Seaside Park: Trying to Get Fun Back Into Funtown Pier. Stellar Life-Saving Station.


Seaside Park. All photos by R.C. Staab

The border between Seaside Heights and Seaside Park is a blur. Along the dunes, the first few blocks of Seaside Park are similar to those of the noisy relative to the north, even featuring the same planking material. But as screams from the amusements and the smell of food fade, the Boardwalk changes to the Seaside Park Promenade allowing people to finally relax and stroll with their own thoughts.


The town leaders seem to acknowledge today that the residents prefer a less hectic vibe along its two-mile Boardwalk. There's plenty of parking by the beach and no homes looming atop the dunes.

Seaside Heights in the distance.

Funtown Pier trying to get back its mojo

Along with Casino Pier to the north, Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the boardwalk fire in 2013 destroyed another amusement park icon -- the Funtown Pier. It was a low-key amusement park and pier geared mostly to children. Since 2013, the pier's owner has been lobbying unsuccessfully to be allowed to rebuild the pier with larger thrill rides up to 300-feet high. The borough previously

 

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imposed a 150-foot height limit on rides and denied their request. However, the first phase of the reconstruction of the Pier was giving a go-ahead from the Borough's Planning Board but nothing much is happening on the site until the owner obtains state permits. No rides for the 2022 season.


In the meantime, Funtown Beach operates at the site of the old pier as a private beach where people can bring their own drinks and food, rent cabanas and beach chairs or buy food from vendors. More information about pricing of the private beach is below.



Stellar Example of Life-Saving Service Station

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.


In Seaside Park, the original station was considered 'unsuitable for further use" and was replaced in 1900 by a station that was used until 1964. The station closed and the building was sold to the Borough in 1966. The Borough offices were eventually moved there in 1996. The garage behind the building is used for storing lifeguard equipment, continuing the life saving tradition.


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.”


The town that was once Park City

At the Jersey Shore, settlers were straightforward in imaging what their town could offer. The original name of Seaside Park was Park City. Later, the name morphed into Sea Side Park, a section of Berkeley Township and eventually separated from the township to become Sea Side Park. In 1914, a newly appointed town clerk wrote the name of the town as “Seaside Park” in the council minutes and that name stuck.

Tips for Visiting Seaside Park

What's New: See changes to beach badge pricing below.

Access and Parking: The easiest route to Seaside Park is via Route 37 from Exit 82 of the Garden State Parkway. There's lots of metered parking right along the boardwalk that is enforced from April 1 to October 30. Use mPay2 app for quick payment.

Amenities: There are restrooms at the N Street Bath House.

Beaches: South of Stockton Avenue, Seaside Park Beach badges are required for access to all beaches from June 15 to Labor Day. Full season badges are $60; weekly badges are $40. For people 62 years old or over, a beach badge is $20. Daily badges are $13. There is no cost for people 11 years of age and under.


Funtown Beach between Farragut and Stockton Avenues is a private beach which permits food and drink on the beach from June 18 to Labor Day. A separate beach badge is required for this part of the beach. Full season badges are $125 for adults and $40 for children. Weekly badges are $50. Daily badges are $15. For people 6-12, daily badges are $3 Monday to Thursday and $5 Friday-Sunday and holidays. There is no cost for people 5 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.

 

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