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Surf City: 2 Water Towers in 1 Mile. Beats Calif at Name Game. Beachy LBI commercial strip.

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

All photos by R.C. Staab

Who's the top dog at the "Surf City" naming wars? In California, Huntington Beach near LA and Santa Cruz near San Jose have recently waged a public relations and legal battle to claim the trademark "Surf City USA." Those sleepy coastal towns didn't even get around to thinking about the name Surf City until in the 1960s. Yet, for more than 100 years, Surf City on Long Beach Island has been alive and kicking as an official United State Postal Service recognized town. (see History below).

Take that California!

(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.)

Busy commercial strip

Although barely a mile long, Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City has all the food and entertainment you'd expect in a small beach town. The two tall, strangely-close water towers of the town watch over the kids playing mini-golf, the shoppers at the Surf City 5 & 10 and families grabbing pizza, ice cream, tacos or smoothies.


Get Beach Stuff at Surf City 5 &10

AND the #1 NJ Travel Guide

For almost 70 years, Surf City 5&10 has offered eveything from salt water taffy to hardware supplies. Get your autographed copy of the #1NJ Travel Guide and explore fishing spots and outdoor adventures at the Jersey Shore.


Spend a peaceful moment at Veterans Park

Along busy Long Beach Boulevard between 11th and 12th Streets, take a break to relax and reflect at the well-shaded, inviting Surf City Veterans Memorial Park.

Peaceful oasis on Long Beach Boulevard at 11th Street in honor of veterans

Even Google Pedometer agrees -- LBI is longer than 18 miles

The conventional wisdom is that LBI is 18 miles long. But apparently this notion was begun by the road crews who paved the first road from Old Barney to Holgate to the south. As measured by the concrete road from Old Barney parking lot to Holgate, LBI is 18 miles.

In Barnegat Light, using a simple online pedometer tool, you can see that walking the beach from the jetty to 30th Street along the beach is considerably longer than driving from the northern most point to 30th Street. It's already more than 18 miles long, and that's not accounting for the three miles of the coastline at the southern tip along the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge.

Let's set the record straight and let people know LBI is 21 miles!

Where Surf City gets its name

Like Bradley Beach to the north, Surf City owes its name to the United States Post Office refusing to accept the original name of the town which was Long Beach City. The post office thought people would confuse it with then very popular northern beach town Long Branch. In 1894, the town changed its name to Surf City.

Tips for Visiting Surf City

What's New: Nothing major to report.

Access and Parking: To reach Surf City head north on Long Beach Boulevard. Don't try to make any sense of the numbered streets. Going north from Route 72, the streets start around 9th Street, skip up to 124th Street and then rebound to numbered streets from 68th to 87th streets in Harvey Cedars. Parking is free.

Amenities: There are no restrooms available at the beach, but portable restrooms are behind Borough Hall at 813 Long Beach Blvd., the 16th Street Bay Beach Beach and Division Street Boat Ramp.

Beaches: Beach badges are required daily from June 18 to Labor Day for people 12 to 64 years old. Full season badges are $45 for this age range. Weekly badges are $20. Daily badges are $10. There is no cost for people 11 years of age and under and 65 and older.

The surfing beaches during guarded hours are outside of the swimming area as directed by the lifeguards. Surfers must have a badge.

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 coastline from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, the length of Long Beach Island from Old Barney to the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, from Brigantine to Cape May.

Next stop: Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island at Jersey Shore Walk Mile post 58. See profiles of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, Island Beach State Park and every beach and town on the northern part of the Jersey Shore at


Summer is here. So get out and explore the Jersey Shore

with the #1 NJ Guide

Get the scoop on seafood, salt water taffy and ice cream joints. Plus discover quiet beaches, historic sites and outdoor adventures with 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore Before You Die.

1 Comment

lekor adams
lekor adams
Dec 15, 2023

Embark on a visual adventure with Argentics as we explore the unique charm of Surf City, where the skyline is adorned with not one, but two distinctive water towers within a mere mile. Join us in capturing the architectural marvel of this coastal haven through the lens of our photographers.

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