The Jersey Shore is famous for its beaches. In fact, the 140 mile stretch of oceanfront from Perth Amboy to Cape May is practically one long, continuous beach. Many Jersey Shore beaches are great for running. Below is our guide to some of the best beach routes, from north to south. Qualifications: at least 2 miles in length, wide, fairly reliable ‘firm sand’, and public access. Since many beaches are best for running around low tide, here’s a tide table.
Sandy Hook: Nearly 6 miles of beach, spread across four contiguous beaches: family-friendly E and D beaches, the nudist Gunnison Beach, and popular North Beach. One of the better running beaches on the Shore, wide with generally firm sand. The barrier spit is 0.1 to 1 mile wide. There are other great running options in this area.
Ocean Grove: 2.5 miles of wide, flat beach with firm sand from Ocean Grove to Asbury Park. Consistently rated as one of the best beaches in New Jersey. Wide and mostly flat. Admission required and limited hours. Information.
Point Pleasant Beach: About 2 miles of beach paralleling Ocean Ave., to the Manasquan Inlet. Boardwalk follows about 2/3 of the beach. Generally good for running. South of Point Pleasant, the beach continues for miles, but it’s not all publicly accessible.
Island Beach State Park: 10 miles of gorgeous beach, 7 miles south of Seaside Park. Fairly wide, soft sand but can be good for running. Admission required, parking can fill up on busy days. Note that Shore Rd. has a bike lane, making it runnable, but there aren’t water views and it’s sort of boring.
Long Beach Island: Known as LBI. About 18 miles of beach. Some variety here. Beach is widest north toward Barnegat Light.
Atlantic City: The beach goes for nearly 8 miles from Longport north to the Absecon Lighthouse. Much of it is runnable, although width does vary. From St. Martindale Ave. north for 5 miles, the famed Boardwalk parallels the beach, so it’s a good option for an out and back or as an alternative if the sand conditions aren’t optimal.
Ocean City: Over 8 miles of beach here. The sand can be soft and grainy, with the best running near the water around low tide. For variety, enjoy the 2.5 mile boardwalk and the 5-mile Ocean City Bike Path.
Avalon & Stone Harbor: The area is also referred to as Seven Mile Beach, so you can guess the length. Super wide beach here, and generally good sand for running.
The Wildwoods: Some of the widest beaches in New Jersey, spanning Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood for 5 miles.
Cape May: 4+ miles of really wide, flat beach. Firmness of sand can vary — consistently good near the water at low tide. Can occasionally be ‘muddy’.