Over the past decade or so, I have been going on yearly excursions with my family to visit my grandparents over the summer. They own a beachfront home on Long Beach Island–known as LBI to locals–a small, 18-mile long island off the coast of New Jersey. Now when most people read this, they will likely stop and write me off as soon as I wrote New Jersey. Fair enough, but I beg those of you who had such a reaction to hear me out.
SEMI FINALIST 2013 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
LBI is not the crowded, city-filled New Jersey that most people know. It is a flat, beautiful island lined with summer homes. It is divided into six municipalites that offer their own style of living. For example, Beach Haven, where we stay, is a familiy oriented vacation spot, while Surf City is home to the bars and young adult crowd With the bay on one side and the Atlantic on the other, you are never more than a mile from water. However, the charm of LBI that keeps people like me coming back there from all over the country each year is its atmosphere. The main street of the island, called "The Boulevard" by all who reside there, is a long stretch that runs almost the entire length of the island. Along the Boulevard is a plethora of family-owned shops, you won't find a McDonald's or any other chain on the island, that welcome each and every customer with a friendly staff who care about their business, and would just as soon share a drink on the beach with you as sell you their wares. I recommend Panzone's Pizza, the Holiday Snack Bar, and Marvel's Bakery, to name a few food stops. If you are traveling with family and need something that pleases everyone, I highly recommend Schooner's Wharf and Bay Villiage for a day trip. Schooner's Wharf is an outdoor shopping center built on, in, and around an old sailing ship, while Bay Village is a stretch of road where you can find homely shops for every interest in nooks and crannies. The island also boasts landmarks that are worth visiting. The Barnegat Lighthouse sits on the very northern tip of the island, and is a historical hotspot on the island, open for visits every day.
Presumably however, the majority of people who come to LBI come for one simple reason: the beaches. The sand is a powdery white, and the water is almost always sitting well over 70 degrees. The beaches are relatively clean and not as crowded as many East Coast beaches. With the homes so close to the water, it is extremely common for beachgoers to walk down to the sand as early as 9 or 10 am, and stay until after sunset, after which I personally enjoy taking a walk on the beach after dark. The people on the beaches and the rest of the island are just as happy to be there as you are and the infamous "New York Attitude" all but vanishes after crossing the causeway. Overall, the atmosphere of the island is incredible, and every time I stay there, I am surprised once again at how everyone seems to know everybody else. At the time of this writing, I will be leaving for LBI in less than a week to take in my yearly dose of the island. I hope that many of you will join me someday.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.