Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Beach Haven, NJ

  • Published 2023/03/24

Do you need a quick beach getaway on the northeastern coast?

Beach Haven, New Jersey, has you covered, only about 55 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 75 miles south of New York City.

Known as the “Queen City,” Beach Haven is a late 19th-century nautical town founded in 1873 to accommodate affluent locals from Philadelphia.

Beach Haven, a total of 2.33 square miles, was established as a borough in Ocean County, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, in 1890.

Beach Haven is full of fun for all ages and steeped in history, with part of it still keeping its Edwardian and Victorian charm.

Bordering the Atlantic, this beautiful beach town offers pristine beaches, harbor access for any water activities, and a booming downtown with many shops, restaurants, community programs, and more.

So get your bags ready and explore the best things to do in Beach Haven, New Jersey.

Here are the best things to do in Beach Haven, NJ:

Hop in Your Favorite Ride at Fantasy Island Amusement Park

Giant wheel ride at Fantasy Island Amusement Park

James Kirkikis /

Unleash your inner child at Fantasy Island Amusement Park, one of Long Beach Island’s pride.

It’s the only amusement park on the island located at the center of Beach Haven.

Creating unforgettable moments since 1984, Fantasy Island Amusement Park is suitable for kids of all ages, making it the perfect location for a fun family experience.

People touring the Fantasy Island Amusement Park

James Kirkikis /

You’ll look forward to spending the whole day at the park with 18 amusement rides, boardwalk games, and delicious food options.

They also host birthday parties, office gatherings, and other special events to give you one of the most memorable times of your life.

Fantasy Island Amusement Park will surely make you feel like a kid again.

A carousel at Fantasy Island Amusement Park

James Kirkikis /

Stop by the Long Beach Island Museum

The Long Beach Island (LBI) Museum takes you on a journey into the past of Long Beach Island.

Its exhibits embrace all aspects of life on the island during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Long Beach Island Museum stands at the heart of the Historic District.

Established in 1976, the museum is in the 1882 Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church.

The Long Beach Island Historical Association bought the building in the same year.

A group of dedicated volunteers formed the Long Beach Island Museum with the help of the local government.

The museum’s goal is to become a welcoming educational facility known as a place to learn and celebrate Long Beach Island’s rich cultural past.

Ride a Water Slide at Thundering Surf Waterpark

A water park is always a good idea for some family and friendly entertainment.

Since 1977, the family-owned Thundering Surf Waterparkhas served customers in Beach Haven.

The park has undergone numerous renovations and extensions, starting with only four concrete water slides.

Today, Thundering Surf Waterpark is a seasonal entertainment destination with a water park, miniature golf course, and delectable dining options.

Unique attractions include six Serpentine Tube Slides, the Lazy Crazy River, Rainbow Rapids, a Toddler Area, and more.

The park has two distinct and challenging miniature golf courses voted as “Best Golf Course in NJ.”

Find this course in a mature landscape designed with caverns, waterfalls, and obstacles.

Visit the Beach Haven Public Library

The Beach Haven Public Library is a Long Beach Island architectural gem and a meaningful connection to the town’s vibrant past.

Nearly a century old, the library still appears as new as the day they completed it in 1924.

Mrs. Elizabeth Pharo gifted the museum to the community to remember her late husband Walter, and his parents, Archelaus Ridgway Pharo and Louisa Willits Pharo.

The Pharos founded Beach Haven.

The Beach Haven Library contains the latest bestsellers, a children’s area, and a meeting room.

It conducts informative talks, literary discussions, book reading for children, weekly knitting clubs, and more.

The library is proud to establish a good relationship between the staff and the community.

Drop by and experience firsthand the warmth and hospitality of the Beach Haven Library.

Book a Room at the Williams Cottage Inn

Exterior of the Williams Cottage Inn

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover why many guests stay at Williams Cottage Inn when visiting Beach Haven.

Come inside and go back to the 1880s.

An excellent balance of value, convenience, and comfort welcomes you with various amenities in a luxury setting.

The Williams Cottage Inn is a Queen Anne-style residence located in the coastal town of Beach Haven.

Built in 1888, the inn was the summer residence of Dr. Edward H. Williams from Philadelphia.

The mansion degraded over the years, to the point of being demolished when the Blahut family bought it to save it and restore it to its former glory.

This beautifully renovated landmark residence is locally known as “the Onion Dome” for its unique onion-shaped top.

It features a grand entrance hall, a spacious library, a formal dining room, eight uniquely-styled luxurious bedrooms, and many more.

The Williams Cottage Inn is a result of a three-year struggle to keep one of the few existing oceanfront Victorian houses from being wrecked.

The inn belongs to the State and National historic registers.

Play Games at Mr. Tee’s Family Arcade & Mini Golf

Enjoy a fun 36-hole mini golf at Mr. Tee’s Family Arcade & Mini Golf.

Mr. Tee’s started in 1972, owned by the couple Hank and Bette Tomaino.

Its name is a shortcut to the couple’s last name.

Hank and Bette turned the business over to their daughter, Janice, and son-in-law, Jack.

The family business offers 18 and 36-hole courses and the sought-after LBI Mini Golf Tournaments during the summer.

The tournaments are played in different age groups from nine years old and below.

Then, it goes from ten to 13, 14-20, to 21 and up, making it great for families and group outings.

Play at Mr. Tee’s Family Arcade & Mini Golf, where family virtues, respect, and entertainment for everyone are always at the heart of the business.

Join the Chowderfest

One event that helped define the culinary scene of Long Beach Island and nearby communities is the Chowderfest.

It’s one of the most popular events on Long Beach Island.

The festival, held in early October on Taylor Avenue, Beach Haven, is a yearly tradition that closes the summer and marks the fall.

It attracts large crowds from all over the country but is extremely popular among locals and visitors from the Tri-state region.

The first Chowderfest in LBI happened in 1989; since then, it has grown in size and popularity.

The second day of Chowderfest is the main event, where restaurants fight for “Best Chowder” in a friendly but competitive battle.

Taste-testers sample the chowders and cast a vote to find the best seafood soup in the region.

Chowderfest also features chowder for sale, live music performances, beers on tap, and vendors, making it a fantastic event to gather with families and friends.

Tour the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History

Exterior of Museum of New Jersey Maritime History

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museum of New Jersey Maritime History is a non-profit organization devoted to New Jersey maritime history.

In 1983, the owner shared her dream of building a museum during an episode of the “Prime Time” TV show.

Deb Whitcraft spoke about her quest to collect information about maritime disasters and various wrecks in New Jersey.

She hoped to build a place to display her collection one day.

With the help of donations and loans from the general public and diving community, the museum finally came to life in 2007.

One of the museum’s highlights is its Shipwreck Database, a repository with more than 4800 folders.

It documents shipwrecks and disasters that occurred in the waters off the coast of New Jersey, the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware River, and Delaware Bay.

The museum has two full floors containing thousands of displays and exhibits, including antique navigational equipment, compass, chronograph, and inclinometer.

You’ll also find diving outfits, double hose regulators, artifacts recovered from shipwrecks, and more.

Join a Cruise with Black Pearl Pirate Tours

Join a cruise with Black Pearl Pirate Tours to live out your Pirates of the Caribbean dreams.

The Black Pearl Pirate Tours pirate ship is one of Long Beach Island’s most famous attractions.

The Camarda Family, who owns Miss Beach Haven, also owns and manages the Black Pearl Pirate Tours.

In 2009, they custom-built the ship in Crisfield, Maryland.

Then, in 2010, it started sailing Little Egg Harbor’s protected waters in 2010, complying with all US Coast Guard regulations.

Witness their 12-cannon water system fend off enemy pirates; let your kids dress up as pirates for a day during their Interactive Pirate Excursion.

Sail along the calm waters of Little Egg Harbor and enjoy the marvelous sunset accompanied by drinks and good music during their Sunset Boat Cruise.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity with Black Pearl Pirate Tours, the #1 rated outdoor activity in Beach Haven!

Fish with Captain Dave’s Charters

If you are looking for a challenging fishing trip, Beach Haven offers incredible fishing opportunities.

Captain Dave’s Charters is Long Beach Island’s top charter fishing service.

Captain Dave’s Charters offers professional and amateur anglers sport fishing trips from Long Beach Island.

The custom-made latest vessel, Benita J., was built in Maine in 2019.

It has a full private head, bunks, galley, and plenty of space to accommodate up to six people.

You’ll also find the latest marine technology, a Sirius Satellite Radio, and a solid 670-hp Volvo diesel engine capable of cruising at 24 knots.

Captain Dave’s Charters offers rod-and-reel Offshore Canyon Fishing, Fall Striped Bass Fishing, and Midshore Tuna Fishing targeting albacore, bluefin, and yellowfin tuna.

Captain Dave has more than 20 years of charter fishing expertise.

Rest assured that you’ll fish with one of the island’s most experienced and skilled charter captains.

Learn to Paddle Board with the South End Surf’ N Paddle

South End Surf N Paddle is a surf shop and a learning facility.

From a trip to Hanalei, Hawaii, founders Ken and Sheryl discovered and fell in love with paddle boarding.

They recognized the rising popularity of what became their favorite activity, bringing the sport to Long Beach Island.

South End Surf N Paddle opened its doors as a classic board shop where boards are made on-site.

The shop has about a hundred new stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and 75 surfboards always in stock and carries a variety of wetsuits, clothing, and accessories.

Attend a SUP tour and lesson, surf lesson, SUP yoga, or even a free ukulele class during the summer season.

South End Surf N Paddle also features musical talents and projects classic surf movies on the store’s open walls.

See a Musical Play at the Surflight Theatre

Exterior of the Surflight Theatre

SurflightTheatre, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Surflight Theatre is a coastal theater located on Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven.

Founded in 1950, Surflight Theatre produces approximately nine mainstage theater shows per season.

See comedy and concert series, the Children’s Theatre, the Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, and the Surflight-To-Go.

The Children’s Theatre engages children ages two to ten, encourages lasting interest, and cultivates a passion for the performing arts.

The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour is a 1975 tradition where you can join the performance by enjoying theatrically inspired sundaes delivered with a song or dance, followed by a show.

One of their educational programs is the Surflight-to-Go (STG), a professional theater group that goes on tours and performs for organizations and schools.

The Surflight Theatre is a contributing resource to the Beach Haven Historic District.

In 1983, the National Register of Historic Places added the theater to its record.

Rent a Golf Cart from LBI Carts

Are you spending a few days in Beach Haven?

LBI Carts, the only street-legal golf cart rental in Beach Haven, can help you easily explore the streets of Beach Haven.

Their six-passenger golf cart is ideal for getting around town, bringing a group to the beach or restaurants, or taking the whole family and friends for sightseeing.

The golf carts of LBI Carts provide much more than entertainment and convenience.

These golf carts run on electricity; you can recharge them using any regular household socket.

You don’t need fuel.

It is legal on streets under 35 mph with a 25 mph top speed.

Other great features include a canopy top, headlights, taillights, signal lights, seat belts, and other safety features.

Pedal the Bay with the Queen City Cycle Boat

Explore Long Beach Island with the only pedal boat in Beach Haven.

The Queen City Cycle Boat operates a 35-foot-long, pedal-powered pontoon boat, certified by the US Coast Guard for up to 24 passengers and two crew members.

The boat has 12 pedal stations, with each pedal station connected to rotate one paddle wheel at the back of the ship for propulsion and an engine to support docking whenever needed.

Passengers can pedal as much as they like, relax at the bow, or dance to great music with drinks.

Queen City Cycle Boat offers 90-minute and two-hour tours, which start from Morrison’s Marina in Beach Haven.

Then, you’ll head south past Mordecai Island to north through the Intracoastal waterway, then finally back to the marina.

They provide Private Tours for a more intimate setting and Mixer Tours for smaller groups who don’t want to book the entire boat but still want to meet new people.

A multi-generational family in Beach Haven with vast expertise in maritime and hospitality owns the service.

Their Queen City Cycle Boat wants to provide you with a fresh perspective of the Queen City from the waters of Long Beach Island.

Escape a Mission at Escape LBI

Have you got what it takes to escape a mission?

Founded in 2019, Escape LBI provides high-quality and creative escape experiences in New Jersey for locals and tourists alike.

Three escape rooms are designed with 60-minute exciting missions and an impressive setup to give a truly immersive experience.

The game designers have filled each room with interesting and engaging riddles and clues that encourage team members to think critically.

Book the place for team buildings and private parties.

Go on a fantastic escape mission at Escape LBI and put your strategies, critical thinking skills, and teamwork to the test!

Shop and Explore Bay Village

An oasis for shopping, entertainment, dining, and all things fun in Long Beach Island, the Bay Village is a one-stop spot for everything you need.

More than 20 stores are housed in the village that you can explore: from apparel shops, and restaurants, to gift & souvenir shops.

The village is also known for its delicious handmade fudge by Country Kettle Fudge, an indulgence for many locals and tourists alike who visit the area.

It’s a fun spot to check out the charming shops here, or even just walk around.

The Maschal family established the Bay Village decades ago.

It’s located off North Bay Avenue.

Hang Out at the Hudson House Bar

Long day in Queen City?

Cap the night at the Hudson House Bar and hang out with your family and friends with its delicious quick bites, cocktails, beer, and other special “The Hud” beverages.

It’s a no-frills dive bar like how your grandpa used to sit and drank his beer.

In short, this bar is Beach Haven’s best-kept secret and a crowning jewel when it comes to great company and wonderful conversations.

There are also TV screens at the bar to make sure that you don’t miss your favorite sports.

You can find The Hudson House Bar on East 13th Street.

Get Your Caffeine Fix at The Coffee Bouteaque

The warm atmosphere and fresh coffee at The Coffee Bouteaque make your daily caffeine fix wonderful in Beach Haven.

Roasting coffee in small batches, this charming coffeehouse focuses on producing high-grown Arabica coffee that’s sourced globally.

Enjoy its popular cold brew, espresso, hot chocolate, and organic loose-leaf tea, as well as fresh smoothies, juices, and bowls made from organic fruits and vegetables.

You can also buy all these in packs for home use.

Go, get your coffee fix at The Coffee Bouteaque on 9th Street,

Shop for Gifts and Souvenirs at The Dune Market

Lovely gifts and souvenirs also come in handy in Beach Haven, and The Dune Market doesn’t disappoint.

Choose from its carefully curated home decor, beach accessories, books, kitchenware, candles, mugs, self-care & beauty products, and many more.

Coastal living inspires this quant gift shop, which is visible in the store’s interiors, its warm and airy atmosphere, and the owner Emily Raleigh’s island girl heart.

There are many special items you can find at the shop, so make time to drop by before you head back home.

The Dune Market is located off North Bay Avenue.

Try the Handcrafted Beers at the Ship Bottom Brewery

Born and brewed in Beach Haven in 2016, the Ship Bottom Brewery is the go-to spot for beer lovers.

This 15-barrel brewery produces craft beers with many flavors and seasonal brands that suit any type of beer drinker.

There’s also a beer garden outside, which is perfect on a warm, sunny day to catch natural sunlight while enjoying the salty air.

All flavors are everyone’s favorite, but many customers are raving about its Blueberry Bikini Bottom and Mimosa Hard Cider.

The Ship Bottom Brewery also hosts events like beach parties and live music.

You can find it at the Bay Village on North Bay Avenue.

Final Thoughts

If you desperately need rest, a fantastic trip to the coasts of Beach Haven will undoubtedly erase your worries.

Located only a few hours from New York and Philadelphia, Beach Haven makes the perfect weekend holiday.

Beach Haven was selected as the best family resort and ranked as one of the gorgeous nautical communities.

Don’t miss this little coastal paradise of Beach Haven on Long Beach Island!

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