As soon as the first signs of summer start to appear, East Coast families head to New Jersey’s beaches. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the state, these getaways are worth traveling to and exploring for their family-friendly atmosphere. Whichever beach you decide to visit, you are in for a vacation filled with beautiful scenery and fun family experiences. Start planning your getaway to one of these five top picks today!

New Jersey's Best Beaches for Families:

1. Cape May

Known for its many nearby family-friendly attractions, like Cape May County Park & Zoo, this town is an ideal place for families looking for wholesome fun. History buffs are drawn to the Emlen Physick Estate, a Victorian-era home open for daily tours, and shoppers love hitting the stores along Washington Street for unique souvenirs. After a day spent relaxing on the beach, watch the sunset during a meal at Harpoon Henry’s, one of Cape May's great seafood restaurants.

Lifeguard Status: Yes (Cape May Beach Patrol)

Stay in Cape May!

2. Stone Harbor

The quaint town of Stone Harbor is the perfect place to unwind from busy everyday life. Voted as one of New Jersey’s cleanest beaches, this spot is sure to please even the pickiest traveler. Visit in September for the annual “Wings ‘N’ Water” festival at the Wetlands Institute, sure to be a hit with kids due to the many different animals brought in for the occasion.

Lifeguard Status: Yes (Stone Harbor Beach Patrol)

Stay in Stone Harbor!

3. Ocean City

One of New Jersey’s most well-known beaches, Ocean City offers a great mix of clean, beautiful beaches and inexpensive fun on the boardwalk. Kids love the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not attraction in addition to Castaway Cove for its fun amusement park rides. Stop by one of the candy stores on the boardwalk like Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge for some homemade treats that are sure to be popular souvenirs, too!

Lifeguard Status: Yes (Ocean City Beach Patrol)

Stay in Ocean City!

4. Wildwood

Kids of all ages love Wildwood for Morey’s Piers—a classic amusement park located on the boardwalk that even has a waterpark! Take a ride on the Sea Serpent or the Doo Wopper, and cap off your visit with a fresh funnel cake from Fritz’s. If your family isn’t a fan of amusement park rides, play some miniature golf on the boardwalk, take a visit to the Seaport Aquarium, or sign up for a surfing lesson at Randazzo Surf School.

Lifeguard Status: Yes (Wildwood Beach Patrol)

Stay in Wildwood!

5. Sea Isle City

Another of New Jersey’s cleanest beaches, Sea Isle City offers wholesome fun for the whole family. Even in winter, the town keeps up its fun atmosphere with events like the Polar Bear Plunge in February (followed by a costume contest!). During the warmer months, have fun with the whole family at one of the many parks in town for a break from the beach (even pickle ball courts are available). For water-related fun, try renting a catamaran or sailboat and spending a day on the sea for an experience your family won’t soon forget.

Lifeguard Status: Yes (Sea Isle City Beach Patrol) (No lifeguard north of 14th Street or south of 93rd Street)

Stay in Sea Isle City!

This article was written by Kaitlyn Lannan.