When May rolls around, I start getting excited. My favorite time of the year is finally here. It's beach photo session season. As school comes to an end and summer break begins, you can find me all over the Jersey Shore capturing families enjoying their favorite towns and beaches across the Garden State.
To me, the Jersey Shore is the perfect spot for sessions. Each beach town has its own identity and something about it that makes it special and unique. I have had the privilege of going up and down this state and witnessing these adorable little towns. Being a photographer has its perks. I get to see towns I might have passed over. I tend to be a creature of habit and go to the same places every year. This job has allowed me to go outside of my comfort zone to see some of New Jersey's most beautiful beaches.
I'm often asked by clients for location suggestions. Sometimes people aren't necessarily tied to a specific shore point and want to know what's the prettiest for photos. Sometimes people are unsure of the most picturesque beach in their town for photos. Don't fret if you're unsure where to have your session. I'm your girl and here to take you on a guide of my favorite beaches in New Jersey for photo sessions.
Stone Harbor, New Jersey: Stone Harbor Point
My favorite spot in Stone Harbor, New Jersey has to be Stone Harbor Point. Located at the very end of Seven Mile Island, this beach has everything you could imaging for a well-rounded and diverse session. Let's start with parking. Parking at the Jersey Shore can be difficult. Street parking can be scarce and many spots close to the beach have meters. Not at this beach! There is a large parking lot with plenty of spaces. The best part about this beach is that the parking is FREE. Clients never have to hunt for a space and download those annoying parking meter apps to pay for time.
Now what makes this beach my favorite is that it is a nature preserve. You won't find large trash cans, life guard stands and groups of people at this spot. Swimming is not allowed so the most you might encounter is a fisherman or a few sea shell hunters. This beach also has beautiful views of the sunset. Since it's at the tip of Stone Harbor, you can see the end of the island where it wraps around to the bay. This allows for perfect views of the sun on the west side.
Another thing that I like about this beach is that there are sailboats! Parked along the beach against the dunes you can find dozens of little sailboats parked. These are cute in the background, especially if you want a nautical spin to your session.
Finally, this place has spectacular dunes. A long path with dunes on each side will lead you to the beach. I often stop clients here and take shots. It's really a beautiful spot for photos. If you're lucky, we might even see a few baby bunnies in this spot, which is always fun for the kids.
Avalon, New Jersey: The Pier
There are two towns on Seven Mile Island. Stone Harbor and Avalon. Avalon is another great little town with beautiful beaches. The most popular beach there is probably at 30th Street. There is a small boardwalk and a beautiful large beach. The main attraction at this spot is the pier. It's perfect for family portraits, especially if Avalon is meaningful to your family. There is a parking lot at this spot as well, which makes it an easy meeting spot and takes away the stress of finding a parking space before your session.
Sea Isle City, New Jersey: Beach by the Spinnaker
Sea Isle City, New Jersey is a bumping family town with an amazing restaurant and nightlife scene. It has a lot of life and is one of my favorite spots at the Jersey Shore. The Spinnaker is a condo complex on the boardwalk located at 36th Street. Even though it's a touristy beach next to the boardwalk, The Spinnaker building is very tall for the shore. It is a great beach if you want to start your session a little earlier. The tall building casts shade over the beach so the lighting isn't so harsh if we start a little earlier before magic hour. I suggest this spot if you have a little one that needs to be home for a strict bed time.
Ocean City, New Jersey: 14th Street
I have a few favorite spots in Ocean City, but I will start with the boardwalk. Ocean City is known as America's Favorite Family Resort. It has one of the most kid and family friendly boardwalks in the state. With lots of great food choices, rides and mini golf courses, it is a great spot not only for families, but for photo sessions. I like to have clients meet me at 14th Street. There is a fishing pier within walking distance of that beach entrance. It is also close to some of Ocean City's famous food spots. What is better than including some of your favorite Boardwalk spots in the back of your photos? It adds a personal touch to your session.
Ocean City, New Jersey: Sea Spray Beach
Sea Spray Beach in the Garden District of Ocean City is a favorite for photographers. If you come here, you can easily see why. This spot is a little less crowded than the boardwalk side. The walk to the beach from the street is stunning. It has beautiful homes with flowery bushes gracing each side of the path. It's a perfect entrance to your beach session. When you get to the beach, you will see sailboats parked on against the dunes, a beautiful jetty and lots of lifeguard stands for photos of the kids. I've never witnessed a bad sunset at this spot and it's the perfect for family photos. There is no parking lot at this beach, but there is plenty of street parking.
Long Beach Island, New Jersey: Barnegat Light
Long Beach Island is a long island with several towns. To be honest, many of the beaches on this island and in the different towns look the same. If you're looking for a different spot, I highly suggest looking at the Barnegat Lighthouse. This isn't a beach, but an inlet. There is a beautiful lighthouse with a long jetty that separates the sand from the water. If you don't mind not having surf in your photos, this is the perfect spot. The tall lighthouse in the background sets the perfect vibe for a nautical themed session. Since this is really an inlet and not a beach, boats will be coming in and out during your entire session. Having them in the background of your shots really makes it something special.
Asbury Park, New Jersey: The Boardwalk
If you're looking for a beach with lots of character, cool vibes and color, Asbury Park will not disappoint. The beach is great, but what really brings this town to life is it's boardwalk. This town is rich with history and an artistic cultural revival. The boardwalk has murals all over it that features local and native NJ artists' work. It has an old school boardwalk vibe that is rich in history. Along the boardwalk you can find a mixture of new and old. The skeletons of old asbury park are still visible. The old casino building is a great spot to feature this in your photos. One of my favorite beaches in this town is the dog beach. It's close to the boardwalk and your clients can bring their dogs to join in on the fun.
Sea Girt, New Jersey
To conclude my favorite beach town tour, I have to include Sea Girt. This is a sleepy town that isn't your typical day-trip spot. I think that's why I love it so much. Located only about an hour from Bucks County, this place is perfect for a family session. The first reason why I love this spot is because of the parking. Even though there isn't a designated lot, there are parking spots up and down on both sides of the street next to the boardwalk. At magic hour, this beach is usually pretty empty. You don't have people hanging out in large groups into the dark like you do at some other shore points. This beach is quiet, beautiful and lovely for photographs. If you don't want to drive too far and want to check out a quiet beach, Sea Girt is the spot for you.
No matter what beach you choose for your session, New Jersey is beautiful. Each town has something to offer for your session. Let me know in the comments what your favorite New Jersey shore town is and why. I'm always up for exploring this beautiful state for sessions.