The James Bradley
Next to its more famous neighbor (you know the one), Bradley Beach hits like some undiscovered Eden. Quietly opened in August 2022, The James Bradley is a design lover’s haven. Originally a 1904 Victorian single-familyhome, the 17-room boutique hotel is a calming oasis with an edgy spirit, something owner George DiStefano felt beachgoers have been missing on his native Jersey Shore. Amidst the striking black and off-white vintage pieces, the art collection is enchanting, from the hypnotic beat of Yoshimoto Nara’s Banging the Drum to Joe Henry Baker’s deep blue Ponder. The hotel can hook you up with a surf lesson, parasail experience, or stand-up paddle board and bike rentals. A block away at the beach, guests have access to sun loungers, umbrellas, games, and towels. For group getaways, consider booking the newly renovated three-bedroom bungalow with vintage Bauhaus Tubular Steel beds, full kitchen, and a private outdoor dining area.
Nearby activities: While Asbury Park has become a glitzy city-by-the-sea destination, you could avoid the crowds and opt for a chiller local scene instead. Play mini golf, do Yin/Yang yoga, and spend the afternoon at Fourth Avenue Beach. For a picnic, order from Luna Verde's, with Del Ponte’s Rainbow Cookies for dessert.
How to get there without a car: Take NJ Transit from Penn Station to Bradley Beach station, which is under a mile from the hotel.
Total travel time: 1 hour and 30 mins