99 Ways to Have Fun on and Around LBI

Don’t Just Be a Human Being, Be a Human Doing
By STAFF | Jul 12, 2019

Surf City — 1. Wade the bay shallows at night, with a strong flashlight. Wear protective footwear, and bring along a dip-net to nab a few light-stunned forms of wildlife for a quick look-and-release.

2. Play pickleball at the Nelson Avenue Park in Beach Haven or at Mill Creek Park in Beach Haven West.

3. Learn standup paddleboarding in the bay – visit South-End Surf ’N Paddle for a board and a demonstration – or standup pedal boarding (yes, that’s a thing) at Harvey Cedars Marina.

4. Safety is fun for everyone. Bike, skate and skateboard with traffic, walk/run against traffic. Be courteous and share the road/sidewalk. Motorists need to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks; pedestrians at traffic lights need to wait for the green light.

5. Explore the new under-the-bridge walkway at the recreational area built as part of the Causeway Bridge project; park at the parking pull-off from eastbound 72 and take the sidewalks to the west or east to get some interesting perspectives.

6. Sing karaoke, or try an open mic. (Karaoke happens at The Gateway and Kubel’s Too; open mics happen at Lizzie Rose Music Room, the Grapevine, and Tuckerton Beach Grille.) Alternatively, spectate.

7. Enjoy the sunset on the Miss Barnegat Light. The popular fishing vessel and her crew provide a sunset cruise every evening at 7 for $15 per guest. The best part is you can just show up and board, but seating is limited, so arrive at least 30 minutes early. The port is located at 18th Street on the bay in Barnegat Light.

8. Race a friend to the end of the Barnegat Light jetty walkway, at the base of the lighthouse – and back. Loser buys first round at Daymark.

9. Hop the Island shuttle (it costs a small fee to ride) – or drive your own vehicle (probably the best way to save time) – and play every miniature golfing venue in a day. Whether you start at the north or south ends of the Island, you’ll want to start early, because with 12 courses at nine locations to play through, it’s literally going to take all day.

9a. Put your miniature golf game to the test by competing in any one of the tournaments throughout the week at several of the courses on the Island. Mr. Tee’s Putt & Play in Beach Haven, The Sand Trap, Hartland Golf & Arcade and Flamingo Golf in Ship Bottom, and Island Golf in Surf City feature tournaments every week for the summer.

9b. Take the “Can You Beat Biggy?” challenge! Grab your putter and ball and play against our miniature golf guru, David Biggy, as part of his fun summer feature for The SandPaper. Challengers must be in pairs. Game days are Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, each week until late August. A few openings are still available. If you want to play, email Biggy at biggy@thesandpaper.net, and include the names and ages of the challengers, a contact number and a sentence or two about why you believe you can beat him. See you on the links!

10. Take the family to an outdoor concert. Almost every town offers one weekly.

11. Find a porch and sit on it, preferably in a rocking chair, and reminisce about how the Island used to be.

12. Take your dog for a run on the beach – just kidding, that’s not allowed anywhere. But head over to the Barnegat Branch Trail, a 15.6-mile abandoned rail corridor used by hikers, bikers, runners, families and nature lovers. The trail, so-named because it was built on the former Barnegat Branch Division roadbed of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, extends from Barnegat to Toms River. Park at the trailhead, located off West Bay Avenue, behind First National Antiques and Restoration.

13. Fill a sketchbook with drawings from your vacation.

14. Buy a journal and have everyone in your beach house jot down their thoughts, feelings and memories of their time on LBI. Make it a growing collection of entries year after year. In 20 years, send it to us and we’ll publish it. Maybe. No promises.

15. Take a class in glass at SwellColors in Surf City. Glass makes beautiful beach home décor!

16. Paint a pot at Paint-a-Pot. Pots make nice souvenirs!

17. Make some jewelry at Just Bead It. Jewelry makes great gifts! Or cobble together one-of-a-kind necklaces from assorted beach finds.

18. Throw some clay on the wheel at m.t. burton’s 19th Street Clay Studio in Surf City or at the ceramics studio at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies. Handcrafted is the best.

19. Speaking of LBIF, choose from a million different classes to try. Better yet, sign up to be a member and enjoy all the benefits.

20. Join St. Francis Community Center and support an important Island institution.

21. See a show at Surflight Theatre.

22. Be “totes” for the environment. Do your part by refusing plastic bags (yes, even the so-called reusable ones – those are not cool, either) and eschewing excessive packaging from local retailers.

23. Eat all the ice cream.

24. Take a surrey ride with the fam.

25. Dream recklessly; drink responsibly. LBI has a thriving nightlife with world-class live entertainment every night of the week in the finest restaurants and hottest clubs between A.C. and Asbury.

26. Dance in the moonlight (when everybody’s feelin’ warm and bright).

27. Enjoy some afternoon delight in the outdoor shower.

28. Take an outdoor yoga class – on the beach, on a public pavilion, on a private deck, or even on a standup paddleboard in the bay. Yoga opportunities abound on LBI in the summer.

29. Eat like a local. When dining out, try the oysters or catch of the day, or buy from the local fish market and grill your own. Bonus points: catch your own.

30. Try a life drawing class. Art@120 offers life drawing classes on Friday mornings at LBIF, Sunday mornings at the Old Baptist Church in Manahawkin, and the second Wednesday evening of each month at The Union Market and Gallery in Tuckerton.

31. Visit the Tuckerton Seaport; then head next door to The Union Market for a ’90s punk-inspired lunch.

32. Try out some freshwater recreation. Take your kayak or canoe out to Bass River or Cedar Creek and cool off in water that stays 55 degrees year ’round.

33. See an intimate performance of nationally touring blues, country, jazz and classic rock bands at the Lizzie Rose Music Room in Tuckerton.

34. Pick wild blueberries. They grow all over in the Pine Barrens of Ocean County, especially in June and July.

35. Sample the pizza on the Jersey Shore to find your favorite; then apply the same mission to chowder.

36. Get in line for wings at the famous Chicken or the Egg, a.k.a. “The Chegg,” and find out where you place on the “wing-o-meter.”

37. Shop all the yard sales. A lot of people around here have quite a lot of very nice unwanted things.

38. Take a stroll through Historic Barnegat and see antiques and salvage shops – “nostalgic novelty” done right.

39. Visit a farmers market and have a taste of the Garden State.

40. Ever walk or jog the beach from Holgate to Barnegat Light, or vice versa? Try it sometime. Of course, if you need to take a few breaks along the way to take a dip in the Atlantic, or grab a quick bite to eat down the street, there’s always that option. When you’re done, you can take the LBI shuttle back to where you started.

41. Set a summer reading goal. Take out a book at the library and read it on the beach. Find a list of some fun, free activities for the kids at the local library.

42. Make a drip castle – a variation on a sand castle – by taking sand mixed with water and dripping it from your fist, and seeing how high your castle can rise.

43. Check out Discovery Days at the LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays (“The Marsh and Bay”) and Fridays (“Birds, Bees and Butterflies”).

44. Volunteer for Alliance for a Living Ocean, or check out one of the nonprofit’s many summertime eco-activities, listed online at livingocean.org.

45. Participate in, or spectate at, the annual Paddle Classic, on July 13, and/or the Longboard Classic, on Aug. 10. Both events benefit Alliance for a Living Ocean.

46. Attend Long Beach Township’s National Night Out – a free, family-friendly annual event designed to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie – from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Bayview Park in Brant Beach. (Rain date is Aug. 7.) Expect music, food and beverages, giveaways, games and more.

47. Visit the Island museums: Barnegat Light Museum, 501 Central Ave. in Barnegat Light; New Jersey Maritime Museum, 528 Dock Rd. in Beach Haven; the Long Beach Island Historical Society Museum, 129 Engleside Ave. in Beach Haven; and the second-floor museum at the Beach Haven Public Library, 247 North Beach Ave. in Beach Haven.

48. Local libraries have daily children’s programs during the summer months, and they fill up quickly. The Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library is in Surf City; the Beach Haven Public Library has that second-floor museum.

49. Take the ferry from Dock Road in Beach Haven to the Tuckerton Seaport and enjoy the ecological and historic trip across the bay.

50. Cool off for a few hours or a day at Thundering Surf, the Island’s water park. The adjacent Adventure Golf is a beautiful and well-built course with a lot of cool features.

51. Get a Surfer Dude (Surf City 5 and 10 carries them) and watch your child have fun with the boomerang toy.

52. Visit the consignment shops in Ship Bottom and Beach Haven.

53. Take a magnifying glass to the beach. Grab a small handful of sand and count the different colors of grains.

53a. Throw said handful of sand on your little brother (but not in the face/eyes).

54. Enjoy fireworks. Even do your own small backyard fireworks display – responsibly and with consideration of neighbors and their pets. That’s legal now!

55. Sign up for the Sandy Avocado Surf Camp, with sessions running now through the end of August. LBI’s only professional skim camp has become a surf camp, too. Join the fun on Taylor Avenue in Beach Haven. Register at lbiskimcamp.com.

56. Visit the Holgate parking area late at night. It’s the last stop on the south end of Long Beach Boulevard. Enjoy the calm and ocean reflections while staring out at the neon-crazed, high-stakes energy of the Atlantic City skyline.

57. Rent a surf rod and reel, buy some bait, set the clock for sunrise and take part in likely the longest Island tradition: surf casting. Make sure to have a solid grasp on angling rules and regulations. Bait and tackle shops go out of their way to help newbies, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

58. Stroll through the maritime forest in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Read the interpretive literature along the way. Binoculars make it all the better.

59. A day at the (bay) beach. Know what’s great about being an island? Beaches all around. Bay beaches are guarded and sometimes crowded, lots of families, but the bay water is warmer.

60. Do an Old Bay seasoning, bushel-basket-sized crab boil – replete with hammers, picks and ridiculous bibs or hats (a must). Olden-time boils would include a newspaper “tablecloth” and torn paper bags as placemats. Crabmeat all over face and clothing to be expected.

61. Rent a beach cruiser and roll the Island, lengthwise (north and south) and across (east and west). The latter offers a better feel of summer life hereabouts.

62. Read and collect all the locally written and published LBI history books. (See Down The Shore Publishing at down-the-shore.com.) They add a unique feel to stories of the distant past.

63. Treat yourself and someone sweet to a fudge binge and try all the flavors. Fudge is a bigger tradition here than saltwater taffy.

64. Tweet your Island experiences to us @thesandpaperlbi. The best ones may be featured in Section Two’s weekly “TweetSpot.”

65. With a leashed bodyboard and flippers, learn to kneel while riding in.

66. Get around to taking a surfing lesson. Softer boards now make things a lot more beginner-friendly, though good old hard boards are the meat of the real sport. This area has some of the finest instructors anywhere. Check surf shop ads.

67. Make watermelon salsa, substituting melon in for regular tomatoes. Call it LBI salsa.

68. Get that mandatory photo from the top of Fantasy Island’s Giant Wheel. The amusement park is an absolutely necessary part of a family vacation.

69. Get that mandatory photo from the rooftop deck of the new Hotel LBI. (It’s the one in Ship Bottom … you can’t miss it.)

70. For rainy day fun, visit the area’s arcades: Fantasy Island in Beach Haven; Mr. Tee’s in Beach Haven; Our Endless Summer in Ship Bottom; Hartland Golf in Ship Bottom; and Eagleswood Amusement Park, across the bay in Staffordville.

71. For a worthy workout on the early a.m. beach, walk 100 fast paces on the hard-packed wet sand, then run 100 strides. Repeat repeatedly. It’s technically interval training. Warning: It’s addicting.

72. Try a PWC. Cruise the bay and slide over to the sedge islands for some backwater exploration. Slow is the law in most narrow waterways.

73. Use the Night Sky app for iPhone to locate and identify constellations. Get really knowledgeable about it and impress friends at the next “game night” by casually pointing out Arcturus in the constellation Bootes, the herdsman.

74. Learn to kiteboard from a qualified instructor. The high-flying pastime is all the rage, but it’s not something to self-teach.

75. Investigate the end of Sunset Boulevard in High Bar Harbor. Park the car, walk past the wooden “State Park” gate, bear right and take the path to the right. Get a fun view of Island Beach State Park and be amazed to find there is still a lightly used portion of LBI.

76. Do oldtime-y sand things. Emerge from the ocean and run, dripping, to the hot sand, drop and roll in the warmth until you’re a powdered doughnut. Stand near the water’s edge and wiggle your feet to sink in. See if you can reach your knees. Bathers have been doing the same things on these beaches since the mid-1800s.

77. Go hand-line crabbing from public docks or bayside street ends.

78. When a thunderstorm is approaching, go to a bayside street end to watch super cells mushroom in the western sky, from the safe vantage point of inside a vehicle or a friend’s bayfront home.

79. Board the A.J. Meerwald , New Jersey’s Tall Ship, when she visits our port, Saturday, July 20, to Sunday, July 28. Sailing, tours and environmental programs take place on the ship. To view the sailing schedule, visit bayshorecenter.org.

80. Collect the local merch. Aspire to have a T-shirt or tank top from every nightclub and ice cream shop, a mug from your favorite coffeehouse. Fellow LBI lovers in the wild will notice and flash the club hand signal, the shaka.

81. Commit a random act of kindness. When a crowd of kids and parents are gathered around an ice cream truck, walk up and announce, “The ice cream is on me.” It’ll be the best $40 you spend on vacation.

82. Hunt for hand-painted blue starfish. One thousand are hidden all over Long Beach Island as part of the Sea Star Project 2019. If you find one, take a selfie with it and share it on Instagram @the_sea_star_project and hashtag “LBIfoundit.”

82a. Similarly, hunt for Manahawkin Rocks, Barnegat Rocks and Waretown Rocks, and join the hand-painted rock movement. They’re everywhere, and they’re meant to bring the finder a smile.

83. Charter a fishing trip.

84. Write your novel.

85. Make sun tea. Somehow it’s way better than any stovetop variety. Try something new: local herbs for teas.

86. Take a free, award-winning behind-the-scenes dock tour at the Viking Village commercial docks in Barnegat Light.

87. Spend some time in the Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens, located at the Barnegat Light Museum on Fifth Street and Central Avenue.

88. Start a “game night” with local friends and see whose competitive instincts are loudest. Board games are back in a big way now; luckily most beach houses are stocked with them. Pay a visit to The Haymarket, the Island’s premier toy and hobby shop, and pick up a few new titles to try.

89. Get a wild pair of sunglasses, or several. Get a pair to match the Maserati and the Tesla.

90. Seine the shallows. ALO offers seining excursions, led by helpful and informative instructors who can ID the marine life and make sure nobody gets hurt, including the aquatic critters.

91. Plan an LBI destination wedding, vow renewal or other important event. Ceremony on the beach, after-party anywhere.

92. Follow the ReClam the Bay clam trail of huge, painted clam sculptures. Maps are available at the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce office, located at 265 West Ninth Street in Ship Bottom.

93. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Drive down to Eagles Nest Airport in West Creek and check out Skydive East Coast.

94. Ride Nardi’s big pink party bus.

95. Experience a night of dessert theater at Show Place Ice Cream Parlour in Beach Haven, where singing waitri will be happy to serve and serenade you.

96. Explore the Island’s many art galleries, concentrated in Beach Haven, Surf City and Barnegat Light. The works within often speak of local influences and resident talent.

97.  Parasail.

98. Attend a local municipal meeting and clue into what goes on in your favorite beach town behind the scenes.

99. Dream up a dozen more ways to have fun that no one has thought of yet.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.