New Jersey Beaches

After visiting New York we headed to Long Beach Island located two hours drive south in New Jersey state. Long Beach Island is a barrier i...

After visiting New York we headed to Long Beach Island located two hours drive south in New Jersey state. Long Beach Island is a barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean which naturally protects the mainland from storm waves. Just like its name suggests, the sandy beach stretches for a dozen of miles, so finding a place to sunbath was not an issue.

As far as I'm concerned, most houses on the island are in fact cottages that belong to people don't live on the island year around, but come visit it during the high season. I was surprised that I didn't see any chain restaurant or hotel on the island, even beloved McDonald's and Burger King. There is a good selection of food though, mostly Fish and Chips and other small family restaurants that look like fishing shacks. Despite their modest appearance, the prices for mains usually start from $20-25 which makes the island a rather expensive place to eat.
We drove all the way down to the southernmost point of the island where the road ends. A free parking lot with clean restrooms and showers was a pleasant surprise for a place like this. What do you think is that black box on four legs? There were about twenty of those ones on the beach.
The beach is very nice, however there were two caveats: horseflies and crabs. The first attacked us on the surface, the second tried to pinch us in the water (successfully). 
The water was quite cold, but waves kept us warm. 
One guy brought a metal detector on the beach. While we were swimming and sunbathing, he was desperately trying to find something in the sand for at least two hours. Why not?
The southernmost part is of the island forms Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. It is closed to public from spring to fall because birds called piping plovers nest in the sand dunes. These birds are highly endangered, so this refuge is one of their last natural habitats. 
Atlantic City is seen on the horizon.
Piping plovers are searching for food after the waves recedes. 
Low tide exposed big rocks in the water.
This old jetty was the reason why we drove to this beach. It's considered one of the best snorkeling sites in New Jersey. However because of big waves, it was dangerous to snorkel near it, and the underwater visibility was almost zero. 
There were quite a few surfers at the beach, so at some point I even wanted to try it. However I could not get over my fear of sharks. By the way, shark's population is growing at the US Atlantic coast which is a good indicator of a healthy ecology.
This marsh is a part of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at the bay side.
Water here is shallow and warm, however the bottom is very muddy.
Dead crab's carcass. 
Mussels are exposed during the low tides.
Despite its bad reputation, Atlantic City is a very nice place to spend a couple of hours at night. 
Atlantic City's bay.
Cape May was our final destination in New Jersey. It's a small town famous for its beautiful collection of old Victorian homes. 
One of the best beaches in the Eastern US. Water was much warmer then at Long Beach Island.
There is enough room for everyone on the beach.
Vintage lifeguard's boat.
Dolphins as seen from the beach.

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