You still have time, it’s not too late to enjoy the summer and the Jersey shore. One of our favorite ‘go-to’ places for sun and water is Seven Presidents Park. It is an oceanfront park in nearby Long Branch, New Jersey. It’s about a 40 minute drive from downtown Metuchen to exit 105 of the Parkway. It is named after U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson, all of whom spent time in the area’s resorts. President Grant declared Long Branch the nation’s “Summer Capital” in 1869.
The park, which includes a mile of public beach and 38 acres (150,000 m2) of land, allows swimming and surfing and also contains a snack bar, sheltered eating areas, a volleyball court, showers and changing facilities, a playground, a park and rink for skaters and skateboarders, and protected sand dunes. In addition, it hosts the Monmouth County Park System’s annual Sprint Triathlon—combining swimming, cycling and running—in September. Seven Presidents Park charges an admissions fee from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, although seasonal and multiday passes are available.
Many species of birds can be seen in the park. Seaducks, loons, gannets, gulls and alcids frequent the beaches. Especially common are the razorbill, the surf scoter, the black scoter, the long-tailed duck, the red-throated loon, the common loon, and the lesser black-backed gull. Brant geese, including the occasionalblack brant, can sometimes be seen at the athletic fields in foul weather. A flock of Bonaparte’s gulls inhabits the park in winter. Farther inland, orange-crowned warblers, white-winged crossbills and red crossbills have been reported. Other birds found in the park have been white-winged gulls, little gulls, black-headed gulls, the sooty shearwater, the black-legged kittiwake, the parasitic jaeger, the vesper sparrow and the snow bunting.
In the late 19th century, Seven Presidents Park was the location of Long Branch businessman Nate Salsbury’s Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, which included performers Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley and Chief Sitting Bull.