• Get away to Gateway, where you can camp and stay healthy with heart-smart activities. Photo by Sebastiano Privitera; used by permission.


    National Recreation Area NY,NJ

Things to Do - Sandy Hook

One of several popular beaches at Sandy Hook.

Sandy Hook has great beaches---and a whole lot more for visitors to enjoy.


Looking for some fun this week?
Gateway's latest seasonal Program Guide includes nature walks and history tours and programs for Sandy Hook as well as the areas of the park in New York.

Beach Recreation
Lifeguards are on duty from 10 AM to 6 PM from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at ocean side beaches. Please swim only at guarded beaches and only when lifeguards are on duty. When wading, be aware of sudden drop-offs. If you can't swim, don't go in.

Rip currents are powerful currents of water flowing away from shore. Before you go to the beach, learn what you need to do to "Break the Grip of the Rip!"®

Fishing 2014
Surf fishing is permitted at all beaches except:

  • at oceanside beaches when lifeguards are on duty, and;
  • when beaches are closed to protect nesting shore birds.

Annual passes for nighttime fishing can be purchased. Unless otherwise stated below, payment is permitted by cash, credit, check or money order. Your Social Security number is required on all checks.

Due to changes in staffing over the seasons, the times and places to buy annual fishing passes vary as well.

  • April 12 to mid-May, weekdays: passes sold from 9 am to 5 pm at the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters (no credit cards accepted) and 7:30 pm to 5:30 am at the Entrance Station. No passes are sold from 5 pm to 7:30 pm.
  • April 12 to mid-May, weekends: passes sold 9 am to 4 pm and 7:30 pm to 5:30 am at the Entrance Station. No passes are sold from 4 pm to 7:30 pm.
  • Mid-May to Labor Day: passes will be sold 24 hours a day at the Entrance Station. No cash will be accepted between 5 pm and 7 am.
  • After Labor Day: passes sold at the Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters from 9 am to 5 pm (no credit cards accepted) and at the Entrance Station from 7:30 pm to 5:30 am.

The Saltwater Angler Registry is part of an improved data program to help protect long-term sustainability of recreational fishing.

Fish Smart, Eat Smart is a guide for eating fish caught in New Jersey coastal waters from the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife. Please read this before eating what you catch.

For a great way to see Sandy Hook, the seven-mile long Multi-Use Pathway (MUP) starts at the park entrance and loops around Fort Hancock. It is shared by walkers, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Bring your own bicycle or you can rent a bike during your visit.

The MUP is for everyone, so please use it with courtesy. Whether you walk, bike or rollerblade, stay on your side of the yellow line. Keep an ear out for people who wish to pass. Keep animals on a short enough leash to keep your pet on your side of the trail.

Trails begin at the Spermaceti Cove Lifesaving Station and at Area M near Nine Gun Battery. Walking ocean beaches is permitted but in spring and summer some areas are closed due to the shorebird nesting season.

Sandy Hook is a prime spot for birding. Try Plum Island, the Spermaceti Cove boardwalk, the Horseshoe Cove salt marsh, North Pond or the fields at Fort Hancock.

This summer, overnight tent camping has been expanded to select areas of Sandy Hook. Click here to read more on Camp Gateway. Reservations are now available at www.recreation.gov under "Camp Gateway."

Non-motorized car top boats can be launched from Beach Area C and Horseshoe Cove. Windsurfing and kite-boarding is best on the bay across from Beach Area C. Horseshoe Cove is popular with recreational boaters. Landing on beach with a motorized boat is prohibited.

Enjoy a blanket picnics on the beach. The North Beach Observation Deck has tables and a view of New York Harbor. Grilling is permitted only at Guardian Park in Fort Hancock.

Food Trucks
Sandy Hook is embarking on a new path with mobile food trucks this summer. Throughout this year's beach season different mobile food vendors will be offering an array of food to visitors. Vendors will be located in various parking lots throughout the beach during the summer season.

Take a stroll around Fort Hancock, a National Historic Landmark. Seven days a week the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Keepers' Quarters and Barn are open to tell the story of lighthouses and the men and women who maintained these life saving sentinels.

Lighthouse Group Tours:

  • reservations must be made prior to your group's visit
  • reservations must be made three weeks in advance of the requested tour date
  • maximum group size- 35 participants
  • e-mail Jennifer Cox to make a reservation

Did You Know?

World War I recruiting poster for the Coastal Artillery Corps.

All of Gateway NRA's units include sites that defended New York Harbor from attacks from the sea, from the Revolutionary War through World War II. They are Fort Hancock, Fort Tilden, and Fort Wadsworth. Learn about the history of coastal defense by visiting any of these sites. More...