Island Beach State Park is one accessible beach option in New Jersey, which has much more than just beaches. It is located on a barrier island along the Jersey shore in Ocean County, just south of Seaside Park (Exit 82 on the Garden State Parkway). The park has a conservation zone that spans thousands of acres, which provides protection for many species of waterfowl, ospreys, falcons, foxes, and many other animals and plants in this special ecosystem. It spans 10 miles between Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. As a state park, the entrance fee is waived for the disabled or senior citizens who have a pass. The application form for the pass can be downloaded online and mailed to the NJ State Park Service in Trenton.
The park contains swimming beaches and trails, as well as a designated bicycle path along the main road. The swimming beaches are located towards the middle of the island and have access ramps down to the sand. Picnicking is popular on the beach. The pavilion has a food stand, but you can also bring in your own food. The park encourages a carry-in/carry-out policy and provides bags for trash.
There are a few (at least 2-3) beach wheelchairs for the sand available for free from each First Aid station at the pavilion. Usually, they are available starting around 10 AM until 5 PM. You can store your own wheelchair at the station and get it back at the end of the day when you return the beach wheelchair. Depending on the demand, you may have to share beach wheelchairs with others who need to get to and from the beach.
The pavilions at the beaches have accessible restrooms, a roll-in shower, an accessible changing stall, and an outdoor shower area to rinse off. The roll-in shower stall is not quite wide enough for the beach wheelchair, and there is no bench. The outside shower area is the next best option for a quick rinse-off after swimming. Besides the beach, there is a wheelchair accessible boardwalk, called the Fisherman’s Walkway, that stretches across the island and provides a great view of the different habitats of the barrier island.
There are a few other things to do besides swimming and viewing the various habitats in the park. Surf fishing (allowed with a permit) can be done from the beach wheelchair. The pavilion also has a display area that shows the different types of marine life and plants you may encounter. The park also has an Interpretive Center which provides further information on the many varieties of plants found on the barrier island. After spending the day exploring Island Beach State Park, nearby Seaside Heights is popular for its boardwalk activities.
The Island Beach State Park Office is (732) 793-0506
State Park Pass Application Info