Doing your homework on access to beaches

BeachesThe Ocean County hamlet of Mantoloking offers a gem of a public beach. Just don’t expect a lifeguard. Or a shower. Or a changing room. Or much parking.

Don’t bring a picnic lunch; food is forbidden. You may drink, but drink cautiously. The nearest restrooms are at borough hall, and on weekends and holidays, the doors close at 2 p.m.

A beach badge runs an eminently reasonable 12 bucks for the season, but cheaper daily passes are not available, so unwary once-in-a-whilers could be in for a bit of sticker shock.

Those are some of the tidbits culled from the New Jersey Beach Guide, a compendium of useful information released by the state Department of the Public Advocate yesterday, the eve of the July Fourth holiday weekend.

The 41-page report charts costs, parking availability and what the authors consider benchmark amenities: lifeguards, bathrooms, showers and changing rooms.

All vary widely in the 48 beach communities along the Jersey Shore, offering different experiences and, in the view of department lawyers, different levels of public access.

“A day at the beach involves a little homework now,” said Brian Weeks, a deputy public advocate who oversees beach access issues in the department. “You have to do your research.”

Read the story at (July 4, 2008)

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