In late summer, heading south on the Garden State, a one hour and forty minute drive can stretch to four hours. Simply due to congestion.
Everyone heads to the shore.
To get to Long Beach Island, you wait an hour just to get off the exit, because there is only one road to the island. But oh, once you get to it, you forget everything else.
This is a place I want to come back to, no matter the traffic. This is the place where I want to live, year round. This is my shore.
It's full of one mile wide towns with names like Ship Bottom, Surf City, and Love Ladies, of seafood and of warm lapping waters, and of sun bleached cottage houses painted in pastel colors.
If you drive through the length of the entire island (it's called long for a reason), at the very bottom you can see the skyline of Atlantic City. From the northern tip, on the breakwater, you can see the Barnegat Peninsula across the inlet.
Barnegat Lighthouse is a fun place to be in the evenings. In the summer, it offers night climbs for some spectacular views.
(Tony took these lighthouse photos.)
We saw some divers in the area (this man wobbled his way across the wet rocks only to come within two feet of the diver, hold up his camera, take his picture, and wobble his way back).
It is the best part of the island to watch the sunset, before heading back to your cottage for some grilling and beer on the patio, or, for us, hitting the road (but not before securing a bucket of fried clams for the ride back).