Longport beaches are less crowded than other Atlantic County beaches, partly because the town itself has a tiny population of about 1,000, and partly because of its reputation for being a tough town to find a parking space. But that shouldn't deter families looking for a relaxed, uncrowded beach experience.

Go early in the day - before 9 am or so - and you'll have no trouble finding a decent spot, in metered parking along Atlantic Avenue or on a side street. Or let the driver drop you off on the beach block with your gear, and then only one person has to put up with the hassle of the hunt and walk.

The real gem for families of young children in Longport is the 33rd Street Beach, not far from the Somers Point causeway. Not only does it have the coveted bathroom in the Community Building on site, it also has an outdoor cool-water shower and a playground. It's a meeting spot for many parents and kids, with everything needed to keep the little ones happy all day.

Bring food and drink, and you're set!

For more information call Longport Borough Hall at (609) 823-2731.

Web site: www.longport-nj.us/ o