Why are parking fees increasing?
Gateway is increasing beach parking fees in 2021 at Sandy Hook in order to maintain and improve visitor services. Eighty percent of the money raised from parking fees stays within the park. The revenue will be used to improve the condition of visitor facilities and help cover the increase in cost for services, such as lifeguard protection. The parking fee is only charged at Sandy Hook from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Pedestrians and bicyclists would still be able to enjoy the park for free year-round.
What are the new fees?
Effective Saturday, May 29, 2021, the new parking fee at Sandy Hook will be $20 per vehicle and $50 per oversize vehicle. The new season pass fee will be $100 a vehicle and $200 for an oversize vehicle.
When was the last fee increase? How many times have fees increased?
The last fee increase was in 2012. Fees have increased four times since 1983, when parking fees were first established at Gateway.
Why raise fees now?
The decision to raise parking fees weighs multiple factors. Gateway is a destination for all visitors and must remain affordable. As visitation numbers continue to rise, this fee increase will help the park maintain the amenities that visitors expect and deserve, such as safe and clean beaches, restrooms, and shower facilities. Even with the increases, the cost of a visit to Gateway will continue to compare favorably with nearby beaches.
Are there any changes to parking pass benefits?
What has fee money been used for in the past?
Hundreds of projects and programs in the park have been funded in full or part with fee money. These include:
Sandy Hook Lighthouse restoration.
Docking facility improvements.
Expansion of free public kayaking and canoeing programs.
Renovation of the Guardian Park restrooms.
What will the increased revenue be used for?
The revenue will provide enhanced visitor services, including repair and maintenance of facilities, capital improvements, resource protection, and visitor programs and services.Here are some future proposed projects:
Increase visitor access to the historic Mortar Battery. Install solar-powered Pedestrian Crossing Signs.
Upgrade the Sandy Hook water treatment system.
Replacing street lighting.
Remove hazardous trees and replace with new plantings.
Can I still use my Senior Pass/Access pass?
Yes, visitors with the Senior Pass and Access Pass would continue to receive a 50% discount on parking fees, as they do now.
Are there any other discounts?
Active service members and veterans, as well as visitors with Every Kid Outdoors vouchers will receive free beach parking.
I’d like to buy a season pass. Where are they sold?
Season passes can be purchased online at www.recreation.gov or at the Sandy Hook entrance gate. For online passes, please visit www.recreation.gov and search for Sandy Hook beach parking.
What can I still do for free?
Plenty! At Sandy Hook, you can visit Fort Hancock, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Guardian Park, and Horseshoe Cove. Interpretive programs, including tours, seining, and canoeing, are free. Entering the park is still free for those who walk or bike into the park.
What is the difference in prices and benefits with other surrounding beaches?