An Old School New Jersey Shore Getaway - Long Beach Island’s Drifting Sands Oceanfront Hotel

Before the summer of ‘18 officially kicked into gear on July 4, I wanted to grab a quick multi-day getaway with the fam at the Jersey shore.  We were eager to check out a new locale for our jaunt, and Long Beach Island was a destination that we hadn’t explored in the past.

Located 42 miles north of Atlantic City, 61 miles east-southeast of Philadelphia, and 101 miles south of New York City, Long Beach Island (aka LBI) is a north-south barrier island that’s home to around 20,000 year-round residents.  In the summer, the population explodes to 100,000, with tourists flooding in from northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, and even Europe. The summer season begins each year on July 4th weekend, and once Labor Day hits, LBI instantly empties of the “shoobies” and “bennies” (local slang for out-of-towners).

I researched a number of properties on LBI where we could park ourselves - including the Sea Horse Motel (Beach Haven), the Holiday Inn (Manahawkin), the Spray Beach Hotel (Long Beach Township), the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club (Beach Haven), and the Engleside Inn (Beach Haven) - but none of them were located directly on the beach, which was a perk that we really wanted.  After some more digging, I discovered the Drifting Sands Oceanfront Hotel in Ship Bottom.

Location wise, the Drifting Sands - a 100 room property - couldn’t be easier to get to:  it’s conveniently situated at the eastern end of Manahawkin Bay Bridge, which connects LBI to mainland New Jersey.  The hotel has also collected a beachload of solid user reviews, including:

The beachfront location, simple driving directions, and impressive reviews made it official:  between the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer, we were gonna max and relax at The Drifting Sands on LBI.

We opted for the hotel’s efficiency apartments so that everyone could custom prepare their own favorite meals through the day (for dinner, we sampled the many nearby restaurant options - all of which were accessible by foot).  Here’s our take on our Drifting Sands experience:

ROOM LOCATION - We were a one minute walk to the beach.

BEACHES - Wide, long, and spotless.

KITCHEN - Clean, compact, and well equipped for us to prep our breakfasts and lunches.

BATHROOM - Tidy, organized, and well ventilated.

BEDROOM - Plush and very comfortable beds, enough storage space for us to spread out our stuff, and an awesome TV.  Also, the free Wi-Fi in each room did the trick so we could use our devices and work efficiently on our laptops.

EXTRAS - The Drifting Sands boasts a variety of appealing conveniences for its guests, including…

  • Different hotel packages are available, such as the “Romance Package” (includes champagne upon arrival and dinner for two at The Arlington, a top reviewed nearby seafood restaurant), the “Family Fun Package” (includes a $50 voucher for rides at the nearby Fantasy Island amusement park), and the “Rise and Shine Package” (includes a $25 gift card for breakfast or lunch at the Greenhouse Café, an eatery with excellent reviews that’s popular with both tourists and locals).
  • Free on site activities are offered, such beach yoga, painting classes, and the “Guest of the Day” program, with the lucky guest receiving a gift bag that’s filled with locally made salt water taffy, coupons for stores in Ship Bottom and Surf City (mini golf, bike rental, free slices of pizza, etc.) and a free family portrait that’s printed and framed.
  • Free coffee is available in the lobby all day, every day.
  • Free bagels (with spreads/toppings) are available in the lobby on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 12 pm.
  • Discounts at local merchants, including the world famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and the Greenhouse Café, are available exclusively for Drifting Sands guests.


  • The Drifting Sands Oceanfront Hotel has a comfortable, nostalgic, and classic Jersey Shore vibe that’s warm and welcoming.
  • The hotel’s staffers, many of whom have lived in the area for over 20 years, were friendly resources for tips and recommendations of where to go and what to do on LBI.
  • Its perfect proximity to the beach, top restaurants/attractions, and the connecting bridge to the mainland allowed us to instantly relax, enjoy the surroundings, and quickly shift into vacation mode.

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