Beach Haven: Most Fun on LBI, Surflight Theatre, Maritime Museum, Shopping.

Fantasy island Amusement Park in Beach Haven. All photos by R.C. Staab

Whether people are visiting Long Beach Island for a day, a week or a month, they inevitably end up in Beach Haven, the busiest and most touristy section of the island. There's the low-key Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Bay Village and Schooner's Wharf shopping, the Surfside Theatre and Show Place Ice Cream Parlour and the funky New Jersey Maritime Museum

(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.)

Free to visit the Maritime Museum, dive deep to explore.

The museum is based on Deb Whitcraft’s collection of maritime artifacts and files, particularly related to shipwrecks. Divers and volunteers have added to a crazy quilt of a collection that includes everything from an exhibit on women’s surf-fishing clubs to prehistoric fossils recovered from the intercontinental shelf off the Jersey coast, and from displays about major hurricanes and storms to a postcard collection of Shore towns.

It's open daily June through August and then Friday-Sunday from September to May

Surflight Theatre boldly moves ahead

Last year while most theaters were dark, Surflight Theatre literally moved outside the box of its indoor space to create an outdoor venue in a large tent. The venue harks back to the theater's origins in a tent 71 years ago as a summer stock theater in vacation destination Beach Haven, half way between NYC and Philadelphia.

Surflight is staging a season of full-cast musicals in the tent starting with "Annie", followed by "A Chorus Line", "Xanadu" and "Sh-Boom, Life Could Be a Dream." Their fall season continues with

Stop at Kaplers Pharmacy

for the #1 NJ Travel Guide

Get your autographed copy of the #1NJ Travel Guide and explore fishing spots and outdoor adventures at the Jersey Shore at Kaplers Pharmacy, 1 S. Bay Avenue.

"I Love You, You're Perfect Now Change," "Almost Maine," Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story" and "Ebenezer". Tickets are $41 for adults, $31 for children 12 and under.

Using the talents of the Surflight Theatre, the Show Place Ice Cream Parlour turns the tables on you as the waiters sing while you get your dessert. The ice cream parlor offers crazy ice cream concoctions such as A Chorus Line Split or the mountainous Anything Goes, which serves ten people and costs about $100. The dessert-only emporium has five shows on the hour starting at 6:00 p.m. The Parlour is open weekends starting on Memorial Day, then every day from mid-June to Labor Day.

Shopping in Bay Village and Schooner's Village

While the inspiration for Bay Village and Schooner's Village may be an old-time fisherman’s village, almost nothing that is sold today at Bay Village would have been on the shopping list of a 19th century mariner unless, of course, he or she needed a T-shirt, fashionable pair of sunglasses, or waterproof watch. In addition to shopping, this is where most Long Beach Island vacationers come when parents want to eat a regular meal and kids want to munch and go. There are chowder and pizza shops, an upscale coffee bar, a brewery, and, for dessert, candy, ice cream, and baked goods stores.

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.