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Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park, also known as "Paradise" Island, with it's wildlife preserves and unspoiled dunes make it one of the treasures of the Eastern USA coastline.

Shaped by storms and the ocean's tides, Island Beach State Park is a narrow barrier island stretching for 10 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and 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. The park consist os over 3,000 acres and a ten mile stretch of white sand beaches, and coastal dunes remain almost untouched by man. Today the park looks essentially as it did during the 1700s, despite the fact that over 350,000 visitors use it each year.

For those beach goers who are used to having facilities, the recreation areas have large parking lots, bathrooms with showers, dressing rooms and restrooms. The recreation areas are handicapped accessable with ramps onto the beach, and surf chairs and umbrellas for rent.

There is a concession stand, where you can purchase hot dogs and hamburgers as well as lotions and other merchandise. There are lifeguards in the recreational areas and no dogs are allowed.

For those looking for a true beach experience, untouched by man's handy work, visit the nature reserves. If you do, realize you wont have the benefits of bathrooms, lifeguards, showers or restrooms..though there are porto-pottys that you may wish to avoid.

The reserves are where you will experience the true natural beayty of Island Beach State Park. The crowds are less and you can bring your dog and even make a campfire or barbeque, if you have a permit. You can stay after dusk as long as there is a fishing pole in use, and one person watching it.

If you are bird-watcher, then Island Beach State Park is the place. The bay side of the island is a nutrient-rich feeding ground for birds, fish and other wildlife. You can take a guided canoe and kayak trips during the summer months through the tidal marsh where you will see a wide variety of wildlife, including nesting ospreys, falcons and wading birds. The Park is home to the largest osprey population in New Jersey, and you can spot Peregrine Falcons, sandpipers, and many kinds of migratory birds and water fowl. Make sure you make a reservation for these trips, as they fill up fast.

For bikers this place is awesome. There is a five mile long bike trail. The scenery is gorgeous and you will come accross numerous types of wildlife and plants. For those who enjoy history you can take guided tours of the island. There is also horseback riding permitted, as well as boat launches located on the bay side of the island.

Island Beach State Park is one of the New Jersey Shores most beautiful beach areas. It is a delight to find beaches on the North East caost that aren't over-developed.

Whatever your passion— whether sunbathing, swimming, surf fishing, strolling, scuba diving, hiking, or simply listening to the surf— you'll be able to enjoy it at Island Beach State Park. And if you like bird watching, this is definitely the place for binoculars and an identification book.  

The inlet area, reserved as a wildlife sanctuary, is open to visitors for surf fishing, swimming, picnicking, beach strolling, and scuba diving. Fishermen usually have their own favorite spots along the inlet rocks or the shoreline, and the park is well known for an abundance of striped bass and bluefish. Summer flounder, weakfish, and kingfish are also caught, as well as winter flounder in the Barnegat Inlet. Four-wheel-drive vehicle owners can apply for a "beach buggy" permit to drive along certain sections of the beach but only for the purpose of fishing.

Overall this place is great for families looking to relax at the beach or for fishermen who want to spend a day catching a variety of different fish.

Highlights - Swimming, sunbathing, surf fishing, scuba diving, crabbing, nature trails, bird watching, nature tours by park naturalists, nature museum, interpretive center.
Admission - A daily admission fee is charged, and a seasonal pass can be obtained for $35.
Hours - 8 a.m.-8 p.m. except for fishermen with permits.
Facilities - Bathhouse, rest room, barrier-free access to the beach, snack bars Memorial Day-Labor Day
Events - Bird banding in season, nature tours; contact park office for schedule, P.O.Box 37, Seaside Park 08752
The park - is divided into three sections, Northern Natural Area, the central recreation zone and the Southern Natural Area. As a preserve, it is also a bird and wildlife sanctuary, twenty five fox make their home in the park as well as osprey and other bird species. Being a natural area, it is covered with various native fauna, beach plum, cedar, holly trees, cedars and beach grass, in all there are over 200 species of plants. It is THE haven for avid surf fishermen, and one of the few places which continue to allow 4 x 4 sport utility vehicles and other "beach buggies" access to its shoreline year round and 24 hours per day. You will need a permit to do this.