As the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean, a small stretch of the Jersey Shore is lit with a long line for 200 flares. Bagpipes are playing in the distance as children run over the sand.
This iBeach Illuminations happens in the small beach town of Allenhurst from 5 to 9pm Sunday, August 20. It's the only place you'll find this parade of lights along the Jersey Shore and only one of two places in the United States that honors lifesavers who have protected beaches for generations. It's free as is the street parking.
Don't Be Late
The Illuminations event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. but the key hour to be there is by 7:30 pm just before at 7:46pm. The flares are brightest when they are lit and stay that way for about 30 minutes.
Beyond that some of the flares start to diminish so don't arrive late. For the best views head to the beach. The flares are set up about 20 feet from the shoreline but the tide will be increasing throughout the evening make to keep an eye on the waves.
How Allenhurst got its name and Life-Saving Stories
In 1895, a 120-acre farm owned by Abner Allen farm was bought by the Coast Land Improvement Company in order to build an exclusive resort community to attract upper class summer residents. Allenhurst owes its name to Mr. Allen.
Allen received was also noteworthy for being the keeper of the lifeboat house that was established as part of a network of life-saving stations in 1847. Allen helped save more than 200 people from the off-shore wreck of the New Era. in 1854. The anchor from the boat is on display in front of the Allenhurst Historical Society in Allenhurst. The marker reads, “In solemn reverence of this disaster’s role in establishing the U.S. Lifesaving Service, known today as the U.S. Coast Guard. It is hoped that this memorial shall inspire a permanent and prominent appreciation of our local heritage.”
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. 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.”
For a great story on life-saving station buildings still in existence at the Jersey Shore click here.
Developed cohesively by one company starting in 1895, Allenhurst features popular architectural styles of that period—Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Prairie, and Craftsman. With fewer than 500 people, Allenhurst has been able to resist development and, thus, garner a designation on the National Register of Historic Places for its Victorian, late 19th and 20th Century Revival architecture.
Sail with No. 1 Jersey Shore Travel Guide
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Tips for Getting to Allenhurst Beach
Road Access & Parking: Allenhurst is located south of Deal and just north of tiny Loch Arbor and Asbury Park. Be warned that the speed limit is strictly enforced and you will be given a ticket! There is no charge for parking on the street, but a few spaces that are limited to two hours.
Amenities: Before 5 pm, beach badges are required. With your beach badge, you can access the showers and restrooms for the daily beach badge holders at the Allenhurst Beach Club. After 5pm for the Illuminations, no badges are required.
Beaches: Beach badges are only required through September 6. Daily beach badges are $10 for people 13 and over.