1938 through 1940 with municipal, state, and federal funds. It is the largest on the East Coast, home to 715 craft, including high-speed ferry service to New York City, which was introduced in 1986. In 1966, the Central Railroad of New Jersey pier was destroyed by fire. Its rail route is now used by the Henry Hudson Trail.
Sandy Hook is a long, narrow peninsula managed by the National Park Service as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The eastern shoreline consists of various public and fishing beaches, including North Beach and Gunnison Beach. The peninsula's ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and are a popular destination for recreation in summer when seasonal ferries bring beachgoers. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the East Coast. The northern end of the island is home to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, and restored buildings of the former Fort Hancock Coast Guard Station. Spread across the peninsula are former military installations, including four ammunitions bunkers, two gun stations, and a Nike Missile Base.
Sea Bright is bordered by the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The area was first settled in 1840s by a fishing community called "Nauvoo". The origin of the word is Shephardic Hebrew and means "beautiful or pleasant place". Sea Bright has several small boutiques, bars, restaurants, and other small stores. In addition, there are seven members-only beach clubs: Ship Ahoy, Surfrider, Sea Bright Beach Club, Chapel Beach Club, Driftwood and Edgewater. There are also two public beaches with free parking and life guards that charge an entrance fee.[better source needed] Some of the restaurants include Woody's Ocean Grille Sea Bright, McLoone's Rum Runner, EvenTide Grille, Yumi, and Tommy’s Tavern + Tap. The Sea Bright-Monmouth Beach Seawall has been rebuilt several times.
Red Bank, overlooking the Navesink River, is a noted social and commercial destination, filled with boutiques, designer clothing and home stores, parks, and restaurants. Special events are scheduled throughout the summer, such as the KaBoomFest fireworks on July 3, which attracted as many as 150,000 spectators at its 51st annual event in 2010.
Red Bank consists of an eclectic mix of businesses, including entertainment, retail, professional, medical and hospitality. It offers luxury stores, like Garmany and Tiffany, and trendy clothing stores including Greene Street, Urban Outfitters. Coffee shops include Starbucks and Rook and eateries range from the "Pay It Forward" style, like the Bonjovi Soul Kitchen, to pubs like the Dublin House or vegetarian fare like the Good Karma Cafe. Garmany of Red Bank has been expanded from a men's store into a luxury department store with 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of high-end retail space. Store openings have included Tiffany & Co. in November 2007.
Boating, sculling, sailing, and fishing are popular outdoor activities in and near Red Bank; in the winter, ice boats sail on the Navesink when it freezes over, as it did in 2009. The Monmouth Boat Club, Marine Park, and the slips of the Molly Pitcher Inn provide access to the Navesink and, from there, Sandy Hook and the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Jersey Shore and the Atlantic Ocean.
In years past, Long Branch was a major destination for beachgoers, along with Asbury Park, and enjoyed an upscale connotation with tourists. Long Branch is home to Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, named for the United States presidents who visited the fashionable resort town, including Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson and James A. Garfield.
Pier Village is a Victorian-inspired, mixed-use community consisting of 536 rental residences sitting atop more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of retail space. A public grassy area called Festival Plaza is the site of regular events, including concerts, arts & crafts fairs, outdoor movies and holiday events. The first story of Pier Village is filled with shops, restaurants, lounges, a salon, and a gym, while the upper floors are filled with ocean-view Apartments. Long Branch is also home to the original WindMill Hot Dogs restaurant, located in a windmill-shaped building since 1963.
Asbury Park was developed through the 1920s and 1930s as a resort destination for the New York Metro Area, and it remained that way through World War II. The post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s saw the construction of the Garden State Parkway and the Monmouth Mall, taking visitors away from Asbury Park. Race riots on July 4, 1970 resulted in the destruction of various buildings across the city. Since the early 2000s, a burgeoning crowd of artists along with local political leaders have helped push the town through major redevelopment, which is still ongoing. Asbury Park has emerged as a prime LGBT destination and still retains its lively music scene which made it famous, with locales such as the Stone Pony, a music bar which is frequented by artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny.
Ocean Grove was originally developed as a religious summer camp meeting site, and is referred to as "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore". Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture. It is home to The Great Auditorium, a 5,500-seat indoor arena constructed in 1894 on bridge-like iron trusses laid on stone foundations. The Auditorium contains a pipe organ that is one of the 25 largest in the world. Surrounding the Auditorium are 114 tents, which are occupied from May to September, just as they have been since 1869. These rustic throwbacks adjoin to rear sheds containing a kitchen and bathroom. The tents are stored in the sheds during the winter. They are in such demand that there is a waiting list of some ten years for summer rentals. Ocean Grove also had the honor of being named one of the top 15 best beaches by Fodor's in 2014.
Belmar is a popular vacation destination due to its natural and recreational resources. Its boardwalk and town offer shops, restaurants, an active arts scene, sporting events, festivals, and a variety of family-oriented activities. Belmar is among the most popular surf spots on the East Coast, frequently hosting surfing events and competitions.
Spring Lake is home to many old homes and tree-lined streets, in contrast to many tourist-oriented towns at the Jersey Shore. During the "Gilded Age" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Spring Lake developed into a coastal resort for members of New York City and Philadelphia high society, in similar fashion to the settlements of Newport, Rhode Island and Bar Harbor, Maine. A surviving example of architecture constructed during this era is the Martin Maloney Cottage on Morris Avenue next to the tycoon's former and no longer existent Ballingarry Estate. Another fine example of period architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the Audenried Cottage on Tuttle Avenue.
Manasquan has a downtown area with many small businesses. Algonquin Arts Theatre has shows and movies that play throughout the year. It is a historic 540-seat theatre, built in 1938 as a movie house but converted to a professional live performance space in May 1994.
The Manasquan Inlet provides surfers with waves that are corralled, refracted and enlarged by the jetty protruding out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Manasquan Inlet, reopened in 1931, is the northern terminus of the inland portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Point Pleasant boardwalk is approximately one mile long, spanning the coastline from the Manasquan Inlet at the north to New Jersey Avenue in the south. The central third of the boardwalk contains amusement rides, arcades, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, and miniature golf courses. Point Pleasant Beach is also the northern terminus of the East Coast's Intracoastal Waterway. The town is home to Jenkinson's Aquarium, Jenkinson's Boardwalk amusement park, and Jenkinson's Beach. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has many different attractions, food vendors, and stores. The attractions include a ride park geared towards children. There are also three arcades on the boardwalk: Jenkinson’s South Arcade, Jenkinson’s South Beach Arcade, and Frank’s Fun Center. There are many restaurants ranging from pizza joints, to grills, to ice cream parlors.
Seaside Heights is famous for its amusement-oriented boardwalk and numerous clubs and bars. Casino Pier and Funtown Piers are amusement parks, each situated on a pier extending approximately 300 feet (100 m) into the Atlantic Ocean. Each of the two piers is part of a boardwalk that stretches for 2 miles (3.2 km), which offers many family-friendly attractions from arcades to a wide variety of foods and desserts, all within walking distance. Breakwater Beach is a water park situated across the street from Casino Pier. Seaside Heights was boosted into the national spotlight by MTV with shows such as Jersey Shore.
Long Beach Island is a barrier island and collection of several shore communities. Long Beach Island is approximately 18 miles (29 km) in length, which includes three miles (5 km) of nature reserve located on the southern tip. Bisecting the middle of the island is the sole access point for road vehicles, via Route 72, which consists of the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge (locally known as "The Causeway"). The bridge is known for its "String of Pearls", a row of lights mounted on the railings lining the length of the bridge. This beach is popular spot for people who want to relax in the sun all day and don't particularly like the boardwalk. Most places are in walking distance and there is a downtown area with stores and restaurants.
The region is often split into two parts, with "The Island" referring to LBI, and "The Mainland" referring to the towns on the mainland opposite of the islad, which are also part of the region.
The presence of the bisecting causeway, located in Ship Bottom, results in the division of the island into a northern portion and a southern portion. From the bridge northward, the island includes the communities of Surf City, North Beach, Harvey Cedars, Loveladies (the northernmost section of Long Beach), High Bar Harbor, and Barnegat Light. From the bridge southward, the island includes the communities of Long Beach (including the census-designated place of North Beach Haven) and Beach Haven, with the Holgate section of Long Beach at the southernmost tip of the island. The island is home to attractions such as Barnegat Light, the Fantasy Island amusement park, the Bay Village shopping complex near Bay Village, Bayfront Park in Surf City, one of two Lucille's Candies locations in Brant Beach, as well as the original Ron Jon Surf Shop location.
The mainland includes the towns of Lacey, Waretown, Barnegat Township, Manahawkin, Beach Haven West, Little Egg Harbor, and Tuckerton. Big attractions on the mainland include Albert Music Hall in Waretown, Mud City Crab House in Manahawkin, and Tuckerton Seaport in Tuckerton.
Additionally, when crossing the "causeway", one will see Cedar Bonnet Island, which include the Bonnet Island estate. It has a Manahawkin address.
Brigantine is an island community, the northernmost in Atlantic County. The Brigantine Lighthouse is a central identifying symbol of the city. Brigantine is home to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, the state's only marine stranding center. The center rehabilitates and releases stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, rescuing more than 3,900 whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles since it was formed. Part of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is located on the northern end of Brigantine Island.
Atlantic City is a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is considered the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast" and is second to Las Vegas in number of casinos, yearly gaming revenue, and number of rooms. The Atlantic City Skyline has been transformed by construction of new casino hotels and condominia. Atlantic City is also home to numerous shopping malls and districts.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk was one of the first boardwalks of its type in the United States, having opened on June 26, 1870. The Boardwalk starts at Absecon Inlet and runs along the beach for four miles (six kilometers) to the city limit. An additional one and one half miles (two kilometers) of the Boardwalk extend into Ventnor City. Casino/hotels front the boardwalk, as well as retail stores, restaurants, and amusements. Notable attractions include the Boardwalk Hall, the Steel Pier, and the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. Home of the Miss America pageant, Atlantic City has been featured in numerous films and television series, most notably the setting of the 1980 film Atlantic City starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon and the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
Ocean City is home to a boardwalk with several shops and amusement areas. Known as a family-oriented seaside resort, Ocean City has prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages within its limits since its founding in 1879. Ocean City has miles of guarded beaches, a 2.5-mile boardwalk, and a downtown shopping and dining district. The Travel Channel rated Ocean City as the Best Family Beach of 2005. It was ranked the third best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. In the 2009 Top 10 Beaches Contest, Ocean City ranked first.
The Wildwoods is used as a collective term for the four communities that have "Wildwood" as part of the municipality name — the Borough of Wildwood Crest, City of Wildwood, Borough of West Wildwood and the City of North Wildwood — together with Diamond Beach, a portion of Lower Township situated on the island. Its most notable features are its beach and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) boardwalk, home to the Morey's Piers amusement complex and Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis Waterparks owned by Morey's Piers. The boardwalk features a trolley called the "Tramcar", which runs from end to end.
The Wildwoods is home to over 200 motels, built during the Doo-Wop era of the 1950s and 1960s, in an area recognized by the state of New Jersey, known as the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District' The term doo-wop was coined by Cape May's Mid-Atlantic Center For The Arts in the early 1990s to describe the unique, space-age architectural style, which is also referred to as the Googie or populuxe style. The motels are unique in appearance, with Vegas-like neon signs and fantastic architecture.
Cape May is at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the country's oldest vacation resort destinations. With a rich history, award-winning beaches, designation as a top birding location, and many Victorian structures, Cape May is a seaside resort drawing visitors from around the world. The Cape May – Lewes Ferry connects the town to Lewes, Delaware.
The entirety of the Jersey Shore region was significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The devastating effect of the storm surge on property adjacent to the beach resulted in substantial cost to the reinsurance industry which has since advocated avoidance of rebuilding closely packed middle-class residences or flimsy commercial structures adjacent to the beach. The hurricane reached up to 74 mph. Hurricane Sandy's pure kinetic energy for storm surge and wave destruction potential reached a 5.8 out of 6 on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's scale. Storm surges reached 14 ft above average low tide. The Barrier Islands were especially damaged, leaving dozens of homes completely washed away. Many iconic places from "The Shore" were also damaged due to Hurricane Sandy, including the Belmar boardwalk, Casino Pier, and Funtown Pier.
The Jersey Shore is home to numerous rock and roll clubs, most famously in Asbury Park, where Bruce Springsteen honed his skills at now defunct clubs like The Upstage and the Student Prince. He still makes periodic live appearances at The Stone Pony bar or at Convention Hall as either a solo act, with the E Street Band, or with other artists. Furthermore, Bill Haley and the Comets performed "Rock Around the Clock" for the first time live at the Hoff Brau in Wildwood.
A style of music known as the Jersey Shore sound evolved from this scene. The Bruce Springsteen song "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" is one of several Springsteen songs that contains references to the Jersey shore scene of the early 1970s.
The Jersey Shore area gained international fame in 2009 after MTV started airing the reality series Jersey Shore. The popular show, filmed mostly in Seaside Heights, debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of the words "Guido/Guidette", portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes, and scrutiny from locals because the cast members, with the exception of three, are not New Jersey residents.
MTV also used Seaside Heights as the location of their Summer Beach House in 1998 and again in 2002, and for two episodes of True Life about adults in their 20's and 30's living "down the shore" for the summer. In 1999, the music video "Summer Girls" by LFO was filmed in Seaside Heights. The 1992 Fox TV series Down the Shore, starring Louis Mandylor and Anna Gunn, was set in Belmar.
Some episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, season four, took place at the Jersey Shore. As discussed on the show, the families of cast members Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga have houses in Toms River, and Kathy Wakile's family also rented a house at the shore.
Stronger than the Storm was media campaign, and title of a jingle made for it, to promote tourism in New Jersey, especially the Shore, in 2013. More than 300,000 jobs in the Jersey Shore were supported by the tourism industry as of 2015.
Unlike areas in the interior of the state, which has many big box stores and malls, small businesses make a significant portion of the economy of barrier island Jersey Shore towns. This is because small businesses can more easily adapt to the seasonal nature of business in shore towns. Stores that are located at the shore are all unique ranging from psychics and accessories at Ocean City to home-made chocolates in Long Beach Island. In addition many shore towns deliberately stymie the entry of big box stores because they want to reduce traffic. In addition, many tourists visit shore towns in order to be in an environment without big box stores. In some shore towns Wawa Inc. designs its stores to match the aesthetic and changes its operating procedures to adapt to the shore culture. It is the only retailer on the island of Cape May to have a significant number of stores.
Five years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed communities along the shore, some towns have used the rebuilding process as a time to reinvent themselves.
Crowds are also increasing these final summer days at Blacks Beach near San Diego, at Mazo Beach on the lower Wisconsin River and at Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a dress optional sand strip run by the National Park Service that was recently deemed by the Clean Beaches Council, an environmental group, one of the top 10 beaches in the United States.
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