ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Jersey shore's main attraction is undoubtedly its 127 miles of beautiful beaches. And even with its reputation as one of only a tiny handful of spots in the country that make you pay for the privilege of dipping your toes in the surf (or even sitting on the sand), there are still a few beaches in New Jersey that you can use for free.
There are five free ocean beaches in New Jersey: Atlantic City, where the glittering Boardwalk casinos provide a counterpart to the sun and surf; the Strathmere section of Upper Township in Cape May County, and the three beaches that collectively make up the Wildwoods: Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. Due to natural currents and geography, these three beaches are super-wide. (Some beachgoers even complain it's actually TOO far from the boardwalk to the water.)
Cape May County offers beaches on Delaware Bay with a slower pace and calmer water, without the amenities of many oceanfront swimming spots. Many shore towns also host free fireworks displays on or near July 4.
There's no better place to engage in people-watching than on the boardwalks of the Jersey shore, and almost all of them are rebuilt and good as new in the second summer after Superstorm Sandy. The most popular include Seaside Heights, Wildwood, Point Pleasant Beach, Atlantic City, Belmar, Ocean City and Asbury Park. The smell of the ocean, the screech of seagulls and the aroma of fried food are all part of the boardwalk experience in many of these spots. A few steps westward, take a walking tour of immaculately restored and preserved Victorian homes in Cape May and Ocean Grove.
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