As the third largest township in Ocean County, Brick Township stretches from the Garden State Parkway all the way to the ocean. This may seen confusing at first because it's impossible to drive from the Parkway to the Brick Beaches without going through Mantoloking or the long way through North Dover/Toms River Township. That's because in 1911, the citizens of Mantoloking broke away from Brick Township to create their own borough. That left the residents of Brick Beaches looking across Barnegat Bay to the rest of the township. The handful of Brick Beaches residents are part of a larger organization but seem to happily exist in their own world on this barrier island.
To add to the confusion, the small residential communities of South Mantoloking and Mantoloking Shores are part of this section of Brick Township.
(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.)
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The popular Brick Beaches I and III
The Brick Beaches I and III are easily accessible and well marked driving north along divided Route 35. They each have large parking lots with showers, restrooms and concession stands, direct access to the beach and a wide beach area that is filled with people even during the off-season.
Day visitors will find a bargain. Parking is $5 and beach badges are $8. See below for details.
The elusive Brick Beach II
Walking along the beach from the north, a person comes upon the crowds at Brick Beach I. In the distance at the next beach, there's another crowd. Naturally one assumes that's where one finds Brick Beach II. Not so. The next crowed area is Brick Beach III.
What happened to Brick Beach II? The beach is halfway between I and III, but there's hardly ever anyone there for a couple of reasons. There's only a handful of residents in this very thin part of the island. There's no parking. There's no sign on Route 35 telling one to turn off in order to drop off beachgoers along the access road to the beach. And the building on Route 35 by the access road is a small utility building owned by the New Jersey American Water Company. Put in 354 Route 35 North, Brick Beaches, New Jersey in Google Maps or Mapquest to help.
Like Mantoloking, a legacy of the rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy in line with fortifying dunes from Pt. Pleasant to Island Beach State Park.
Camp Osborn's rebirth
During Superstorm Sandy, beachfront cottages in the small community of Camp Osborn caught fire. Because the Mantoloking Bridge partially washed out and the barrier island breached near the bridge, firefighters were unable to respond. Most of the community burned. Today, it's mostly an empty lot just south of the Ocean Club at Mantoloking. Just last year, the township approved a plan by the Osborn-Sea Bay Condominium Association to build three single homes and 64 units in two-story duplexes on the site where 67 cottages once stood.
Normandy Beach - half of the story
At the southern end of the Brick Township beaches, drivers will see signs for Normandy Beach. This unincorporated community stretches across the Brick and Toms River Township lines. Midway between 6th and 5th Avenues is the dividing line between the townships. North of 6th Avenue, people need a Brick Beaches badge for access.
Brick Township was formed in 1850 . It was named after its most prominent citizen Joseph Woolston Brick, the owner of Bergen Iron Works. Brick and his future father-in-law Riley Allen formed the Brick-Allen Enterprise and purchased the old Washington Furnace on the south branch of the Metedeconk River and renamed it Bergen Iron Works. Brick selected the name Bergen because it represented quality iron from the town of Bergen.
Tips for Visiting Brick Beaches
What's New: Nothing new to report.
Access and Parking: The only way to access the Brick Beaches is along busy Route 35 from Mantoloking to the north or from the North Dover/Toms River Township beaches to the south. As Route 35 enters Brick Township at the beach, it divides into a north and south section, often separated by an "island" of homes in the middle. Beach I and Beach III have paid parking lots during the season. The lots can accommodate several hundred cars and have direct access to the beach.
Amenities: Outdoor showers, concessions, bathrooms and lockers. Few businesses in the area so bring what you need to eat and drink.
Beaches: There isn't a boardwalk or a promenade. Beaches are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and are staffed seven days a week from mid-June through Labor Day. Beach hours of operation are 9:30am – 5:30pm. Beach badges are required for access to all beaches. Full season badges are $30. Daily badges are $8 and can only be purchased at the beach. At Beach esI and III, seasonal parking is $30. Daily parking pass is $5. Badges are not required for people under the age of 12 if accompanied by an adult. People over the age of 65 and veterans receive free admission. Beach badge and parking rates apply to all, regardless if they are residents of Brick Township.
Starring Role: Brick Beaches been featured in the movie Tomorrow is Today.
This spring, summer and fall, follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he walks the entire 139 miles of the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, from Old Barney to Beach Haven, from Brigantine to Cape May.
Next stop: North Dover/Toms River Township Beaches at Jersey Shore Walk Mile post 34. See profiles of Mantoloking, Bay Head, Pt. Pleasant Beach and other Jersey Shore Walk beach towns at www.jerseyshorewalk.com