609-492-1666 jersearealty@gmail.com

To help usher in the July 4th holiday weekend, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium announced the official winners of this year’s “Favorite Beaches” poll in a ceremony in Ocean City last Thursday, June 29. While that shore town remains the defending overall champion, Long Beach Island’s own Beach Haven and Ship Bottom did place second and fifth, respectively, in the Ocean County category.

NJSGC’s project, initially called “New Jersey’s Top Ten Beaches,” was started in 2008 to encourage stewardship and pride in – and a little friendly competition between – the state’s most beloved shore towns, and the survey has become a pre-summer occasion for residents and visitors alike.

As the organization explained, “Over the years we’ve come to realize something at NJSGC – New Jerseyans are passionate about visiting all different sand and surf hotspots throughout the state. So, in order to better recognize every part of our wonderful coastline, as of 2016 we picked individual victors from all four coastal counties, while still naming a top overall winner.”

Ocean City nabbed more than half of the total 7,200 votes to take first overall, followed by Brigantine and Margate.

In the Ocean County category, the top five are as follows: Seaside Heights, Beach Haven, Point Pleasant Beach, Island Beach State Park and Ship Bottom. (Poll participants could select Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars, Ship Bottom, Surf City or Brant Beach, a section of Long Beach Township, along with other Ocean County municipalities.)

Voters could also choose their favorite beaches in Atlantic, Cape May and Monmouth counties.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment. Learn more at njseagrant.org. —J.K.-H. TheSandPaper