Spring Lake
People walk down the Spring Lake, N.J., synthetic boardwalk Friday, July 2, 1999. For a growing number of shore towns, the boardwalk is no longer made of boards. Synthetic materials, asphalt or decorative paving stones are slowly replacing wood. Shore towns say the alternative materials last longer and are safer. But they also cost more, and not everyone likes 1990s technology on walkways that have been around since the 1800s. (AP Photo/Chris Polk) CHRIS POLK

Spring Lake is a secluded town with shady streets and Victorian mansions. Its downtown area features many shops, boutiques and gourmet restaurants. It's also home to two miles of white sandy beaches.

The beaches are quiet and idyllic during the week, but can be crowded on weekends and holidays.

The longest non-commercial boardwalk in the state lines the beach. It's a perfect place for walking or jogging without noise and distraction.

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Volleyball is allowed at Pitney and Morris avenues, but otherwise ball-playing is prohibited on the beach.

For easy access to restrooms and showers, pick a spot near Ludlow, Atlantic, or Brown avenues. However, there are no changing rooms available.

Free parking is available along Ocean Avenue and side streets in town. Lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Labor Day. No food is allowed on the beach during these hours.

There are many restaurant options in town, but don't expect to find any fast food or franchises. The Breakers on the Ocean, a resort hotel located right across the street from the beach at Ocean and Newark Avenues, offers casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner in its Veranda Restaurant.

Beach fees are $8 daily, $100 for the season, and $60 for a half-season. Children ages 11 and under are free. Daily badges are available at many access points off the boardwalk.

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