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Local Beach Declared the 6th Best Family Destination in America for MDW

Island Beach State Park, as seen from Barnegat Bay. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Island Beach State Park, as seen from Barnegat Bay. (Photo: Shorebeat)

A beach right here on our humble island has been declared one of the top destinations in America for families to visit on Memorial Day Weekend in a study released this week.

Indeed, Island Beach State Park took one of the top spots in the rankings by MaxTour, a Las Vegas-based tour company specializing in small group excursions. The company recently surveyed 3,000 families, asking them where they would most like to spend Memorial Day with their loved ones if distance were not a factor. The rankings were not limited to beaches – they also included parks and several other unique locations.

Island Beach State Park was sandwiched between Clearwater Beach, Fla. (number five) and the San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Tx. (number seven). Perhaps most importantly to locals, it also squarely beat out two other Jersey spots – Ocean City and Liberty State Park.

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The entrance to Island Beach State Park, South Seaside Park, N.J., June 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The entrance to Island Beach State Park, South Seaside Park, N.J., June 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Clearwater Beach, Fla. (Photo:

Clearwater Beach, Fla. (Photo:

“Memorial Day is a special time for families to come together and honor the brave men and women who have served our country,” says Matthew Meier of MaxTour. “Our survey highlights some of the most cherished destinations where families can create lasting memories while paying tribute to our heroes. Whether it’s enjoying a scenic hike, a day at the beach, or participating in a solemn ceremony, these locations offer something meaningful for everyone.”

The full rankings are listed below:

#1 First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Taking the top spot, this park boasts 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beachfront, perfect for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the scenic beach.

#2 Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
A close second, this area offers over 40 miles of beach, marshes, ponds, and uplands to explore. Families will appreciate the gentle hiking trails, educational programs, and well-equipped beaches with restrooms and changing facilities.

#3 St. Simons Island Beaches, St. Simons Island, Georgia
This beautiful spot features expansive beaches and a historic lighthouse, with numerous access points for a perfect family day by the sea.

#4 Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
A profound place of national remembrance, this cemetery is significant for Memorial Day observances, featuring ceremonies and the iconic Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

#5 Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Florida
In fifth place overall, known for its broad, sandy shores and calm waters, Clearwater Beach offers a relaxed beach day with accessible amenities such as showers, restrooms, and eateries.

#6 Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, New Jersey
Island Beach State Park provides a less developed beach experience with over 10 miles of sandy beaches surrounded by natural dunes and maritime forests.

#7 San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, Texas
The River Walk features peaceful stretches ideal for family picnics or walks along the banks of the San Antonio River.

#8 Ocean City Boardwalk, Ocean City, New Jersey
Ocean City Boardwalk, in 8th place, is perfect for strolling, dining, and entertainment by the beach, featuring attractions like arcades and a small amusement park.

#9 Outer Banks Beaches, North Carolina
Known for their wide sandy shores and beauty, these beaches are ideal for beachcombing, kite flying, or simply relaxing by the sea.

#10 Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey
Rounding out the top 10, this park offers stunning views of iconic landmarks and extensive amenities for picnicking, playing, or enjoying a leisurely walk along the waterfront.

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