Middletown officials mull Ideal Beach solutions after explosion in popularity

One of the reasons it has become so popular is because it has always been free, but Middletown officials have been considering charging for beach badges to take care of it.

News 12 Staff

Jul 14, 2021, 10:42 PM

Updated 1,015 days ago

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Until recently, Ideal Beach in Middletown has been a little-known gem -- a place to escape on a sunny afternoon. Yet changes could come now that it's becoming popular.
One of the reasons it has become so popular is because it has always been free, but Middletown officials have been considering charging for beach badges to take care of it.
Ideal Beach is a strip of sand along Raritan Bay. On a weekday, it's desolate with few people.
"This place is just quiet, and the water is always warm," said Kim Rought, of Somerville.
"This is the perfect place to be because it is so quiet and calm, and family oriented, which I really like," said Saumya Bhatia, of East Brunswick.
But regulars have seen a change over the last year, partly fueled by social media mentions on TikTok and Instagram as a place to escape.
"With places like Point Pleasant and Belmar, that you needed to buy tickets for on the apps, this one became a lot busier," Bhatia said.
Parking meters have been added for the first time, in part because of the volume of people on weekends.
"It's mayhem, it really is," says Pat Acconzo, of Middletown Beach. "Try to leave to go to the store for five minutes, you come back -- your spot is gone. And being a local, you'll have to park three blocks away. And it happens every weekend."
While Ideal Beach is still free, residents say Middletown officials are waiting to see how this summer season pans out.


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