Outdoors + Nature

Escape from New York

by Concierge.com Staff

Sail to Long Branch, New Jersey

Escape route: To access Long Branch's two miles of clean, wide beach, hop the 10:25 am Saturday Seastreak ferry from Pier 11 in the Financial District ($40 round-trip, $23 one way), and by 11:45 you'll have arrived at the Conners/Highlands ferry terminal in the Garden State. From there, it's a short taxi ride (try Paramount Cab, 732-222-5300; or Shore Cab, 732-222-6688).

Make a day of it: Those crazy kids of Seaside Heights notwithstanding, the Jersey shore has started to clean up its act. And Long Branch—a formerly down-at-heel shore town with a fashionable 19th-century past—has revived its reputation as an urbanite's beach destination. Walk the length of Ocean Boulevard for people-watching and blue-gazing, or plonk down in the sand with a good read (a municipal beach day pass is $5). Fill your belly without sacrificing your beach mellow with a gigantic Big Kahuna burrito made with locally sourced ingredients from Shaka, a shaved-ice-and-fish-taco joint with bamboo surfboard tables and an eco-conscious vibe. Yes, Virginia, there is a Hawaiian-style surf shack within 60 miles of Wall Street.

Perfect ending: Dip into an early-evening cocktail and the oyster bar at Avenue, one of Jersey's best-reviewed bistros, before catching the last ferry back to Manhattan at 7 pm. If you're just too comfortable at Avenue (or too darn hungry) to leave, stay for Provençal seafood served with a heaping side of ocean view, then catch a New Jersey Transit train from downtown Long Branch to Penn Station—the last train leaves at 12:22 am ($15).—Siobhan Adcock

Shaka
Pier Village
20 Centennial Drive
Tel: 732 272 1542

Avenue
23 Ocean Avenue
Tel: 732 759 2900

Next: Vermont is closer than you think >

Photo: Courtesy of Free of the Demon, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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