We all may be dreaming of an island vacay right about now, and luckily in New Jersey, you can get one—Long Beach Island, “LBI” as it is affectionately known, is your go-to for a vacation or day trip that will feel like an escape without going far. Thanks to its location between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, LBI has 18 miles of beautiful beaches where you can stretch out on the sand for hours listening to crashing surf or watch your kids play in calm bay waters. And when you need a break from the sun and the sand, there are so many family-friendly things to do—go back in time to check out a historic lighthouse, slide down a swirling waterslide, or get your kids up on a board for the first time with a private surf lesson. Scroll down for the best things to do in LBI with kids this summer, and for more summer things to do, check out our NJMOM bucket list. (featured photo credit: @ianpoley)
Here are 11 things to do in LBI with kids this summer
Get a birds-eye view of Long Beach Island on a parasail
Thrill-seeking kids will be the first to spot these parasails gliding high above the coastline, and after that sighting, you’ll see them everywhere—LBI Parasail is one of LBI’s most popular attractions. Glide like a bird above the coastline and take in the view of the beautiful beaches. The age minimum is 5 with an adult, so if your littles are game (and you can stomach it), give it a whirl and have peace of mind since LBI Parasail is US Coast Guard inspected and certified for safety.
Lighthouse Marina, 19 W 6th St., Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
Fill up for a day on the beach
Looking for places to eat with the fam? The good news is LBI is full of family-friendly restaurants with plenty of options for all. Uncle Will’s is a kid’s fave where they can have breakfast for lunch with their World Famous pancakes. Visit the famous Chicken or the Egg (Chegg if you’re a local) for omelets and wings, and look out for the days when they stay open for 24 hours. And since ice cream is always a good idea, Barry’s Do Me A Flavor in Beach Haven dishes out soft serve, shakes, and sundaes and has the honor of being one of the few places to serve up Dole Whip this side of Hawaii.
Uncle Will’s, 3 South Bay Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008 – (609) 492-2514
Chicken or the Egg, 207 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ 08008 – (609) 492-3695
Barry’s Do Me a Flavor, 309 Centre Street, Beach Haven, NJ – (609) 492-8259
Take in a show
Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven brings classic children’s musicals and stories to life when you need a break from the beach. Shows go through October and include kid faves like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan. Can’t get to the musicals? Stop by for delicious shakes and sundaes in their adjoining Show Place Ice Cream Parlor, which features a singing waitstaff serving up Broadway-themed concoctions.
201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Shows Wednesday through Sunday until mid-October
Catch a wave
The surf’s up in LBI, making it one of the best places to introduce the sport to kids. LBI Surf Guru will take first-timers out on beginner-friendly waves and watch the weather and wave patterns to ensure kids feel comfortable in the surf. Want a tamer ride through the bay? Brighton Beach Surf Shop has served the community for over 50 years with lessons available through their Matador Surf School (including sessions for kids with special needs).
LBI Surf Guru, 12 Robert Drive, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008 – (856) 630-4437
Brighton Beach Surf Shop, 8511 South Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, NJ 08008 – (609) 492-0342
Live like a pirate
For kids that want to act out their pirate fantasies, take to the waters of Little Egg Harbor with Black Pearl Pirate Tours. Little buccaneers aboard will learn to talk, sing, and dance like a real pirate and then confront Pirate Pete—a swashbucklin’ scallywag with the stolen keys to open the treasure chest—and fire water cannons at him and his crew. Once found, everyone gets to enjoy the pirate treasure.
100 Northwest Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Slip and slide the day away
Looking to cool down without going to the beach in LBI? Head to Thundering Surf Waterpark for a refreshing day of wet adventure. Older kids can get a thrill from sliding down a whirling waterslide or chilling as they float down the lazy river, while littles enjoy the slides and tipping buckets at Cowabunga Kids, a water-themed playground. The family-run park has been operating since 1977, and when you dry off, check out their adjoining miniature golf course.
300 Taylor Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Shop for souvenirs
Long Beach Island is full of great places to score some treasures to take home. Start at the Surf City. 5&10, open since 1952, with beach chairs, sunscreen, snacks, and drinks to get you ready for the perfect beach day. Way down in the Barnegat Light section of LBI, don’t miss Viking Village, a quaint village of tiny fishing shacks turned shops selling everything from antiques to fishing gear to fresh seafood and drip and whole bean coffee. In Beach Haven, Schooner’s Wharf has over 25 shops and restaurants, and it is the place to pick up cute jewelry, books, summer dresses, food, and other treasures. And don’t miss the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, which sells surfing gear, bathing suits, and everything you need to hang ten.
Surf City 5&10, 411 North Long Beach Blvd., Surf City, NJ 08008 – (609) 494-1872
Viking Village Inc., 1801 Bayview Avenue, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006 – (609) 494-0113
Schooner’s Wharf, 9th Street, Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Ron Jon Surf Shop, 201 9th, and Central Avenue, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008 – (609) 494-8844
Make your afternoon tee time
Hit the front and the back nine with a competitive game of mini golf at Hartland Golf and Arcade—18 holes of LBI family fun where everyone has a fair chance to be on par. If your fam is feeling their game, you can sign up for their weekly Wednesday morning tournaments to compete against other players. You can also make golf memories at Sand Trap, which boasts a beachy theme complete with a mini lighthouse.
Hartland Golf & Arcade, 28th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008 – (609) 494-7776
The Sand Trap, 23rd & Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom, NJ 08008 – (609) 494-3185
Relive the maritime history of Long Beach Island in New Jersey
Pack a picnic or walk around the iconic Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island. This landmark park includes a maritime forest, lighthouse, and access to excellent birding and fishing sites. Show your kids the place that was a “change of course” point for coastal vessels going to New York. Want more history? Check out the NJ Maritime Museum in Beach Haven, a nautical-themed museum packed with shipwreck finds photos, navigation equipment, and more. Or visit the Long Beach Island Historical Museum— trained volunteer docents guide you throughout the museum bringing to life the long history of sailors, whalers, and vacationers on the island.
Barnegat Lighthouse Park, 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006 – (609) 494-2016
NJ Maritime Museum, 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven, 08008 – (609) 492-0202
Long Beach Island Historical Museum, 129 Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ 08008 – (609) 492-0700
Spend sunset on the beach with your family
Wind down an LBI Friday night with a night of music on the beach at Fire Pit Fridays—live concerts on the beach that happen through September. Each performance features a shore band, so bring your blankets, beach chairs, and coolers and set your family up to sway to sounds on the sand. All concerts are weather permitting, so check their Facebook page for updates before you go.
68th Street Beach, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008
Take a ride at Fantasy Island LBI
After a day of playing in the water and building sandcastles, head home, shower off, grab a bite to eat, and then head to Fantasy Island for an evening of amusement park fun in LBI. With a full arcade, boardwalk games, and tons of rides, from classics like the Ferris wheel and bumper cars to unique “Fantasy Island” attractions like Hang Ten and Honey Bees, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Fantasy Island Amusement Park, 750 N Bay Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008
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