Long Branch beaches are just minutes away from the Garden State Parkway—a 170-mile highway that runs from the New York state line to the Cape May beaches. In the middle of the route between Atlantic City and New York City, Long Branch New Jersey is a favorite summertime hideaway. Between the end of May and the beginning of September, vacationers and celebrities gather to experience this seaside resort.
President Ulysses S. Grant put these New Jersey beaches on the map, so to speak. He picked this collection of white-sand beaches as a vacation spot, evening declaring Long Branch as America’s official summer capital. The next six presidents followed this tradition—as plenty of regular folks came on vacation as well. The same beach where presidents enjoyed the sun and surf is now called Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park.
This year-round park is a fantastic place to connect with nature and enjoy some time along the shore. A little quieter than neighboring Sandy Hook beaches, the Seven Presidents Beach is a popular draw in the summertime. Lifeguards are on patrol weekends between the end of May and Labor Day, and daily beginning at the end of June. Several public amenities are provided, including outdoor showers, picnic areas, and a snack park. Visitors are allowed to bring a picnic to enjoy on the beach or underneath the pavilion at this 30-acre county park.
Beyond going for a swim or a stroll on the beach, visitors enjoy kayaking and volleyball. The park also is one of the best places in and around Long Branch New Jersey for birdwatching. Piping plovers and other shorebirds gather in large numbers—and plenty of birders make their way to Seven Presidents to soak in the sights.
The collection of Long Branch beaches also includes municipal beaches that require entry badges. Season passes can be purchased from the Long Branch Recreation Department or on the booth along the boardwalk. As long as someone has ID proving they are older than 61, they can get the pass for free. Anyone under the age of 18 can enjoy the beach for free, too. The same goes for daily passes—only adults between the ages of 18 to 61 need to pay to enjoy the beach.
No matter your age, you’ll have the chance to enjoy your time on the beach. Visitors in wheelchairs can enjoy the beach thanks to the ramps and surf chairs. The city beach offers the typical mix of shoreline activities, including swimming and sandcastle building.
Just steps away from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find a wide range of things to do—both before and after sunset. Pier Village has grown into a full-fledged destination with a large collection of shops and restaurants. A boutique hotel and busy schedule of events also help make Pier Village worth a visit. The west end of Long Branch is home to art galleries, cafes, and other chic places to experience the balmy summer nights.
When you add in gourmet restaurants, one-of-a-kind stores, and one of the finest New Jersey beach resorts, Long Branch is an excellent place to enjoy a getaway in any season.