The barrier island in the southern part of the Jersey Shore that includes the towns of Avalon and Stone Harbor is known for its dunes, protecting the beaches in these towns from wind and wave damage. What is unique about these dunes is they are in their natural state. In most other places the dunes have been leveled off to support development of the resort areas. The Avalon/Stone Harbor dunes offer a rare look at what the Jersey Shore looked like before the hotels, the beach houses, the boardwalks and amusement piers.
Along the dunes is a maritime forest, a natural green area that is home to plants and wildlife. This season rabbits are all over the area, but residents have also reported seeing skunks, raccoons and red foxes. Two endangered species, the piping pover and the least tern, nest in the area.
The photos below are from the Avalon Dune and Beach Trail. The 1.1 mile walk starts at 44th Street and Dune Drive. It goes to the beach then circles back around on 48th Street. As you walk toward the beach the maritime forest gets progressively lower, from trees to shrubs to grasses.
Ocean currents pick up sand from the north end of the island and move it south. Below is a photo of dune repair being done at the north end in Avalon followed by a photo of the south end, the Stone Harbor Point protected conservation area.