The site of Barnegat Lighthouse on the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County was regarded as one of the most crucial "change of course" points for coastal vessels. Vessels bound to and from New York along the New Jersey coastline depended on Barnegat Lighthouse to avoid the shoals extending from the shoreline. The swift currents, shifting sandbars, and the offshore shoals challenged the skills of even the most experienced sailor. The park is included as a maritime site on the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail.
Maritime Forest Trail
One of the last remnants of maritime forest on Long Beach Island is found at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. The forest, which is dominated by Black Cherry, Sassafras, Eastern Red Cedar, and American Holly, is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds on their long journey to and from their breeding sites. The Maritime Forest Trail is a 1/5-mile long, self-guided loop trail through this unique environment.
Saltwater anglers have access to the bulkhead along the picnic area where they can catch striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, summer flounder, tautog, winter flounder, and black sea bass. A 1,033-foot concrete walkway with handrails on top of the south jetty provides fishing access for people with disabilities. The picnic areas are also accessible for people with disabilities.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is an excellent area to observe many species of birds during the spring and fall migrations. A New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife program provides seasonal fencing of critical nesting areas on the beach adjacent to the park. This provides protection for certain endangered beach nestings birds and opportunities for observation.
The park also is a great location for viewing wintering waterfowl such as red-breasted mergansers, common eiders and harlequin ducks. The park sponsors several waterfowl viewing programs thoughout the winter. Call the park office at (609) 494-2016 for the curent schedule.
The Maritime Forest Trail in a 1/5-mile long, self-guided loop through one of the last remnants of maritime forest in New Jersey. The forests, which is dominated by black cherry, sassafras, eastern red cedar and American holly, is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds on their long journey to and from their breeding sites.
Picnic tables are located along Barnegat Inlet where visitors can picnic, relax, and observe the waterway. Two picnic shelters with tables are also provided for picnicking. Visitors who enjoy sunbathing and fishing can picnic on the sand along the jetty. Fires, propane stoves, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.