Seated between the Shrewsbury River and Atlantic Ocean, Long Branch’s expansive shorelines made it a popular vacation destination even as long ago as the late 1700s. Gentle, lapping waves met pristine beaches which soon looked up at glittering hotels and theaters. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Long Branch attracted tens of thousands from across the country, including Presidents Chester A. Arthur, James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson. Today, you can still stroll through Seven Presidents Park, as well as the historic Church of the Presidents which now serves as a museum. It was only in the 1930s, amid a new wave of European immigration, that Long Branch became more than a mere resort town. Away from the shores, large estates were transformed into working class suburbs. The construction and opening of the Garden State Parkway between 1947 and 1957 saw tourists reroute to New Jersey’s more southern beaches, contributing further to Long Branch’s gradual suburbanization. Though some would flee from the shore during the turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, Long Branch continued to develop and redevelop throughout the 1980s into what it remains today: a community of seaside neighbors, enjoying both the beaches and the businesses.
Long Branch is home still to the timeless beauty of its beaches, as well as strips of diverse shops, eateries and businesses. The sea breeze cools visitors and residents alike as they retreat from the sunbaked beaches and sandy shores to any number of restaurants, bars and ice cream shops. Whether you’re listening to live music at the tiki bar at Ocean Place Resort and Spa or shopping at over thirty new, upscale boutiques at Pier Village, there’s no going wrong in Long Branch. Enjoy fun in the sun or simply relax. Just don’t forget the sunblock!