Beach Tent at Congress Hall; Photo by Charles Riter

Last-Minute Weekend Beach Getaways

Treat yourself to a spontaneous toes-in-the-sand escape in every nook of the state– as soon as this weekend. Our insider tips give you the scoop on seaside towns and accommodations that are a lot closer than you may think.

Traveling from North/Northwest of NJ? Dive into these coastal destinations:

Sandy Hook
Explore gorgeous beaches and historic sites during a last-minute getaway at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook. Reserve a campsite in the park (season runs late May through early October) or enjoy boutique accommodations at SeaScape Manor Bed & Breakfast or BeachWalk at Sea Bright. If you don’t mind a short drive (under 30 minutes) to the beach, you could stay at The Oyster Point Hotel on the Navesink River in nearby Red Bank, where shopping, dining and nightlife provide plenty to do.

Jersey Go-To: Constructed in 1764, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the U.S. Visit this maritime marvel during your Jersey Shore weekend getaway. Discover more NJ lighthouses here.

Long Branch
Escape to this oceanfront resort town, touting white-sand beaches and a boardwalk promenade lined with shops and eateries. When you stay at Wave Resort, you’ll have access to a private beach area with sun loungers and umbrellas, an outdoor pool with unobstructed views of the Atlantic as well as a sumptuous spa. Similarly appointed, the Ocean Place Resort & Spa is also steps from the beach and offers a glittering swimming pool overlooking the ocean, as well as a luxe spa.

Jersey Go-To: The New Jersey Repertory Company is just blocks from the ocean in Long Branch and has produced 140 plays, of which 125 have been world premieres. Stop by. It’s showtime! For more performing arts centers in NJ click here.

Asbury Park
Explore the revitalized boardwalk and stunning shore at this historic seaside town and you’ll understand why it was named one of the 25 best beaches in the USA by Travel+Leisure in 2023. Looking for a truly unforgettable place to stay? Experience The Asbury Hotel’s vintage-meets-eclectic wave of style. After a day soaking up the sun on the beach head up to the hotel’s trendy rooftop bar for a sunset cocktail. Or reserve a room at The Empress Hotel with oceanfront views, plus an oversized pool and tiki huts.

Jersey Go-To: The legendary venue where Bruce Springsteen began his career, The Stone Pony, is celebrating its 50th year in 2024. Join in the fun and take in a concert or two.

Picture of a hotel, in Asbury Park, overlooking the ocean
Haven’t been to Belmar yet? Here’s what you’ve been missing. Pristine beaches and a casual coastal atmosphere in a beloved family-friendly Jersey Shore town. Here you can stay in your choice of historic hotels and quaint bed-and-breakfasts housed in awe-inspiring Victorian mansions. You can also find fantastic accommodations within walking distance of the beach at the Saltwater InnThe Inn at the Shore or The Tandem Bike Inn.

Jersey Go-To: Reel in stripers, sea bass and fluke at the Belmar Marina plus take your sense of adventure to a new level of fun with the help of Belmar Parasail. Mini-golf too!

Two bikes on the front lawn next to a sign reading "The Tandem Bike Inn", at the Tandem Bike Inn, in Belmar, New Jersey

Seaside Heights
For a bustling boardwalk experience, make your way to this beach town, touting a thrilling amusement pier, a waterpark, arcades and summer fireworks. Book a room in one of the many low-key motels, such as Colony Motel or Luna-Mar Motel, for nearby access to the beach. Larger motels include the Aztec Ocean Resort or Hershey Motel.

Jersey Go-To: Hemingway’s Café has been a staple for top-notch live events and a delicious menu of seafood, steaks and more since 2007. Hungry for more dining hotspots throughout NJ, check here.

Traveling from South/Southwest of NJ? Coast to these cool resort areas:

Long Beach Island (LBI)
This 18-mile-long island is dotted with quaint beach towns, excellent shopping and exciting dining. On the northern end, stay at The North Shore Inn and explore Barnegat Lighthouse State Park during the day. Or stay further south at the family-friendly Engleside Inn or The Boulevard, formerly the Mariner Inn with guest rooms that are comfortably chic. Enjoy rides, boardwalk games and an arcade at Fantasy Island Amusement Park too!

Jersey Go-To: Cool off at Thundering Surf Water Park in Beach Haven with slides, surf simulator, lazy river and plenty of places for toddlers and kid to splash around. Test your skills at two challenging adventure golf courses too.

A white and red historic lighthouse, the Barnegat Lighthouse, in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, in Barnegat New Jersey
Atlantic City
Non-stop nightlife, casino excitement, shopping, free beaches, gourmet dining and a world-famous boardwalk are the draws at this city on the Shore. Stay where all the action is including: Tropicana Casino & ResortCaesars Atlantic CityHard Rock Hotel & Casino or Ocean Casino Resort. Or make plans to stay at the city’s latest luxurious hotel addition, the newly opened Nobu Hotel Atlantic City at Caesars.

Jersey Go-To: There’s a Nobu restaurant too! Newly opened Nobu Atlantic City adds to the decadent line-up of renowned restaurants gracing AC including Guy Fieri’s Chophouse and Angeline by Michael Symon. A definite must-dine experience.

A picture of a tall, modern building with an ocean backgdrop, the Nobu hotel Atlantic City at Caesars, in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Point Pleasant Beach
With its super-clean beaches and kid-approved attractions like Jenkinson’s Aquarium and Castaway Cove Mini-Golf, Point Pleasant Beach is an easy choice for a last-minute family getaway. Stay within walking distance of the boardwalk at The Driftwood Motel, a family-friendly motel with its own private beach staffed with a lifeguard. Other nearby hotels include the Point Pleasant Manor and White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa.

Jersey Go-To: If it’s antiques you seek on your Jersey Shore weekend retreat, visit Point Pavilion Antiques, home to two floors of vintage treasures.

A tan building with a blue awning, with a circular sign reading "White Sands", in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
The Wildwoods
If you love an action-packed beach scene, you’ll love The Wildwoods beaches. These free beaches stretch for five miles and offer plenty of fun activities, from jet-skiing to surfing. The nearby water slides and roller coasters at Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks offer even more adventure. Stay near the action—and get a first-hand look at the incredible mid-century Doo-Wop architecture of the area—when you stay at the Starlux Boutique Hotel. Other beachy-keen accommodations include Montego Bay ResortSurf Song Beach ResortHeart of Wildwood Resort and El Coronado Resort.

Jersey Go-To: The captivating Madison Resort Wildwood Crest is now open just steps away from the largest beach in New Jersey boasting elegance and beachfront charm.

Cape May
Stroll past colorful Victorian mansions, browse the shops at Washington Street Mall and dine on one of the many outdoor patios in this charming town at the southernmost point of New Jersey. Book a room at a historic property such as the charming The Virginia Hotel or the grand Congress Hall (America’s oldest seaside resort, dating back to 1816) to get the full Cape May experience. Other accommodation options include La Mer Beachfront ResortMarquis de Lafayette Hotel and The Grand Hotel.

Jersey Go-To: Tour the Emlen Physick Estate built in 1879 and get an insightful look at an 18-room Victorian mansion and architectural marvel. For other historical sites in Cape May, check here.

Rather go your own way? Explore all of New Jersey’s beaches and places to stay all around the state. For more information on planning your someday getaway, get your hands on our free travel guide and sign-up for our e-newsletter.