This time last year, Oceanside Realty in Long Beach Island would have told you not to bother searching for a weekly rental for the summer, because almost everything was booked.

But with fewer travel concerns related to COVID-19, a stay near the New Jersey coast may not be as hot of an item in 2022.

"We are seeing spotty weeks open here and there still in July and August," Lisa Musarra, managing broker at Oceanside Realty, told New Jersey 101.5.

There's even a greater amount of availability in June and September, she said. In 2020 and 2021, inventory was limited during these months as well, due to children learning remotely and/or parents working from home.

As of earlier this year, weekly rentals for the summer ahead were almost completely booked for Island Realty Group in North Wildwood. But since then, the Wildwoods have had new construction come on the market, and the agency experienced several cancellations, due in part to rising gas prices.

"We would have people traveling from the New England region and people coming up from Florida," said Joseph Zarroli, broker for Island Realty.

Seasonal properties, however, disappeared very quickly, he said.

New construction has added some breathing room for Seaside Realty as well. Michael Loundy, broker/owner of the Seaside Heights-based agency, said the prime summer months of mid-July to mid-August are typically tough to book, but you could have a shot this year.

"I would believe that we have something for everyone, from the lesser expensive ones, around $2,500 (weekly), up to things that are a little north of $5,000, and those are new construction," Loundy said.

For families who have more flexible schedules, agencies along the shore suggest that post-Labor Day is an ideal time to book a stay — prices are more reasonable, the calendar still says summer, and there's less competition from other renters.

"That's the best time at the beach, I think," said Justin Smith, realtor with Wood Agency in Manasquan.

Smith said rentals in his area are "extremely booked up" during the middle-of-summer weeks. June and late August have a good amount of availability.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: