If you’re looking for a scenic spot to admire the natural beauty of coastal waters, check out the Shark River Bridge between the boroughs of Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey. The circa 1936 bridge spans the Shark River inlet and is easily accessible via Ocean Avenue or the Belmar boardwalk.
The two-lane Ocean Avenue Shark River Bridge has sidewalks to accommodate foot and bicycle traffic. About halfway across the span, you’ll find a small niche, where you can stop and take in the magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Shark River Inlet to the west. I love walking over the bridge and pausing at the little nook overlooking the inlet.
If you time your visit just right, you can even catch the sunrise or sunset from the bridge’s scenic overlook — a great photo opportunity for nature photographers and vacation selfies.
In addition, you’ll often see people fishing off the jetties, along with recreational boaters and commercial fishing boats navigating the inlet to and from the Belmar Marina. The structure, which is known as a double-leaf bascule bridge (i.e., drawbridge), opens at various times throughout the day to allow larger boats to pass through.
I’ve even seen kayakers, jet skiers, and scuba divers in the water below the bridge. You can also see the historic Belmar Fishing Club pier from the scenic overlook. There are so many different sights to see from the bridge, and the scenery changes every day. One of the things I really enjoy about the view from the bridge is watching how the water and sky change colors depending on the weather.
You never know what Mother Nature will have in store when you’re visiting the Ocean Avenue Shark River Bridge. That’s what makes this area attraction so unique!
Some days, you’ll see blue skies, bright sunshine, and aquamarine-hued water. When storms are approaching, the view might be foggy with low visibility across the sea.
After a storm, the water will appear almost black, with a texture like obsidian, and clearing clouds overhead. You might even glimpse a rainbow if you're lucky!
The Ocean Avenue Shark River Bridge is one of only four movable bridges in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The county owns and operates the bridge. It is maintained by the Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering, under the supervision of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. According to HistoricBridges.org, the Shark River Bridge “is one of the busiest movable spans in the state, opening an average of over 8,000 times per year.”
Because many of the operating parts of the bridge have been replaced and modernized since the structure was built over 90 years ago, it is not considered to have historical or technological significance, according to the New Jersey Historic Bridge Survey. Nonetheless, you can't beat the spectacular water views from this special little spot!
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Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.