Holgate: Ocean Lapping at Dunes. LBI's Rad Surfer Break. Iconic Life Saving Station.
Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Walking from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park and all along the coast of Long Beach Island, you can see government agencies have worked mightily to pipe and truck in tons of sand to restore beaches. Especially since Superstorm Sandy, dunes have been built to keep the ocean from reaching the houses and buildings at ocean's edge.
Unfortunately, at Holgate on the southern tip of Long Beach Island, man is losing the battle against the ocean for now. Many of the dunes are sheer drop offs, having been partially washed
away by lapping waves and storms. To be clear, Holgate has stretches particularly at the northern end and past the jetty to the south where there's plenty of room to hang out on the beach.
Wildlife area closed for wildlife until September
With the exception of the U.S. Coast Guard stations in Sandy Hook to the north and Cape May to the south, there's only one place off limits to people, at least until September 1. The Holgate section of the Edwin Forysth Wildlife Refuge is completely fenced off this summer to give the
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piping plovers space for breeding. The area consists of more than 400 acres of barrier beaches, dunes and tidal salt marsh. For the time being, there is an option to see the abundant wildlife on the refuge. At Bowker's South Beach Deli, you can rent kayaks. The deli staff will direct you to where you can put in the kayaks on the bay. You can grab a sandwich or a cookie after your exercise.
Most popular LBI surf break at road's end
Long Beach Township has four separate non-contiguous sections of the island: Loveladies, North Beach, a 5-mile section of the mid-beach and finally Holgate, the last developed town on the island. Your Long Beach Township beach badge works here. The metal jetty that's close to the Wildlife Refuge creates a good surf break. Bring your surf gear from Ron Jon's in Ship Bottom and head here for the waves.
About Holgate's name and the Historic Life Saving Station on the Tower.
In the early 1900s James Holgate purchased the land south of Beach Haven to the southern tip of the island which became named for him, Holgate.
On the Holgate water tower is possibly the only architectural image you'll find on a public water tower anywhere. The now private home dates back to 1887. Here's its partial story.
Before there was the United States Coast Guard, there was the United States Life-Saving Service. In 1848, NJ Congressman William Newell advocated for a law to establish eight unmanned lifesaving stations from Sandy Hook to Long Beach Island (including what was then considered Toms River) to provide "surf boat, rockets, carronades and other necessary apparatus for the better preservation of life and property from shipwreck". By 1878, the volunteer life-saving role was assumed by a new federal agency, the Life-Saving Service, which refurbished, replaced or built 40-plus stations from Sandy Hook to Cape May and many more along the nation's coastlines.
The building now in Holgate was originally called the Bonds Station House and was constructed in 1887-88. The station was closed in 1964 and, like many other station houses, was sold to a private owner.
From 1871 through 1914, the Service aided 28,121 vessels, and rescued or aided 178,741 persons. It's unofficial motto: “Remember, you have to go out, but nothing says you have to come back.”
Tips for Visiting Holgate
What's New: Nothing major to report.
Access and Parking: To reach Holgate, head south on Long Beach Boulevard until it ends. Street parking is free. There's a free parking lot at the southern tip of Long Beach Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue.
Amenities: At Cleveland Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, there's a beach pavilion with restrooms and showers.
Beaches: Beach badges are required daily through Labor Day for people ages 12 to 64. Full season badges are $45 for this age range and $5 for people 65 years and older. Weekly badges are $20. Daily badges are $10. There is no cost for people 11 years of age and under.
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.