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7 Ways to Practice Social Distancing at Jersey Shore Beaches

New Jersey families love their beaches. There’s no keeping us away from them. Pandemic or not, our guide to New Jersey beaches continues to be one of the most popular articles on Jersey Family Fun.

To think, just a few weeks back we weren’t even sure if New Jersey beaches would be open for the summer. As soon as the restrictions started to be lifted, and we weren’t allowed to swim or sit at the beach, we were told about recommendations for social distancing at the Jersey Shore. Now here we are, with Memorial Day came the opening of the beaches. We can swim and sunbathe again! But we mustn’t forget we still need to maintain social distancing at the beaches.

Auer boys on the beach
The Auer boys have enjoyed the beach since they were little.

You would think with 130 miles of beaches in New Jersey it would be easy to stay away from others. It should be, but it isn’t always. And yet, if you’re like me you are desperate to get back to the Jersey Shore beaches.

New Jersey beach scenes for a pinterest image

Social Distancing at the Jersey Shore Beaches

I created this guide for families like mine, families that want to get to the beach, but also want to do so safely. If you have any tips to add, please share them in the comments below.

Just a quick note about some of the links in this post. They are affiliate links. Basically, when you make a purchase using the link, we earn a small commission. It does not affect your price but does provide a way to show your support for Jersey Family Fun. Thank you.

Buy your beach tags online

I remember Ventnor being one of the first New Jersey beaches where you could buy your beach tags online. It was so easy. I used the VIPLY app to order and pay for my tags. Then, I picked up the tags at the municipal office.

This year VIPLY is selling tags for 12 New Jersey beaches. While some beaches will mail you the tags and others will have a special pick up window for them, it’s still a pretty convenient contact-less way for you to get your tags.

With tags in hand, you can walk right onto the beach and avoid lines or exchanging money with others.

Go at off peak times to maintain social distancing at the beach

My husband likes to go to the beach in the evening. I prefer going in the morning. Whatever you prefer, go when the beach is not likely to be crowded or leave before it gets crowded. We find that mornings between 8 am and 11 am or after 3 pm in the afternoons are some of the best times to visit.

little girl plays on beach alone

Keep away from the most popular beaches

There are beaches we all love. They can be super popular with New Jersey families and those visiting the Jersey Shore for a family vacation. But we need to avoid the crowds. This might be the year to try a new, less crowded beach.

New Jersey beaches with boardwalks

New Jersey beaches with boardwalks? You may ask why list them. Why mention them? New Jersey beaches with boardwalks tend to be more crowded. Families are drawn to them because they offer fun both on and off the boardwalk. Pedestrians are walking. Bikers are biking. But if you want to avoid crowds you need to avoid beaches with boardwalks, or at least the part of the beach that has a boardwalk.

  • Wildwood beach
    • It’s really hard to put Wildwood beach on this list. They have a great boardwalk, but they also have very wide beaches. If you love Wildwood beach as much as us, get on the beach before the boardwalk gets crowded.
    • Click over for more specific information about Wildwood Beaches.
  • Atlantic City beach
  • Ocean City beach
  • Point Pleasant beach
  • Seaside Heights beach
  • Asbury Park beach
  • Ocean Grove beach

Other New Jersey beaches that get crowded quickly

There’s a few other New Jersey beaches that I often see updates that they are filled to capacity. While crowds can fluctuate often during the day, if you are trying to maintain social distancing at the beach it’s probably best to avoid these beaches. Enjoy them for the other activities they offer but stay off the beach.

  • Sandy Hook
  • Island Beach State Park
social distancing at beaches boy sits in a beach chair

Keep others away

If you find yourself at the beach and it still seems to be crowded, you’re going to need some strategies to keep others away from you. Here’s a few ideas to keep others away and you can maintain social distancing at the beach.

Pitch a tent. When my kids were younger I loved to pitch a tent on the beach. We weren’t trying to stay away from others at the time, I just wanted to be able to provide shade for my kids. Now a good beach tent can do double duty. It will keep others away from you and prevent anyone from getting too much sun.

Beach tents

Beach umbrellas

You can also use beach umbrellas to help maintain social distancing at the Jersey Shore beaches. Position your beach umbrellas with the shade facing outwards toward others, creating a barrier between you and others at the beach.

Beach chairs

Face your beach chairs with the back toward the majority of people, but also where you can keep an eye on your kids.

A girl keeps away from others while playing in the water at the beach

Mark out your space

We’d all like to hope that people would use common sense and keep their distance while visiting New Jersey beaches. Unfortunately, we have heard stories of that not quite happening. To stay safe, to maintain social distancing at the beach you may need to be a bit more aggressive and mark out your space.

4 Ways to Mark Your Space on the Beach

  • Use multiple large blankets to form a square. Seat your family on the inside.
  • Create a border around your area with these colorful small stick flags. They’ll slide easily into the sand so you can use them again and again. Plus the bright colors should help others get the point to stay away. Bonus, these colorful flags will also make it easy for your kids to spot your location from the water.
  • Use a beach privacy screen to create space between you and others at the beach.
  • Surround your space with sand castles or a moat. Just don’t forget to go back and fill up the ditch before you leave. You don’t want to create a tripping hazard for others.
A father and child are on the beach away from others, social distancing

Beach Privacy Screens

I never knew there was such a thing. But when I was searching for beach umbrellas on Amazon, beach privacy screens were the first thing to pop up. I have to say, I LOVE this idea. Here’s three of my favorites.

Stay away from others

Most people who like to visit the beach want to be near the water. They’ll either park their beach chairs in the water or their towels will be as close as they can to the water without actually touching the water. Stay farther back from the water and you’ll find less crowded areas of the beach.

In New Jersey, we’re fortunate to have some beaches that are very wide. Visit one of these wide New Jersey beaches with lots of sand and room for social distancing.

New Jersey beaches with wide beaches

  • Wildwood Beach
  • Parts of the Brigantine Beach
  • Point Pleasant Beach
  • Seaside Heights Beach
boy on Wildwood beach

Go prepared for social distancing at the beach

Bring all the things you think you might need. Pack snacks, drinks, and lunch. The less you need to go back to your car for something, the less you risk crossing paths with others.

By bringing snacks you avoid having to pass money, food, and drinks between you and strangers.

5 Things to bring to the beach

Don’t forget to grab a beach cart to get it all down to the beach. When the kids were younger, I wish these models were available.

What tips would you add for families practicing social distancing at the Jersey Shore beaches?


Need more ideas for safe activities for kids in New Jersey?

Take a look at these articles on safe things to do in New Jersey with kids.

New Jersey Drive In Attractions

Jersey Family Fun guide to social distancing at New Jersey beaches

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