Welcome to New Jersey!
New Jersey is like Denny’s. You don’t set out to go there –it’s just a place you end up. It’s not always warm, and never lush or tropical, but, fortunately, for anyone who has to travel here for one reason or another, it’s a place that gets lots of good waves.
At almost any surf travel destination in the world, you’re likely to run into at least one surfer from Jersey. Be friendly, and you’ll be invited to stay with them when you end up in Jersey. That would be good for you, because it’s expensive. New Jersey, one of the most densely populated states in the union, is not a cheap stay. In the summer, people from all over the eastern half of the country flock to the shore. Hotels are full; rooms are expensive. The winter should be cheaper, but it isn’t. So many places shut down for the winter, that the few that remain open are rather pricey, too. Making friends here is the way to go.
Despite what you hear, there aren’t toxic waste dumps around every bend, and the water is no worse than in surrounding areas. With one of the oldest and most extensive water-testing programs in the country, New Jersey beaches close when things get murky. The water quality today is as good as it’s been in the past 30 years — and at least as good as most southern California breaks.
Jersey shore nightlife isn’t all about big hair and Bon Jovi. Some beach towns are rather sleepy, but some go freakin’ nuts. Wall-to-wall clubs and crazy bar scenes in Seaside Heights, Atlantic City and Wildwood are fronted by classic boardwalks with amusements and pizza pie. If you’ve never experienced a New Jersey boardwalk, think sleazy mall with greasy food court and creepy carnival — complete with cheesy games of chance, and state-of-the-art amusement park features — all rolled into one. That’s not to mention that this whole circus runs parallel to the beach, with amusement piers and hairball rides often situated directly over the surf.
Waves and beaches aren’t the only attraction for the traveling surfer, considering it’s in the midst of some of the most important cultural centers in the world. Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City are right next door to Jersey beaches. You could surf the evening session at Long Beach Island and still make it up to NYC, or over Philly, to catch a cool band or an art show opening. Or, you could dawn patrol at your favorite New Jersey spot and still make it to almost any of the Northeast’s best mountains to take a few runs before dark.
The Northeast is so great a cultural hub, in fact, that air travel in or out of the area is the most inexpensive in the country. At certain times of the year, flights to Europe, the Caribbean and the West Coast can be ridiculously cheap. New Jersey is a great pivot point to anywhere. By car, central Florida is little more than a day’s drive. Leave for Cape Hatteras after a surf and breakfast, and make it to the Lighthouse in time for a few late-afternoon waves. But, the bottom line is that if you’re stuck, or visiting, for one reason or another, the bonus is waves. Jersey gets them, and, for the most part, she’s pretty willing to share. Crowds
New Jersey spots can be very crowded — just try to get a set wave at Manasquan Inlet or off the jetty at Broadway Beach in Cape May during the peak of a hurricane swell. But the crowds you might endure during the summer or early fall soon fade away. As winter approaches, you’ll be left surfing with a few friends. Late winter and early spring might find you hunting around for someone to paddle out with. For the seasoned traveler, Jersey crowds aren’t really much to deal with.
Beach badges, Trump Towers’ slot machines and the closing of beaches during a hurricane pose the biggest threats to your sanity. We wish this were still a place where you could worry about being eaten by a vicious, man-eating shark. Jaws was loosely based on a 1916 account of an extraordinary series of shark attacks that left four dead and one injured over a two-week period on the Jersey shore. Sadly, pollution, over-fishing, sport-fishing tournaments and the like have done a number on the shark population. While you can’t discount the possibility, count yourself fortunate if you even get to experience one of these mighty creatures at close range. Dolphins and porpoises abound in the lineup during summer and fall months, so know the difference. And those used syringes on the beach you heard about in the ’80s? They rarely puncture a firm-soled pair of booties.
Thank Surfline.com for this sum up of New Jersey!