New Jersey’s Shore Region covers the central counties of Monmouth and Ocean, which are along the Atlantic Coast. Highlights of this region include boating and fishing heritage, lighthouses and lifesaving, military history, shipwrecks and seaside and farming communities.
Steamboat Dock Museum
2 Broad Street
The Steamboat Dock Museum is located on the waterfront in a historic steamboat building at the famous B. Terry Shipyards. Steamboats were built and docked here, making Keyport a major commerce and shipping point before railroads linked the area to New York City. It’s location on Raritan Bay provided for a flourishing oyster industry.
Keyport is known as the "The Birthplace of Flying Boats." The AeroMarine Plane and Motor Company was located here. They converted seaplanes purchased from the Navy into commercial airliners. AeroMarine Airways was a pioneer in aviation, providing the first meals served in flight, the first stewards, the first movies shown in flight and other accomplishments.
The museum houses three rooms of interactive artifacts, photos, maps and interpretive displays on local and area history of 1860 to the present day. There are exhibits on steamboats, air and marine artifacts, the oyster industry and more.
219 Harmony Road
Heath Farm was founded in the 1870s by a freed African–American slave. This farm museum explores the influence of farming on the development of the region, as well as tracing the history of the Heath family and its contributions to the area. Visitors can experience life on a family farm through exhibits such as an educational garden, blacksmith shop, sugar cane mill, antique farming equipment and a live honey bee colony.
There is also a collection from the world famous “Spy House,” considered to be the first house built on the Jersey shoreline. The “Spy House” got its nickname during the Revolutionary War. Colonial spies would wait for the British to come to the house for supper and then attack their unmanned ships in the harbor.
Belford Seafood Co – op
901 Port Monmouth Road
Belford Seafood Cooperative is a commercial fishing port with trawlers, lobster boats, seining boats and crabbers. It is one of the oldest fishing ports on the East Coast, dating back to 1625. The Cooperative was formed in 1956 to help combat the big fishmongers in the New York market. Visitors can walk through the area to get a good view of a working commercial dock and purchase fresh fish from the market.
Leonardo State Marina
102 Concord Avenue
Leonardo State Marina is a popular marina for recreational fishermen and boaters. It is close to Sandy Hook Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, New York Harbor and the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers. The marina has a 9–11 memorial and a good view of New York City.
Leonardo developed in the 1930s as a seaside fishing village of fishermen and clammers. In 1948, the harbor was purchased by the State of New Jersey and became Leonardo State Marina. The marina and public beach were donated to the community by long–established local families under the condition that the harbor and beach remain for public access and enjoyment.
Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook
460 Ocean Boulevard
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Mount Mitchell is a scenic overlook where you can view Sandy Hook Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, the New York City skyline, and historic Fort Hancock and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. This Mount's highest point is 266 feet above sea level, the highest natural elevation on the Atlantic coastal plain from Maine to the Yucatan.
The scenic views of the New York City skyline provide an appropriate backdrop to a large 9/11/2001 memorial. This memorial honors the Monmouth County residents who lost their lives that day and the heroism of those who responded to the tragic events. The park has benches to relax on, pedestal binoculars to enjoy the view and a small playground for children.
Twin Lights State Historic Site
The Twin Lights at Navesink were established in 1828 on a promontory of land in Highlands, NJ, overlooking Sandy Hook peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of the light station was to guide shipping in and out of NY harbor. The Twin Lights also served as a communications station where a hundred foot antenna was used to transmit wireless telegraph messages, including Gugliemo Marconi’s broadcast of the 1899 America’s Cup Race.
The lighthouse’s “twin” or “double” towers gave it a distinct appearance, preventing mariners from confusing the lights at Navesink with Sandy Hook Light, about five miles to the north, and the Sandy Hook Lightship nearby. The original twin towers were replaced in 1862 with the current castle–like structure which continued to serve as part of a system of navigational aids for the NY Harbor area until the station was decommissioned in 1949. The light station is now under the stewardship of the State of NJ and serves as a public park and historic site. When visiting the lighthouses, you can climb the tower for a breath–taking view of Sandy Hook’s shores. Inside one of the lighthouse towers is a museum where you can experience and explore the history of the lighthouse and U.S. Lifesaving.
Sandy Hook Unit
Gateway National Recreation Area
Fort Hancock, NJ
The Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Park has seven miles of ocean beaches, salt marshes and a maritime forest. Located within the park are the Visitor’s Center, Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Historic Fort Hancock. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, bird watching and exploring the museums and buildings of Fort Hancock and the lighthouse.
The Sandy Hook Visitor’s Center is located in the former Spermaceti Cove Life–Saving Station #2. This station was built in 1894. Visitors can learn about the history of the life–saving service as well as the coastal habitats found on Sandy Hook.
The Sandy Hook Lighthouse was built in 1764 and is the oldest running lighthouse in the country. The lighthouse is equipped with a 3rd order Fresnel lens to aid ships entering and exiting New York Harbor. Visitors can climb the lighthouse for a spectacular view and visit the lighthouse keeper’s quarters to learn more about New Jersey lighthouses.
Historic Fort Hancock was built in 1898 to protect the harbor and was used until 1974. There are many historic buildings and gun batteries in the Fort Hancock district. Many of the buildings formerly used by the Army are now being used by educational and environmental organizations. Visitors can walk around the Parade Ground to see the homes of “Officer’s Row” or walk by one of the gun batteries including Battery Potter, Battery Granger and the Mortar Battery. Visitors can learn more about Historic Fort Hancock at the Fort Hancock Museum and the History House.
Christ Church in Shrewsbury
380 Sycamore Avenue
Christ Church in Shrewsbury was founded in 1702 and is one of New Jersey’s oldest and most historic churches. Robert Smith, one of Colonial America’s most noted architects, designed the current building in 1769. During the Revolution, Patriots fired at the pulpit and at the orb and crown atop the steeple because of its affiliation with the Church of England. The original royal charter from King George II and a Vinegar Bible are on display inside the church. The Vinegar Bible was printed in 1717 and is named from a misprint of the Parable of the Vineyard.
Christ Church has a historic graveyard of about 800 grave markers, in which the eldest marker is dated 1719. Among those buried here is William Leeds, an early benefactor who was rumored – without authentication to have been associated with the pirate, Captain Kidd. In 1739, William Leeds bequeathed the church a 500 – acre glebe, or income – producing farm, in Lincroft. He was well known for his wealth and generosity. Some believe that he knew where Captain Kidd's treasure was buried, and that that was why he was so wealthy. William Leeds’ grave marker is found next to the front steps of Christ Church.
Monmouth Beach Cultural Center
128 Ocean Avenue
Monmouth Beach, NJ
The Monmouth Beach Cultural Center is located in the former Life Saving Station #4 at Galilee. This life saving station was built in 1895 and was among one of the first built along the Jersey shore. Life Saving Stations were placed every five miles and numbered, with #1 being Sandy Hook and #40 being Cape May. Surfmen manned each station and patrolled the beaches. In 1915, the Life Saving Service was incorporated into the U.S. Coast Guard, who used this building until the 1950s. Currently the center is being used as a cultural center with information and displays on lifesaving stations, the U.S. Coast Guard, shipwrecks and local community history.
Ocean Grove Historical Society Museum and Centennial Cottage
50 Pitman Avenue
Ocean Grove, NJ
The Ocean Grove Historical Society Museum features a collection of artifacts relating to the history of Ocean Grove, Camp Meetings and the Victorian Age. The Centennial Cottage shows visitors life in a 19th Century Camp Meeting and seaside resort, and has an extensive Victorian garden. It is located on the corner of Central Avenue and McClintock Street.
Ocean Grove was chosen as a site for Camp Meetings in 1869 due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean and between Wesley and Fletcher Lakes. Historically, there were 660 tents on individual lots throughout Ocean Grove. Today there are only 114 tents in a semi–circle around the Great Auditorium. Camp Meetings were started as a way for Christians to renew their spiritual and physical health in a seaside setting. Ocean Grove was designated as a National Historic District for having the largest group of Victorian and early 20th century structures in the country.
Monmouth County Historical Association Museum
Main Building, 70 Court Street
The Monmouth County Historical Association Museum has a collection of displays that preserve the history and culture of Monmouth County. Some of the exhibits on display include furniture, decorative and folk art, costumes and textiles, ceramics, portraits and paintings, and items from the steamboat industry and the Battle of Monmouth. The museum maintains both permanent collections and rotating displays on various themes.
Belmar Treasure Trail
The Treasure Trail in Belmar features a series of eleven full – color interpretive signs that educate beachgoers about coastal ecosystems, beach dynamics and maritime history. Signs are posted throughout Belmar along Ocean Avenue and other areas of interest such as MacLearie Park and Silver Lake. A treasure hunt activity provides visitors with an opportunity to log onto Belmar.com to take a fun quiz about what they learned on the trail, and even win a “treasure” for their efforts.
One point of interest on the Treasure Trail is the Malta shipwreck. The foremast of the Malta shipwreck is located on the corner of 8th and Ocean Avenue near the 7 – 11 convenience store. The sternpost of the Malta can be seen offshore, south of the 9th Ave jetty during low tides.
The Malta was sailing from Antwerp, Belgium, to New York carrying 10,000 empty petroleum barrels. The ship ran aground in Belmar during a dangerous nor’easter on November 24, 1885. The U.S. Lifesaving Service rescued all but one of the crew members, who panicked and tried to swim ashore on his own. Attempts were made to salvage the Malta, but most of the ship was lost to the waves and left to deteriorate.
Spring Lake Historical Society Museum
Spring Lake Municipal Building,
5th and Warren Avenues
Spring Lake, NJ
The Spring Lake Historical Society Museum preserves the history of this quaint shore town. Spring Lake was predominantly a fishing and farming community in the late 1700s, and became filled with railroad workers and Masons in the 1800s. The museum has a changing gallery exhibit as well as a collection of historic photographs, memorabilia and other artifacts from Indian times through the Victorian era to the present day. The Spring Lake Historical Society Museum is located on the top floor of Spring Lake's Borough Hall, which was built in 1897 as the town's first public school. The museum collection is held in former Masonic meeting room with a highly ornamented interior with interesting architectural detail.
Sea Girt Lighthouse
Ocean Avenue and Beacon Boulevard
Sea Girt, NJ
The Sea Girt Lighthouse was the last “live – in lighthouse” built on the Atlantic coastline in 1896. Its location was chosen to illuminate an area between the Barnegat and Navesink lighthouses. The tower of the Sea Girt Lighthouse stands 60 feet above sea level and was used during World War II as a Coast Guard lookout for German U – boats. In 1956 the Sea Girt Community purchased the Lighthouse. Through the efforts of the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizens Committee the interior has been beautifully restored and contains lighthouse and Morro Castle memorabilia.
National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey
National Guard Training Center
Sea Girt Avenue
Sea Girt, NJ
The National Guard Militia Museum preserves the military heritage of New Jersey and explains the history of the New Jersey National Guard and the National Guard Training Center. Uniforms, weapons, photographs and other memorabilia are on display, as well as the “Intelligent Whale,” a Civil War Era submarine built in New Jersey. The National Guard camp at Sea Girt has been at this location since 1885 and has served as a training center, mobilization site and a coastal defense artillery site.
Bailey–Reed House Museum
105 South Street
The Bailey–Reed House Museum is a 1700 farmhouse owned by the Squan Village Historical Society. Rooms in the farmhouse feature Squan Village history, nautical themes and furnishings from the original period of the home. There is also a Carriage House/Barn behind the farmhouse. Some of the beams in the building are the spars from the shipwreck The Thistle from the early 1800s.
InfoAge Science–History Learning Center
2201 Marconi Road
InfoAge Science History Center is located at Camp Evans, a site famous for its historic role in communications. Camp Evans was the World War II Army Radar Laboratory, the World War I Naval Radio Station and Former Marconi Wireless Station for Trans–Atlantic communications. Visitors to InfoAge can learn from exhibits on wireless radio, Ham radio, radar development and military technology. The National Broadcasters Hall of Fame is located here as well as the New Jersey Historical Divers Association Shipwreck Museum.
One of the most famous shipwrecks, the Titanic, had a direct impact on the development of the Marconi Wireless Station. The Titanic had Marconi’s new wireless communication system installed onboard for its wealthy passengers to get stock quotes and other interests. Tragically, many people died when the Titanic struck an iceberg. However, about a third of the passengers survived in lifeboats and rescued due to the SOS messages sent out from Marconi’s wireless system. The U.S. government then passed the Radio Act of 1912, requiring every ship to have a wireless system, leading to the development of the Marconi Wireless Station.
Loughran Point Park
Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ
Manasquan Inlet, the northern tip of the intercoastal waterway, is over 75 years old and is a popular place for fisherman and boaters. Along the Manasquan Inlet is Loughran Point Park, where you can go fishing, crabbing and picnicking. At this park there is also a fisherman's memorial with a statue of a fisherman and plaques to honor all those who were lost at sea.
New Jersey Museum of Boating
Johnson Brothers Boat Works
1800 Bay Avenue, Building #12
Point Pleasant, NJ
The New Jersey Museum of Boating, appropriately located in a marina, was founded to preserve New Jersey’s boating history and the boats that are indigenous to the area. There are many boating and fishing related artifacts on display at the museum. Some of the displays include exhibits on wooden boats, Morro Castle shipwreck, marine railway, Sea Bright Skiffs, steamboats, sport and pound fishing and more.
Bay Head Historical Society Museum
Bridge and Bay Avenues
Point Pleasant, NJ
The Bay Head Historical Society Museum is located in the “Loveland Homestead,” a farmhouse built in 1867. On display are artifacts, pictures, furniture and other memorabilia from the Barnegat Bay communities. Also at the museum is the “Dale Building,” originally the house of a Barnegat Bay yachtsman named F. Slade Dale who had a boatyard. The house was moved to the museum site and from the boat basin and is being used to display boat models and other artifacts from the boating industry. There are also historic vessels on display including a Hankins rowboat and a Sandpiper sailboat.
Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum
78 East Water Street at Hooper
Toms River, NJ
The Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum was created to preserve the heritage of Barnegat Bay and the historic watercraft from the area. The museum is housed in the former 1868 carriage house of Joseph Francis who invented the Lifecar, an unsinkable rowboat. There are several wooden boats that were designed specifically for lifeboats and fishing and hunting in Barnegat Bay and its marshes. These low–profile, lightweight boats include Barnegat Bay sneakboxes, Sea Bright skiffs, blackjacks, rowboats and other wooden watercraft.
The Seaport Society Museum has a historic wooden boat collection on display in two outdoor sheds. The collection of boats includes sneakboxes, rowing skiffs, rowboats, blackjacks and other historic watercraft of the Barnegat Bay area. There is also a boat restoration building here. Inside the museum building you can view maritime history artifacts, ship models and a maritime library.
Cattus Island County Park
1170 Cattus Island Boulevard
Toms River, NJ
Cattus Island County Park is a recreation area comprised of tidal salt marsh and freshwater wetland forests. These natural areas provide habitats for migratory and nesting birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. Visitors can enjoy over 5 miles of marked trails and 1 mile of unpaved road. The Cooper Environmental Center has live animal and educational exhibits, including fossils of mollusks and shark teeth from the Shark River. There is also a butterfly garden that attracts native butterflies.
During the Revolutionary War, locals used the Cattus Island area to bring captured British vessels into the Toms River in order to off–load their cargos. Later, this area was used for farming, raising livestock and salt hay harvesting. Around 1900, John V.A. Cattus bought the land for hunting, fishing and boating retreats with his family and friends. Visitors to the park can learn about the history of the island through interpretive signs along the nature trails that describe the historic boathouse and farmhouse that were once present on Cattus Island.
Ocean County Historical Society Museum
26 Hadley Avenue
Toms River, NJ
The Ocean County Historical Society Museum and Research Center tells the stories of Ocean County’s past through historic exhibits and a library. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored Victorian home in Toms River. Toms River seafaring past is also reflected in this organization’s collection of treasures.
Toms River, NJ
Huddy Park is located in Toms River’s waterfront historical district called “Captain’s Row,” named for the many sea captains that lived in the area. Huddy Park is named after Captain Joshua Huddy, an American soldier who fought off the British during the Revolutionary War. The British created an international incident when they hung Captain Huddy at the Toms River in 1782. At the park, visitors can view a memorial dedicated to Captain Huddy that includes a replica block house (old fort).
Ocean Gate Historical Museum
Cape May and Asbury Avenues
Ocean Gate, NJ
The Ocean Gate Historical Museum is a three part museum with exhibits on the development of Ocean Gate and Ocean County. The buildings at the museum include a museum of exhibits and memorabilia, the original Ocean Gate Train Station Museum and an original 1918 Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose Museum. Visitors can view the train displays from the outside.
Double Trouble State Park
Pinewald/Keswick Road and Double Trouble Road
Lacey and Berkeley Townships, NJ
Double Trouble State Park is located in the Pine Barrens National Reserve. The self–guided trail brings visitors through the natural environment of the Pine Barrens ecosystem and its history. Visitors can walk through a historic village built around cranberry bogs and cedar logging industries. Some of the buildings in the village include a restored sawmill, cranberry packing and sorting house, general store, schoolhouse and cottages. Visitors can also enjoy recreational activities at the park including canoeing, hiking, fishing and biking.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
End of Broadway
Barnegat Light, NJ
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the lighthouse, enjoy the fishing jetty or take a walk through the maritime forest. Visitors can climb the 217 steps of the “Old Barney” lighthouse for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from 172 feet above sea level. The interpretive center located next to the lighthouse has displays on the history of the lighthouse and the natural environment of Barnegat Bay. One of the last remnants of maritime forest on Long Beach Island is found at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.
Barnegat Inlet was historically named “Barendegat” or “Breakers Inlet” because of the large cresting waves that made navigation difficult. The original lighthouse tower was built in 1835 but was damaged by erosion and collapsed. This tower was replaced in 1859. The site of Barnegat Lighthouse was regarded as an important “change of course” point for vessels bound to and from New York. The original First Order Fresnel lens is on display at Barnegat Light Historical Society’s Museum.
Barnegat Light Museum
5th Street and Central Avenue
Barnegat Light, NJ
The Barnegat Light Museum depicts the history of Barnegat Light and Long Beach Island through its displays of artifacts, replicas and photographic memorabilia. The original First–order Fresnel Lens from the Barnegat Lighthouse is on exhibit here. This lens weighs over five tons and was capable of throwing light 20 miles to the horizon. There are also artifacts and replicas from shipwrecks and the fishing industry of Long Beach Island on display. The museum is located in a historic building which was formerly the one–room schoolhouse for the community of Barnegat Light from 1903 to 1954.
19th Street and Bayview Avenue
Barnegat Light, NJ
Dock Tours at Viking Village: (609) 494–7211
Viking Village is a historic fishing village that has been converted to quaint shops, a seafood market and restaurant along the harbor of a prosperous commercial fishing dock. Visitors can watch commercial boats sail in with their fresh catch, take home some fresh seafood and even go on a guided tour of the commercial fishing dock.
Viking Village was originally named Independent Dock by the Scandinavian fisherman who settled in Barnegat Light in the 1920’s. Today, Viking Village is one of the largest suppliers of fish and seafood on the eastern seaboard. The majority of the catch is scallops, tuna, swordfish, tilefish, weakfish, monkfish, bluefish, shad and croaker.
Barnegat Heritage Village
575 East Bay Avenue
The Barnegat Heritage Village consists of two restored houses, a butcher shop and a barber shop. Each building houses a unique collection of local memorabilia and artifacts. The Victorian era house, the Lippincott–Faulkenburg House, was owned by a sea captain who sailed out of Barnegat. On display is a ships log from the mid–1800s.
Long Beach Island Museum
Engleside and Beach Avenues
Beach Haven, NJ
The Long Beach Island Museum depicts the history of its communities along this 18 mile long barrier island. The Museum is located a few blocks from the beach in a historic building which was once the Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church built in 1882. It has exhibits of antiques and artifacts from the late 1800's and early turn–of–the–century.
Due to its proximity to the ocean and the mainland, Long Beach Island developed as a hunting, fishing and whaling community. Many shipwrecks occurred off of Long Beach Island, resulting in the establishment of many life–saving stations and the building of the lighthouse in Barnegat Light to guide shippers through the area. Many severe coastal storms have hit Long Beach Island over the years, splitting the island into pieces, such as the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962.
Museum of New Jersey Maritime History
528 Dock Road
Beach Haven, NJ
The Museum of New Jersey Maritime History has a significant display of marine artifacts on display to preserve the maritime history of New Jersey. Some of the collections include a U.S. Lifesaving Service exhibit, a large Morro Castle shipwreck exhibit and artifacts from other New Jersey shipwrecks. There are historic photographs and postcards from coastal communities on display, as well as several videos throughout the museum. The museum also has an extensive research library with out–of–print books, photographs and a computerized shipwreck database.
120 Main Street (Route 9)
Tuckerton Seaport is a recreated maritime village located on the Tuckerton Creek. The Seaport is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and interpreting the rich maritime history and heritage of the Jersey Shore and the unique contribution of its baymen. Experience the rich traditions of the Jersey Shore and its baymen through the Seaport’s recreated and historic buildings, demonstrations, interpretive exhibits, events, and more. Decoy carvers, boat builders, basket makers, and baymen entertain, educate and delight visitors of all ages.
Tuckerton Seaport’s 40–acre site includes 17 historic and recreated buildings connected by a boardwalk, a maritime forest and wetlands nature trail, two houseboats, a working boat restoration building, decoy carving workshops and the recreated Tucker’s Island Lighthouse. The Tucker’s Island Lighthouse features exhibits on privateers and pirates of the Jersey Coast, the origins of the U.S. Life Saving Service, shipwrecks, Native American culture, and the whaling and fishing industries.