Cliffwood Beach is a census-designated place and unincorporated community within Aberdeen Township, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the CDP's population was 17,011. As of the 2010 United States Census, the CDP's population was 3,194.
Matavan Township was incorporated on February 23, 1857. This included the village of Middletown Point, Mt. Pleasant, and Matavan including Matavan beach. The beach area of Matavan was later renamed Cliffwood Beach.
A "Cliffwood Beach" directional sign is seen briefly in the 1939 documentary The City (with music by Aaron Copland). An unending traffic jam getting to the beach is used in the film as an endemic problem of unplanned growth.
Cliffwood Beach was a popular resort up until 1960, with a boardwalk, saltwater swimming pool, dining and dancing at The Cat n Fiddle, and other amusements. The beachfront facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Donna in September 1960. All that remains is the swimming pool, though it is currently buried in a sand dune that helps support part of the sea wall.
Cliffwood Beach was an early recipient of aid through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Green Acres Program , which was established in 1961. The township received funds to build a park near the Cliffwood Beach waterfront. The tennis courts have since been converted to an enclosed in-line skating arena, and the original playground equipment and two basketball courts have been upgraded.
It was featured in Weird NJ magazine's Issue #28. The article, "Cliffwood Beach: A Forgotten Resort", recounted the abrupt manner in which the town was forgotten.
Nothing remains for any of the boardwalk amusements, except for the large swimming pool, which lies abandoned and filled with debris.
The beachfront is currently slated for redevelopment, and has been for years. Many of the residents, however, doubt the local government will actually do anything because little has been done over the years to actually help improve the area.