Explore the Jersey Shore and its charming beach towns with this road trip itinerary to enjoy over a long weekend. The NJ Department of Tourism has plenty of ideas for places to stop, stay, play and dine along the way.
Morning: Start your day at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, where you can explore the 5-mile Multi-Use Pathway through the park, stroll around Fort Hancock and see the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters. If you’re an early bird, watch the sun rise over the beach.
Afternoon: For lunch, drive from about 25 minutes south from Sandy Hook to Long Branch, where you’ll find The Windmill Hot Dogs of Long Branch, a popular spot for hot dogs, charbroiled hamburgers and loaded cheese fries served from an iconic red windmill building. After lunch, walk across the street to Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park to spend the afternoon on the clean, laid-back beach, or to let the kids loose on the playground.
Evening: Once you’re done relaxing at the park, head down to Asbury Park, about a 20-minute drive down the Jersey Shore. For dinner, stroll along the Asbury Park Boardwalk and take your pick from fresh oysters, flavorful Cuban cuisine, Mexican street tacos, hoagies, fresh pasta, gourmet hot dogs and much more. Then, spend the night at The Asbury, a trendy hot spot that was voted the best new hotel in the U.S. by USA Today.
Morning: From Asbury Park, drive south about 30 minutes to Point Pleasant Beach, where you can spend the morning taking in the sights and sounds at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk or watching underwater creatures at Jenkinson’s Aquarium.
Afternoon: After an about an hour and 15 minute drive down to Barnegat, you should be ready for lunch. Get the fresh catch of the day at Viking Village, from scallops to bluefish. Take in spectacular views from the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Also explore the surrounding walking paths, and relax at one of the picnic tables overlooking the ocean.
Evening: Drive an hour and make it just in time for the night life of Atlantic City. Stay the night at a number of the casino hotels. Bally’s has a number of bars and lounges inside the casino, including the Wild Wild West!
Morning: Walk along the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, marvel at the towering resorts and exciting attractions. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum has over 400 exhibits and artifacts in 14 themed galleries. Make sure to stop into one of the many shops for a taste of authentic saltwater taffy.
Afternoon: For lunch, drive just 30 minutes to Ocean City to enjoy American classics served by the ocean when you dine at Café Beach Club. Then recline on the gorgeous Ocean City beaches or take in a round of miniature golf at Pirate Island Golf. After an afternoon fun, continue your road trip 45 minutes down to Cape May, the southernmost point of the Jersey Shore.
Evening: Cape May is known for its charming inns and high-end dining scene, so pick a spot where you can enjoy a gourmet dinner, such as Tisha’s, or Union Park. Take a scroll admiring the city’s Victorian era architecture, then rest for the night at the luxurious Hotel Alcott, or Beauclaire’s Bed & Breakfast.
This weekend itinerary will get you through the 130 miles of the New Jersey beaches. If you have more time to add to your trip, this itinerary can easily be spread out over a few more days, as all of these locations have even more to offer than what’s listed.