Long Beach Island Weekend Getaway
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, is an 18-mile-long barrier type island that runs along the central Atlantic coast of the state. The island is a part of Ocean County and has six municipalities on it. The total population of Long Beach Island is only 20,000, but in the summertime, that number jumps to 100,000 due to the island’s great popularity as a seasonal home and vacationing area.
Settlement of Long Beach Island began early, in the 1690’s, but its most notable early significance was as a shipping route. That is, freight-carrying and whaling ships would have to pass near the northern tip of the island on their routes into and out of New York City. Later, when a rail line was built to the island in 1886, the island’s population grew even more. Also of interest is the effect severe storms have had on Long Beach Island throughout its history. Many storms have temporarily cut the island in two, but the Ash Wednesday Storm cut it into numerous pieces in 1962. Hurricane Sandy left severe flooding and structural damage in 2012, but within two months, the island was already well on the road to recovery.
Things to see and do on Long Beach Island
See the Barnegat Lighthouse in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, at the far northern point of Long Beach Island. Not only can you see the imposing structure inside and out and get an amazing view from the lighthouse’s top, but you can learn much about it at the Barnegat Lighthouse Interpretive Center.
Also in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, you will find many excellent fishing, birdwatching, and picnicking opportunities. And you can walk the short but scenic Maritime Forest Trail, where you can see the king of forests that once covered much more of the island.
Though the whole island is basically a beach, and considered among the best in the country, it is also broken up into individual beaches. There are over 50 such beaches, where you can swim, surf, walk the sands, get a tan, or just relax in the shady areas and listen to the tide as it rolls in. To save money during your beach stops, go to any town hall on Long Beach Island and buy a seasonal “beach badge.”
Be sure to get a look at the grassy dunes near the beaches as well. You must not walk on them since that could compromise their structural integrity. But the dune grass is quite impressive, having roots up to 20 feet deep in the sand.
Long Beach Island has a “humid subtropical” climate. Summers are hot, humid, and sunny, with frequent thunderstorms. Winters are relatively mild and with less snow than further inland in New Jersey.
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