Printfresh Travel Guide: Jersey Shore - Brigantine, NJ
My husband and I first discovered Brigantine, New Jersey in 2016 and loved how quiet it was compared to other Jersey Shore towns and how close it was to Philadelphia (almost exactly one hour!). We purchased a home there the following year, and have enjoyed both summers and winters in Brigantine as we’ve gone from a carefree couple to a growing family of (almost!) four (plus our rowdy Labradoodle.)
We were drawn to the wide, sparsely populated beaches, the large areas of nature preserve, the drive-on beaches and the fact that there are a few areas in Brigantine where dogs are allowed on the beach (seasonally). Just outside of Atlantic City, Brigantine is almost like a suburb of that city, with many more full-time residents than other Jersey Shore towns. What it lacks in a boardwalk or gourmet restaurants, Brigantine makes up for with natural beauty and far less bustle than many other shore towns. Here are some of our favorite spots to check out whether you’re spending a weekend or longer in this hidden gem at the Jersey Shore.
Where to Eat in Brigantine
Soul Berri: smoothies and açaí bowls served from a renovated shipping container, surrounded by gorgeous flower planters (warning: expect a loooong line.)
Ernest & Son Meat Market: A really great deli serving sandwiches and deli sides to go, as well as a great place to pick up grilling supplies. It was also featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives… if that’s your thing.
Aversa’s Bakery: A beloved Italian bakery with a beautiful history. A great place to stock up on all sorts of Italian specialties (sweet & savory).
Yanni’s Cafe: Delicious cafe serving breakfast and lunch with both indoor and covered outdoor seating options. Favorites include anything Greek (the owners are Greek), smoothies and their house-made bagels and cream cheese (available by the dozen to go as well!)
Richman’s: A classic ice cream stand that’s been around since 1894. Go for the burgers and ice cream and enjoy at small tables with umbrellas in their parking lot.
The Crab Shack: A seafood shack that specializes in fresh, wild-caught seafood that’s not farm raised and never frozen. While their menu items can be hit or miss, it’s a great place for picking up seafood to cook at home (especially their poached shrimp cocktail!) If you eat in, they have an adorable outdoor seating area with picnic tables & umbrellas (tip: order as locally as you can! Flounder, striped bass and shellfish are generally locally caught).
Brigantine Bistro: while it’s not anything particularly special, the food is always solid. Tip - order off their Mexican menu! They have a Mexican family cooking in the kitchen that makes surprisingly delicious enchiladas, fish tacos, empanadas and more.
Atlantic City Dining: If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, Atlantic City is a good option (it’s a 5-10 minute drive). A few stand-outs include Docks, Amada, Olon, Knife & Fork Inn (a former brothel!), Chef Vola’s and Pancho’s Tacos (very authentic street tacos).
What to do in Brigantine
The Beaches! There are different beaches with different vibes. The Jetty Beach is a great place to watch surfers, The Cove is a drive-on beach filled with rowdy day-drinkers, the main drag of Brigantine Beach is quiet, vast and very family-friendly, and the North End Beach is a tranquil area with a vast wildlife refuge, plenty of bird life & serene tidal pools (TIP: if you’re going to the North End between June-August, beware of the Greenhead biting flies. They are plentiful during the hot season!)
The Brigantine Farmers Market: this is what we look forward to every single Saturday morning from Memorial Day-Labor Day. It’s a large market to wander through, but be sure not to miss Seatox Lemonade, the hot mini donuts truck, Goji Juice and Clam Daddys for fresh, local clams.
Surfing Lessons at Primal Surf: Brigantine is actually listed in the Genius Book of World Records as the windiest place in the US! Which you can imagine, breeds quite a surf culture.
Laguna Bar & Grill: You come here for the amazing atmosphere and the live music (not the food and drink!) Every summer, the owner plants tons of full-size palm trees, throws a bunch of colorful adirondack chairs in the sand and hosts live music every weekend. It’s (surprisingly) the only place on the island that is beachside and the view is amazing. Keep it VERY simple with what you order though - stick to the pizza, chicken sandwich and a beer or glass of white wine.
Shark Park: a large playground great for taking the kids somewhere to get out their energy if they’re bored with the beach.
Brigantine Mini Golf: a VERY small mini golf course, without many frills. (265 42nd Street)
Fishing: visit Riptide Bait & Tackle for fishing supplies.
Steel Pier: take a drive over to the Atlantic City boardwalk for rides, carnival games and plenty of funnel cake. During the summer season, there is usually a small bar at the end of the pier.
Rainy Day Activities: Brigantine Library, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Atlantic City Aquarium, or simply drive onto the beach and watch the wild waves (make sure you have four-wheel drive!!)
Where to Shop in Brigantine
The Wine Shop at Cellar 32: a wide selection of high quality wine bottles inside a (mediocre) restaurant.
Casale Al Mare: a cute little Italian speciality shop that sells imported pastas, antipasto, cheese and more. Enjoy an espresso drink at one of their patio tables.
The Sand Dollar: classic knick-knacky beach shop (if it’s the end of the season look for deep discounts on beach chairs, sandals and more.)