Max Miller • Jun 14, 2017
Brigantine, NJ, is a small island beach town in Atlantic County, NJ. While less known to northern NJ-ers than classic southern beach towns like Cape May and Wildwood, Brigantine has similar quality beaches coupled with a much quieter, laidback feel that has mostly evaded the wrath of tourism.
Located on a barrier island just north of Atlantic City, Brigantine is about 7 miles long. The top third or so is composed of the North Brigantine State Natural Area, a wildlife preserve. This area is home to the endangered piping plover and other seabirds, as well as diamondback terrapins, ospreys, bottlenose dolphins, and other classic NJ fauna. A variety of sharks inhabit the waters off the coast; below, you can see a juvenile shark that swam up and beached itself on the Brigantine beach last summer.
Just north of Brigantine Island is Little Beach, believed to be the last uninhabited barrier island on the Atlantic Coast. You must apply for a federal permit if you would like to conduct research there; otherwise, the island is off-limits. Legend has it that Captain William Kidd buried his treasure either on Little Beach or the north end of Brigantine in the 1600s.
The only way on to Brigantine Island is via the Justice Vincent S. Haneman Memorial Bridge, accessible to Atlantic City. Atlantic City provides an option for nightlife / gambling / trashiness if that is what you'd like (your author has a soft spot for craps). However, Atlantic City is easily ignorable on Brigantine. Brigantine does have a couple of bars, including the Laguna Beach Bar and Grill, which features live music and an outdoor sandy bar area.
Restaurant options are a little slim on the island, but there is the world's famous Richman's Ice Cream, which also vends hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like. There is also the Crab Shack, featuring local NJ seafood.