The New Jersey Shore
The northernmost stretches of the New Jersey shore are not exactly appealing, and visitors bound for the beaches and vacation spots farther south turn a blind eye to the industrial blight. The region has given the world much, from Vaseline (produced in Perth Amboy) to Bruce Springsteen songs (Asbury Park), and MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (Seaside Heights). There are a couple of intriguing Victorian-era resorts like Spring Lake and Avon-by-the-Sea. The attractions increase the farther south you go.
The middle stretch of the Jersey shore is actually the quietest, with the million-acre Pinelands National Reserve (609/894-7300, daily, free) covering the inland area with forest and wetlands, and the coastal Long Beach Island dotted with sleepy little fishing and retirement communities. The biggest sight hereabouts is at the northern tip of the island: Barnegat Lighthouse (609/494-2016, daily during summer, $3 adults), “Old Barney,” whose image appears on personalized New Jersey license plates.