Point Pleasant Beach: Beyond The Boardwalk for Kid-Friendly Fun


Sure, Point Pleasant Beach is home to the iconic Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, but beyond the boards, there’s a century-old seaside town with lots of charm ideal for a day trip in any season. Known for being at the top of the inland waterway, Point Pleasant Beach is full of fun things to do with kids, including museums, a lively downtown, casual seafood spots, and incredible views. Whether you want to spend the day on the water taking a cruise on the River Queen or exploring the downtown boutiques, Point Pleasant Beach is a one-stop spot for shore family fun. Scroll down for how to make the most of your visit, and for more places to go, our guide to kid-friendly downtowns will point you in the right direction. (The feature photo was taken in Point Pleasant Beach.) 

Point Pleasant is perfect for families

Point Pleasant Playground

The playground on the Point Pleasant Beach inlet is the perfect spot to swing and slide. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Play with a view

A playground by the beach? Yes, please. Point Pleasant has several playgrounds and parks with waterfront and beach views. Stop for swings at Riverfront Park across the bridge in Point Pleasant on the Manasquan River, where you can watch boats and play games of I-spy. Or head over to the Inlet next to the boats and slide down on the water’s edge while dipping your toes in the sand. 

Catch some nautical and automotive history

Got kids who are in awe over transportation? Point Pleasant Beach has two museums that cover all the bases on the water and road. Over two decades ago, several local boating enthusiasts incorporated the New Jersey Museum of Boating to preserve, display, and educate others about the New Jersey boating heritage. Today, the museum is a fun spot to learn about the shipwrecks in New Jersey, racing boat construction, the US Coast Guard, and speedboats. Next door, the Vintage Automobile Museum of NJ is an homage to classic cars from the last century. With a rotating display of vehicles, kitschy signs, racing memorabilia, and even a vintage gas pump, kids and parents can get a peek into the past (and take lots of photos for the ‘gram). 

River Queen

The River Queen is a fun way to explore Point Pleasant Beach from a different angle. Photo Credit: @theriverqueenboat

Get out on the water 

When the weather turns warmer, take a cruise on the classic river boat, The River Queen, which leaves from nearby Brielle and gives views of the Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal, and Barnegat Bay. The calm sail has sightseeing, brunch, lunch, and sunset dinner cruises during the evening. Feeling a little more adventurous? Try Point Pleasant Parasail, where you can get views from above the ocean that you won’t be able to see any other way. 

Shop around town

Thanks to a walkable layout, shopping in downtown Point Pleasant Beach is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon. Stop in at Stella e Luna to buy gifts that proudly boast the Jersey Shore, including bags, baby onesies, and ornaments, get a caffeine boost at Green Planet, or pick up a tee and coconut surf candle at Gordon’s Surf Shop. If antique shopping is more your speed, there are plenty of locations in town to scout out that perfect, unique, must-have find, like Canvas House Antiques and Design Center. For kids, a stop at Big Fun Toys is a must for picking up the latest toy trends and birthday presents (hint: they do gift wrap, too).  

Wharside Point Pleasant

There are many yummy food options, including the Wharfside Restaurant. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Dinner with a view

As you wind down your day, there are plenty of spots to watch a sunset and enjoy a seafood meal, like The Patio Bar, The Shrimp Box, or The Wharfside, all near or on the water heading to the beach. If you’re still hanging out in town, B2 Bistro or Spano’s are great eateries. Maybe a picnic on the beach is more your speed? Grab some subs at the OG Jersey Mikes (yes, the first location is in Point Pleasant Beach), or stop by the famous Joe Leones for delish Italian faves like chicken parm and pasta salads. And for classic shore food, Spike’s Fish Market, Atlantic Seafood, and Red’s are other places you can’t go wrong with lobsters, shrimp, and landlubber fare. 

Search for sweets

For dessert, the popular Hoffman’s Ice Cream on Richmond Avenue, just outside downtown, has been scooping out homemade ice cream since 1976 and is a favorite among locals and beachgoers. Their yummy seasonal flavors include Jersey Monkey—banana ice cream with peanut butter swirl and chocolate chips—and Toasted Coconut or Fudge Mint Cookie. Watch for new flavor debuts with fresh ingredients, like Pumpkin in the fall and Blueberry during berry season. 

Point Pleasant inlet

Fish, play, or watch the boats at the Point Pleasant Beach inlet. Photo Credit: NJ MOM 

Ride on

If you want to get around town quickly and easily, consider a bike rental at Shore Riders—it’s a great way to explore the town on a beach cruiser, and bikes are even allowed on the boardwalk during certain times of the year. Reservations are recommended, and they can deliver. And while you are traveling around town, make a stop at the Manasquan Inlet. The Inlet is a prime spot to take a break, watch boats come in and out, and fish with friends and family.

Step on the boards

Of course, any time of year, a visit to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is a given. Kids will likely want to take a deep dive into Jenkinson’s Aquarium to watch the seals and fish and say hello to the resident sloth. Or test your skills at the arcade, hop on a ride at Jenkinson’s Amusement Park, or win a plushie playing the boardwalk games. If you want to elevate your fun, try the Adventure Lookout Ropes Course and test your balance on this two-level course, complete with a zip-line. If you would rather stay on the ground, take a swing at Castaway Cove Adventure Golf or see if you can find your way through Jenkinson’s Boardwalk Fun House. Still looking for more? Depending on the day, Jenkinson’s hosts several kid-friendly activities like kiddie shows, movies on the beach, and fireworks.

Festival of the Sea, Point Pleasant

The annual Festival of the Sea in Point Pleasant Beach is one of the town’s most well-known events. Photo Credit: istock/andykazie

Catch a festival in Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach has a roster of year-round family events on and off the boardwalk. In September, the annual Festival of the Sea is held downtown with live music, a wine garden, family activities, vendors, and delicious seafood. In the winter, Jenkinson’s aquarium hosts different holiday events. If you can get an adult’s night out, the Annual Antrim Cooks Tour is worth the trip, as visitors can tour homes in town while sampling foods from local restaurants. In the spring, the Point Pleasant Beach Grand Prix is a must-see event where kids can get up close to the speedboats that weekend and watch them race on the ocean—an experience they won’t see anywhere else. 

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.