Pros: Beautiful beach, they don't charge you a fortune to go there.
Cons: Gets very crowded.
This is primarily a review of the beach at Island Beach State Park. There are many other things at the park besides the beach,but we were on a very limited time schedule so our time was spent at the beach.
Island Beach State Park is in central New Jersey,in the Toms River, Seaside Heights area. It is relatively easy to get too from the Garden State Parkway,then on to Route 35.
The first thing you need to know is GET THERE EARLY. The beach gets crowded very quickly. We arrived at 9:30 and easily found a parking space and have a decent amount of room around us on the beach. We left a little after 12 and the beach was jam packed and cars were being turned away.
The beach is wonderful. Clean all sand beach that your feet will just sink into as you walk. The waves are big but not so huge that children will be scared. One word of caution if you have children with you. They will not realize that the waves push them further and further down the beach. I had my eye on my kids the whole time but at one point my son had no idea of how far he had moved down the beach.
When you get to the park, you will pass through an entrance way. It costs $7 for a carload. This is a real bargain compared to the prices you would pay for a tag at some other beaches. You will then drive a few miles to get to the beach entrance. There is also a bike path so be careful when you drive! The parking lot is pretty big but even so,you do have to get there early.
It is a short walk from the parking lot to the changing area. The ladies room was clean and had plenty of changing rooms as well as showers. If you are hungry,there is a place to buy food. You are also allowed to bring coolers on the beach. However,there is no alcohol allowed and also no frisbees,animals,etc. If you want to wait until you leave the beach to eat,there are numerous restaurants and fast food joints on your way back to the Parkway.
I thoroughly enjoyed the beach at Island Beach State Park. I hope to have more time the next time I go there to get to see more of the park.