If there is one thing I’ve learned about New Yorkers, it’s that they want to get the hell out of New York. Maybe not forever, but with sunny beaches just a couple of hours away in New Jersey and the Hamptons, who among us can resist the urge to pack up and roll out to the suburbs for a weekend or two? Not I of course!
People often say that there’s nothing better than having a beach house, except for having a friend with one. In my case, it’s my uncle who resides on Long Beach Island in New Jersey who provided me with a much needed place to crash for the weekend. So I headed up to the bus station and grabbed a ticket. The bus ride is $31 round trip and takes about 1.5 hours each way, but to go the distance you really need a car. Fortunately I got picked up from the bus station by my uncle and an hour later we were on the Island!
Having Fun on the Island
There are lots of ways to have fun on LBI, but the most obvious one is right in the name, the beach. The island is approximately 18 miles long, and almost every inch of the sea side is covered in sandy beaches. Lifeguards supervise until 5pm and make you wear a beach badge, but after that, it’s all open sand and surf. So go ahead and play paddle ball, take a walk, or a little dip by moonlight if that’s your fancy.
There’s still more on the bay side, with sailing, motor-boating, water-skiing and jet-skiing available for rentals as short as an hour or as long as a full day if you’d like. I wouldn’t recommend bay side swimming however, as the beaches on this side of the island are sometimes slimy with silt and seaweed, and often host considerable numbers of horseshoe crabs.
If the water isn’t really your thing though, the island still has plenty to offer, including a cool little amusement park called Fantasy Island, complete with a giant ferris wheel, bumper cars, funnel cakes and an arcade with skeeball (oh yes, it really is the Jersey Shore). Right next door to that is a giant waterslide and an 18-hole mini-golf course, one of many on the island.
How I Spent My Time
Drinking at the Sea Shell Hotel right on the beach, sunbathing and reading on the sea side sands, swimming in the still chilly coastal waters, eating pizza and assorted Italian meats and cheeses, playing shuffle board, and enjoying the company of a beautiful girl.
The Bottom Line
While this was perhaps my best weekend of the entire summer thus far, there are several key barriers to overcome in getting here. First, you need a car to get onto the island, and second, you need a place to stay, and with the booming tourist industry, this will be neither cheap, nor easy unless you already know someone with a place here. If you can manage the trip however, you won’t regret it. Go ahead and splurge (you’ll have to, since the island is somewhat expensive) and enjoy everything LBI has to offer, including great seafood, beaches, bars, and even some good old fashioned family fun.