Keep Cool, Whatever Your Budget
Beat the heat with all kinds of summer fun in Ocean County
It's hot and getting hotter in Ocean County, and with the heat index expected to climb above 100 before the week is out, it's a good time to find some ways to chill. Here's a rundown of places to head to cool off, from free beach visits to amusement park excursions.
Some municipalities have opened up cooling centers for those stuck without air conditioning in the hot weather. The Barnegat Township Recreation Center (900 W. Bay Ave.) and the 11th Street Recreation Center in Ocean Township will both be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day this week.
Your local library is a great place to kick back in the cool, too. Surf the web, browse the stacks, drop in on a fun program or a free movie or play a board game with family. Check out the Ocean County Library's schedule of events for day-by-day details.
Want to swim, but don’t want to pay a badge fee? There are a few free bathing beaches in the county.
The Barnegat Municipal Beach is a pretty bayfront stretch of sand with a roped-off swimming area and lifeguards on duty during the day.
Ocean County Park (659 Ocean Ave., Lakewood) has a freshwater swimming lake that, like the rest of the park, is free to use.
Berkeley Island County Park (399 Brennan Concourse, Bayville) is a 25-acre peninsula of land set aside for recreation. There are great bay views, a covered pavilion and restrooms in addition to free swimming.
Pine Lake Park (1500 Lake Drive, Manchester Township) has a free sprinkler park for kids with lots of cool spray features, plus picnic tables and a playground. The lake itself is off limits for swimming, though.
Spend a little:
A daily badge for one of Ocean’s beaches won’t set you back much. Avoid the crowds and save some coin by heading to one of these lesser-used and inexpensive spots.
White Sands Beach (20th to 23rd avenues, South Seaside Park) is a pretty oceanfront beach a little apart from the bustle of the Seasides. Daily access is $5; restrooms and an outdoor shower are available. For $10, you can take a car full of people further down the barrier island into Island Beach State Park for an even more remote beachgoing experience.
Waretown Recreation Park and Lake (Morey Place Road, Ocean Township) has a freshwater swimming lake surrounded by pine woods and ringed by a wide beach. Admission is $5.
Windward Beach Park (Challenger Way, Brick) is another inexpensive swimming option. The park, which fronts the Metedeconk River has a sandy swimming beach, kayak and canoe access, playground facilities and a picnic area.
Spend a little more:
Water parks offer thrills as well as chills, though a day on a lazy river or shooting down water slides does come with a price tag.
Casino Pier Breakwater Beach (800 Ocean Terrace, Seaside Heights) has water slides and a toddler play area. Three-hour admission is $22.95 for those over 48 inches tall, $18.95 for those under 48 inches, and $9.95 for seniors. All-day admission is $25.95, $21.95 and $10.95, and after 3 p.m., rates drop to $17.95, $13.95 and $5.95.
Thundering Surf Water Park (806 North Bay Ave., Beach Haven) on LBI has a multi-level water park, several slides and a “flow rider” artificial wave. Two-hour admission is $26.95 for those over 42 inches, $23.95 for those 42 inches or shorter and $9.95 for those 2 and younger or 65 and older.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson) at Great Adventure has a wave pool, thrill rides galore, a lazy river and a play park for little ones. Buy tickets online for a discounted $32.99. Junior tickets (for those under 54 inches) are $29.99, and parking is $20.