Belmar is the ultimate beach party town. Enjoy a casual dinner at the Connolly Station, where you can get traditional Irish tavern food, then stay for the local band at night. Or walk to bordering Lake Como, for a visit to Bar Anticipation, a hot spot that dominates the party scene Tuesday nights, with live entertainment inside, serving areas outside and a popular “Beat the clock” promotion. Belmar’s diverse, but close-together bars give you plenty to explore on the weekends, but head to 507 Main if you can’t make up your mind; they have live entertainment, a DJ and an outdoor patio.
Cost: $7 daily; $50 season, $15 for those 62 and older, and free for those 16 and younger.
Lifeguards are on duty along the 21 blocks of beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day; daily guard duty begins in June 15.
Metered parking is available along Ocean Avenue; free on-street parking is available along side streets.
The boardwalk offers food stands and restaurants, including outdoor cafes, small shops and public restrooms. The beach has well-posted, restricted smoking areas.
Special events include the annual seafood festival at Silver Lake Park on Ocean Avenue.
For more information, call (732) 681-3700.
Location: With the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Belmar is bounded by Lake Como to the south, Wall to the west and Avon to the north.
Size: One square mile
The borough has a mix of ornate Victorian homes and bungalows on tree-lined avenues.
Here, Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band was named in 1973.
The Belmar Seaport Village redevelopment is designed to create a pedestrian-friendly, downtown commercial corridor with Victorian-style town homes and condominiums above its ground-floor storefronts.
The borough and neighboring Lake Como host one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades in New Jersey.
Belmar is also home to the Spring Kite Festival, lifeguard tournaments, New Jersey Seafood Festival, Sand Castle Contest, Belmar 5 Johnny Cobb Memorial Run, Firemen's Carnival, Fall Kite Festival and Fall Festival.
Belmar is French for "Beautiful Sea" (Belle Mer).
Explorer Henry Hudson, working for the Dutch in the 1600s, described some of the Jersey Shore in his ship's log. As his vessel, the Half Moon, passed the Shark River Inlet (the Lenni Lenape called it Nollectquest), Hudson described an inlet with hills in the distance.
In 1872, a group of 25 businessmen, calling themselves the Ocean Beach Association, purchased land and began selling shares in their communal enterprise for $500 each.
The association was incorporated by the State Legislature on March 13, 1873. The name Belmar was adopted on May 14, 1889, after town fathers flirted with and then abandoned the name Elco.
Just in case
Nearest hospital: Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Route 33, Neptune. (800) 560-9990. In an emergency, dial 911.