A diverse, funky-yet-family-friendly vibe distinguishes Asbury Park from other Shore towns. The iconic Asbury Park Boardwalk has choice people-watching, great shops and restaurants, and fun kids activities like a Splash Pad and mini-golf course.
Beyond the beach, the downtown shopping area is full of eclectic shops, antiques, and great vintage stores. A thriving, local music scene includes a stream of music festivals throughout the summer, and the legendary Stone Pony music club is seconds away from the beachfront.
If you’re planning a day-trip to Asbury Park this summer, here are our picks for the best ways to spend it:
The Best Events
Best for Everyone: Asbury Park Loves Jazz Weekend
When: August 7 – 9
Where: Venues on Main St., downtown and The Boardwalk. The Main Event Sunday is night at The Paramount Theater.
Description: The inaugural three-day festival pays homage to Asbury’s glory days as a vibrant center of jazz. The roster of entertainment includes some of today’s top jazz performers along with up-and-coming artists. Local favorite, the Lakehouse Music Academy Kid’s Jazz Band, kicks off Saturday’s festivities. Downtown’s Pres Plaza will host free music open to the public, and local galleries and restaurants will host events as well.
More information: Visit http://www.asburyparkchamber.com/jazz_weekend.asp.
Best for Families: Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids
When: Saturday, August 27. Registration opens at 12:00 pm and the Parade begins at 2:00 pm. A Costume Contest is at 3:00 pm.
Where: Asbury Park Boardwalk
Description: The Mermaid Parade returns for its second year running with red-haired Grand Marshall Vivi Noir – a burlesque dancer who is also a dead ringer for Disney’s Princess Ariel, according to many delighted kids who’ve seen her in action. Dust off your own mermaid gear and join in the parade, or just sit back and enjoy the show.
More information: Visit https://asburyparkpromenadeofmermaids.com/ or email Asbury ParkPromenade@gmail.com.
Best for Lunch: Langosta Lounge
Address: 100 Ocean Avenue, at 2nd Avenue
Description: This oceanfront restaurant is a perennial favorite, and not just for the sweet real estate (although the spectacular ocean view sure doesn’t hurt). The festive décor and friendly, attentive service compliment a menu heavy on sushi and seafood options, but with plenty of vegetarian and picky-kid-friendly choices, too. It doesn’t get any better than nabbing a spot on the outdoor patio, but there’s not a bad seat in the house at this spacious Asbury Park institution.
More information: Visit http://langostalounge.com/ or call 732-455-3275.
Best for Dinner: Plaza Tapatia
Address: 707 Main Street.
Description: Plaza Tapatia offers super–authentic, classic Mexican food served in a fun, campy environment that makes everyone feel right at home. The portions are huge, the prices are low, and the big, strong drinks are a great way to cap off a day at the beach; as is the old school dessert tray that gets passed around during dinner. There is easy parking and it’s only a three-minute drive from the town center.
More information: Visit http://tapatiarestaurant.com/ or call 732-776-7826.
The Best Tourist Attraction
The Asbury Park Boardwalk
Address: Ocean Avenue
Description: Yes, there is a splash pad, a mini-golf course, and even a pinball museum. But the Asbury Park Boardwalk has a distinctly nostalgic, uncluttered feel compared to other Jersey Shore boardwalks. The Paramount Theatre – which opened in 1930 with a show that included Ginger Rogers and the Marx Brothers – still stands; as does the majestic Grand Convention Hall, which over the years has hosted legendary performances by Elton John, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen.
More information: Visit http://www.apboardwalk.com/ or call 732-897-6500.
The Best Beach Tips
Beach Badges: Beach Badges are available at the Boardwalk Beach Office (the Boardwalk at First Ave), from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can also pay for your badge if you are using one of the city’s parking meters. Just present your printed slip with one of the badge checkers when you enter the beach, and they’ll issue you a badge. Daily badges are $5 Monday through Friday, and $7 on weekends (Children 12 and under are free). Seasonal badges are also available.
Beach parking: There is metered parking along the Waterfront/Boardwalk, as well as three parking lots, located near the beachfront on Asbury Ave., Third Ave. and Fourth Ave.
Changing facilities: There are no changing facilities, but there are outdoor showers to rinse off at various exit points off the beach.
More information: Visit https://www.cityofasburypark.com/category/subcategory.php?categoryid=33 or call 732-775-2100.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © @theasburyparkboardwalk / Instagram
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce Website
Promenade of Mermaids
Asbury Park Boardwalk