Growing up on the Jersey shore, I spent a lot of time on the beach — Philadelphia Beach in Sea Girt in particular. The beach had a raised boardwalk which ran parallel to the shoreline and was up on pylons some 15 feet or so over the sand. All of Sea Girt’s beaches are divided into wide sections by rock jetties that extended out into the ocean, perpendicular to the shoreline. Most days in the summer when the water was warm enough to swim, our family would drive to the beach in our Volkswagen Beetle, getting there early in order to get one of the limited parking spots and then staying until the late afternoon. The boardwalk was nice in that it provided shade while you were on the beach and also a spot to go up and each lunch away from the sand on one of its available benches. Eating food on the beach was prohibited, but drinking was OK as long as it was non-alcoholic.
The Sea Girt boardwalk spanned about 7 tenths of a mile. At the north end was a little hut where you could buy food, drinks, and desserts. At the south end, the boardwalk just ended. Traveling further south on the beach was prohibited as there was supposedly a firing range for the nearby National Guard facility. Sea Girt’s boardwalk was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, but it has since been rebuilt.
Beachgoers in Sea Girt were required to pay for seasonal beach badges. My mom would always pin our badge on the inside of her canvas beach bag. Every once in a while an officer would check to ensure everyone on the beach had a badge and was following the food and drink rules. The officers would also patrol along the boardwalk in small three-wheeled motorized carts that made a distinctive sound bumping along the wooden boards.