Explore the Jersey Shore and its charming beach towns with this road trip itinerary to enjoy over a long weekend. We’ve got plenty of ideas for places to stop, stay, play and dine along the way.
Morning: Start your day at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, where you can explore the 7-mile Multi-Use Pathway through the park, stroll around Fort Hancock and see the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters. If you’re an early bird, watch the sun rise over the beach.
Afternoon: For lunch, drive about 10 miles south from Sandy Hook to Long Branch, where you’ll find Windmill Hot Dogs of Long Branch, a popular spot—with two locations—for hot dogs, charbroiled hamburgers and loaded cheese fries served from an iconic red windmill building. If you’re at the North Long Branch location, walk across the street after lunch to Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park to spend the afternoon on the clean, laid-back beach, or to let the kids loose on the playground.
Evening: Once you’re done relaxing at the park, head down to Asbury Park, less than 10 miles down the coast. For dinner, stroll along the boardwalk and take your pick from fresh oysters, flavorful Cuban cuisine, Korean fusion tacos, hoagies, gourmet hot dogs and much more. Then, spend the night at The Asbury Hotel, a trendy hot spot that was voted the best new hotel in the country by USA Today in 2017.
Morning: From Asbury Park, drive south about 15 miles to Point Pleasant Beach, where you can spend the morning taking in the sights and sounds at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk or watch underwater creatures at Jenkinson’s Aquarium.
Afternoon: For lunch, drive about 27 miles to Forked River, conveniently located on the Barnegat Bay, where you can enjoy fresh culinary favorites at Captain’s Inn, featuring indoor dining as well as an outdoor tiki bar with gorgeous views of the New Jersey waterfront. From there you can take a quick 4-mile jaunt to Bay Front Park, which features a spacious gazebo, two nautical-themed age-specific play areas, walking trails and more.
Evening: Drive about 50 miles and make it just in time for the nightlife of Atlantic City. Take your pick from a number of casino hotels, like Bally’s, Harrah's Resort, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Indulge in delicious fare at celebrity chef–owned restaurants, including Angeline by Michael Symon (Borgata), Gordan Ramsay Pub & Grill (Caesars) and Guy Fieri’s Chophouse (Bally’s). Then experience AC’s thrilling nightlife.
Morning: Walk along the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and marvel at the towering resorts and exciting attractions. The Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum has over 400 exhibits and artifacts in 14 themed galleries. While you’re on the boards, be sure to pick up some authentic saltwater taffy (which originated in AC!).
Afternoon: For lunch, drive about 15 miles to Ocean City to enjoy American classics served by the ocean when you dine at Café Beach Club. Then recline on the gorgeous Ocean City beaches or take in a round of miniature golf at Pirate Island Golf. After an afternoon of fun, continue your road trip about 30 miles down to Cape May, the southernmost point of the Jersey Shore.
Evening: Cape May is known for its charming inns and high-end dining scene, so pick a spot where you can enjoy a gourmet dinner, such as Tisha’s or Union Park Dining Room. Take a stroll admiring the city’s Victorian-style architecture, then rest for the night at the luxurious Hotel Alcott, Beauclaire's Bed & Breakfast, or the historic Congress Hall, America’s first seaside resort.
This weekend itinerary will get you through the 130 miles of the New Jersey beaches. If you have more time to add to your trip, this itinerary can easily be spread out over a few more days, as all of these locations have even more to offer than what’s listed. For even more to do in the Garden State, download a free official travel guide or sign up for our e-newsletter. And as always, we recommend checking the websites and social media pages of your destinations, to ensure you have all the need-to-know info before you go.