Last season’s “bring your boat to the beach” story spotlighted Fire Island. This season, the beach cruising gets better and easier on the New Jersey shore.
Cruising to the Beach
Cruising to the northern New Jersey shore is a must-do for boaters in the region. It is an easy beach-worthy, culturally entertaining and tasty week away. For me in Glen Cove, on Long Island’s north shore, it took 3 hours at 18 knots. Half of it was through the New York City waterways making it a scenic trip viewing the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Boating in so much protected water makes this a good destination for the many new captains out there.
Once under the Verrazano Bridge, you set a course a few degrees to the west of Sandy Hook which is about eight miles. Once near Highlands, NJ carefully follow the red and green markers and watch your wake when you near the narrow channel. (If you remember “right-red-return” and you will be fine).
The ride from the channel entrance at Highlands to the Atlantis Yacht Club in Monmouth Beach will take about 40 minutes at a no-wake speed. After entering the channel look for Bahr Landing for easy fuel on your starboard. I like this place because of all the fenders they have in place when pulling up.
Coming south in the channel, there are two bridges.
The second bridge at Sea Bright has an average clearance of about 15 feet. From Monday to Thursday the bridge opens on demand by hailing them on channel 13. They can tell you what they estimate the clearance is at the time you are there. Friday to Sunday the bridge is opened hourly. Tidal changes make the water swift here so pay attention.
Atlantis Yacht Club at Monmouth Beach
For our first four nights on the New Jersey shore, we docked at the Atlantis Yacht Club (http://www.atlantisyachtclub.org). This is a very well maintained and very friendly club that is only a five-minute walk to the beach. Calling ahead we were met by their steward Scott and a member named Vito who helped us tie down to their fixed dock and floating Pilemate’s.
The Atlantis Yacht Club is one of the nicest yacht clubs – marinas we have docked at. The club has a nice pool, complimentary ice, coffee and tea all day. There are showers and a laundry room. It is also one of the cleanest marinas we have been to. On weekends the club offers a complimentary continental breakfast and dessert Sunday evenings. This place is a class act and we hope to be back.
After docking on this very hot day, it was off to the pool. During the week the club is very quiet and we had the pool to ourselves on the days we walked back from the beach early.
Boat to Beach in Five Minutes
What I liked about being in this area of Monmouth Beach was that we had about a hundred people scattered around in the 1000 yards around us. This is because parking is extremely limited on side streets so people outside the area do not drive here. When coming to the beach from the club, bring everything you need on a hand cart because there are no services on the sand.
The location of Atlantis Yacht Club is very good for all things boaters need. Just a 10-minute walk from the dock is what I would call a two-block commerce area. I recommend the Kitchen Witch (https://mykitchenwitch.com/) for their delicious breakfasts and good service.
This place offers both outdoor and indoor seating with a cute witches theme. Breakfasts are share-worthy. There are also fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and good coffee.
On the next block is a small supermarket that will cover you for the basics as well as wines and liquor. Near it is Daisy Chocolates (https://daisychocolates.com/). Their dipped pretzels, graham cookies and seasonal fruit are calorie-worthy. For dinner, we liked MJ’s Restaurant. Their chicken Parmigianino was about as perfect as my favorite place on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The pecan-crusted salmon was moist on the inside with a nice sauce on it. The pizza here looked really good also. This is a BYO, so bring your favorite onboard wine with you.
Near to Monmouth Beach
Monmouth Beach is located in between Sea Bright and Long Branch. For a pre-breakfast walk, go 40 minutes north to Sea Bright. Take notice of some of the impressive homes on the way. In town there are few nice places for breakfast.
For dinner there are plenty of places to choose from on all different tastes and budgets. If you don’t want to walk here, it is a 10-minute bicycle ride or about a $12 Uber or Lyft charge.
Pier Village (https://piervillage.com) in Long Branch is a popular place. There are several shops, a carousel and places to dine. Food selection goes from casual counter service to fine dining. In the mix are trendy or beach-type clothing stores and places for ice cream. We took a Lyft for $13 on a Thursday night to have dinner and hear a good band playing for free on the center stage.
Culture and a Hotel Setting in Red Bank
Part two of Jersey shore cruising took us to the historic town of Red Bank on the Navesink River. To cruise here, head north up the channel passing the bridge at Sea Bright. Not far from the bridge you need to take care turning to port for the Navesink River. Do not take any shortcuts here. Also, tide changes can be strong here and it is advised if you have a draft of four feet to approach the area within two hours of high tide due to shifting sand bars.
Cruising down the Navesink River, you view mansions that make the ones on the north shore of Long Island look medium in size. The Navesink River, really a wide inlet, takes you to the town. Pay attention to the markers as boaters have to hug the south side to get to Red Bank.
Molly Pitcher Inn and Marina
The Molly Pitcher Inn (https://themollypitcher.com ) is a boutique hotel on the water, established in 1928. Legend has it that Molly Pitcher was a nickname for Mary Ludwig. Molly Pitcher was the name given by the colonial soldiers because she is said to have carried water (amongst other duties) to them during the battle of Monmouth, near Red Bank, on June 28th, 1778.
During the battle, she took over for her husband at a cannon station when he was wounded. A first handwritten account by a soldier found in the 1950s says during the battle, a cannonball passed between her legs as she was stretching to get a cartridge taking out only the bottom of her dress.
The 72 slip marina, behind the hotel, takes in ten transients. Boaters here have full use of the pool, gym and can book spa appointments post-pandemic. After hailing the marina on channel nine, dock master Tony and his dock hand could not have been quicker to respond. They guided us in and tied us up quickly. Tony then gave us an overview of the hotel, a town map and helpful tips on Red Bank. Following check-in, we took advantage of their nice pool to cool down. In meeting other boaters at the pool, I understand why some return annually.
Red Bank ticks all the boxes for boaters and comes alive in the summer.
The two main commerce streets are Broad and Monmouth. Here you will find boutiques, galleries, restaurants, theaters, pubs, cheese and chocolate shops, bakeries and a microbrew. At the end of Broad is the high-end department store Garmany and Tiffany & Co.
Part of Broad Street becomes a lively pedestrian-only way. Here restaurants spill into the street with plenty of people watching going on. On Saturday, different music acts are stationed on the streets and by Riverside Gardens Park giving the place a bit of a festive atmosphere.
Places we enjoyed around town included Teak for Asian Fusion, Catch 19th for meat and seafood, the Dublin House for a pub grub, Jamain’s and Birravino for music. Antoinette Boulangerie is the place for fine pastries and baguettes. If you decide to BBQ on board, Monmouth Meats is a quality, throwback butcher. For provisioning try the Wawa. Don’t miss the farmers’ market every Sunday from 9 AM to 2 PM. Everything listed above is no more than a 15 minute from the dock.
On the cultural side, there are two big venues for entertainment in Red Bank. This includes the Count Basie Center for the Arts (https://thebasie.org/). Their venue includes the Vogel, Concerts on the Green and the Basie Center Cinemas. The Two Rivers Theater (https://tworivertheater.org/) around the weekends
For information on Red Bank click https://www.redbank.org/ and https://www.visitredbank.com.
Captain Tab Hauser writes and photographs about travel and boating worldwide. He currently runs www.GlenCoveCruises.com charters out of Glen Cove. You can find some of his cruising stories by web searching “Tab Hauser Boating” or email questions on cruising to firstname.lastname@example.org.