Sandwiched in between Fletcher Lake and Sylvan Lake, Bradley Beach has a lot in common with small American towns. Along the beach promenade, there's a mix of condos, apartment buildings, a gazebo, a playground and houses which are big and small. People here have a strong affection for the place. Bradley Beach residents and visitors are out running and walking on the promenade north to Ocean Grove and Asbury Park or south to Avon by the Sea and Spring Lake. They shop and dine along the town's buzzing business strip at Main Street and Brinley Avenue.
The state's beach replenishment efforts are evident between the promenade and the ocean. Since Superstorm Sandy, dunes have been built and planted with grasses that appear to be taking hold.
First rate mini golf on the Boardwalk
What do the experts says about the best mini-golf courses at the Jersey Shore? We sought the advice of Harris Miniature Golf, the industry design and construction leader with courses up and down the Shore and throughout the state as well in 49 of the 50 states and in 23 countries. Harris VP Kaitlyn Conaboy chose the rebuilt 18-hole Shipwreck Island Mini Golf as one of the best.
It sits alongside the Boardwalk a few yards from the beach. Conaboy says it captures the essence of the town of Bradley Beach. The “shipwrecked” boat, SS Sandy, is a nod to Superstorm Sandy which leveled the old course in 2012. Bradley Beach worked with Harris to rebuild soon after the storm.
Look for more mini golf expert picks in an upcoming issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine.
Latest on The Bradley (movie theater) on Main Street
The ShowRoom Cinema on Main Street started life as a vaudeville theater in 1915 and converted to showing movies on Christmas 1924. Throughout most of the next 96 years, the theater showed first-run movies. It closed in 2018, re-opened in 2019 and then closed seemingly for good in 2020. Cinema Labs with a boost from its actor/partner Patrick Wilson purchased the building. In 2021, they launched a Kickstarter campaign in January and raised $65,090, beating their $50,000 goal, promising to offer first-run movies on three screens plus build an event space with a cocktail lounge.
Although it was hoped the renovation would proceed quicker, plans are still in the works, hoping the newly named The Bradley theater will open early next year. According to a recent story in the Asbury Park Press, the main theater will have 201 seats while the other two will have 46 seats and 53 seats. A membership program will provide discounts for those with a Bradley Beach zip code and the theater will provide the town with event space and hospitality for community events, fundraisers and other functions.
How the town got its name in three bullet points
James Bradley, a recent convert to the Methodist religion, visits Ocean Grove in the 1870s and sees the opportunity for beach town development at the Jersey Shore. Bradley buys land immediately north of Ocean Grove to Deal Lake and invests in William Bradner's development south of Ocean Grove on land as far south as what is now Avon-by-the-Sea.
Bradley names the northern section Asbury Park after Francis Asbury, the founder of Methodism in the United States. Bradley's statue, not Francis Asbury sits in the park across from the Asbury Park Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre.
Stop at the Comfort Zone in nearby Ocean Grove for the best book about the Jersey Shore
Pick up an autographed copy of 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore the #1 NJ Travel Guide at the Comfort Zone. In addition to books and gifts, the store is your one-stop destination for a vibrant body, active mind, & youthful spirit.
Ocean Park is Willam Bradner's first choice for the land south of Ocean Grove. The post office asks for a change because of the similarity of the name to nearby Ocean Port. According to the town's website: William Bradner did not want to suggest his own name, so one of the post office officials said, “You have a man down here by the name of Bradley. Why don’t you call it Bradley Beach?”
In summary Bradley Beach is named after a man who was devoted to the town to Bradley Beach's north, whose statue is prominently displayed in a park two towns north of Bradley Beach and who was not the primary developer of Bradley Beach.
Tips for Visiting Bradley Beach
What's New: Summer Craft Fair Saturday, June 25. Returning is the Bradley Beach 5K on August 20.
Road Access & Parking: The main entry to Bradley Beach is along Route 71/Main Street. There is metered parking on the ocean side of Ocean Avenue and along Sylvan Lake at the southern end of the city. Paid parking is in effect 8am to 7 pm from the weekend before Memorial Day through the Sunday after Labor Day. Parking is free on the west side of Ocean Avenue. Use the M2Pay parking app or the pay stations.
Amenities: There are restrooms along the promenade.
Beaches: Beach badges are required weekends from May 28 through June 19 and then daily (presumably - nothing official yet)) from June 20 to September 5. Daily beach badges for people 13 and older are $12 -- a decrease of $1 from 2020 -- and can be purchased through the Viply app or at the beach. Seasonal beach badges are $80 for people 17 and older, $30 for seniors 60 or older. Free beach admission for active military and veterans (with proper ID). Surfers need beach badges.
Starring Role: Bradley Beach has been featured in the movies -- According to Greta with Hilary Duff and Me and Veronica.
Follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he recounts his 2021 walk of every beach along the 139 miles of the Jersey Shore coastline from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Read all updated stories at www.JerseyShoreWalk.com.