Home Sweet Hometown

by Jamie Schultz

Home Sweet Hometown

Home Sweet Hometown: Manasquan

by Jamie Schultz

The Jersey Shore is known for its beaches and iconic boardwalks, where you can fill up on a sausage-and-peppers sandwich and a cone of orange cream frozen custard, play a few rounds of skee ball and take in the sunshine as you walk the boards.

Each beach along the Jersey coast has a personality all its own, and Manasquan’s is calm, quaint and kind. It’s no wonder it’s called the Treasure of the Jersey Shore.

It’s a priceless seaside town that runs a mere 2.5 square miles in total. Manasquan's mile-long oceanfront is just north of the bustling Point Pleasant Beach—you can find it by taking Exit 98 off the Parkway. It’s the ideal spot to rent a bungalow for the week, hop on a beach cruiser and ride around town, soaking up the coastal beauty. Here, there’s a small-town vibe, equipped with friendly people, local art and plenty to see and eat.

Next time you’re heading down the shore, put these Manasquan must-sees on your list.

Hit the Beach

Come summertime, the Manasquan beach is packed—one sandy mile lined with sunbathers. Once Labor Day weekend comes to an end, the town becomes a little quieter, as locals are the main people left. You’ll likely see rows of bright umbrellas, picturesque coastal dunes and even surfers. Manasquan’s Inlet Beach is one of the finest New Jersey beaches for surfers, so they flock there.   Be sure to pack your sunscreen and camera to capture the bustling beaches.

Photo credit: Harpoon Willy’s Tavern

Dine at the local dives

For a taste of what the locals have been eating since the 1960’s, head to Squan Tavern, 15 Broad St., for pizza, pasta and meatballs. The place has been serving original Italian recipes since 1964.

For a meal with a view, check out Harpoon Willy’s Tavern and Waterfront Restaurant, 2655 River Road. You can slurp down fresh oysters, local crab, lobsters or steak near the fireplace while sipping a cold drink and taking in the view of the Manasquan River.

In the mood for simple, beach fare? Check out Surf Taco, 121 Parker Ave. It’s a fast-and–tasty staple in town. New Jerseyans seem to love the fish tacos and the shrimp mango tacos.

Bike the path

Manasquan has a 5 1/2 –mile long bike path starting downtown, meandering through the woods and ending in Allaire State Park. It’s a great way to get a feel for the quieter parts of town. You’ll avoid busy roads as you ride past farm land, golf courses and playgrounds.

Watch for whales

Marine mammal sightings off the coast of Manasquan are common, especially humpback whales. The large animals usually trek north passing the New Jersey coastline from March through the summer months. Most sea spectators catch a glimpse of the whales from the shore, so while you’re staring out beachside, keep you peepers popped.

Photo Credit: Jesse Gallery

Walk the strip

Manasquan’s main street is lined with local shops. From handmade, local crafts at Jesse Gallery to unique attire at Rare Cargo, you can get a true taste of town by walking the strip and window shopping. If you happen to be in town long enough to see some theater, stop by the Algonquin Arts Theatre. It is a historic 540-seat theatre, built in 1938 as a movie house but converted to a professional live performance space in May 1994—a beautiful part of local history.

Fish (or Surf) the Manasquan inlet 

Head to the undeveloped 55 acre-section of the Manasquan Inlet to fish—Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area (391 Third Ave.) Put your bait on the line and breathe in the fresh coastal air. Locals love the inlet for fishing, sunbathing, walking on the beach and even surfing. Turns out the inlet’s jetty gives surfers perfectly corralled and enlarged waves.

Rent a beach house (or build your own)

Bungalows began to line the oceanfront as people seeking the healthy sea air found the borough a wonderful place for relaxing, fishing and sea-bathing. By the 1920s in Manasquan, a mix of Victorian homes, seashore cottages, and beach shacks dotted the shoreline. More recently the borough has become a year-round community for many, which means a lot more single-family abodes along the shore.  While in ‘Squan, peek down the tree-lined street and gaze at the beautiful historic homes.  If you get the itch, you can always look into building your dream vacation home, or even a permanent spot to hang your sunhat.

Photo courtesy of CMM Custom Homes.

Photo courtesy of CMM Custom Homes.

Talk to our friends at CMM Custom Homes to learn more about building your dream home! Many of their homes are now sided with soft-hued HardiePlank® lap siding. Turns out, fiber cement siding helps resist the impact of windblown debris and heavy winds, which is especially important in a hurricane area like the Jersey shore, and Hardie® siding can help you feel protected. Check out this video of what homeowners, contractors and architects have to say about Super Storm Sandy and the durable qualities of James Hardie siding.

Peep the Parks

Parkland has always been important in the Manasquan community. Bike paths, wildlife sanctuaries, and children’s play areas are mainstays in the area. Spend some time in Allaire State Park, where the Manasquan River winds and attracts canoeists, hikers and mountain bikers. While in the state park, take in some local history—there’s a historic 19th-century ironmaking town and antique steam trains.