City Cheat Sheet: A Guide to Two Rivers and The Shore, New Jersey

Photography by Ashley Rosas

WHY VISIT THE FABULOUS AND DIVERSE REGION OF TWO RIVERS AND THE SHORE, NEW JERSEY? The Scout Guide Two Rivers & The Shore editor Kathy Kamatani can name a few reasons. True to its name, this area is home to beautiful beaches and rivers, making it a hidden gem for beach-lovers, sailors, or boaters. Additionally, there’s a wealth of world-class restaurants with cuisines of all varieties, high-end boutiques, fitness studios, galleries, and other local businesses. “You can find anything that you would want,” Kathy says. “Plus, everywhere you go, you’ll meet amazing people.”

Here, Kathy shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in the region, which is only a 40-minute ferry ride from Manhattan or an easy drive from Philadelphia. Comprised of towns including Red Bank, Atlantic Highlands, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Manasquan, and Sea Girt, there are lots of places to explore and exciting things to do and see during a stay.

*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc. 

WHEN TO GO // While there is an abundance of places where you can shop, sip, dine and work out throughout the year, summer is season when the Two Rivers and the Shore area really comes into its own. The beautiful beaches and parks are open, outdoor dining is plentiful, the Asbury Park Summer Stage presents a strong lineup of bands, and Monmouth Park hosts the Haskell International, a major event that awards one of the most prestigious trophies in U.S. thoroughbred racing.

WHERE TO STAY // Molly Pitcher Inn (88 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank) and Oyster Point Hotel (146 Bodman Place, Red Bank). Situated in central locations of Red Bank, both boast sweeping views of marinas along the Navesink River. 

Blue Bay Inn (51 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands). Only a few steps from the Manhattan ferry, this place is known for its views of the city skyline and fantastic restaurant, Copper Canyon, which boasts 150 types of tequila.

Asbury Ocean Club (1101 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park). This boutique hotel located in Asbury Park with gorgeous panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean is also within walking distance to the beach and many restaurants and shops in Asbury.

Ocean Place (1 Ocean Drive, Long Branch). An upscale hotel serving up a beachfront vibe. Also home to both a spa and tiki bar.

The Asbury Hotel (210 5th Avenue, Asbury Park). A chic, dog-friendly boutique hotel that includes a rooftop bar, ocean views, and often live music in the lobby.

The Breakers Hotel (1507 Ocean Avenue, Spring Lake). Dating back to the 1800s, this hotel has a traditional oceanside feel and has been known for its ocean views for centuries.

The Grand Victorian Hotel (1505 Ocean Avenue, Spring Lake). A perfect mix of bed and breakfast charm and beachfront location. In general, this area of Spring Lake is full of quaint B&Bs. 

WHAT TO DO // Grounds for Sculpture (80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton). A unique treat for art-lovers comprising nearly 300 contemporary outdoor sculptures across 42 landscaped acres. Inside, six galleries feature exhibitions from established and emerging artists.

Monmouth Park Racetrack (175 Oceanport Avenue, Oceanport). Opened in 1870, Monmouth Park is a popular thoroughbred horse racetrack. It’s home to the Haskell Invitational each summer.

Sandy Hook (128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands). A must-see landmark; it’s a barrier peninsula with bay beaches, Manhattan skyline views, and Revolutionary War history. 

Hartshorne Woods (multiple entrances). Next to Atlantic Highlands, a sleepy beach town, this county park offers waterfront views and is the perfect place to hike or bike.

Sickles Market (1 Harrison Avenue, Little Silver). A popular flower and gourmet market where locals love to browse. Great if you’re planning a picnic. 

Deep Cut Gardens (152 Red Hill Road, Middletown). This gorgeous French-style botanical garden will bring delight and inspiration to any home gardener. Their roses (180 bushes with 52 varieties) are particularly beautiful in the summer.

Pilates Blast (134 Broad Street, Red Bank). If you’re looking for a superb workout class while visiting, this is the place to go. 

Arctic Fire Cryo (661 Broad Street, Shrewsbury). With cutting-edge technology for cryotherapy, cryoskin, and infrared sauna, this is the perfect place for those seeking a unique, rejuvenating skin treatment. 

WHERE TO SHOP // The Grove & Grove West (597 Broad Street, Shrewsbury). A high-end shopping center with a mixture of local shops and bigger chain stores.

Cabana 19 (18 White Street, Red Bank). This shop sells beach vibe gear—think “Local” T-shirts and breezy home goods.

Bain’s Outdoor Living (125 East River Road, Rumson). An ideal source for artisan-crafted home accessories for inside and out.

Le Papillon (7 West River Road, Rumson). Provides personalized attention to help you coordinate your wardrobe and accessorize your home.

Currant General Store & Coffee Bar (19 E. Front Street, Red Bank). A classic neighborhood general store reimagined for today, offering a unique blend of curated goods and fresh coffee.

T&C Mercantile (25 Bridge Ave #100, Red Bank).  A lifestyle shop of curated vintage and unique homewares from the design studio of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath.

WHERE TO EAT // The Butter Biscuit (700 Main Street, Bradley Beach). For your breakfast needs, this place is a total winner. Pro tip: try the pancakes.

Albariño (The Grove West, 508 Broad Street, Shrewsbury). At this eatery, you can eat locally but drink globally. The delightful menu features Spanish-inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

Catch 19 (19 Broad Street, Red Bank). If you’re in downtown Red Bank, you can’t go wrong with Catch 19, which serves fresh-caught seafood in an environment that features amazing pieces of art from some of the most world-renowned artists.

Drifthouse by David Burke (1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright). Features celebrity Chef David Burke’s creative modern American cuisine. This elegant, beach-casual restaurant also offers superb views of the Atlantic Ocean and sunset views over the Shrewsbury River.

One Willow (1 Willow Street, Highlands). A classic Jersey Shore seafood restaurant located on the water, where you can enjoy views of Sandy Hook Bay and the New York City skyline.

Taka (600 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park). A fantastic restaurant if you’re in the mood for sushi.

Pascal and Sabine (601 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park). You can’t go wrong with the burger or the caviar at this spot, which has a lovely French bistro vibe.

Bareli’s by the Sea (1505 Ocean Avenue, Spring Lake). Located inside the Grand Victorian Hotel, this fine dining restaurant with scenic beachfront views serves a creative contemporary Italian menu.

Boondocks Fishery (1 Marine Park, Red Bank). Tucked inside a marina on the Navesink River, this is a spot where you can casually order lobster from a window and eat at picnic tables overlooking boats in the marina.

Christine’s Italian Restaurant (42 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands). Fine Italian dining with classic dishes served in a romantic, brick-walled setting.

Hearthly Organic (520 Broad Street, Shrewsbury). The menu is locally sourced and features 100% organic ingredients. Locals enjoy sustainably farmed burgers and salads in a fun, relaxing environment.

WHERE TO DRINK // Rook Coffee and Booskerdoo (multiple locations throughout the region). Perfect options for when you need a caffeine fix.

Antoinette Boulangerie (32 Monmouth Street, Red Bank). A French bakery where you’re guaranteed great coffee and a calming atmosphere.

Jus Organic (135 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands). Close to the ferry in Atlantic Highlands, this local spot offers a wide range of fresh juice, smoothies, breakfast bowls, lunch items, raw desserts, and other healthy bites.

Murphy’s Tavern (17 Ward Lane, Rumson). If you’re looking for a unique experience, try to find this secret bar, which was a speakeasy in the 1920s. It’s located in the basement of a house in a suburban neighborhood.

Watermark Asbury Park (800 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park). Quench your thirst for beachside drinks at this spot where they infuse their own spirits and press their own juices.

Rooney’s (100 Ocean Avenue North). Locals gather here in the summer for shrimp-accented Bloody Marys.

Undici (11 West River Road, Rumson). Oenophiles flock to this establishment for their extensive wine list. 

Asbury Biergarten (527 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park). This spacious, converted warehouse is home to countless German and Dutch beers on tap.

The Wine Loft (Pier Village, 32 Laird Street, Long Branch). The relaxing environment that’s perfect for taking in live music draws guests in, but they stay for the lovely selection of wines, specialty drinks, and light bites.

LOCAL PRO-TIP // Live music abounds in this area. You can enjoy live music literally every night of the week at restaurants, bars, and clubs throughout the area. 

You can download this Two Rivers and the Shore cheat sheet by clicking hereFor additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Two Rivers & The Shore, follow The Scout Guide Two Rivers & The Shore on Instagram.