Island Beach State Park

Central Ave
Seaside Park, NJ 08752

732-793-0506

Shaped by storm and tides, Island Beach State Park is a narrow barrier island stretching for 10 miles between the restless Atlantic Ocean and the historic Barnegat Bay. Island Beach is one of New Jersey's last significant remnants of a barrier island ecosystem that once existed along much of the coast and is also one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic coast. Over 3,000 acres and 10 miles of coastal dunes remain almost untouched since Henry Hudson first described New Jersey's coast from the ship, the Half Moon, in 1609.

Miles of sand dunes and white sandy beaches offer habitat to maritime plants and diverse wildlife that is almost the same as it was thousands of years ago. Island Beach contains outstanding examples of plant communities such as primary dunes, thicket, freshwater wetlands, maritime forest and tidal marshes. The state's largest osprey colony, as well as peregrine falcons, wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl and migrating songbirds, are found here. Island Beach is nationally known as a unique resource with over 400 plants identified, including the largest expanses of beach heather in New Jersey.

Facilities & Activities:

Trails
Recreation Area
Barnegat Bay access
Island Beach Northern Natural Area (659 acres) and Southern Natural Area (1,237 acres)
Fishing
Waterfowl hunting (in sedge islands only)
Canoeing/Kayaking
Ocean Swimming, shower facilities, wheelchair access to the ocean
Picnicking
Bicycling and Horseback Riding
Sailboarding and Surfing
Scuba Diving
Interpretive Programs
Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone
The Emily DeCamp Interpretive Center
Special Features

Trails:

Nature trails, bird
observation blind
Horseback riding
Eight-mile bike path along main road

Trails

The Island Beach State Park Discovery Trails System provides a self-guided experience through the nine plant communities of a barrier island. Wayside exhibits located along each trail interpret the natural and cultural stories of the park. There are a total of 8 trails, each under one mile. For a copy of the Discovery Trails brochure and map, please contact the Park Office.

Horseback riding is permitted at Island Beach State Park from October 1 through April 30. There are six miles of ocean beach in the southern and central portions of the park available for equestrian use and a parking area is designated for horse trailers during this time period.

Recreation Area

Ten miles of pure white sand beach attract swimmers, sunbathers, anglers and surfers. Modern bathhouses, beach access ramps, a mile of beach with lifeguards, historic buildings, trails, interpretive programs, bike paths and facilities for people with disabilities combine to make Island Beach a unique place to explore.

Barnegat Bay

The bayside of the island is a nutrient-rich feeding ground for birds, fish and other wildlife. Naturalist guided canoe and kayak tours during the summer months take participants through the Sedge Islands where they can observe a wide variety of wildlife, including nesting ospreys, falcons and wading birds. Bird observation blinds give visitors the opportunity to view the wildlife in this very important habitat.

Fishing

Island Beach State Park is well known by New Jersey's saltwater anglers for excellent surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish. Other species include summer flounder and weakfish. During the appropriate season, fishing for tautog along the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet is especially rewarding. Bait and fishing information may be obtained at local tackle dealers before entering the park. Saltwater fishing is subject to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and State Park Service regulations. Information regarding saltwater fishing regulations can be found in the Fish and Wildlife Digest, which is available at local tackle dealers.

Access to fishing in the park is open 24 hours a day.

Mobile Sportfishing Vehicle permits to operate 4-wheel drive vehicles on the fishing beaches may be obtained at the Park's Visitor Contact Station at the entrance gate.

Swimming

Approximately one mile of designated ocean bathing beach is located in the central portion of the park. During the period from mid-June through Labor Day, this bathing beach is staffed with lifeguards who are trained in ocean lifesaving and first aid techniques.

Picnicking

Although tables and grills are not available in the park, visitors may enjoy picnicking on the ocean beach. Grills may be used on the beach south of the designated bathing area. Fires must be at least 50 feet east of the dunes, and picnickers are required to extinguish their fires before leaving the area. Island Beach State Park requires visitors to "Carry In/Carry Out" their garbage.

Bicycling and Horseback Riding

A designated bicycle path is located along more than 8 miles of the main road. Six miles of ocean beach in the southern and central portions of the park are available for equestrian use from October 1 through April 30. A parking area is designated for horse trailers during this time period. There are no horse rental facilities in or near the park. Please contact the park office for further information.

Sailboarding and Surfing

Portions of the ocean beach at the extreme southern end of the designated bathing area have been set aside for sailboarding and surfing. For further information, please contact the Park Office.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving and underwater fishing are permitted along 2.5 miles of ocean beach just north of Barnegat Inlet. Scuba divers must register at the park office just prior to their first dive each year. Proof of current diving certification is required. Spear and underwater fishing are subject to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations. Diving in Barnegat Inlet is permitted and subject to New Jersey Boating Commission Special Regulations.

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