Belmar: While not a major tourist destination on the shore, I am mentioning it because it's the eastiest point to get to from Trenton. Just head due east Rt. 195. It has a nice boardwalk.
Sandy Hook: Sandy Hook is a national seashore. It has a nature trails and center, beaches, and historic lighthouses. It boasts the oldest lighthouse in the United States. Twin Lights sits on an elevated highland and provides nice views of Sandy Hook and New York City.
Asbury Park and Ocean Grove: Sitting next to each other, these two towns provide an almost opposite energy. Asbury Park was a major tourist destination in the era before planes made travelling to exotic locations easier. It boasted grand hotels, promenades, amusements, and a convention center. However in the 1960s it went into decay and most of its attractions deteriorated. Starting with Bruce Springsteen launching his career here, Asbury Park is going through a renaissance. From lively night clubs, and restaurants, and a boardwalk to expensive high rise condos, it is becomming a preferred destination.
Ocean Grove retains an old world charm. It has many quaint Victorian houses and neighborhoods. A large church meeting hall surrounded by a tent city brings back the days when old time camp meetings dominated this religious town. Ocean Grove was the one of the last places in New Jersey to eliminate Blue Laws (Laws requiring businesses to close on Sundays). Ocean Grove also has a nice boardwalk and wide sandy beach.
Point Pleasant: This shore location has a boardwalk amusement area and an aquarium. It is a bit more family oriented than Seaside Heights.
Spring Lake: For those wanting a quieter location, Spring Lake offers that. It has many mansions and a nice downtown.
Seaside Heights: Probably the place best known for its energy. With a boardwalk, clubs, and amusements, it attracts a large crowd of young people looking to enjoy a night out or a day at the beach. It was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and a subsequent boardwalk fire, but is well on the road to recovery. The MTV hit, "The Jersey Shore" is filmed here.
Island Beach State Park: A long barrier island of mostly nature. You can swim in the ocean or Barnaget Bay.
Long Beach Island: Another more family oriented location for heading to the beach is Long Beach Island. Beach Haven has several restaurants, souvenir shops, and a few amusements. There is a tall picturesque lighthouse on the north side of the island.
Atlantic City: Probably the most well known place on the Jersey shore. A hundred years ago, this would have been the top resort area on the east coast. Casinos have brought some life back to Atlantic City. Today it is a vibrant place of casinos, hotels, and shopping outlets, Top entertainers regularly perform here. Steel Pier is a well-known icon containing shops.
Ocean City: Another popular coastal location with shops, amusements and beaches.
Wildwood: Left back in history, its iconic Doo-Wop architecture is reminiscent of another time. It is a fun place for children with lots of shops, amusements, a boardwalk, and motels.
Cape May: Cape May's Victorian gingerbread architecture makes it the most charming town on the Jersey coast. Nearby are nature areas to bird watch and hike, a zoo, a historic village, and a lighthouse. It's a popular vacation area. Did you know that Cape May is on the same longitude as Washington, D.C.?