Sponsored Content – It’s probably not a stretch to say that most people love the beach. The notion of soaking up sunshine and sticking your toes in the sand as a cool ocean breeze blows by is enough for anyone to forget their worries for a while.
That’s why the eastern coastal region of New Jersey is a beach-lover’s paradise. Referred to simply as the “Jersey Shore” by everyone in the know, the Atlantic-faring side of the Garden State spans about 140 miles of oceanfront, from Perth Amboy in the north to Cape May in the south.
There’s something for everyone here beyond endless supplies of sand and summer sun. The region’s low-lying estuary lands and many bird species make wildlife watchers coocoo. The boardwalks brim with arcades, amusement parks, novelty shops, and mom-and-pop restaurants.
Atlantic City might be more your style if you enjoy casinos and nightlife. New regulations in New Jersey have authorized sports betting at Atlantic City sportsbooks and online, so keep a lookout for those free bonus and deposit match offers.
And cyclists? We get to experience all of it thanks to some amazing rides on the Jersey Shore. Here are four biking routes that are sure to leave your heart, as they say here, “down the shore.”
Sandy Hook Bike Path
Located at the north end of the Jersey Shore, the Sandy Hook Bike Path runs along an easy-riding, multi-use trail that winds the length of the Sandy Hook peninsula of Monmouth County.
The thin peninsula here is surrounded by Sandy Hook Bay to the east, Lower Bay to the north, and open Atlantic waters to the east. The setting here is the closest thing you’ll find to riding a bike down a long dock straight out over the water. Riders are greeted by gentle sea breezes, along with breathtaking vistas of the ocean and maritime forests.
The Sandy Hook Bike Path leads to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Fort Hancock, which are two historical sites that date back to the mid-1700s.
Fort Hancock served as a coastal military base and weapons proving ground in the late 1800s. Sandy Hook Lighthouse, built in 1764, is located on the grounds of Fort Hancock and is the oldest operating lighthouse in the US. Afternoon tours of the lighthouse are available to visitors year-round.
Hartshorne Woods Park
Situated due south of the Sandy Hook peninsula is Hartshorne Woods Park—a hilly, 736-acre nature and recreation sanctuary. The park’s 16 combined miles of trail present all-terrain cyclists with varying degrees of difficulty, culminating in the black-diamond, 4.1-mile Rocky Point Trail.
Hartshorne is a bit of a hidden gem on the coast, since it’s tucked away from populated beaches and resorts. That’s just fine with the locals, who believe that the trails here are the best the Jersey Shore has to offer.
Hartshorne Woods is also among the highest elevated points on the Atlantic Coast, so you’re guaranteed unforgettable views of the Atlantic to the east and the Navesink River to the south.
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City is the quintessential Jersey Shore town, and a ride on the famous boardwalk here is a journey through just about everything, well, quintessentially Jersey Shore.
Cyclists pedaling down the rickety wooden planks will enjoy miles of beach line and ocean views, resort casinos, amusement parks, funky old beach houses, and a generally happy mass of humanity. This probably won’t be the longest or most challenging ride of your life, but since it’s like biking through a movie set, it will be one of the most memorable.
At five-and-a-half miles in length, including a mile-and-a-half extension in the neighboring town of Ventnor, the Atlantic City boardwalk is the longest boardwalk in the world. Riders wishing to extend the trek can continue biking south through Ventnor and Margate and across the picturesque Ocean City Causeway.
Barnegat Branch Trail
Following a stretch of varied surroundings from Barnegat to Toms River for over 16 miles, the Barnegat Branch Trail occupies an abandoned portion of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.
A ride north on the route from the trailhead at Main Street in Barnegat takes cyclists through scenic water overpasses, wooded areas, and wildlife habitats before depositing into the cool shore town of the Toms River.
It’s a perfect morning ride option, followed by an afternoon exploring the quaint shops around the Toms River. For lunch, we recommend the appropriately-named diner Shut Up and Eat.
The Barnegat Branch Trail is a fine example of a ‘rail-to-trail’ redevelopment project gone right.
Cyclists of all stripes can find a ride to love at the Jersey Shore. We can’t wait to ride again down the Garden State’s eastern leg. What’s your favorite beach or coastal route?