Everybody rushes "down the shore" during the summer, but that's not for us. After summer, we prefer visiting the Jersey Shore when the "shoobies" and "Benny's" have all gone home. We're just not fans of crowds, waiting in lines, fighting for parking spaces, etc. We're also not sun-worshipping beach-lovers either. Don't get it wrong, we love walking on the beach and dipping our toes in the water, but with very fair, pale skin quite prone to burning, it makes being out in the hot sun not so fun! The sun and we do not get along. And among other reasons, we're just not fans of the summertime. Nope.
However, Long Beach Island is one of our favorite off-season destinations at the New Jersey shore. We think it's glorious after Labor Day! It just hits differently during the off-peak months. There are still fun times and good eats to explore on this 18-mile stretch of pristine Jersey shore for an Autumn or Winter getaway.
Where to Stay on Long Beach Island
Naturally, you're going to want to stay a couple of days at least to take in the sights and sounds and thoroughly enjoy dining and drinking. While many hotels and resorts do close in the off-season, a few remain open year-round for any budget. So, that's a good reason to continue supporting the local economy affordably in the slower months.
Daddy O Hotel, Restaurant, and Bar in Brant Beach
4401 Long Beach Blvd | 609-494-1300
Eat, play, and stay all year long at one of Long Beach Island's premier boutique hotels. Daddy O boasts luxury amenities featuring 22 plush rooms complete with Frette linens, a stylish indoor restaurant, and a Garden Patio/Rum Bar outside (closed in winter months). Enjoy a gourmet meal in the chic dining room or casual fare and cocktails at the bar. This hot spot on LBI also offers a complimentary continental breakfast to start your day on the right note. It's worth it alone for the vintage beach decor!
The Engleside Inn in Beach Haven
30 Engleside Avenue | 609-492-1251
The Engleside Inn is a classic oceanfront resort located in the heart of the tourist area. The moderately priced, family- and pet-friendly hotel offers spacious rooms and suites, on-site dining, and a full-service bar. The hotel is also great for banquets and meetings, with an event room for 35 people. Are you looking to do something different for the holidays? The Engleside offers special meal preparations on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
Sea Horse Motel in Surf City
4204 Long Beach Blvd | 609-494-5392
The Sea Horse offers no-frills, budget-friendly lodging on LBI year-round. This casual 3-story motel on Long Beach Island will meet your basic needs with neat, clean rooms and comfortable accommodations.
Hotel LBI in Ship Bottom
350 West 8th Street | 609-467-8000
The motto of Hotel LBI is "Where Comfort Meets Luxury." The hotel features 101 well-appointed guest rooms, on-site dining options, an indoor pool, salon and spa, and a fitness room. Great for Winter weddings or other celebratory occasions.
Where to Eat on Long Beach Island
In addition to the hotel dining options mentioned above, there are many great places to dine on LBI. While many restaurants and eateries close in the off-season, fortunately, some do stay open for year-round residents and adventurous visitors. While this is not a comprehensive list, you'll want to check out these great restaurants, perfect for locals and tourists alike.
Tuckers Tavern in Beach Haven
101 S. West Avenue | 609-492-2300
Tuckers Tavern has been around for over 30 years and is a celebrated Long Beach Island establishment. Offering gastro-pub menus for brunch, lunch, or dinner and an extensive raw bar, it's truly a comfort food destination and perfect for extra-large groups, private parties, or intimate dining. The menu is creative, hearty, and comforting. They go heavy on the coastal beach favorites without being overly cliche and with modern twists.
The Local Market & Kitchen in Ship Bottom
604 Central Avenue | 609-342-0061
The Local Market & Kitchen is a grab & go concept featuring amazing sandwiches, wraps, soups & chilis, gourmet prepared foods, a fully stocked bakery, and coffee drinks. Sharrott Winery wines are available in half and full bottles. There's another location in nearby Manahawkin on the mainland.
The Chicken or the Egg in Beach Haven
207 N Bay Ave | 609-492-3695
The legendary CHEGG is an LBI institution! This popular and quirky eatery, known for its big & juicy chicken wings available in 16 sauces, has been open for over 30 years. The comfort food favorite is open year-round for your breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner needs.
Russo's Italian Restaurant in Ship Bottom
1415 Long Beach Blvd | 609-342-1506
Russo's is a traditional red gravy Italian restaurant where nearly everything is handmade with fresh ingredients daily. The pizza is a big draw, featuring the "Ozone" - a "famous" grandma-style Sicilian pie. The restaurant does not take reservations, so it's first-come, first-served.
Daymark Bar & Restaurant in Barnegat Light
404 Broadway | 609-494-2100
Just steps from the famous Barnegat Lighthouse, Daymark Bar & Restaurant features American fare and a full-service bar with various cocktails, beer, and wine.
Jack's NYC Bagels & Deli in Beach Haven
1211 Long Beach Blvd | 609-492-7114
While many of the other bagel shops in town close for the season, Jack's NYC Bagels & Deli stays open for most of the year. He only closes down in February to go fishing in Mexico. Otherwise, you can grab an excellent NYC-style bagel or deli sandwich nearly year-round. There's another location in nearby Tuckerton.
Where to Drink on Long Beach Island
Ship Bottom Brewery Tasting Room in Beach Haven
830 N Bay Ave | 609-207-6331
Beer lovers, take note. Ship Bottom Brewery offers many of its handcrafted, small-batch beer on tap and in cans at the tasting room in Beach Haven year-round. Take your favorite beer to go in 4-packs, 6-packs, 24-packs, growlers, and crowlers! However you drink it, you're bound to find a good beer here.
The Arlington in Ship Bottom
1302 Long Beach Blvd | 609-494-8848
The Arlington is an American restaurant located in the gateway to LBI, featuring a hip taproom with a large selection of 20 beers on tap. Fans of spirits and wine will also find something to wet the whistle all year long.
The Gateway in Ship Bottom
227 W. 8th Street | 609-494-2816
If you're looking for a good old-fashioned bar & lounge with live entertainment to boot, The Gateway is your spot. Moreover, bring the family for some chow or grab your friends to watch the games on several flat-screened televisions.
The Black Whale Bar & Fish House in Beach Haven
100 N Pennsylvania Ave | 609-492-0025
The Black Whale Bar & Fish House wants to be the Cheers of LBI, a neighborhood corner bar where locals go and a welcoming watering hole where all are welcome. The food menu happens to be solid, too, with seafood-heavy and fish-centric food offerings.
Buckalew's Restaurant and Tavern in Beach Haven
101 North Bay Avenue | 609-492-1065
When you think of Long Beach Island, Buckalew's often comes to mind. Of course, it's a great family-friendly restaurant, but do not overlook the tavern for Happy Hour year-round.
While in Beach Haven, the New Jersey Maritime Museum is a fascinating, family-friendly place to visit all year long. Learn all about NJ's maritime history and check out an extensive collection of artifacts.
Consider a visit to eat, play, and stay on Long Beach Island during the off-peak times for a budget-friendly excursion or holiday at the Jersey Shore. Tell me where you like to go off-season in the comments.
Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news: firstname.lastname@example.org. Travel tips: email@example.com.
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