The mile long beach in Belmar, NJ, located off Garden State Parkway Exit 98, at the northern end of the Jersey Shore, is one of the widest, best maintained, teen and tween friendly beach options we have found. We keep going back year after year to enjoy the mix of sun, surf and sunshine in a Jersey Shore community that manages to keep its beachfront open and inviting and free of over-development.
Unlike many beach towns that have allowed stores, restaurants, bars and housing to take over the beach view, Belmar does not allow anything more than single story buildings directly on the boardwalk, and they are limited, allowing for great views from the street as well as the beach. It is part of what gives the town that old fashion, down the Shore feel. For teens and tweens, a beach vacation can offer a rare chance to slow down from the usual rat race of school, homework, sports, jobs and extra curricular activities. Renting a house close to beach means that teens and tweens can sleep in, walk to the beach, grab lunch on the boardwalk and stroll back for showers in the afternoon before a BBQ dinner, a movie, a walk down the beach for ice cream or evening an old fashion family night of board games on the porch.
Teens and Tweens Gotta Boogie at Belmar Beach
Despite their need for downtime and sleep, when our teen and tween hit the beach they need lots of activity to keep them there. We find that swimming gets old quickly, but boogie boarding and body surfing engages them for hours. Belmar beachs are well guarded by trained and attentive life guards who consistently warn adventurous teens out of the off limits areas. Specific beaches are set aside for boogie boards and surfing while kayakers also have a beach. Of course there are a number of swimming beaches available as well. For families with younger travelers, there is a beachfront playground and a town run kids camp. Beach tags are required for those age 15 and older and are available for purchase right at the beach entrances. Many rentals include several beach badges in their fee. Parking is on the street and can get a little tight on the weekends although most rental houses include driveway parking for at least one car. This is definitely worth confirming when you make your plans.
Belmar water temperatures in the summer can hover near 60 degrees in early June, rising to the low 70s by August. Shorty wet suits can take the edge off the water temperature and keep the kids comfortable all day. Boogie boards are available for purchase cheap in the boardwalk beach shops or are frequently provided by rental houses. Skim boards are a hit as well. The best boogie boarding is either before or after high tide and the waves will be higher after a major storm. If mom and dad need umbrellas or beach chairs they can be rented at the beach or purchased at the local stores. Again, many rentals include use of these as part of the deal.
Out and about near Belmar
Numerous casual, eat in your bathing suit type take out and sit down restaurants are open on the boardwalk and across the street, as are ice cream stands and the usual mix of Jersey Shore beach gear and tee-shirt shops. Umbrellas and beach chairs can be rented although most folks bring their own. A few blocks away from the beach, on Main Street, there is an electic mix of local restaurants (no chains here). A number of them are BYOB, while some have full liquor licenses. If that is important to you check ahead. If you want to BBQ, there are several grocery stores in town. And, finally, when you need a break from the beach there are loads of great things to do within a 30 minute drive including the Point Pleasant Amusement boardwalk, a coastal drive through Asbury Park, Sandy Hook and the Atlantic Highlands, or a day at the horse races at Monmouth Park. Fishing and party boats are available at the Belmar Marina. Of course, if the weather is good, you may never want to leave the beach! For more information on these and other things to do at the Jersey Shore with teens and tweens check our Top 10 list.
A final note – while we were writing this post on a cold February day we really got to wishing we were at the shore. That inspired us to add a link to this post on the Mother of All Trip Monday Dreaming Page. Check it out for other fun travel ideas for families