Shaped by storms and tides, this narrow barrier island stretches for 10 miles between the restless Atlantic Ocean and the historic Barnegat Bay.
Miles of sand dunes and white sandy beaches offer habitat to maritime plants and diverse wildlife that is almost the same as it was thousands of years ago. Island Beach State Park contains outstanding examples of plant communities such as primary dunes, thicket, freshwater wetlands, maritime forest and tidal marshes. The state's largest osprey colony, as well as peregrine falcons, wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl and migrating songbirds are found here. Island Beach is nationally known as a unique resource with over 400 plants identified, including the largest expanses of beach heather in New Jersey.
Island Beach State Park is one of New Jersey's last significant remnants of a barrier island ecosystem that once existed along much of the coast and is also one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic coast. Over 3,000 acres and 10 miles of coastal dunes remain almost untouched since Henry Hudson first described New Jersey's coast from the ship, the Half Moon, in 1609.
Approximately one mile of beach designated for ocean swimming is located in the central portion of the park. During the period from mid-June through Labor Day, the swimming beach is staffed with lifeguards who are trained in ocean lifesaving and first aid techniques. Nearby are parking areas and bathhouse pavilions with changing areas, first aid stations and concessions.
Approximately one mile of ocean beach is designated for swimming and is located in the recreation area, known as Swimming Area 1 and 2. Swimming is only permitted during the summer months when lifeguards are on duty. The swimming beach is staffed with lifeguards who are trained in ocean lifesaving and first aid techniques. Nearby are parking areas and bathhouse pavilions with changing areas, first aid stations and concessions. Swimming is only allowed in designated areas when lifeguards are on duty.
Island Beach State Park offers opportunities for surfing during the summer months. Surfing is allowed south of the swimming beaches.
Visitors may windsurf in the marked areas of the ocean beach at the extreme southern end of the designated swimming area.
Island Beach State Park is well known by New Jersey's saltwater anglers. Bait and fishing information may be obtained at local tackle dealers before entering the park.
Underwater fishing is permitted along 2.5 miles of ocean beach just north of Barnegat Inlet.
Access to fishing in the park is open 24 hours a day.
Note: A Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle permit is required to operate 4-wheel drive vehicles on the fishing beaches. No vehicles are allowed North of the Gillikins access area.
Water Fowl hunting is permitted below mean-high water and in Sedge Islands area only and is subject to the regulations of the Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations(link is external).
Island Beach State Park is well known by New Jersey's saltwater anglers for excellent surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish. Other species include summer flounder and weakfish. During the appropriate season, fishing for tautog along the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet is especially rewarding. Bait and fishing information may be obtained at local tackle dealers before entering the park.
Saltwater fishing is permitted along the ocean beach except for designated swimming areas. All anglers 16 and older must register for the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. This registry is free. Visit New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for more information and to register. Access to fishing in the park is open 24 hours a day.
The Fisherman's Walkway is a boardwalk that provides access to both the ocean and bay and is located at parking area 7.
Note: A Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle permit is required to operate 4-wheel drive vehicles on the fishing beaches. No vehicles are allowed North of the Gilikins entrance.
Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle Permits grant the permit holder’s 4x4 vehicle access to drive on to the beaches at Island Beach State Park for the sole purpose of fishing.
Island Beach State Park – Annual Pass – NJ Resident $195 / Non-NJ $225
Note: All permit purchases, online or through traditional methods, have an additional $5 transaction fee. This new online system will ensure faster permit processing, and added convenience for the surf fishing community.
Purchase your permit today: https://yourpassnow.com/ParkPass/nj
We look forward to better serving the surf fishing community with this new service.
Island Beach State Park is well known by New Jersey's saltwater anglers for excellent surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish. Other species include summer flounder and weakfish. During the appropriate season, fishing for tautog along the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet is especially rewarding. Bait and fishing information may be obtained at local tackle dealers before entering the park. Saltwater fishing is subject to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and State Park Service regulations. Information regarding saltwater fishing regulations can be found in the Fish and Wildlife Digest, which is available at local tackle dealers.
Disabled Veteran permit applications must be mailed in or dropped off at the gate with the following documentation, please call the office for any questions:
3-Day Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle Permits will be available on October 1, 2022. The procedure for obtaining a permit has been updated as follows:
3-Day Mobile Sportfishing Permit Application ****NEW APPLICATION****
New Jersey Resident $75.00
New Jersey Resident $150
New Jersey Resident $195.00
A non-refundable service fee of $5.00 will be charged to the customer for each annual permit.
|Replacement Fee $25.00||Annual Permit|
Issued decal should be treated as cash. It will not be replaced if lost or stolen.
The SPS will continue to offer a replacement decal for $25, only upon presentation of paid receipt and the old decal, regardless of the condition.
The MSFV Permit:
MANDATORY EQUIPMENT FOR A MOBILE SPORTFISHING VEHICLE (MSFV)
Permits are issued to 4-wheel drive vehicle owners for fishing purposes only. Carrying the basic equipment listed is required whenever the MSFV is on the beach.
A current tide chart is highly recommended. Jumper cables for the vehicle's specific battery type are also recommended.
There is an eight-mile main road at Island Beach State Park with limited shoulder area for biking.
Island Beach State Park has a total of 8 trails, each under one mile. Trails lead to different parts of the islands beach or bay. Visitors may also choose to explore the ten miles of pure white sand beaches.
Horseback riding is permitted at Island Beach State Park from October 1 through April 30. There are six miles of ocean beach in the southern and central portions of the park available for equestrian use and a parking area is designated for horse trailers during this time period. Prior reservations are required. No commercial use.
Numerous educational programs for visitors are offered at the Forked River Interpretive and Nature Center located 7 miles into the park. Visit islandbeachnatureprograms.org or call 732-793-1315 for more information.
Interpretive and Nature Centers
Island Beach State Park’s natural sand dune formations and relatively undisturbed vegetation create a unique outdoors experience to study a barrier island ecosystem. School groups that are interested in visiting the Park for self-guided tours must make advance reservations.
During summer months, guided kayak tours take participants through the Sedge Islands where they can observe a wide variety of wildlife, including nesting ospreys, falcons and wading birds. Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) can be launched at bay side Area 15 and Area 21 only. There is no oceanside canoeing, kayaking or paddleboarding.
Together, these two natural areas encompass one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches in the northeast United States. Rolling sand dunes, salt-sculptured vegetation, lush green salt marshes and nine plant communities including a nationally significant maritime forest characterize Island Beach. The federally threatened piping plover is an occasional inhabitant of the open beaches and dunes. Access to portions of the Northern Natural Area is restricted.
The Sedge Islands Marine Conservation Zone contains approximately 1,600 acres of highly productive tidal marshes, creeks, ponds and open water. The purpose of the Conservation Zone is to protect and interpret the wildlife resources while reducing user conflicts and maintaining the traditional uses of the area. Visitors can access the area by canoe and kayak, and tours are offered by Park's interpretive staff.
Use of this area is limited to recreational boats, jet skis and commercial activities are prohibited.
For further information, please contact islandbeachnatureprograms.org 732-793-1315.
The Emily DeCamp Herbarium is a collection of approximately 400 plants that have been classified and preserved, giving the public an opportunity to learn about the nine plant communities at Island Beach State Park. One of the main attractions of this herbarium is that the visiting public and scientists are able to handle and examine individual plants. Plants have been placed in a protective mount that also gives historical and factual information about the plant. The herbarium is kept at the Forked River Interpretive Center.
Barnegat Bay, on the west (bayside) of the island, is a nutrient-rich feeding ground for birds, as well as other wildlife. Visitors can observe a variety of wildlife, including New Jersey’s largest osprey colony, via guided canoe and kayak tours through the Sedge Islands. Bird observation blinds also allow visitors the opportunity to view the wildlife in this very important habitat.
A NJ State Park Service Special Use Permit is required for various types of short-duration, organized activities and/or events within a state park, forest and/or historic site. Examples of organized activities and/or special events include, but are not limited to press events, commercial photography and/or filming, corporate events, fundraisers, festivals, demonstrations, walkathons and races, concerts, Televised events and/or commercial use of or on State Park Service lands and/or waters.
To learn more about Special use Permits click here.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
Island Beach State Park facilities are partially accessible for people with disabilities. The Fisherman's Walkway is a boardwalk that provides access to both the ocean and bay at parking Area 7. Beach wheelchairs for the ocean swimming area, and beach wheelchairs that have been specialty fitted for surf fishing are available at the pavilions during the swimming season and at the park office during the remainder of the year. Contact the park office for further information regarding disability access. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]
State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]
Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you or please in the dumpsters provided. Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are dumpsters located in the swimming area parking lots, parking areas 6/7 and 23. Thank you!
Swimming is permitted, while lifeguards are on duty, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The beach area includes changing rooms, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station and a concession building where food and beach supplies may be purchased. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area.
Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.
No trailers of any kind allowed EXCEPT a duck hunting boat trailer during the appropriate waterfowl hunting season.
2401 Central Ave.
Seaside Park, NJ 08752
P.O. Box 37
Seaside Park, NJ 08752
Gate Daily – 8:00 a.m. to Dusk
Park Office – Weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through September 24, 2023