Thinking of vacationing on the island? Why not live here year-round? Home to a population of more than 8,000 as of the 2000 census, LBI is a viable place to live, with world-class amenities, prime real estate, and a strong sense of community. With so many things to do in Long Beach Island, NJ, boredom is never a problem.
Here’s what you need to know about living in LBI.
The origins of a community
The history of Long Beach Island, NJ is one for the books – the Lenape were among the first to discover the bounty of LBI, coming to the island in wooden canoes to fish, gather clams, and find respite from the heat. European settlers did the same, visiting the area to catch fish, go whaling, gather fruit, and produce sea salt.
Mainland ports with seasonal accommodations were established in the 1700s while the first human-operated lighthouse was built in 1834 in response to growing coastal and international trade. Lighthouse keepers and lifeguards were the only winter inhabitants of these ports.
The construction of the railroads in 1872 allowed tourists and products to get to and from the island much faster. It also made year-round living and running a business permanently on LBI more feasible.
Developers quickly saw the area’s potential, establishing Beach Haven and Barnegat Light in 1872 and 1878, respectively, with tourists and goods arriving from the mainland railroad via sailboats and steam-powered launches.
After the Great Depression and World War II, LBI became increasingly developed, particularly with the completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1954 and the causeway in 1956.
There was a building boom from 1980-2007 consisting mainly of tear-downs and the replacement of existing homes. As a result, the majority of surviving historic structures from 19th and early 20th century in LBI can only be found in Beach Haven. The Beach Haven Historic District is the lone historic district on the island, having been created in 1983.
Things to do in Long Beach Island, NJ
- Boating and fishing – The best way to enjoy the ocean is to hop on a boat and head out to the water. Enjoy a sunset cruise or go deep sea fishing from any of the launches on the barrier island.
- Beaches – You’ll find quiet and undeveloped beaches scattered along the barrier island. Barnegat Lighthouse & State Park, Beach Haven, and Ship Bottom are great places to start. Many of the beaches on the island have picnic tables, walking paths, shaded areas, and other amenities.
- Historic attractions – Aside fromthe Beach Haven Historic District,you can learn more about local history at the Barnegat Lighthouse, Museum of New Jersey Maritime History, Long Beach Island Museum, and Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences.
- Shopping – LBI offers some amazing retail therapy with its many commercial districts and retail strips. Bay Village is lined with independently owned stores that sell jewelry, clothes, and décor while Stafford Square Mall is anchored by major retailers like Lowe’s, Shoprite, and A.C. Moore.
- Dining – Historic Viking Village is known for its fish markets and restaurants, making it one of the best places for seafood in LBI. You’ll also find restaurants that serve Mexican, Italian, and French cuisine throughout the island.
- Entertainment – Enjoy live performances at LBI. Go to any of the outdoor concerts in town in the summer, many of which take place at the Spraybeach Hotel Oceanfront Pavilion and the many bars, clubs, cafés, and hotels on the island.
You can also catch live music at popular seasonal events like Hop SauceFest, Classical Piano Concert, Jazz Series at LBIF, and Chowderfest.
Theatre geeks will also have plenty to look forward to at cultural venues like Surflight Theatre, which stages slick productions of classics like “Cabaret”, “Mamma Mia!”, “Ebenezer”, and “Murder on the Orient Express”.
Long Beach Island, NJ real estate
Spanning 18 miles, this barrier island is home to the following municipalities, each with their own flavor and identity:
- Barnegat Light
- Beach Haven
- Harvey Cedars
- Long Beach Township
- Ship Bottom
- Surf City
The housing market offers a spectacular array of single-family homes, townhomes, and condos with Craftsman, Victorian, and Contemporary architecture. The most sought-after homes in LBI are waterfront homes that command stunning views of the island’s shoreline and the Atlantic.
Do you think Long Beach Island should be your new home? Craig and Sharon Stefanoni of Berkshire Hathaway Zack Shore Realtors can help you find the perfect home. Get in touch with Craig here. You can also reach the team at 609.432.1104 and CStefanoni(at)ZackShore(dotted)com.