Long Beach Island, commonly known to residents as LBI, is a beach resort on the Jersey Shore, located just 25 miles north of Atlantic City.
The island, 75 miles south of New York City, is about 18 miles long, and includes three miles of a nature reserve at its southern tip. LBI is about a half-mile wide at its widest part in Ship Bottom, and spans a fifth of a mile at its narrowest point in Harvey Cedars, site of a once-famous resort hotel.
Although the year-round population is about 20,000, almost 130,000 vacationers descend on the island each summer.
Long Beach Island, bisected by State Route 72, connects the mainland to the island in the area known as Ship Bottom. It is the sole access point for road vehicles to the mainland over Manahawkin Bay. This resulted in dividing the island into a northern portion and a southern portion. From the bridge northward, the island communities are Ship Bottom, Surf City, North Beach (a section of Long Beach Township), Harvey Cedars, Loveladies (a section of Long Beach Township), High Bar Harbor (the northernmost section of Long Beach Township), and Barnegat Light. From the bridge southward, the island includes the communities of Ship Bottom, Long Beach Township (including the census-designated place of North Beach Haven) and Beach Haven, with the Holgate section of Long Beach Township at the southernmost tip of the island.
Continuously settled since about 1690, the island has traditionally been a prime destination for hunters and fishermen. Barnegat Inlet, to the north of the island, was an important trade route for freight shipments and whaling from the 17th century through the 20th century. Due to the Inlet's importance and turbulent waters, a lighthouse tower was built in 1835 to guide ships through the area. The lighthouse, however, proved inadequate as a beacon, as it was constantly being mistaken for another passing ship because the light was fixed.