Manasquan is rich with shops, galleries, restaurants and the 540-seat Algonquin Arts Theatre, where you can enjoy musicals, orchestral performances, concerts, family entertainment and movies. This year the town has plenty to celebrate, as Manasquan marks its 125th anniversary with a repeat of its legendary lighted boat parade and a whole lot of hoopla.
Many centuries ago this shore area drew Lenni Lenape Indian families who spent summers fishing and enjoying the fruits of the sea. It takes its current name from those early visitors who called the area “Man-A-Squaw-Han” (stream of the island of squaws). The area was first settled by Europeans in the 1600s. People still come to the shore town for its fishing. Now they also enjoy its broad mile-long beach and boardwalk, excellent surfing conditions, swimming, beach volleyball and sunbathing. There’s also a wheelchair- accessible beach area with surf chairs available.
You’ll find fishermen out on the Manasquan Inlet catching fluke and striped bass. Pick up bait and gear nearby and join them or head over to the 55-acre, county-owned Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area on Third Avenue. Looking for a fun fishing outing for a group? Charter and party boats are also available nearby.
If you’re leaning to more land-based activities, bring your bicycles and ride the scenic 5.5 mile trail to Historic Allaire Village in Allaire State Park. Nature lovers will enjoy watching migrating land birds and wintering waterfowl that populate the Manasquan River Watershed.
There are treasures of all kinds to be found in Manasquan’s shopping district. Take a stroll and you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops that will inspire holiday gift shopping or offer that perfect piece for your wardrobe or home. Visit White Bliss, a European-inspired gift and home accessories shop or its equally intriguing Broad Street neighbor, Gatherings, offering gifts from afghans to wine glasses. On Main Street, The Weston Gallery offers original art work, art restoration and fine jewelry including the ultimate Jersey Shore keepsake, the Forever Beach Badge jewelry. Step into Yellow Daisy, an affordable craft and clothing boutique that showcases handmade items from crafters and artisans and feels like an ever-changing craft show. Visit www.kraftfairs.comfor its sister company’s Jersey Shore craft show schedule.
The Manasquan Farmers’ Market on Miller Preston Way offers the freshest local fruits, vegetables, herbs, baked goods and more on Thursdays during the summer. If shopping stirs your appetite, there are plenty of tasty options in town, such as the Squan Tavern. Dominic and Marguerite Bossone began offering old world Southern Italian food at in 1964, and the family is still at it today.
The Manasquan Tourism Commission and the Manasquan Chamber of Commerce organize a fishing contest for the little ones in May, Taste of Manasquan on May 20th and a Memorial Day Parade. Summer brings a gala Fourth of July celebration, outdoor band concerts and Classic Car Cruise Nights, sidewalk sales and a special 125th Anniversary Boat Parade, with lighted boats in the inlet and local bands, summer tastes, games and a wagon-decorating contest along Riverside Drive, on August 21st.
After Labor Day, enjoy Taste of the Shore in September, followed by the Fall Arts & Crafts Fair, the Turkey Trot in November and Christmas in Manasquan in December. Check the guide event section for details.
Choose from a large selection of rental accommodations available by the week, month or season. For shorter stays, Manasquan boasts a B&B, a guest house and two motels. The town is a short distance from Interstate 195 and Garden State Parkway exit 98. It’s also accessible by train via NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line.