The Jersey Shore is made up of many distinct towns, each with its own vibe. Everyone has their favorite. Some folks love the eclectic Asbury Park while others prefer the family-friendly Victorian beauty of Cape May. I thought I'd seen every stretch of sand the state had to offer, but recently, I discovered the charming, seaside town of Bay Head. This quaint destination features tree-lined streets, uncrowded beaches, gorgeous homes and independently owned shops and restaurants. Just one mile south of Point Pleasant, Bay Head is the perfect spot for a relaxing shore getaway. And for more great little NJ towns, check out our Guide to Great Small Towns in New Jersey.
Things To Do
Beach it. The #1 attraction in Bay Head is the pristine beach. Without a busy boardwalk attached, the beach is much less crowded (and much more peaceful). Daily beach badges are $7 for adults. Kids 11 and under do not need a badge. Call 732-892-4179 for information.
Learn to Paddle Board. In addition to the ocean, Bay Head is home to some calm bodies of water including Barnegat Bay and Twilight Lake. The Lake is perfect for first time paddle boarders. Summertime Surf offers S.U.P. (stand up paddle board) private lessons and nature tours. Booking information can be found here. Summertime Surf also offers great surfing camps for kids during the summer.
Explore the town on two wheels. One of the nicest things about Bay Head is its bicycle friendly atmosphere. Folks can be seen peddling all around town. There are designated bike lanes making travel from the beach to the local shops simple. Most establishments have bike racks and designated areas for bicycle parking.
Take an art class. ReFind is an artisan boutique that offers one of a kind recycled, handcrafted items. Art education classes are offered to all ages in such areas as pottery, drawing, painting and mosaics. Summer Art Camps are also offered for children ages 6 and older.
Learn some local history at the Bay Head Historical Society Museum. Open to the public seasonally (May thru October), the museum provides a great history lesson on life in this part of the Jersey shore. An exhibit of turn of the century photographs plus artifacts donated by local residents are on permanent display. The museum also features Dale Cottage, which celebrates the maritime heritage of the area, as well as a lovely garden.
For those who need a little retail therapy, Bay Head is home to several unique, independently owned shops. For 84 years the Jolly Tar has been known as one of the best gift shops along the Jersey Shore. Their emporium includes unique gifts, home accents and fine art. For some beachy fashions visit Tangerine Boutique. This colorful shop can outfit women from head to toe, with beautiful clothing, shoes, purses and jewelry. Andi's carries a great mix of gifts, flowers, toys, jewelry and clothing. Stop in and let them know your birthday month and they will send you a 20% off coupon.
Places To Eat
Head to the Dune Grass Cafe for breakfast, lunch and ice cream. The menu at this casual indoor/outdoor eatery includes Nutella French Toast and Pineapple Pancakes. They don't have a children's menu, but along with sandwiches and salads they offer plenty of kid-friendly options including chicken fingers and grilled cheese. They are open from 8am to 3pm for breakfast and lunch and all day until 10pm for ice cream.
If you're looking for a fantastic Sunday Brunch, check out Theresa's South. Brunch menu choices include Eggs Benedict, French Toast, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant is also a great spot for a traditional Italian dinner.
A visit to Bay Head would not be complete without a trip to Mueller's Bakery. The bakery has served generations of shore goers (dating back to 1890). Mueller's sells everything from pastries, cookies and cakes to bread, donuts and bagels. Stop in for a cup of coffee and a piece of their famous crumb cake. The bakery has shipped this renowned dessert all around the world to folks that have not been able to find its equal.
Bay Head Cheese Shop & Bottles Too is the perfect spot to pick up a great to-go meal. The Shop carries an assortment of gourmet delights including cheese, soups, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts. They also carry a wide assortment of wine and spirits.
Nearby Bay Head
Point Pleasant is one mile north of Bay Head. The town's popular boardwalk features rides, games, restaurants and a great aquarium.