It’s summer and life is sandy. During the warmer months, as is Philadelphia tradition, many locals head to the beach, better known as down the shore, to sunbathe, enjoy a delicious fudge on the boardwalk, and breathe in the salty air. . Luckily for you, there are plenty of coastal towns within driving distance of Philadelphia, each with its own personality, amenities and, of course, beaches. Whether you’re a beach tag collector, ready to brave the lengths of Wildwood’s shores, or want to sneak to Cape May for historic sites and time on the sand, the area’s best beaches offer something for everyone. Pack your coolers, umbrellas and plenty of sunscreen (and don’t forget to fill up the tank) and hop in the car for the quick under two-hour trip up the coast to these beaches near Philadelphia.

OceanCity | Mia2you/Shutterstock

Cape May County
Offering eight miles of sand, stroll along Ocean City’s beaches and you’ll likely find everyone from surfers and skimboarders to sunbathers and sandcastle builders. You’ll need beach tags to gain access, but you can get one from a city employee working the beach for $5 for the day (or $10 for the week and $25 for the season) . For calmer waters, fishing and kayaking are available on the bay side of town or at Corson’s Inlet State Park. Come at night, hit the boardwalk for arcade games, rides, tons of beach fare, including legendary fudge and candy stores.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Asbury City Park
Asbury City Park

Monmouth County
Regularly named one of the best beach towns in the country, Asbury Park is the perfect combination of day and night life. Buy beach beacon online and find a spot on the mile-long beach to see why tons of tourists flock here season after season. Things only get more exciting when the sun goes down and it’s time to explore the world 150 year walk. Here you will find the legendary concert hall The stone ponya classic pinball museumand, of course, a ton of great bars and restaurants.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Avalon Chamber of Commerce and 7MBCA
Avalon Chamber of Commerce and 7MBCA

Cape May County
Neighboring Stone Harbor to the north, Avalon includes the northernmost part of what is called Seven Mile Island, the barrier island containing several miles of white sand beaches. Of course you will need beach labels here, but there are designated areas for every activity imaginable: surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and fishing.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Stone Harbor Dunes | ThreeRivers11/Shutterstock

Cape May County
Nicknamed member of main bank-the summer hotspot for affluent Mainline folks -Stone Harbor has clean, quiet beaches (which require beach tags) and the picturesque atmosphere of the coastal town. If you’re looking for a beach getaway steeped in nature, check out Stone Harbor Point, a conservation area strictly used for nature walking, fishing, beach combing and bird watching (and no swimming or picnicking). But speaking of food, there are plenty of great dishes in the area that run the gamut of Italian food to summer favorites like Seafood and ice cream to be enjoyed at the water’s edge.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 25 minutes

Cape May | EQRoy/Shutterstock

Cape May County
Famous for its Victorian homes (some of which are now available as bed and breakfasts), New Jersey’s southernmost coastal town offers a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sandy beach. Beach markers are required, but don’t worry, you can grab one at any of the 16 beach entrances in town. Stroll the not at all rowdy boardwalk (it’s paved, so technically not a boardwalk) and revel in the views of land and sea. As the sun begins to set, head for Cape May Point to the aptly named The setting sun on the beach for spectacular views. Plus, there are delicious foods, historical sites, and plenty of shoreline accessories.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1h30

Wildwood Boardwalk
Wildwood Boardwalk | James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Cape May County
These notoriously long beaches mean there’s more room to spread out. Also, no beach markers are needed here, but be aware that some parts of the shoreline may be closed this year because of thunderstorms. Definitely geared towards a younger crowd, the boardwalk is still teeming with food, rides, games, shops with iconic shoreline apparel and, of course, the trama service that has been operating since 1949 and can take you from one end of the two-mile range to the other.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1h30

Fantasy Island Amusement Park
Fantasy Island Amusement Park

ocean county
In the southern part of Long Beach Island is Beach Haven, where you will find 11 supervised beaches (required tags) for swimming and surfing, and unguarded areas for fishing and kayaking. Tired toddlers Fantasy Island Amusement Park, packed with rides, board games and a 12,000 square foot arcade perfect for spending the afternoon. Then you can refresh yourself with a few infusions at Ship’s Bottom Breweryhit one 24/7 diningor take a well deserved ice-cream cone.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 38 minutes

Mauch Chunk Lake Park
Mauch Chunk Lake Park | Jared Archer / Shutterstock

carbon county
The Jersey Shore isn’t the only place to find a stellar beach. Jim Thorpe’s Mauch Chunk Lake has daily swim hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day and a comfortable sandy beach for sunbathing. While you’re probably used to gazing at the endless horizon along the Jersey Shore, here you’re treated to tree-lined vistas and plenty of warm lake water for afternoon swims. . Make a big deal out of it and spend a few nights camping too.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Island Beach State Park
Island Beach State Park

ocean county
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, this 10-mile state park offers white-sand beaches that are equally equipped for soaking up the sun or participating in more active activities.
Island Beach State Park is home to the state’s largest colony of osprey, peregrine falcons, waders, shorebirds, waterfowl, and migratory songbirds. So there is a lot to explore. One mile of the beach is patrolled, meaning it’s open for swimming, while the southern parts of the beach are reserved for surfing and windsurfing.
Distance from Philadelphia: 1 hour and 52 minutes

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Allie Volpe is a Philadelphia-based writer. She hasn’t slept for days. Follow her on Twitter:@allieevolpe.