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. (feature photo taken in Point Pleasant Beach).
Point Pleasant is perfect for families
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).
1800 Bay Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742
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 cruises, brunch, lunch cruises, 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. This unique opportunity is for ages 5 and up.
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. And 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).
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 Leone’s 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.
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 Cotton Candy with real cotton candy pieces. Watch for new flavor debuts with fresh ingredients, like Pumpkin in the fall and Blueberry during berry season.
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 to entertain your little ones. Activities include kiddie shows, movies on the beach, and fireworks too.
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.
What are your favorite Point Pleasant activities?
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