Island Beach State Park occupies the final 8.2 miles of the Island Beach peninsula. Suddenly civilization stops and nature begins.
Eight miles of dunes, surf fishing, surfing, swimming and sunning await you on the oceanside. Endless tidal marshes, with fish, fowl, flora and fauna, thrive along the bayside. There are hiking trails and 4X4 trails. Sadly, there are no bike trails or lanes along the 45 mph main road.
Cars are charged a modest fee to enter the park. Bikers and walkers enter for free. State fishing licenses are required to fish. 4X4s must have required equipment and be engaged in fishing. Porto-Johns in parking areas.
Holly, on the right, is a Genuine Article Jersey Girl. Damn proud of it, too. She's with Robbie from some mid-west place, best I can tell. He didn't know his Boardwalk from a Taffy Pull! They were fun to have around, however.
More history! In 1913, Seaside Heights was incorporated as a borough formed from sections of Berkeley and Dover townships.
Investor and manufacturer Christian Hiering played a key role in nourishing this newborn borough. In 1913, Hiering started the Barnegat Power and Cold Storage Company bringing electricity to Seaside Heights for the first time.
Besides the beaches, the Seaside Heights boardwalk is the main attraction.
During the winter months you will find arcades, and pubs open. There is a calm and casual atmosphere. Some boardwalk attractions may be open depending on the weather. In the summer months, everything is open and geared for the crowds. The boardwalk consists of many wheels of chance where prizes range from small stuffed animals to TV's, bicycles, and scooters. Aroma from the many pizza shops, sausage stands, and cotton candy machines tempt every body's taste buds-including the Seagulls!
Seaside Heights Employs some of the top lifeguards to be found anywhere. Individual lifeguard towers are spread out the entire length. Beach goers can find surf conditions marked by flags flying. One thing unique you will find in the sand in Seaside Heights is environmental advertising from a local entrepreneur. The sand is sculpted each day into a billboard. Don't worry about walking on and over the sculpting, it is replaced each day!
Seaside Heights Beaches are all public and are open throughout the season. Public Access can be found almost each block and badges can be purchased for the day. Come early to claim your spot for the day! Enjoy a book while relaxing to the fresh ocean breeze.
Fun-seeking visitors come from beyond the metropolitan NY-NJ and Philadelphia areas to spend a day, week or more enjoying the entertainment-filled boardwalk, the amusement piers, water park and the spectrum of ocean and bay swimming, boating, fishing, crabbing and other water sports. And of course, the hand-held foods as well as the fine restaurants. It's all centered in Seaside Heights.
It was also Tunney who led the fight for boardwalk expansion back in the 1940s. He knew it was the key to community growth. As a result of lengthening the boardwalk along the entire oceanfront, new homes, hotels and motels were built. Summer residents, renters and vacationers followed.
The efforts to get the new bridge were spearheaded by determined Seaside Heights residents, including Joseph Stanley Tunney who served the community as mayor for nearly 25 years. (It is for Tunney that a second bridge, one that now carries visitors from the shore back to the mainland, was named.)
I wish there was a train from NY that reached Seaside Heights. There isn't! Strolling along the boardwalk was a success from the beginning. It's reported that in 1917 the Pennsylvania Railroad had to send a special 12-car train to get Philadelphia visitors back home. Today's day-trippers flood in from North Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania via freeways and toll roads all feeding into the $6 million Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, which replaced the narrow wooden bridge back in 1950.
The seeds were planted that would flourish into New Jersey's "Family Fun and Sun Resort," claiming Seaside Heights as the greatest concentration of games and amusement rides in the world! But it took a lot of persistence. The first three blocks of boardwalk took four years to build back in 1917. Four decades later, in 1955, a major boardwalk fire destroyed a substantial number of amusements including the original carousel that dated back to 1917. Today's 17-block, mile-long boardwalk is enjoyed by the tens of thousands who visit each week in season.
A minor Brady Bunch thing here in this photo. Dawn is my college buddy; John is her beau. They each have children from previous marriages. The kids get along great, and Dawn and John are great together and good parents. I approve! Plus, did I mention John is a chef?!
Now visitors had more convenient access without having to take a boat or travel by train on the railroad bridge built in 1881.
By this time, there were now two new hotels in Seaside Heights: the Sheridan Inn and the Sumner Hotel. The Seaside Heights Amusement Company announced plans to build a theater and carousel along with billiard, pool and shuffleboard rooms.
Before World War I, an amusement park opened between Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. The two communities were to share the benefits for the remainder of the 1900s.
You just want to fall asleep. This is Greg snoozing at the Jersey shore after eating like a piggy on the Boardwalk. He'll never see this photo, so I'm safe! On December 1, 1915, the first toll bridge was opened across Barnegat Bay, linking Seaside Heights with Toms River and the mainland. The bridge was built by the Island Heights and Seaside Heights Bridge Company at a cost of $153,477.90. The tolls varied; a horse and buggy was 25¢ - with extra persons an additional 10¢, a car and driver cost 40¢ - with additional persons an additional 15¢, horses, cattle, pigs and sheep cost 10¢ each. Children under 5 were allowed to cross free of charge.
John owns his own restaurant in Danbury CT. He's an awfully busy man. It was his first vacation in more than one year! And it only lasted 2 nights. Man, I felt bad for him. We ALL did. But at least he and his son Connor had lots of fun and fresh air and Quality Time together at the New Jersey Shore!
More history! In the early years of the 1900s, a land development company envisioned Seaside Heights as a resort and promoted it to Philadelphia area residents as an ideal location to build summer homes. So that prospective buyers could see the lots available (a 40-foot beachfront lot cost only $100.00) as well as breathe the cool, refreshing ocean air, the development company began running train excursions in 1909 and continued them seasonally for several years.
John was our House Chef. Cool idea to invite LOTS of folks to your house for a summer vacation. Make Sure one is a Professional Chef. This way, you know you will eat well. Naturally, we had to clean the dishes and do the food prep. WELL worth it. John So Rocks!
Some history on Seaside Heights!
Seaside Heights is one of the beach communities on the Barnegat Peninsula. Its land area is about a half square mile and it is located between Seaside Park to the south and the Ortley Beach of Dover Township to the north.