Island Beach State Park


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Park Overview:

Walk along one the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic Coast

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path, Handicapped
Trail Miles:13 miles
Park Acreage:3003 acres
Seaside Park/Ocean/NJ
Park Description:

An undeveloped stretch of barrier beach and salt marsh on the north side of Barnegat Inlet, this strip of unspoiled dune land has an almost impenetrable barrier of brier, holly, bayberry, and other shrubs between the fore dunes and the bay. Little grows above the height of the dunes, which shelter the vegetation from killing salt spray.

The Barnegat Lighthouse is about 2000 feet across the inlet.  But getting to the Lighthouse from Island Beach State Park by car requires driving more than 40 miles taking more than an hour.

An entrance fee is charged daily year around, except for the disabled and elderly [see park’s web site under Contact Information below for details].

Share your favorite hike(s) with Trail Conference web site visitors. We are especially interested in hikes from The Jersey Shore Region where this park is located. Click for further information and a submission form.


Trails Overview:

The 13 miles of trails include the beach for horseback riding [restrictions apply], a paved bicycle path, and a canoe trail in Barnegat Bay.  A recommended walk is the central paved road extending through the eight-mile length of the park, traversing the Northern Natural Area [659 acres], the Recreation Zone, the Southern Natural Area [1237 acres], and ending at a parking area.  From there, 1.5 miles of beach lead to Barnegat Inlet, the passage to Barnegat Bay, and the top tip of the park.

From the Gate House hiking south on the main road, short paths or roads branch off to the right leading towards the bay, and to the left leading towards the ocean beach.  A warning is posted on the Friends of Island Beach State Park web site to use bug spray and, it says, to wear the required long sleeves and long pants on the bay side during June, July, August and September. 

Maps and trail guides are available at the Gate House, Nature Center, Bathing Pavilion #1, Park Office and Forked River Interpretive Center.  An on-line version of a map that includes trail descriptions is on the Friends of Island Beach State Park web site, follow links to "Visitors Center/Visitors" guide."   


Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 82. Follow NJ 37 East to NJ 35 South, and continue for two miles to the park entrance. See also the Location Tab at the top of this web page.

GPS Coordinates: DMS 39° 54’ 18.98” N 74° 04' 53.15" W

Contact Information:New Jersey DEP, Division of Parks and Forestry
Region:Jersey Shore