Island Beach State Park
This is Hike #43 ("Island Beach State Park") in the book 50 Hikes in New Jersey (3rd edition). We took the day off to head south to a hike that's been on our list for some time. The weather forecast was tricky, with one online source predicting a 30% chance of rain between 9 AM and 12 PM and another predicting 55% during the same time. Well, neither was correct. For the most part, it was just very windy, but when there was precipitation, it wasn't rain ... it was very small stinging hail!

The wind whipping from the west seemed to enjoy delivering it to us! During the two hour hike it only hailed for about twenty minutes total, five minutes at the very beginning (hitting us on our right side) and about fifteen unrelenting minutes when we were on the southern tip. At this point the described hike headed west directly into the windy hail. We waited for the horizontal hail to cease for a good 10 minutes (we wanted to get a few good shots of the lighthouse, which required shooting southwest). We finally got too cold waiting, and the sight of the two of us walking west backwards, to get a closer view of Barney, must have been a site behold. Weatherwise it was quite a memorable hike, and because of this (not in spite of it) this was one of my favorites of the year.

We plan on returning one day (when it's not hailing). The southern tip is such a wonderfully beautiful spot. Also, there are several smaller nature trail hikes we want to do. We were going to do a few of them today but when we got back to the car it started raining hard. Total distance traveled was 3.5 miles in mostly soft beach sand in just under 2 hours.

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Access path 23, the southern-most

Dune vegetation

Rip currents suck


Relatively empty beach

Fishing the lazy way

First glimpse of Barney


Scavenging seagulls

Seagull prints

Heading south


[Photo by Laura]

It's windy!

Choppy surf

Foot prints


Beautiful dunes

Fishing boats


Tiny plover

Laura and the tiny plover

He was so cute!

Birds chasing fishing boat


Gorgeous stormy sky

Burnt wood on beach

Hungry seagulls

Barney over the dunes

Barnegut Bay jetty



Barney and the dunes

Fishing on the jetty

Almost at the southern tip

Fishing in the wind

On land and on sea

Full view of Barney

Dunes on the tip


View of Barney across the inlet

Interpretive signs

Rocks of the jetty looking east

Fishing at the point

Taking previous pic [photo by Laura]

Shivering gulls

Choppy water!

Vegetation on the tip

Laura bombarded by hail

Gorgeous colors

Close-up of Barney

Dunes are protected

Gorgeous dunes

Sea plant?

Heading back to car

House over the dune

Back at trail head

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