Barnegat Light: Wide beach for families in Old Barney's shadow. Real fishermen at Viking Village

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Barnegat Light water tower. All photos by R.C. Staab

Barnegat Light takes its name and so many other attributes from Barnegat Light State Park that's it's easy to think of them as one and the same. Barnegat Light Borough, however, is its own beach town with unique attributes to Long Beach Island.

(From the vantage point of the beachfront or boardwalk, this is a breezy overview of what you see, where to park and beach access, plus a bit or history and the latest happenings. See map below.)

For my story about Old Barney and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, click here.

Widest beach on LBI

Barnegat Light's beaches benefit from the continual efforts by the state and federal governments to maintain the Barnegat Inlet that separates Long Beach Island from the Barnegat Peninsula. Over hundreds of years, the jetty was built further and further east into the ocean. Most recently in 1940, the present-day jetties were constructed with massive rocks and concrete. The materials for both the south and north jetties were trucked through what is now Barnegat Light.

The benefit of the southern jetty to locals was the creation of wide, sandy beaches, plus an extensive protected wildlife area. On LBI, the beach seems pleasantly removed from the beaches along the dunes. At low tide in particular, the beach is very walkable especially for families.

Viking Village where the real fishermen are

Stop over in Viking Village along the bay in Barnegat Light to see gritty commercial fishing vessels hauling in cod, monkfish, skate, tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi. Don't be surprised if the fish served in LBI restaurants was hauled directly over from Viking Village that day. Free tours are offered on Fridays at 10 am from July 9 to September 3, but it's more an ad hoc tour rather than a slick Disneyland-view of fishing.

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Don't let anyone tell you LBI is18 miles long

The conventional wisdom is that LBI is 18 miles long. But apparently this notion was begun by the road crews who paved the first road from Old Barney to Holgate to the south. As measured by the concrete road from Old Barney parking lot to Holgate, LBI is 18 miles.

In Barnegat Light, using a simple online pedometer tool, you can see that walking the beach from the jetty to 30th Street along the beach is considerably longer than driving from the northern most point to 30th Street. It's already more than 18 miles long, and that's not accounting for the three miles of the coastline at the southern tip along the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge.

Let's give LBI it's due -- it's at least 21 miles!

History of the Barnegat Light

Like much of LBI, the town's growth didn't start until the 20th century. In 1904 the area known as Barnegat City seceded from Long Beach Township. The name Barnegat City remained for another 44 years until 1948, when voters approved changing the name to Barnegat Light.