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This Jersey Shore Destination Is a Dupe for The Hamptons — and It's Less Than 2 Hours From NYC

This Jersey Shore Destination Is a Dupe for The Hamptons — and It’s Less Than 2 Hours From NYC

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Destination dupes are one of the biggest travel trends of the year. And it makes sense, right? Places get popular for a reason and then the crowds and costs start to put off some travelers. So what’s a vacationer to do when an old favorite starts to get packed and pricey? Look for a worthy alternative.

The Hamptons has long been a flocked-to-summer hotspot. But the limited accommodations (unless you’re a multi-million or someone with generational wealth, owning a house is just out of the question) and the throngs of New Yorkers who decamp out East each weekend when the weather warms make planning a trip in June, July, and August a bit more difficult.

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Luckily, it’s far from the only beach lover’s paradise within proximity of the Big Apple. Looking for somewhere new to spend a few days that’s all about sun, sand, and surf? Load up the car and drive down the Garden State Parkway to Long Beach Island, or LBI to locals.

Located along the Atlantic coast of New Jersey, the barrier island boasts 18 miles of beaches. That means endless opportunities to catch some rays, build sandcastles, play paddle ball, and beat the heat with a refreshing dip in the ocean. As with so many coastal enclaves — the Hamptons included — surfing, fishing, and boating are beloved summertime activities.

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In the north of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Light feels like a tell-tale summer colony with nice houses and a sleepy appeal. The less-than-one-square-mile borough comprises a fishing port and a scenic park with trails, some of the last remaining maritime forest in the area, and a classic red-and-white striped lighthouse affectionately referred to as “Old Barney.”

The nearby towns of Surf City, North Beach, and Harvey Cedar are also known for having a relaxed, residential feel with a handful of ice cream shops, stores, and cafes along Long Beach Boulevard. The Loveladies neighborhood is home to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences.

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If you want to be in the heart of the action, venture south to Beach Haven. Families will have a blast riding the carousel and sharing funnel cake at Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Another spot that’s a hit for fun-loving travelers of all ages, Thundering Surf Water Park features water slides, a lazy river, a flow rider, and putting greens. Bay Village supplies shops to stock up on boards and wetsuits as well as swimsuits, sunscreen, and souvenir T-shirts. Favored seafood spots include Black Whale Bar & Fish House — especially for happy hour — and Country Kettle Chowda. Got a sweet tooth? It’s hard to pass up the homemade fudge.

Ship Bottom is another buzzy base with plenty to keep travelers entertained — from mini golf and arcades to surf shops and ice cream parlors — and a sandy shoreline to stretch out. Don’t leave Long Beach Island without trying the jumbo lump crab cakes from Ship Bottom Seafood.

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