Island Beach State Park is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in the northeast and is home to an amazing diversity of wildlife and plant communities. The Park has partnered with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the Friends of Island Beach State Park to offer exciting environmental education and outreach programs to people of all ages!
Island Beach State Park Nature Programs was created to enhance the visitor experience by providing hands-on education programs throughout the barrier island. We offer free daily programs, guided tours, custom group tours and outreach programs.
Our Natural Resources
The bayside of the island is a nutrient-rich feeding ground for birds, fish, terrapins, and other wildlife. Naturalist guided kayak tours during the summer months take participants through the Sedge Islands where they can observe a wide variety of wildlife, including nesting ospreys, peregrine falcons and wading birds. Bird observation blinds give visitors the opportunity to view the wildlife in this very important and diverse habitat.
Island Beach Natural Areas (North & South)
Together, these two natural areas encompass one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches in the northeast United States. Rolling sand dunes, salt-sculptured vegetation, lush green salt marshes, and nine plant communities including a nationally significant maritime forest characterize Island Beach. The federally threatened piping plover began to nest at Island Beach State Park in 2016 for the first time since 1989. This resurgence symbolizes the importance of protecting the open beaches and dunes. During their nesting season, access to portions of the Northern Natural Area is restricted.
Sedge Island Conservation Zone
Did you know that Island Beach State Park is home to the first marine conservation zone in the State? The Sedge Island Conservation Zone was established in 2001 to:
- Protect and manage an ecologically sensitive tidal marsh and shallow marine ecosystem
- Reduce the environmental impacts of personal watercraft and better manage wildlife, recreation and traditional uses of the area
- Ensure that the ecological integrity and continued use by resident and migratory species, suitability of forage, spawning and breeding habitat, and population fitness are maintained in perpetuity
- Provide a unique learning environment for interpretation of the natural and cultural history of the Barnegat Bay
- Conduct multi-disciplinary scientific research, monitoring and assessment to better understand and interpret the ecological dynamics of tidal marsh and shallow marine ecosystems, and associated species life history requirements with the objectives of protecting human health and welfare, biodiversity, coastal ecosystem function, the economic interests of the citizenry and to inform management decision-making by the NJDEP
- Manage access to sensitive areas and to reduce user conflicts
- Supplement existing statutes and regulations with new management techniques, and to protect biodiversity while allowing those uses that are consistent with the management objective of the conservation zone.
- Download a map of the Sedge Island Conservation Zone (one can also be found at the Nature Center.
The Island Beach State Park Discovery Trails System provides a self-guided experience through the nine plant communities of a barrier island. Wayside exhibits located along each trail interpret the natural and cultural stories of the park. There are a total of 8 trails, each under one mile.
Horseback riding is permitted at Island Beach State Park from October 1 through April 30. There are six miles of ocean beach in the southern and central portions of the park available for equestrian use and a parking area is designated for horse trailers during this time period. Reservations are required by contacting the park office at (732) 793-0506.
This program is run by some amazingly talented educational and administrative staff. Learn about the staff behind Island Beach Nature Programs.
When does the Park open? What are the fees? Can I bring my dog to Island Beach State Park? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to get all the answers to your questions!
Interpretive and Nature Centers
If you’re planning a trip to Island Beach State Park then you have to make sure to stop by and check out our awesome Nature Center! With live animals exhibits, it’s a great place to meet some of the local (wild) residents of IBSP!
Island Beach State Park is a beautiful place to visit. The pristine habitat and its inhabitants make for wonderful photography subjects. We’d like to thank all of the talented photographers who contributed photos for this website. Thank you! 🙂