6 beaches near Philadelphia: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Beaches near Philadelphia

When the snow is long gone and spring starts to turn to summer, it’s only natural that people want to take a break from the city and head to the beach. This is particularly true in Philadelphia, which is well-situated for weekend trips. With the Jersey Shore to the east and coastal Delaware to the south, there are dozens of incredible beach towns to visit for some ocean air, golden sand, and outdoor recreation. 

With so many beaches near Philadelphia, you’ll need to do some research before planning your trip. If you’re local, logistics like figuring out how to get to the beach, where you’ll stay, and what the best weekend to go are all things you’ll need to figure out. If you’re visiting, you’ll need to find luggage storage in Philadelphia before you head out to the beach. But first, you need to pick which beach to hit up. 

Here are the best beaches near Philadelphia: 

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Asbury Park Beach near Philadelphia

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Asbury Park is one of the best sandy beaches near Philadelphia. The seaside resort town is located on the Jersey Shore with several beautiful beaches that attract visitors from all over the region.

Asbury Park Beach is the main beach in Asbury Park, which has soft sand and clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The beach also features a boardwalk with food stalls, shops, and other amenities. North Beach is a quieter and more secluded spot located on the northern end of Asbury Park. The beach is known for its serene and peaceful atmosphere and is great for surfing and fishing. More locals tend to hang out here, but it’s still a popular travel destination. Bradley Beach is located just south of Asbury Park and has a long boardwalk with restaurants and bars. 

Distance from Philadelphia

Asbury Park is located about 90 miles from Philly. Depending on traffic, the drive to Asbury Park from Philadelphia can vary, but it typically takes a little under two hours. Public transportation is an option as well. A bus or train typically takes two to three hours each way. You really don't need a car once you’re in Asbury Park, so this is still pretty convenient. 

Activity recommendations

The Silverball Museum Arcade is Asbury Park’s famous retro arcade. This is a bucket-list attraction for anyone who loves classic pinball and arcade games. The museum has a large collection of vintage pinball machines, video games, and other classic arcade games.

Asbury Park has an iconic music scene with classic venues. The most famous is the Stone Pony, which has hosted some of the biggest names in rock and roll over the years. Check the schedule to see who's playing so you can plan a trip around the show. There are also several guided tours available in Asbury Park, including walking tours of the town's historical landmarks and even ghost tours that explore the town's haunted history.

 Asbury Park hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, including the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival in April, the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival in June, and the Asbury Park Oysterfest in September. Accommodation prices tend to be higher during these summer festivals, so if you're traveling on a budget, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons when prices may be more affordable.

Best beaches near Philadelphia

Brigantine Beach, New Jersey

One of the best New Jersey beach towns near Philadelphia for a weekend trip, Brigantine Beach is located on the barrier island off the coast of the state. It boasts miles of wide and pristine beachfront that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach sports. While it’s popular, Brigantine Beach is spread out enough that it offers a tranquil vibe that will be a refreshing break from Philly’s hustle and bustle. 

Distance from Philadelphia 

Brigantine Beach is located approximately 76 miles southeast of Philadelphia. The drive can take between 90 minutes to two hours. There are also public transportation options available, including bus and train services from 30th Street Station, that take you to Atlantic City. From there, you can take a taxi or an Uber to Brigantine Beach. 

Activity recommendations

Brigantine Beach is home to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which shelters a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, and other marine animals. This outdoor area is perfect for short hikes. Brigantine Beach is always dotted with surfers, with strong waves and excellent conditions throughout the year. Fishing is also popular, with long piers or even charters you can hire. 

Brigantine Beach is just a few miles away from Atlantic City, which is known for its world-class casinos and entertainment venues. Visitors can easily access the city by car or by bus, making it a great option for those looking to combine beach relaxation with some excitement and nightlife.

Summer is the ideal time to visit, but surfers will find spring and fall to have the best waves and smaller crowds. 

Ocean City Beach near Philadelphia

Ocean City Beach, New Jersey

Located on the southern coast of New Jersey, Ocean City Beach is a charming and family-friendly beach town that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for everyone from elderly couples to bachelor parties to families with small children. Ocean City is famous for its pristine and wide beaches and its boardwalk. So famous that it ranks up there with Long Beach Island for places to visit on the East Coast. The Ocean City Boardwalk stretches for 2.5 miles along the beach. The boardwalk is home to a range of shops, restaurants, and amusement rides, making it a fun and lively destination for families and visitors of all ages. The nightlife is particularly rowdy, but not so much that you can’t bring the family to Ocean City. 

Distance from Philadelphia

Ocean City Beach, New Jersey, is one of the most convenient beaches near Philadelphia and can be reached in around one hour and 15 minutes by car. Additionally, there are public transportation options available, including bus and train services. 

Activity recommendations

The Ocean City Music Pier is a historic venue that hosts concerts, shows, and other events throughout the year. There are several companies in Ocean City that offer boat tours, including dolphin-watching tours, sunset cruises, and fishing charters. For history buffs, the Historic Lifesaving Station Museum is housed in a historic building that was once used to store lifesaving equipment for shipwrecks along the coast. It offers a fascinating look at the history of lifesaving and the coastguard.

The summer months are the warmest and most popular time to visit. However, you'll find it less crowded during the shoulder seasons.

Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey 

Located along the Jersey Shore, Point Pleasant Beach is one of the best beaches near Philadelphia. The boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach is packed with amusement park rides, games, arcades, and food stands. It's a great place to take a stroll, people-watch, or enjoy the ocean views. There are great seafood restaurants and bars, as well as a brewery. 

Distance from Philadelphia

The drive usually takes about an hour and 40 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. Unfortunately, there is no convenient public transportation route between Philadelphia and Point Pleasant Beach. 

Activity recommendations

Located on the boardwalk, Jenkinson's Aquarium is a fun place to visit that houses a variety of marine life, including sharks, penguins, and sea turtles. Point Pleasant Beach is fantastic for fishing, whether you're fishing off the beach or from a boat. Boat charters are another fun activity and are well-suited to group trips like bachelor parties and family vacations. If you're in town on a Sunday, be sure to check out the farmers' market. You'll find a variety of local produce, baked goods, and other treats to bring back to Philadelphia. 

Point Pleasant Beach hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including a seafood festival, a kite festival, and a car show. Otherwise, summer is the best time to visit. 

Beaches near Atlantic City

Sea Isle City Beach, New Jersey

Sea Isle City Beach is one of the most visited beaches near Philadelphia and a common vacation destination for families and outdoorsy travelers. It’s your classic family-friendly Jersey Shore beach town with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed getaway, Sea Isle City has enough options to appeal to just about everyone. 

Sea Isle Beach is consistently ranked among the top beaches in New Jersey for its cleanliness and family-friendly atmosphere. Additionally, Sea Isle City's long and historic promenade offers stunning ocean views and easy access to restaurants, shops, and other attractions. The town is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with a range of bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues that attract college students and twenty-somethings. While Sea Isle City is great for partying, it never gets too rowdy that it spoils the family-friendly aspect. 

Distance from Philadelphia

The drive between Philly and Sea Isle City is typically around 90 minutes to two hours unless you hit particularly bad traffic coming out of downtown. You can take the Atlantic City Expressway to reach Sea Isle City. There are also bus and shuttle services available from downtown Philadelphia, but this takes quite a while and leaves little flexibility to move around Sea Isle City once you’re there. 

Activity recommendations

It’s all about spending time outdoors here. Sea Isle City is known for its excellent fishing conditions, both on the ocean and in the nearby bays.

From paddleboarding to kayaking, Sea Isle City Beach offers plenty of opportunities to try out various water sports and activities. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby wetlands are great for hiking and are home to a diverse range of wildlife. 

History buffs will love the town’s premier museum, where you can learn about the town's rich history and culture. It's the Sea Isle City Historical Museum, which features exhibits on local maritime history. 

Summer is the best time to visit. However, if you want to avoid crowds, late spring and early fall are still great for spending time at Sea Isle City Beach.

Rehoboth Beach near Philadelphia

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 

This charming coastal town is located along the Delaware coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. It's a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, lively boardwalk, and vibrant downtown area. Rehoboth Beach boasts a long stretch of clean, white sand that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. There are a few main areas to visit for swimming and surfing, the best being Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach. 

Distance from Philadelphia 

Rehoboth Beach is located approximately 125 miles southeast of Philadelphia. You can get from South Philadelphia and Rehoboth Beach in around two and a half to three hours. There are also public transportation options available, including bus and train services, although these will take much longer, and you'll want a car to conveniently get around while you're there.

Activity recommendations 

Surprisingly, Rehoboth Beach has a thriving food scene with a wide range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. From seafood shacks to upscale restaurants, there's something for everyone. A highlight for food and drinks is the Dogfish Head Brewery, which is headquartered in Rehoboth Beach. There are brewery tours, as well as a tap room that serves woodfired pizzas and their iconic craft beer.

In addition to the beach, Rehoboth Beach offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. There are several state parks and nature reserves in the area for those who want to explore the great outdoors.

Conclusion

Whether it’s a trip to the Jersey Shore or a trek down to Delaware, there are so many beaches near Philadelphia you can visit for a relaxing weekend trip. Taking a breath of fresh ocean air and a dip in the water will work wonders for anyone who needs a break from the bustle of a city like Philadelphia, and is ideal for anyone traveling to Philly on a budget. With so many options that are within a few hours of the city, there’s no reason not to take a drive and hit one of these East Coast beach towns.

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