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Coastal Access Toolkit
There are multiple ways coastal access challenges can be addressed. More...

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Common Law & Statutes
For information about land ownership and More...

New Jersey Coastal Access Survey

To help determine the perception and needs for public access to New Jersey’s beaches, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium conducted a survey of beach users from May to September, 2010. The survey measured public opinion about a variety of public access issues including the adequacy of public access points, accessibility and available amenities, the appropriateness of fees, reasons for using public access and determining the demographics of beach users. Approximately 1,600 surveys were collected in person and online from over fifty beaches. 1,000 people were surveyed at Sandy Hook, Keansburg, Sea Bright, Belmar, Berkeley Island (Barnegat Bay), Island Beach, Surf City, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Avalon and Wildwood. The online survey collected 600 responses related to those and forty additional beaches.

Summary of Results:

Demographics of Beach Users

  • Age Group: 40% of the respondents were 40-60 years old; 25% were 25-40 years old
  • Residency: 32% of the respondents were local residents; 29% were day trip visitors from NJ
  • 75% of respondents were unaware or unsure about the Public Trust Doctrine

Using Public Access Areas

  • Most respondents visit the beach during the summer season, with about 33% visiting more than 15 times between Memorial Day and Labor Day
  • Almost 75% of respondents indicated that they go to the beach to swim, while sunbathing, walking and fishing were also popular choices

Adequacy of Public Access Points, Accessibility and Available Amenities

  • General safety and lifeguards were both rated as “Above Average”
  • Public access signs, pathways to the beach, parking fees and beach fees were rated as “Average”
  • About 30% of users rated parking availability and restroom availability as “Below Average”

Appropriateness of Beach Fees

  • Respondents purchased seasonal badges, daily badges and no badges (free beach) about equally
  • Beach badge fees influenced which beach 51% of respondents visited
  • Beach badge fees did not affect when 56% of respondents went to the beach
In addition to the question responses, over 200 comments were received on public access issues and beach specific problems. If you would like to comment on public access at your beach, contact us.