Explore Central Jersey

A person carries a chair and umbrella while walking on a beach in New Jersey

Growing up less than an hour from here in Philadelphia, my family and I would vacation and/or visit the Jersey Shore for a day (yes, we were Shoobies). When I was very young we would go to Atlantic City and stay at the Algiers Motel, there appears to be an Algiers there now, but I’m not sure if it’s the same one.

This was before the Casino invasion. My memory is that it was a lot like Wildwood is now, but with shorter beaches. I couldn’t wait to hit the beach every day, build sandcastles with my older brother Rob (that’s me with Rob, he’s in the tiny green shorts), and swim in the ocean.

I, like all kids, loved all the games and rides on the boardwalk. One night after dinner, Rob and I were headed to the boards and my dad gave us twenty dollars each. That’s like a thousand dollars in today’s money! That was a great memory and an awesome night.

Through the years my wife and kids have spent some very memorable vacations at other Jersey shore locations; Wildwood, Sea Isle, Ocean City, Point Pleasant Beach, Belmar, and many others.

However, none of these Jersey beaches landed on Travel + Leisure’s list of best beaches in America. With summer now officially underway, and the July 4th weekend coming up, here’s a partial list, in no particular order from Travel + Leisure including the only Jersey beach mentioned in the article. – Joel Katz

  • Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn, New York

    The Wonder Wheel, Cyclone roller coaster, and New York Aquarium are all here.

    Coney Island Beach

    Coney Island on July 4, 2021

  • Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois

    I’ve been here, and I remember the tasty food and it is a great place to run.

    Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 05: An aerial view of the AVP Championships in Chicago before the AVP Gold Series Chicago Open at the Oak Street Beach on September 05, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.

  • Ocean City, Maryland

    My wife and I spent a couple of days here back when we were dating. I remember having one of the best soft shell crab sandwiches ever.

    Ocean City, Maryland

    A surfer in Ocean City, Maryland

  • Asbury Park, New Jersey

    This is it! Asbury Park always makes me think of “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.”  Bruce Springsteen’s first, and my favorite Bruce album. This is the only Jersey shore town that made the list. A short walk to Ocean Grove, another great Jersey shore town.

    Asbury Park, New Jersey

    People walk by the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey

  • Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York

    A quick subway ride to a cool beach, and the subject of a cool song by the Ramones.

    Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY

    Sunset on Rockaway Beach, Queens in NY

  • I hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

    For the full Travel and Leisure article, click here.