This little town sits to the east of Route 35 in Neptune Township, Monmouth County New Jersey, on Atlantic Ocean’s Jersey Shore. It has a nice beach front and a small main street, lined with tasty restaurants, specialty shops and boutiques. The day we happened to come across the town, they were celebrating Bridge Fest 2014. It was a nice celebration of Christianity right on the beach, with the culmination being a mass baptismal in the Atlantic Ocean. It all made more sense to me, after researching and learning, that the town of Ocean Grove was founded by “The desire to develop a Christian seaside community for summer worship and relaxation by William B. Osborn (1832–1902), a leader of the camp meeting movement in mid-19th century America, who selected the site of present-day Ocean Grove for its wooded, mosquito-free location”. Delving even deeper into the history made me wonder how such a christian based town ended up next to Asbury Park, the most liberal city in New Jersey. What struck me as even more odd in the town was the Tent Colony right dab in the center of town. It’s a community of small mobile home like residences, which have been extended with tents to make them appear larger with a nice covered patio. At first glance I thought they were a village of boutiques, upon closer look I realized they were residences.
The beach is closed on Sunday mornings, between 8:30 – 12:30 pm. This town is also a dry town; so alcohol sales are not permitted in either the shops or the restaurants. Ocean Grove is a great place for families looking for a summer worship vacation spot. However if you’re trying to steer clear of the alternative crowd, you should know that both cities are so close in proximity, that you are bound to see some form of the alternative lifestyle, which is so widely encouraged in the next town over. Unfortunately they are linked by the boardwalk too.
I would definitely return to this quaint town, stopping in at the Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe for more sweet treats! The boardwalk is a nice wide path, just at the top of a smooth beach. You can find tons to do in town, many bed and breakfasts and hotels too, just plan ahead and remember its a dry town dedicated to summer worship.
Ocean Grove, New Jersey