City Guide: Asbury Park, New Jersey

The Hamptons, Miami, Turks and Caicos; beach spots are destination spots for a reason. If you can't relax around sand, surf, and sun, then where can you relax? For your next relaxing beach trip, we think you should consider Asbury Park, in good old New Jersey. While you may not think of New Jersey as particularly exotic, Asbury Park is quickly becoming a vibrant and exciting town with trip-worthy food, shopping, and a boardwalk that's almost as fun as being at the beach itself. Read on for our favorite spots at your next vacation destination!

CARDINALS 513 BANGS AVE

The worst thing about this downtown spot is that it's only open from 8am-3pm. The best part about it is that in those seven hours they serve the best breakfast, brunch, and lunch in Asbury Park. Expect a fresh contemporary approach to classic dishes like the Gravlax, an everything bagel with horseradish-beet cream cheese, house cured salmon, capers, and herbs, and the vegan Hen of The Woods Sandwich with fried maitake mushrooms, cashew remoulade, lettuce, and house pickles served on a baguette. Just don't expect a mimosa with your breakfast burrito; this spot is booze-free.

GLIDE SURF CO 520 BANGS AVE

Every beach town needs one really cool surf shop and Glide is Asbury Park's. Even if you don't surf, you're going to want to stop by this shop. Pick up surfboards, men's and women's apparel and swimwear, apothecary items from brands like Goldie's and Alls Good, books and surf mags, and beach towels and blanket. Every Wednesday, stop by for Donation Yoga, a yoga class that donates class fees to a charity of the teacher's choice.

MOGO 632 COOKMAN AVE & 850 OCEAN AVE

This is one of those spots that you're going to wish you could still go to when you're back home. Mogo serves Korean fusion tacos that are packed with flavor and just what you want while sun-bathing at the beach. You can't go wrong with this menu: get the fish, the shrimp, the chicken, the beef, the tofu- you won't be disappointed. With two locations, one on the boardwalk and one downtown, don't be surprised if you end up here multiple times on your trip. 

ANTIQUE EMPORIUM 646 COOKMAN AVE

If you're a fan of looking for treasures in thrift shops, then this place is died-and-gone-to-heaven material. At Antique Emporium you can peruse 20,000 square feet of glasses, plates, figurines, jewelry, records, toys, furniture, and other knick-knacks from past decades. The owners have a critical eye and definitely know exactly how valuable what they're selling is, so don't expect any crazy deals, but do expect to walk away with something super special. This is the best possible rainy beach day spot we can think of. 

SWEET JOEY'S 523 BANGS AVE AND 1300 OCEAN AVE

Both this spot in town and at the boardwalk share a very well curated selection of vintage pieces sprinkled in between VLAD, the in-house line of denim. You can also meet with Vlad himself to get yourself fitted for a completely custom pair of jeans, or bring in your fave denim pieces for repairs and alterations. While not necessarily a beach specific spot, it's too good a place to miss when you're visiting Asbury Park.

BETTY'S ICEBOX 1300 OCEAN AVE

Located in the Grand Arcade at Convention Hall on the boardwalk, this cold-treat shop is a must on hot summer days. Treat yourself to a popsicle or one of their many flavors of shaved ice to stay cool and hydrated, or choose from their selection of artisanal candies for a sugar rush.

STORE HOUSE AND THE MARKET 1300 OCEAN AVE

Both owned by the forward-thinking developers behind the Asbury Park boardwalk, these are the places to stop for all your beach and beach adjacent needs. Here you can pick up post beach hair products from Alder New York, beach throws fromMINNA, and stock up on all the cute touches like Group Partner's tanline vases for your beach house (or regular house that you want to make feel more beachy).

THE BEACH BAR 1300 OCEAN AVE

Though the cocktails are less than impressive (we recommend sticking with a beer), the fact that it's a bar situated right on the beach makes it worth a visit. Located on the side of the Grand Arcade at Convention Hall on the boardwalk, and lined with benches and seats on a balcony directly on the water, this is the best place to enjoy a day-drink.

THE ASBURY HOTEL 210 5TH AVE

For those moments when you're not working on your tan (or huddling under an umbrella- whichever!), The Asbury Hotel is where you want your home base. If you need a break from the beach, you can lounge with a drink by the outdoor pool, eat a panini in the Lobby Bar while perusing the amble record, cd, and tape collection, or curl up with a coffee in the sun drenched lobby with some complimentary board games. When it gets dark, it's worth heading up to the rooftop for a drink at Salvation, which provides glorious views of all of Asbury Park.

PORTA 911 KINGSLEY ST

You haven't been to Jersey if you haven't had a classic red sauce Italian meal. Luckily for you, Asbury Park's Porta has plenty of red sauce to offer. Specializing in Neapolitan pizza and pastas this is the spot for a hearty Italian meal. Set in what looks like a converted garage, this spot is good for big groups and big drinking. There's an extensive beer, wine, and cocktail menu guaranteeing that everyone will find their perfect drink. Unfortunately, they don't take reservations, so if you're part of a big group, call ahead and they will try to accommodate you.   

TALULA'S 550 COOKMAN AVE #108

Talula's does the now ubiquitous Neapolitan style pizza, but not like anything you've had before. The menu features many vegan and vegetarian options, and pies that are far from ordinary, like the Zoey Bechamel made with house mozzarella, bechamel sauce, new potatoes, bacon and fresh oregano. If you're not in the mood for pizza, don't worry, there's plenty of sandwiches served on house-made bread, salads, and bowls to enjoy.