We’re about to let you in on the biggest secret of the Jersey Shore—there are FREE beaches you can visit during summer. Yup, at eight beaches in New Jersey, you don’t have to purchase a beach badge to enjoy a day on the sand with the fam. From The Highlands to Cape May, you can lay down a towel at one of these beaches as many times as you like without spending a dime, and some offer free parking too. Scroll down to find one near you and P.S.—NJ beaches are always free during the off-season at the shore. Want more ways to save money? Check out our guide to all things FREE in NJ. (feature photo credit: istock/OGphoto)
8 free beaches in NJ to visit this summer
Spend the day overlooking Manhattan’s skyline while relaxing on the sand with the fam. For over 100 years, this beach has been a spot where you can enjoy the beach and not have to sit in the traffic down the shore. Keep in mind there are no lifeguards, and if you decide to swim, you are doing it at your own risk.
275 Beachway Avenue, Keansburg, NJ 07734
Beaches At Gateway National Recreation Area
With three beaches—Jacob Riis Park, Great Kills Park, and Sandy Hook— dedicated to swimming, this is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful weather. While no badge is needed to spend time on the sand, there is a small fee if you want to drive your car on the beach and park. Want to bring your furry friend with you? Pets and their owners can visit the bayside beaches during the year and oceanside beaches from September 15-March 15. And for a real treat, take the little ones to see the lighthouse after you come off the beach.
128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732
Old Bridge Waterfront Park
Looking for a spot that has a beach, boardwalk, playground, fishing, and more? Then you have found it at the Old Bridge Waterfront Park. When you step onto the Paul’s Beach section of the park, you are met with views and access to the Raritan River. There’s also lots of parking and a comfort station by the beach.
Route 35 North, Old Bridge Township, NJ 08857
Atlantic City may be known for its casinos and nightlife, but did you know you can spend the day on the beach there for free? Yep, it’s true. Lifeguards are on duty from 10 AM-6 PM at various locations along the shore. When you’ve had enough of dipping your toes in the sand, head to the boardwalk and find a place to eat or stroll along the boards.
Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
William Morrow Beach
Located in Somers Point, right over the bridge before you get to Ocean City, this quaint and cozy beach is named after beloved police chief William Morrow. During the season, you can find a bunch of kid-friendly events, as well as lots of people with their fishing poles. This beach is open to the public and has lifeguards, restrooms, outdoor showers, a children’s playground, and more.
Between Higbee and New Jersey Avenues on Bay Avenue, Somers Point, NJ 08244
Did you know all of the beaches in Upper Township are free? Yup, these beaches have gorgeous sand, a restroom at Beesley’s Point, port-a-potties on other streets, and free parking in Strathmere. When you’re done sunbathing, find a delicious local restaurant or head to Lucy The Elephant for something different to see.
Upper Township, NJ
The Wildwoods beaches span five miles along the coast and have been named “The Best Beaches in NJ” for a reason—the sand is white, there’s plenty of room for all of your summer activities, and all summer, various events are happening on the sand. So whether you’re looking for some fun in the sun, complete relaxation, or walking on the boardwalk afterward, this is the place to be. Make sure you stop and get a ‘gram-worthy pic at the beach ball sign before planting your umbrella in the sand.
4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
Cape May Point State Park
If you want a spot to hang out and build sandcastles on the beach, head to this park. Swimming is prohibited here due to underwater hazards, but the sand is a great spot for a picnic or spending the day with the fam. Bring a pole and bait to fish, and explore some of the nature trails, picnic areas, the Battery 223 WWII bunker, and more—no parking or entry fees.
303 County Highway 629, Cape May, NJ 08204
Which free beach will you be visiting? Tell us in the comments!
Become an NJMOM Insider! For all the best things to do with your family around New Jersey, sign up for our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox each week, and don’t forget to tag your photos #NJMOM and @njmom for a chance to be featured on our social media.