FREE Beaches In New Jersey: Where To Find Them


We’re about to let you in on the biggest secret of the Jersey Shore— you don’t have to pay to go to every beach in New Jersey. Yes, you read that right, there are FREE beaches you can visit all summer long. From The Highlands to Cape May, stake out a spot at one of the 10 badge-free 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. Want more ways to save money? Check out our guide to all things FREE in NJ. (feature photo credit: istock/OGphoto)

10 free beaches in NJ to visit this summer

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 to March 15 (kites are welcome at this time, too). 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

Keansburg Beach
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

Old Bridge Waterfront Park
Looking for a place that has a beach, boardwalk, playground, fishing, and more? Then you will find it at the Old Bridge Waterfront Park. When you step onto the Paul’s Beach section of the park, you’ll be greeted with views and access to the Raritan River. There’s also lots of parking and a comfort station by the beach.
1729 Route 35 North, Laurence Harbor, NJ 08879

Ideal Beach and Leonardo Beach
There are two small, free-to-enter beaches in Middletown Township. Ideal Beach features basketball, restrooms, and a wide swath of sand. Leonardo Beach is a great spot to spend the day by the waves, with restrooms (open seasonally) nearby.  
Ideal Beach – Bayside Parkway, North Middletown, NJ 07718 
Leonardo Beach – Beach Avenue, Leonardo, NJ 07737

Jennifer Lane Bay Beach
Kids will love to spend time at this no-badge-required beach where lifeguards are on duty daily during the season. The bay makes it an ideal spot for littles to take a dip, and make sure to say hi and snap a photo with the life-size Jenny The Whale sculpture by the entrance. 
1198 Jennifer Lane, Manahawkin, NJ 08050

Atlantic City
Atlantic City may be known for its casinos and nightlife, but did you know you can spend the day on the beach without opening your wallet? 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

Upper Township
Here’s a fun NJ fact: ALL of the beaches in Upper Township are fee-free. Spend the day on the gorgeous sand, and for facilities, there is 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
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 a lot of events happen on the sand. So whether you’re coming for fun in the sun, relaxation, or walking on the boardwalk afterward, this is the place to be, especially since they don’t require badges. 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 excellent 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

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About Author

Karen lives in Central Jersey with her two dogs, one cat, husband and daughter Olivia. Graduating from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations, she has been writing and working in the social media field for a few years. One of her proudest moments as a writer so far has been interviewing Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway' and subsequently winning Honorable Mention in NJ for Feature Writing. When she is not busy as a mom, she enjoys reading, going to the beach and watching the Real Housewives.