New Jersey’s Boating Opportunities are Endless… Go Boating NJ!

By Melissa Danko

barnegat_baySpending summers on the water and enjoying all that New Jersey has to offer is a way of life for residents and visitors. Boating is a pastime that becomes part of your very being – part of one’s psyche. In New Jersey, there are 127 miles of coastline, hundreds of miles of bay-shore, many inland lakes and tributaries and 17 of 21 counties bordering on saltwater. All of these beautiful waterways and natural resources offer enriching opportunities for everyone, whether it’s simply enjoying the warm glow of an evening sunset on the water, fishing or enjoying water activities with children, friends and family.

Child-fishing-on-boatRecreational boating is a great way for families to spend time together.  Families and children are busier than ever and need quality time to be together and have fun together.  Boating is a perfect way to spend the day with the family making priceless memories.  More importantly, it can be a very valuable experience for children that provide plenty of learning opportunities. They can learn how to fish, learn about marine life, learn how to safely operate a boat and navigate on the water as well as learn about the environment on the water.  The opportunities for discovery are endless and will last a lifetime.

 Here are a few ways you can make the most of your New Jersey Boating Experience:

  • Plan a weekend getaway on the water and visit any of the transient facilities available to boaters; head down the Navesink River and enjoy dinner in Red Bank; watch the stars overnight in Barnegat Bay, Silver Bay or the infamous Tices Shoal, head to Atlantic City to see how you fare at the tables, or visit historic Cape May and dine at one of numerous fine restaurants or get off the boat for the night and stay in a bed and breakfast!l_l_photo-90
  • Take friends and family fishing.  Summer flounder season started on May 21.  Now is the time to catch that trophy or take home some tasty fillets.  Late spring and early summer are a great time in New Jersey to get out on the water and enjoy a fun filled day of fishing.
  • Take the whole crew out for dinner at a dock and dine of your choice. Many of New Jersey’s waterfront restaurants offer docking to enjoy a boat ride and a great meal all in one fun summer evening!  Check out this great list that we compiled!
  • You can easily trailer your boat to anywhere in the state.  Visit the site to locate a ramp near you as this comprehensive and easy to navigate website can help get you out on the water anywhere in New Jersey. You can also find a comprehensive listing of pump out locations to help make your boating adventures even easier and more comfortable.
  • Wind down a busy day with a sunset boat ride or during the summer, head on the water to catch a fireworks show.   There are many locations to view fireworks by boat and New Jersey’s sunsets are even more spectacular from the water.
  • New Jersey boasts the highest density of wildlife per square mile of any state in the nation. NJ Audubon teamed up with partners around the state to develop two informative guides to enrich your boating experience; one for coastal waters, and one for freshwater lakes, rivers and marshes. Grab a copy of one of these guides and take the family out on bird scavenger hunt for a fun, new boating adventure.
  • There is always so much you can do ON THE WATER! Tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, crabbing, clamming, exploring and cruising new places are all tons of fun. Or… just drop an anchor and float the day away!


  • Don’t forget to Bring A Buddy Boating. Invite your friends and family out on the water and get them hooked on the excitement of boating in New Jersey!
  •  New to boating? The handy Beginners Guide to Boating from Discover Boating will help you find and buy the right boat, show you the best way to haul and store your new boat, and how to have fun along the way.  Sign up for your free copy here.
  • Don’t have a boat? Don’t let that stop you!  There are numerous ways to enjoy a day on the water whether it is renting a boat, taking a chartered boat ride, boating with friends or taking the plunge and buying a boat of your own.  There are many affordable options to buy that new boat.  Check out this link that can answer all of your questions.  You can also visit any of our MTA/NJ member boat dealers to help you find the boat that best suits your needs.  Click here to request a printed copy of the MTA/NJ’s Boater’s Directory.


Get Out and Get ON THE WATER!

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Dock & Dine in NJ

*last updated May 2020 – We can’t wait to Dock and Dine again. Many locations are currently closed due to COVID-19.  Some may be open for takeout only.  When in doubt, call ahead.  Keep your submissions coming in the comments!

Is there anything better than summertime in New Jersey?  One of our favorite summer pastimes is docking up the boat at a waterfront restaurant to grab a bite and a cold drink after a day on the water.  Our list* of restaurants will welcome you by either land or sea. Choose your destination and simply kick back, relax and take in the glorious surroundings of the Jersey waters!


Atlantic City


Beach Haven




Cape May 

Forked River



Jersey City (Dock & Dine free at Liberty Landing Marina)


Lake Hopatcong


Leeds Point



Monmouth Beach

National Park


New Gretna


Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant Beach

Red Bank


Sea Bright

Sea Isle City

Toms River



West Deptford

Weehawkin (Dock at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club)


Wildwood Crest


*This list may not be inclusive of every Dock & Dine in NJ. Please let us know your other favorite Dock & Dine spots in the comments and we will add them to the list.  Thank you!