Sea Bright 2021 : Easy to Park. Plenty to Eat. Swim and Surf at First Beach Town of Jersey Shore.

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

All photos by R.C. Staab
Sea Bright's main public beach by R.C. Staab. All photos by R.C.

Coming over the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, the Atlantic Ocean spreads out on the horizon. It's the most memorable view from any road approaching the Jersey Shore. To the right is the narrowest developed area of the Shore, the small town of Sea Bright. While not as well known as Long Branch or Asbury Park as a shore destination, it's an easy place to spend a day at the beach.

Where do I park?

Once on Ocean Avenue, there are only small private lots by the sea wall that was built more than 100 years ago to keep the ocean at bay and off the railroad tracks. Those are all private, and to the right along the Shrewsbury River, there are few side streets and even fewer public parking spaces. The town's major public parking lot (see details below for cost) is downtown Sea Bright, south of the first stoplight. From the lot, visitors will see restaurants and take-out eateries, Bain's Hardware (with all your beach supplies), Lucky Dog Surf Co (lessons anyone?) and grocery and liquor stores (get your Cinnamon whiskey). To access

From the Pavilion towards Ocean Avenue

the beach, walk up the ramp or steps to the new Sea Bright Beach Pavilion which fronts an elevated concrete walkway and small boardwalk that extend for about 1/3 of mile south. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, buy a beach badge to hang out on this guarded beach, play

volleyball or use the children's playground. Outdoor showers are along the walkway, restrooms are inside the pavilion and police, fire and lifesaving personnel are nearby.

Healthy Restaurant Scene Ready for 2021

While many commercial strips experienced an increase in vacant storefronts in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, Sea Bright businesses hung in there and are set for a banner summer. New or enhanced outdoor dining was created at:

* Woody's Ocean Grille

* Angelica's Restaurant

* 2nd Jetty

* The Rum Runner

* Rory's Pub

* Yolk's on You Kitchen

* Alice's Kitchen

* Ocean House.

Most of the outdoor dining, particularly at Angelica's, appears to be more than a one-time summer fad.

Anjelica's Restaurant

Along with other sit-down restaurants Drifthouse by David Burke, Moo Yai Thai Restaurant, Yumi and the phenomenally popular Tommys's Tap & Tavern, there are grab and go options for smoothies and acai bowls at Melonhead (opening April 15), breakfast, sandwiches and pizza at Gigi's Ny Style Pizza/Sonny's Sandwich Shop and pizza and Italian dishes at Sea Bright Pizzeria.

Party to the South. Tread Lightly to the North

Donovan's Reef looking east west from the beach.

On most Jersey Shore beaches the consumption of alcohol is forbidden or seriously discouraged. There’s only one permanent bar—Donovan’s Reef—where you can legally drink in a designated section of the sandy beach, with lifeguards to boot. Starting April 15 when they open for the season, Donovan’s Reef fans can start their day as early as 9 a.m., bringing their own chairs and towels. The bar is well known throughout north Jersey Shore beach towns for its live music and popular bar. That was a double-edged sword last summer, when the crowds brought the scorn of the governor after restaurants were re-opening.

To the north of the main beach is the forbidding sign "Private Club Members Only." That's a message from one of the pr