Island Beach officially opened it to the public as a State Park in 1959. In itself, it is a nine mile stretch of island covering over two thousand acres. It's located just south of Seaside Park,NJ.
This State Park offers family entertainment such as open beach area for swimming, designated walking & biking trails, and plenty of fishing. The areas are clearly marked for each specific activity.
You can purchase a season's pass for a little over $20.00 which allows one vehicle unlimited access during the main season. You can also buy daily passes which price varies from Weekdays to Weekends/Holidays. It ranges from $7.00 to $9.00 per carload. For pricing information: (1-732-793-0506)
Upon reaching the Park, you will come to an Entrance House which you pay your admittance fee. I suggest making sure you look for a sign that shows if there are "flies on the beach". If so, reconsider visiting this beach. (I have reviewed this situation later in the article). There is a rest room there, and inside this little building are brochures on the Island itself, and other New Jersey state parks.
I recommend that you arrive early in the morning, or later in the afternoon to avoid large crowds that take over the "Beach" area, and cause the park to close it's entry doors. This is to prevent overcrowding, and there aren't too many State parks that actually care enough monitor the amount of persons in the park. There is a sign upon arrival onto the main island that lets you know whether the park is full or not. This will allow you to choose another beach if necessary.
The swimming area offers public rest rooms, showering facilities, and a small food stand. There are lifeguards on duty, and "planked" walks that guide you over the sea grass covered sand dunes from the parking area to the beach itself. There are information guides that are posted along these walkways to give you some "tidbits" about local wildlife, and whether the lifeguards are on duty or not.
Once you have settled onto the beach with your chair and umbrella, you will notice that the Beach Patrol does monitor activities of it's visitors. They drive up and down the whole stip of the bathing area to insure a trouble free visit. They also notify you of when the park will close.
The "Bath House" is free, and is being cleaned and monitored during it's hours of operation which ends around 5pm. Upon closing, the shower area is cleaned and locked, but the rest rooms, and the outdoor "rinse off" areas are left operational until Dusk when the bathing area is "officially closed".
There are fishing areas at the end of the island, but after the Life Guards are off duty, the main beach is open to others who may fish, or metal detect, or play frisbee.
This State Park is only a few minutes from the Seaside Heights area which offers a boardwalk full of games, eateries, and amusement rides.
The only downside of this park is when the wind shifts from the marshy areas and comes from inland instead of the sea. When this happens, the island itself becomes "infested" with green headed flies. These flies do bite, and travel in huge packs. If you call the Park, or see the sign at the entrance, and are told these "buggers" are there, I recommend picking another beach. I have tried the product "Off", and similar sprays, creams, and oils, but none of them worked. I've even visited fully clothed, and was still bitten.
Overall, you can have a great day of fun, safe, and clean family time at the Jersey Shore at Island Beach State Park.