For too long, New Jersey has been the victim of many jokes, and has a bad reputation of being sleazy due to reality shows such as "Jersey Shore," but the truth of the matter is that New Jersey has beautiful beaches and is an excellent Family Vacation destination. Offering 130 miles of coastline, and shore towns for every taste and budget, New Jersey is "shore" to please!

Located between New York and Philadelphia the Jersey shore is possibly the best kept secret vacation spot in the nation. So put on some Springsteen or Bon Jovi on the radio and head down the shore!

Peaceful and quiet beach towns

Towns such as Avon, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Bay Head, and Cape May all come to mind when looking for peaceful towns on the Jersey shore. All are family friendly and lack many of the "honky-tonk" attractions that can attract a more rowdy crowd. Hotels are hard to find, but, Bed And Breakfast establishments can be found in these towns, and daily or weekly beach badges are more expensive. Beach regulations regarding eating and drinking are far more strict than other towns on the Jersey shore (in turn helping keep out the riff-raff that might not appeal to those seeking a more peaceful vacation).

Family fun towns

For those seeking a bit more activity, and yet still remain family friendly, will want to check out towns such as Long Branch, Belmar, Point Pleasant Beach, Beach Haven, Ocean City, and Wildwood Crest.

These towns offer activities such as bike rentals, some offer amusements and rides on their boardwalks. Most have some restaurants (ranging from stands to sit-down restaurants), and, most have more liberal rules and regulations regarding eating and drinking on the beach. Additionally, most of the towns in this category offer both hotels and bed and breakfast options, however, be forewarned that parking can be challenging in summer months (Be prepared to pay a premium for beach-front parking spaces).

Fun in the sun

If you're looking for the "Jersey Shore" experience then towns such as Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, and Wildwood will be most appealing to you. Keep in mind, no town allows alcohol on the beach (and, if you are caught with it, the fines can be very hefty), but these towns are far more liberal about music, playing volleyball, and other beach-related games.

A handful of towns allow bar-b-ques (but regulations are tight and it is highly recommended to contact the town to find out exactly what is allowed and rules that must be followed -- otherwise, you might find yourself with a citation and large fine). These towns also feature eating and drinking establishments on their boardwalks, and, games and amusements are plentiful -- offering something for nearly everyone. Hotels, as well as bed and breakfast establishments, are plentiful in these towns but do not attempt to snag one without a reservation. Most hotels are booked solid for the summer months and cancellations are rare.