A top global Internet site has ranked Island Beach State Park as one of the United States’ most stunning state parks.
That’s no surprise to New Jersey residents.
Approximately one million visitors arrive each year to the spit of land separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Barnegat Bay for sunbathing, fishing, bird watching, hiking, and just all around relaxing, according to the state Division of Parks and Forestry.
In a slideshow of “36 stunning U.S. state parks,” which also includes Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on Long Beach Island and other inland New Jersey parks, MSN.com describes Island Beach State Park:
The word park tends to conjure images of green grass, wooded forests, and sandbox playgrounds, but New Jersey’s Island Beach state park breaks this stereotype by being comprised mostly of sandy dunes and coastal beaches. Although mostly made of sand, the park still boasts a unique environment with over 400 plant varieties and the state’s largest osprey colony. While lounging by the beach, keep an eye out for peregrine falcons and migrating songbirds, too.
Island Beach State Park boasts a storied history, beginning with the Native Americans, who just like New Jersey residents today, summered at the coast during the summer, according to a park brochure.
Following European ownership for a few centuries, Henry C. Phipps, a partner of Andrew Carnegie, purchased the 2,694-acre land in 1926. Phipps’ land manager subsequently created the “Boro of Island Beach,” which lasted as a municipality until 1965.
After purchasing the Phipps estate for $2.7 million in 1953, the state officially opened the park in 1959.
New Jersey’s top executive certainly loved the pristine land.
“Island Beach is unique. It is a jewel. There is nothing like it anywhere on earth,” said Governor Driscoll during the land purchase.
You can read more about the park’s history here.