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Keansburg, NJ

Situated on the Raritan Bay shoreline in Monmouth County, Keansburg is a humble beach town with a laid-back vibe. The calm waters of the bay meet Keansburg’s beaches, parks, and marshlands, creating a relaxing setting under the hot New Jersey summers and mild winters with occasional snowfall.

A place seemingly lost in time, Keansburg maintains a nostalgic small-town charm in the midst of surrounding suburban sprawl.

Population

Keansburg has a small town population to match its quiet, nostalgic atmosphere. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Keansburg was 9,757 as of the 2020 census estimate, and 9,706 in the 2022 estimate. This represents a slight decrease in population in recent years.

Keansburg’s population density is around 9,104.60 people per square mile, higher than the New Jersey average of 1,200 people per square mile. The town’s population has generally been stable for the past few decades, maintaining its character as a tight-knit beachside community.

Racial Makeup

The racial makeup of the borough is relatively diverse, as reflected by the recent American Community Survey.

RacePercentage
White80.12%
Black or African American8.35%
Two or more races5.16%
Other race3.36%
Asian3.00%

Demographics

  • Median age: 42.1
  • The average household size: 2.59
  • Median household income: $74,208
  • Per capita income: $33,643
  • No households reported speaking a non-English language at home
  • 97.5% of residents are U.S. citizens
  • Median property value in 2020: $197,200
  • Homeownership rate: 49.2%
  • Most people drove alone to work and the average commute time was 32 minutes
  • Average car ownership: 2 cars per household
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History

Keansburg began as a tiny spit of land jutting into the Raritan Bay, home to hardworking fishing folk eking out a living harvesting oysters from the fertile waters. Everything changed when the Jersey Coast Line railroad arrived in the late 1800s.

The railroad linked Keansburg – then known as Keyport Landing – to nearby cities, bringing visitors in search of seaside pleasures. James Kean, the railroad executive who oversaw the expansion, had the foresight to see tourism as the town’s future. He renamed the station after himself, and Keansburg was born.

The railroad depot opened in 1887, breathtaking views of the bay beckoning tourists with the promise of leisure and escape. Hotels and boardwalks sprang up overnight it seemed, and amusements like Almond Street Park opened in 1905, thrilling visitors with rides and games. Keansburg soon had a reputation as a summertime jewel along the Jersey Shore.

But storms have tested Keansburg’s spirit. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s merciless waves swallowed homes, flooded streets and ripped the beloved boardwalk to pieces. The recovery has been painstakingly slow at times. Yet the townspeople’s love for their town – built one boardwalk beer and summer carnival at a time – remains strong as ever.

Today, Keansburg still charms with its saltwater soul. The town keeps rebuilding, one board by board, determined to preserve what makes this humble beach town so very special.

Quality of Life

The quality of life in Keansburg is a mixed bag. On the one hand, residents enjoy access to the Raritan Bay beaches, a safe and tight-knit community, and a moderate cost of living. 

For those seeking an affordable beach town, Keansburg delivers. Home values are modest and the cost of living is below the New Jersey average. Keansburg has retained its small-town charm, and residents treasure the sense of community. The beachfront provides recreation opportunities for swimming, fishing, and kayaking.

Health care

Residents of Keansburg have access to nearby hospitals and urgent care centers, though healthcare options within the town itself are limited. The sole healthcare facility in Keansburg itself is the Keansburg Community Health Center, which provides primary care.

The nearest major hospitals include Bayshore Medical Center in nearby Holmdel and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, less than 10 miles away. Several other hospitals within 12 to 15 miles also serve Keansburg, such as:

  • Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy
  • Hackensack Meridian Old Bridge Medical Center
  • Staten Island University Hospital in New York

There are also nearby clinics such as:

ClinicsLocation
Keansburg Community Health CenterKeansburg
AFC Urgent Care Aberdeen4 miles from Keansburg
Optum Urgent Care in Hazlet5 miles from Keansburg
Immediate Care in Hazlet5 miles from Keansburg
Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care in Middletown6 miles from Keansburg

Education

The Keansburg School District provides all public education for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The district consists of four schools that cover different grade levels:

School NameGrade Levels
Joseph C. Caruso SchoolPre-K through 2nd grade
Port Monmouth Road School3rd through 4th grade
Joseph R. Bolger Middle School5th through 8th grade
Keansburg High School9th through 12th grade

The district aims to prepare students for college and careers through a rigorous and supportive program. However, it faces challenges given that half of students are minorities and over a third come from low-income backgrounds.

Other Key Facts

  • The district had around 1,642 students as of 2018-2019.
  • The student-teacher ratio is around 10 to 1.
  • Minority students make up 50% of enrollment.
  • Around 35.5% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.
  • The district was previously designated an Abbott district, providing more state funding.

Transportation

Residents and visitors to Keansburg borough have several options for getting around town and connecting to nearby destinations. Mass transit links provide access to larger cities, while local services and personal vehicles cater to travel within the town itself.

Local Bus and Mass Transit Options

Local bus routes are operated by Helfrich Bus & Limousine, providing transport within Keansburg and to surrounding areas. Manhattan is just an hour away via rail, ferry, or bus from Keansburg’s transit center, with trains, buses, and ferries running frequently. Uber and other rideshare services also operate in town.

Transportation Programs

For those who cannot drive or afford a vehicle, there are numerous social programs that offer transportation assistance. The walkable and bikeable layout of Keansburg also makes those options viable for some trips.

However, residents ultimately rely heavily on personal vehicles for daily transportation needs. The average car ownership in Keansburg is 2 vehicles per household. An aging population may reduce mobility for some without adequate public transit options.

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Points of Interest

Water and wonder abound in Keansburg’s beloved attractions, revealing the heart and soul of this old fishing town in Raritan Bay turned shore escape.

  • The Runaway Rapids Waterpark and neighboring amusement parks never fail to delight kids and families with vintage carnival rides, spray-filled water rides, and midway games. Here, the simple joys of summer come alive.
  • Down at the fishing pier jutting into the Raritan Bay, anglers young and old while away afternoons casting for flounder and fluke with the Lower Manhattan skyline glittering across the water. Crabbers crowd the railings, hoping for a feast.
  • Even Keansburg Beach, though small, charms with its simplicity. Here one can watch gulls swoop, kids build castles and the sunset paints the waves in gold – priceless pleasures for a shore town soul.
  • Then there’s the historic Joseph C. Caruso School building, still educating students within its ivy-covered walls dating back over a century. Stepping inside is like traveling back in time.
  • Finally, the Keansburg Historical Museum preserves the stories of the town’s fishing and oyster-gathering heritage, from clam shacks to amusement parks. These humble exhibits illuminate a world that shaped this beach town’s special character.

Final Thoughts

For visitors seeking an authentic seaside escape, Keansburg remains the quintessential Jersey Shore town. Here, you can still taste the salt air, hear kids laughing on the beach and feel the slow rhythms of a place shaped by the tides and the simple pleasures they bring. The soul of Keansburg still shines through – in the pride of local shopkeepers, the patience of anglers on the pier, and the joy of kids riding the old Cyclone roller coaster.

No place is perfect, and Keansburg has its challenges. But with care and investment that boosts the economy, environment, and community -perhaps starting with restoring that beloved stretch of the boardwalk – this old shore town could continue to nurture the humble grandeur and coastal essence that first made it special. For now, Keansburg delivers on the simple promise all true shore towns make: escape to a place where joy is found in salt spray and sandcastles, and everyday beauty.

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