While the reality TV show of the same name has made the Jersey Shore infamous, the truth is that there’s so much more to this gorgeous area besides its renowned nightlife. The Jersey Shore offers more than 100 miles of picturesque beaches. Moreover, the entire coast is dotted with unique towns and cities. Whether you want to go swimming and sunbathing at the scenic beaches, enjoy a relaxing picnic at a peaceful public park, explore the many museums and historic sites, or ride the attractions at a family-friendly amusement park, you’re going to fall in love with this charming coastal region. Book a stay at a Jersey Shore vacation rental today. Check out the most exciting places to visit at the Jersey Shore.

1. The Wildwoods

Source: Flickr/Meredith P.

Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood collectively make up The Wildwoods. If you plan on spending a lot of time on the beach, you’ll find plenty of vacation rentals near the action. The Wildwoods make up one of the Jersey Shore’s most expansive public beaches. Entry is free, and the beaches are well-maintained. Be sure to visit Morey’s Piers for old-fashioned boardwalk amusement fun, including over 100 rides and two different seasonal waterparks.

2. Cape May

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Known for its stunning Victorian architecture, Cape May is a charming coastal city located right at the southern tip of New Jersey. It’s the perfect location to look for vacation rentals if you’re traveling with kids, as there are plenty of family-friendly attractions in the area. Of course, the pristine beaches are the biggest attraction, but don’t be afraid to branch out and do some exploring. Cling the historical Cape May Lighthouse, and don’t forget to take a hike through the well-maintained trail. Then, visit the Jersey Shore Alpacas to feed some of the cutest creatures you’ve ever laid eyes on.

3. Belmar

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Belmar is a great place to stay if you want a more laid-back version of the famous Italian-American Jersey Shore experience. You can certainly find plenty of vibrant clubs where you can dance the night away, but the area isn’t quite as saturated with nightlife as Seaside Heights. The busy boardwalk is a fantastic place to grab a slice of pizza, sit down, and do some people-watching. Even if you’re traveling with the family, there’s plenty to do in Belmar, including boating, surfing, kayaking, and other water sports. Belmar is a popular destination for crabbing and clamming, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants in town where you can order fresh, local seafood, that’s if you don’t want to catch it yourself.

4. Spring Lake

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If you want the most pristine beaches on the Jersey Shore, Spring Lake is a great spot to look for vacation rentals. While Spring Lake Beach does charge for a day pass, the cleanliness of the beach makes the cost worth it to many locals and visitors. Many of the homes in this area include beautifully landscaped backyards, perfect if you want to spend some time grilling and hanging out with your family. Spring Lake’s relaxing, laid-back atmosphere and pristine beaches are the area’s main attractions, but there are also plenty of unique shops and exquisite restaurants for you to enjoy.

5. Ashbury Park

Source: Flickr/A. Strakey

Famous for its thriving music and arts communities, Ashbury Park is where Bruce Springsteen first started playing. While the area has had its ups and downs over the years, it has recently experienced quite a resurgence. The downtown area is filled with excellent restaurants, shops, and galleries. Head to one of The Boss’ old haunts, The Stone Pony on Ocean Ave, to see a concert. While you’re in the area, visit Shark River Park for some fantastic hiking and fishing. Treat the kids to a day at the Silverball Museum, an arcade near the beach with modern machines and vintage pinball machines.

6. Long Beach Island

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Long Beach Island stretches approximately 18 miles, and it’s made up of a number of eclectic small beach towns. This includes the Beach Haven, Shipbottom, Surf City, and Loveladies. During the summer, vacationers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this lovely area. Boosting the population from roughly 10,000 people to a staggering 100,000. Bring the kids for a thrilling day at Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven, where you can ride classic, family-friendly rides like bumper cars, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and of course, the Ferris wheel.

7. Seaside Heights

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Easily the most well-known Jersey Shore area thanks to the television show, Seaside Heights is quintessential Jersey Shore. While it’s certainly the go-to destination for those who are looking to party, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions in the area, too. The beaches and nightclubs are the biggest attractions, but they’re not the only ones by any means. The Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark is a classic landmark that’s filled with fun activities for all ages, including go-karts, mini-golf, and plenty of classic amusement rides. Take in a fantastic show while enjoying some of the best ice cream in town at The Music Man’s Medleys Singing Ice Cream Parlour.

8. Ocean City

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If you really want to escape the Jersey Shore’s party scene, look for a vacation rental in Ocean City. It’s a dry town, meaning there’s no alcohol. Of course, spirits are readily available in the nearby towns if you feel like treating yourself to a cocktail. Ocean City boasts a 2.5-mile long boardwalk — more than twice as long as typical New Jersey boardwalks. With over 8 miles of shore, it’s the perfect place for a long and leisurely romantic sunset stroll by the water.

9. Avalon

Source: Flickr/Marc Cappelletti

Avalon and its neighboring town Stone Harbor are both relaxed beach towns with a strong emphasis on family. The area is known for its tourism, and you’ll find plenty of souvenir shops in the area. Grab a delectable homemade ice cream cone at Springer’s, then head to the nearby white, sandy beach for swimming and sunbathing. In the evening, take the whole family out for a few rounds of mini-golf — the area boasts quite a few courses. The area is known for its excellent water sports, and there are also quite a few entertainment venues where you can enjoy local concerts by the water.

10. Point Pleasant Beach

Source: Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

Point Pleasant Beach provides a perfect middle-ground Jersey Shore experience. It has an iconic mile-long boardwalk for you to explore, but it’s not as wild as some of the other hot spots on the shore. If you go with a vacation rental at Point Pleasant Beach, you can enjoy plenty of peace and quiet once the sun goes down. Jenkinson’s is a delightful amusement park and arcade where the whole family is sure to have a blast. While you’re there, stop by Jenkinson’s Aquarium to admire aquatic exhibits on sharks, alligators, penguins, coral reefs, and more.