OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – People north of the Driscoll Bridge look to Memorial Day to begin their trek “go down the shore.”  For Ocean County residents, a visit to the sand and surf is more commonly referred to as hitting the beach. With just two weeks away, it is important to know about beach badges and the like.

In Southern Ocean County, Long Beach Island offers an assortment of opportunities to visit the beach. Visitors can choose between daily, weekly, and seasonal badges. All of the local communities have set up sales for beach badges.  Many come with the caveat such as the one that appears on Surf City’s website. It states: “All beach opening dates are subject to the executive orders and health official guidance issued in relation to COVID-19. No refunds will be issued.”

For more information regarding pricing and availability of badges throughout Long Beach Island, links to each of the individual beaches are provided below. Unless otherwise noted, none of the municipalities have banned short term rentals after Memorial Day.

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 All beaches are open to the public with badges during the summer season. Many of the municipalities offer reduced rates in select circumstances, such as seniors, children, and military personnel.

Barnegat Light: Badge Prices: Pre-Season– $30 (price good through June 5th); Season– $40, Weekly -$22 (Saturday through Friday) and Daily– $5. Badges may be purchased in advance using the Viply App. 

Beach Haven: Short term rental ban in effect until June 1. As far as beach badges, Beach Haven passes can also be purchased by mobile app. There’s a $10 savings for passes purchased and reserved by June 15. Pricing is $40 for seasonal passes, $20 for weekly, and $5 for daily passes.

Harvey Cedars: Pre-season badges may be ordered through June 15, for a reduced rate of $35. Drive up of preordered, prepaid seasonal and senior badges is available at Sunset Park on May 21 and May 22. Regular badge prices are broken down as: seasonal, $40, weekly from Saturday to Friday, $20, and $7 daily badges.

Long Beach Township: Long Beach Township has a short-term rental ban until June 1.  Information regarding badge pick up is available here. Preseason rates are $35 for badges purchased on/or before June 15. Seasonal badges are $45, weekly $20, and daily, $10. 

Long Beach Township badges can be used within all of the following towns: High Bar Harbor, Loveladies, North Beach, Brant Beach, Beach Haven Crest, Brighton Beach, Peahala Park, Beach Haven Park, Haven Beach, The Dunes, Beach Haven Terrace, Beach Haven Gardens, Bay, Vista, Spray Beach, North Beach Haven, Beach Haven Heights, Silver Sands, Beach Haven Inlet and Holgate.

Ship Bottom: Regular pre-season and senior badges may be purchased at the Borough Hall by check and money order.  Use of the Viply app adds on an extra fee. Pre-season rates are only available until May 31 for $35. Other rates are seasonal, $45, weekly, $25, and daily, $10.

Surf City: Surf City offers seasonal badges for $45, weekly for $20, and daily badges for $8.

Meanwhile, LBI communities continue to encourage social distancing but are also adopting guidelines to help retail businesses. Last week, Beach Haven passed an order relative to both take-out food and sidewalk sales for retail businesses.

Further north, other Ocean County communities also offer opportunities for summer visitors. In Point Pleasant Beach, the beaches will be open. However, those who aren’t local residents may find parking virtually unavailable. Jenkinsons owns the majority of the beach within the township and it’s unknown what their plans are for summer traffic.

Seaside Heights has a reopening plan in place, that is being rolled out in phases. Notably, swimming is prohibited until at least June 30.

This year’s access to Ocean County beaches may strike the average person as more than a little unusual. However, the coronavirus and its impact on everyday living suggest life has taken on a surreal impact on New Jersey residents. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.