Bradley Beach is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 4,298, reflecting a decline of 495 (-10.3%) from the 4,793 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 318 (+7.1%) from the 4,475 counted in the 1990 Census. The summer population can reach 30,000.
Bradley Beach was named for James A. Bradley, the developer responsible for the creation of the Bradley Beach and Asbury Park. In 1871, William B. Bradner, with James A. Bradley as an investor, acquired 54 acres (22 ha) of land north of Avon-by-the-Sea, and south of Ocean Grove. At the time the area where they had purchased their land was known informally as Ocean Park and was part of Ocean Township and later became part of Neptune Township.
Citizens appealed to the New Jersey Legislature for a referendum to separate Bradley Beach from Neptune Township, and on March 13, 1893, Bradley Beach was incorporated, based on the results of a referendum held on March 6, 1893. The borough's incorporation was confirmed on March 13, 1925.
It was the first location in the United States to charge sea bathers for beach access when it began minting its own tin badges starting in 1929.
Sand dunes were constructed on the borough's beaches in the mid-1990s at a cost of $10,000, using snow fences and discarded Christmas trees to build a base of wind-driven sand that rose 15 feet (4.6 m), atop which dune grass was planted. These dunes helped provide significant protection to Bradley Beach from the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, blunting the impact of the storm surge and limiting damage in the borough to beach areas and homes near the shore to $3 million, while neighboring communities that hadn't constructed such dunes suffered much more extensive damage.
The borough had gone into decline after World War II, with growth returning around 2000 as seasonal visitors and new residents purchased properties, which borough regulations require that they must be renovated on the same footprint as the original home.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 0.633 square miles (1.639 km2), including 0.612 square miles (1.585 km2) of land and 0.021 square miles (0.054 km2) of water (3.32%).
The borough borders the Monmouth County municipalities of Avon-by-the-Sea, Neptune City and Neptune Township.
The 2010 United States Census counted 4,298 people, 2,098 households, and 979.766 families in the borough. The population density was 7,023.6 per square mile (2,711.8/km2). There were 3,180 housing units at an average density of 5,196.6 per square mile (2,006.4/km2). The racial makeup was 85.06% (3,656) White, 4.96% (213) Black or African American, 0.42% (18) Native American, 1.81% (78) Asian, 0.02% (1) Pacific Islander, 5.21% (224) from other races, and 2.51% (108) from two or more races.