Best Beach in America 2016 Winner: Ocean City, New Jersey!

April 2, 2016 | By | Comments (31)

Beach Bracket Madness reached a fever pitch, when finalists Ocean City, New Jersey, and Huntington Beach, California, battled weekend for the ultimate title of Coastal Living’s Best Beach in America 2016. The results are in… so meet the winner: Ocean City!

Best Beach in America finalist Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo courtesy Ocean City

Fun fact #1: Ocean City has eight miles of sand and a 2.5-mile-long boardwalk that runs along the beach and ocean, which includes two amusement piers, a water park, miniature golf, and lots of cool spots to grab souvenirs and boardwalk bites.

Ferris Wheel in Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo: Troy McCullough/Getty

Fun fact #2: The barrier island that Ocean City sits on was originally used as a storage place for freshly caught whales in the 1700s. Later known as Peck’s Beach, the island was also an Indian summer fishing camp and cattle-grazing area.

Dunes and beach at Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo: Diane Macdonald/Getty

Fun fact #3: Later settled by Methodists, Ocean City is still a dry town–there’s no public drinking of alcohol anywhere on the island.

Lifeguard stand at Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo: Trey Hill/Getty

Fun fact #4: Ocean City hosts more than 300 family-friendly events (many of them quirky), including Miss Crustacean Hermit Crab Beauty Contest, Weird Contest Week, and the world’s oldest Baby Parade.

Bikes on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo: Melissa Ross/Getty

Fun fact #5: Speaking of parades, Ocean City also hosts the longest-running boat parade, Night in Venice, which unfolds in lit-up splendor on the island’s back bay.

Dusk at Ocean City, New Jersey

Photo: JonathanGross7/Getty

Congratulations to Ocean City!


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  1. Kelly spratt

    Great and beautiful beach!

    April 3, 2016 at 6:32 am
  2. Bill Wisham

    Great shots. Can’t not love it. I was born there in 1940. Graduated in ’59. I miss O.C. and old friends.

    April 3, 2016 at 9:56 am
  3. Gordon Sr Buzzell

    There is no best beach in America, only your favorite !

    April 3, 2016 at 10:01 am
  4. Michaele p

    I lived in Linwood which was just across the bay, i spent most of my childhood in ocean city. Hands down,best beach anywhere. I miss it!

    April 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I lived on the East Coast until just 5 years ago. I love the Jersey Beaches………they are the best. Maybe it’s because that is where my roots are. Have seen beaches throughout the world. Now living in Southern California and love it here, however there are other perfect beaches. I love the Abacos, Turks and Caicos, Tahiti, Australia……..just any beach is the perfect one!!

    April 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm
  6. elizabeth

    Best Beach !!!!

    April 3, 2016 at 8:58 pm
  7. C A Rockwell

    Ocean City NJ is our HAPPY PLACE!🏖

    April 5, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Locals already knew OC beaches are the best! Now everyone does.

    April 11, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    a dry town will never get my vote

    April 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm
  10. 8Pickles

    My siblings and I have many fun memories of Ocean City, NJ, but are much happier on the much less packed SC beach we’ve since found and taken our own kids every year since. To each his own, ’tis true!

    April 11, 2016 at 8:00 pm
  11. Kevin Wong

    I used to go there every summer but stopped because of Hurricane Sandy!

    April 11, 2016 at 9:18 pm
  12. Irina

    Wonderful place !

    April 12, 2016 at 2:15 am
  13. Diane Cox

    Best vacation for a family! Love the beach Boardwalk and most of all the family atmosphere!! Had so many good times with our three children and looking forward to doing that with all the grandkids!! Ocean City NJ #1

    April 12, 2016 at 7:01 am
  14. Nan

    I have spent summers in Ocean City and then lived for a while in HB. They are both great places. I would say only that the Atlantic Ocean water is warmer and obviously waves are not as super strong as in HB. There are no jelly fish in HB.

    April 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm
  15. Nan

    Also, OC is more family friendly for families with young children and a great boardwalk. But HB has a great pier and Jack’s Surf Shop, etc. HB is good for late teens,20+

    April 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm
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    […] Great News!  Ocean City won Coastal Living […]

    April 13, 2016 at 11:44 am
  17. Ocean City, NJ Named Best Beach in America by Coastal Living Magazine | You Don't Know Jersey | From High Point to Cape May

    […] Source: Best Beach in America 2016: Ocean City, New Jersey | […]

    April 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm
  18. Helen & Hamilton Carson

    Have spent many of our 60+ years of marriage vacationing with out 4 children and then with
    them and their children. For our 50th anniversary they gave us a dedicated bench on the
    boardwalk. We have very happy memories over the years and this year we’ll be celebrating
    my 85th, my eldest son’s 60th (he took his first steps on OC beach) and my granddaughter’s
    30th birthdays. We hope to have more years ahead to celebrate in our most favorite place.
    Best Beach…You Bet!

    April 18, 2016 at 11:25 am
  19. Sandra Nesbitt

    Gulf Shores, Alabama is the best beach I’ve ever visited. Rented a house there in 2001, right on the beach, and still want to go back with our family.

    April 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm
  20. zowie415

    No offense I don’t think the best beach in America is Ocean City you have the beaches in CA and Fla that can’t even compare. If you are looking for a childrens’ beach maybe but most parents don’t care to know how much it costs to take them to a roller coaster ride but more of a true family vacation like SeaWorld

    April 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm
  21. Ginger Burens

    I love Ocean City. I’ve been going there most of my life on vacation or just day trips. It’s a great place for family fun.

    May 15, 2016 at 4:05 pm
  22. Lynne Davis Adair

    Love this place and come back every summer as do my kids and grand kids from IL & IN…great beaches on the Great Lakes, but Ocean City means family and old friends.

    May 30, 2016 at 9:12 am
  23. Linda Robie

    I received the June 2016 issue of Coastal Living and do NOT see an article featuring Ocean City as 2016 winner America’s Best Beach resort.

    June 12, 2016 at 4:23 pm
  24. LoveOCNJ

    No mention of OCNJ in the July/August 2016 issue either. What gives CL? I entered a contest for you a few years ago and the same thing – your timelines seem to be wrong and contest details are not followed by your magazine…..

    June 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm
  25. FunFamPlaces

    […] have to pay for a beach pass ($5 per person) but it is worth it. And to top it off, it just won Best Beach in America 2016 by Coastal […]

    August 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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  27. Post 1: Welcome – Eat Play OCNJ

    […] I’m Nicole Baglivo, a junior Public Relations and Advertising dual major at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. I’m so lucky to be a part-time resident of Ocean City, where I’ve been able to explore, work and relax in the best beach town in America. […]

    February 5, 2017 at 2:41 pm
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    February 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm
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    […] way deeper than just the sand and the waves.  It’s people like Fabiana who make the town the best beach town in America and keep people coming back each […]

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    […] (Fun fact sources: Ocean City Vacation, Coastal Living) […]

    May 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm
  31. Kate Cronin

    I have to say I agree, but certainly my opinion is biased as I live in Marmora, NJ, which is just over the causeway from Ocean City, OC does have beautiful beaches, clean white sand that is soft to the touch on your feet, and water that sparkles all day long. The boardwalk is not honky tonk, and the young, middle age, and elderly can equally enjoy a day or night strolling the boards, There is plenty to do and see and lots of shops to browse, or buy something, if you choose.

    There is also a main street (Asbury Avenue) that has lots of shops and eating establishments, That is also a great place to walk and window shop.

    Right across the bridges onto the mainland there are numerous restaurants for every palate, from the inexpensive to expensive, depending on what you are looking for.

    Nightlife is only a stone’s throw a way in Atlantic City. And, don’t forget, just south on the Garden State Parkway you have Cape May, the oldest seashore establishment in the country. They have beautiful beaches as well, lots of Victorian architecture to get lost in, numerous antique shops to browse and restaurants and night life.

    Ocean City is in an excellent location. You have the very family friendly atmosphere of the city itself, however, you need not go far to experience many other aspects of shore life while on vacation. I’m sure that anyone that visits will leave with a smile on their face and sand in their shoes!.

    August 25, 2017 at 3:56 am

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