The charming little town of Spring Lake hails itself as “The Jewel of the Jersey Shore,” and for good reason. The non-commercial, pristine boardwalk borders a beautifully-kept beach and a picturesque, tree-lined downtown area that’s filled with unique shops and excellent restaurants. Within walking distance from the beach and downtown is a spring-fed lake surrounded by a lushly landscaped park.
If you’re looking for an elegant Shore break far away from the hardcore Jersey Shore party scene, this is it. Stroll among the stunning gardens, stately Victorian homes and lovely beach cottages and you will find a number of elegant, 1800s-era historic Bed and Breakfasts and inns to choose from. But for those who are preparing a less intense day-trip, check out these tips:
The Best Events
Best for Everyone: Spring Lake Summer Sidewalk Sale
When: August 20 – 21.
Where: 3rd Avenue.
Description: The individual boutiques that line Downtown Spring Lake’s main thoroughfare are a discerning shopper’s dream. Galleries, flower shops, home furnishing stores, jewelers, and clothing boutiques are among the many shops with thoughtfully curated, tasteful collections on display. Of course, good taste rarely comes with a great price tag. But during the Sidewalk Sale in August, shop owners – anticipating the end of the busy summer season – take to the sidewalk to offer merchandise at bargain prices. This event is not to be missed for the serious shopper.
More info: Visit http://www.visitspringlake.com/event/spring-lake-summer-sidewalk-sale/.
Best for Families: “Grease” The Musical
When: July 7, 8, 9, 15 and 22 – 7:30 pm
July 16 and 23 – performances at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Where: Spring Lake Community House, 300 Madison Ave.
Description: The Spring Lake Theatre Company produces six shows a year in the Community House’s 350-seat theater, all of which usually sell out. Known for lavish sets and costumes, and for attracting professional-grade talents, the Company rewards their loyal audiences by staging crowd-pleasing shows that encourage audience participation. For Grease, folks are encouraged to dress up in 50’s era gear and dance and sing in the aisles to the many memorable songs from the ever-popular production.
More information: Visit http://www.springlaketheatre.com/theatre/index.html or call 732-449-4530.
Best for Lunch: Ray’s Cafe
Address: 1321 Third Ave.
Description: A local institution for over twenty years, Ray’s Cafe shows no signs of slowing down. The warm, pretty dining room makes you feel right as home, as does the consistently genial and efficient wait staff. Ray’s is nothing fancy, just generous portions of pleasing comfort food that is executed perfectly. The environment is super-kid friendly, as are the locals who regularly hang out at Ray’s.
More information: Visit www.rayscafenj.com or call 732-359-7700.
Best for Dinner: Larimar
Address: 1311 3rd Ave.
Description: This super-chic, fine dining restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine with French and Italian influences. The blue-accented dining room is gorgeous, comfortable and quiet, and the food is divine. You can try exotic pastas you’ve never heard of, or experience delectably upscale takes on familiar seafood, steak and pasta dishes. Larimar provides a perfect date-night out for parents and foodies looking for a true fine dining experience on the shore. Note: Like all of Spring Lake, Larimar is BYOB.
More information: Visit http://larimarrestaurant.com/ or call 732-359–6700.
The Best Tourist Attraction:
Address: Passaic and 5th Ave.
Description: A half-mile long, spring-fed lake topped with two quaint foot bridges and surrounded by a beautifully-landscaped park and gazebo, Divine Park allows guests to rent a boat or kayak and paddle through the still water, or take a nature walk and observe the abundant species of trees, plants and birds that call it home.
More information: Visit https://www.springlake.org/divinepark.
The Best Beach Tips
Beach Badges: $10 per day. $105 per season ($75 for seniors). $65 per half-season (Aug 1 – Labor Day). Kids 12 and under are free.
Beach parking: There is a plentiful amount of free parking on Ocean Ave.
Changing facilities: The North End and South End Pavilions have outdoor showers and restrooms.
Bonus Tip: No coolers are allowed on the beach during the summer months, but you can leave yours on the boardwalk.
More information: Visit http://springlake.org/springlakebeach.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Greater Spring Lake Chamber / Facebook
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Ray’s Cafe / Instagram
Larimar / website
Greater Spring Lake Chamber / Facebook