The Sandy Hook Chapel is available for weddings, memorials, meetings, lectures, family gatherings and other large events. The Chapel is approximately seven miles north of the park entrance, in the Fort Hancock Historic Post. The Chapel has high ceilings, wood plank floors, an intimate upstairs loft, and overlooks the Sandy Hook Bay. It is a unique location for private and public events.
Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. An application with a $50 non-refundable application fee must be submitted and approved to tentatively hold a date for 10 business days.
Includes setup the day before the event day starting at 9 am, as well as breakdown to be completed by noon the day after the event.
The NPS reserves the right to require breakdown of an event to be completed earlier than noon of the day following the event. Such determinations will be made based on the number of and frequency of events scheduled at the Chapel or the corresponding area. In such cases ample notice will be provided.
Security deposits will be forfeited and other fees applied if the allotted time is exceeded.
Rental Period/Setup & Removal Time:
Event day: 6 am - 10 pm
Breakdown day after 6 am - 12 pm.
Includes breakdown to be completed by noon the day after the event.
The NPS reserves the right to require breakdown of an event to be completed earlier than noon of the day following the event. Such determinations will be made based on the number and frequency of events scheduled at the Chapel or corresponding area. In such cases ample notice will be provided.
Security deposit will be forfeited and other fees applied if time allotted is exceeded.
Rental Period/Setup and Removal Time:
Half Day: four hours
Four hours or less, including setup and breakdown time.
Times will be determined by the Lessee and the NPS based on the type of lease granted and availability.
Full Day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Start Time: 6 am/9 am: based on availability and package
End Time: 10 pm (Unless LE Ranger present**)
Weekday (Full Day/All Half Day)
Start Time: any time based on availability
End Time: 4/6 hours exactly after start time
**Sandy Hook closed at 8 pm every night. No event can extend past 10 pm without a Law Enforcement Ranger present.
PAYMENTS AND PAYMENT SCHEDULE:
The short-term lease application of $50 is due with the completed application. This fee is non-refundable, but goes towards the rental rate. If applicant cancels at any time the fee is forfeited.
A non-refundable booking deposit in the amount of 30% of the rental rate is required 10 business after the application is received to reserve the date. If the deposit is not received within 10 business days your date will not be held and the deposit will be forfeited. The deposit amount goes toward the rental rate, but will be forfeited if you cancel at any time.
After the booking deposit is received a draft lease will be written and sent to the lessee for signature. Once the signed lease is returned by the lessee 30% of the total is due. The lease will then be sent for finalization and the superintendent's signature.
The remaining balance is due no later than 30 days prior to the event and is non-refundable. Once the remaining balance is paid the final lease is sent to the lessee.
The security deposit is required prior to the event in the form of a credit card payment via www.pay.gov in the amount of 25% of the rental rate. The security deposit will be returned to the lessee 7-10 business days after event, as long as no damage to the Chapel has occurred, the allotted time was not exceeded, and no breaches of the lease occurred.
If the event goes over allotted time, and over cost recovery or breaches the lease in any way, the security deposit will be forfeited and additional fees could be billed. Please see the Payments and Rules & Regulations sections for more information.
All payments must be processed through pay.gov; a secure payment portal. Please visit www.pay.gov/public/form/start/76460586 for payments. Payments can be made via pay.gov using personal checking accounts, PayPal, credit cards, and other methods.
PLEASE NOTE: Security Deposits MUST be paid with a credit card to be refunded.
Supervision is required for event that wish to exceed 10 pm end time (all guests exiting by 10 pm) at an additional cost of $50 per hour for a two hour minimum. The payment is required 30 days prior to the event. Unanticipated costs incurred as a result of the use and occupancy of the premises shall be due immediately upon conclusion of the event. Such costs are considered additional rent and may include, but are not limited to, emergency services, cleanup, trash removal, and the costs of remedying damages to park resources. All unanticipated costs will mean forfeit of security deposit. If the costs exceed the security deposit, a bill of collection will be issued.
Rules, Regulations, Requirements
1. Fire and Safety
Floor Plans: Floor plans of equipment set-up (of the interior and exterior building) are required and must be submitted prior to the event to be reviewed and approved by the Sandy Hook Fire Chief. Floor plans are necessary to ensure there are no fire or safety hazards. Aisles must be clear and event walk-through flow is required at all times. A floor plan should include positioning of tents, tables, chairs, DJ setup, musician setup, dance floor, and any other object occupying space. The total number of guests per table is required in order to help determine total interior and exterior capacity for your specific special event. A rough floor plan sketch is required with your application to included estimated guests per table, tent sizes, total guest expectancy, identify if ceremony will take place inside or outside, and equipment set-up (for example, x amount of chairs per row and x amount of rows), if any. We understand it may be too early to know the exact layout of your event, so a rough sketch and projected numbers (if unsure, aim high) are sufficient. Keep in mind that large stage/dance floor setups eat up a lot of floors space and will minimize guest capacity.
Storage: Theuse of storage closets in the interior and exterior of the premises is prohibit. The door located to the left is a designated Fire Exit and must remain clear and accessible at all times.
Tents: Compliance with "NJ-1 Call" is required for any ground penetration greater than six inches below grade. A utility "mark out" is required for all tent installation work that results in ground penetration greater than six inches (i.e. driving stakes). The utility mark out must be completed by any contractor or individual erecting the tent ("Excavator") , and must be completed within the required time frame as outlined on the NJ-1 call website (https://www.nj-1call.org). The party completing the erection or installation shall be liable for damages to any underground utilities impacted in connection with the installation activities. The utility mark out confirmation number must be available to NPS upon request. In the event a tent vendor will not provide or follow the NJ-1 Call requirement, you will need to find and select another tent vendor. There are high electricity voltage lines underneath the site and NJ-1 Call free service is required by the State of New Jersey. It is the law.
Onsite Inspection: An onsite fire and safety inspection may be undertaken by the Sandy Hook Fire Chief or Designees on the day of your event once setup of all chairs, tables, tents, lighting, and all other equipment is complete (including interior furnishings) to ensure the event setup is free of safety hazards. This will be scheduled by the NPS.
Candles: Candles are allowed per the fire chief, however, they must be secured in a container and covered with at least an inch of lip of that container. Fires are not allowed on the Chapel grounds.
2. Certificate of Liability Insurance: A certificate of liability insurance ($1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 aggregate) naming the United States of America as the certificate holder must be received by the NPS 30 days prior to the event. Separate proof of insurance is required where alcohol will be served. The types of insurance and the amount of coverage will be further specified in the lease. The insurance certificate must be issued or obtained by the lessee. In other words, whosoever name is on the lease needs to obtain the insurance certificate in their name. Certificate of Liability Insurance is at additional cost and provided by the vendor of the lessee's choice.
3. Key: The lease holder will sign out the Chapel front door key at the start of the lease. Lease holders are responsible for securing the Chapel during the lease and returning the key once the lease is complete.
4.Access: NPS personnel are not responsible for granting access to the Chapel to vendors. All vendor deliveries and Chapel access are the responsibility of the lease holder. NPS personnel will not grant access to vendors.
5.Parking: Use of the parking area adjacent to the Chapel is permitted during the term of the lease. Use of the Theater parking lot directly across from the Chapel may also be permitted at the discretion of NPS personnel. Parking at either location is not exclusive to the applicant's guests. For larger events, parking may also be authorized at additional locations as determined by NPS staff.
There is no parking fee associated with visits to historic Fort Hancock but access to beach area parking lots require a beach parking permit between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. The park is prohibited from waiving parking fees. Parking fees are applicable to beach lots A, B, C, D, E, G, J, and K between 7 am to 5 pm and cannot be waived or suspended under any authorized instrument. The NPS cannot guarantee parking availability or access into the park during peak times, weather related events, or other events beyond the control of park management. Your party may encounter difficulty entering or exiting the park.
Parking on grass is strictly prohibited. No vehicles are permitted on the paved Multi-Use Path (MUP) at any time. Driving off roadways without proper authorization may result in issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice: 26 CFR 1.10(a). Consumption of alcohol in the parking areas is PROHIBITED. No vehicles may be left overnight except in emergency situations.
6.Alcohol: Alcohol is allowed for events within the designated leased area; within the Chapel, and within the adjacent land assignment to the left of the Chapel. A liquor liability license insurance certificate is required where alcohol will be present. In accordance with 36 CFR 2.35 and the park's compendium, alcohol is prohibited in all other areas of Sandy Hook unless authorized by a legal instrument. Open containers of alcohol within the parking lots and vehicles is prohibited.
7.Smoking: Smoking is allowed within the exterior designated leased area; the adjacent land assignment to the left of the Chapel. In accordance with 36 CFR 2.21 and the park's compendium, smoking is prohibited within the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area except within designated areas. The parking lots are designated areas. Smoking is prohibited in any interior space and can result in the issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice pursuant to 36 CFR 21.21 (a). Discarding cigarettes or cigarette butts on the grounds may result in issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice pursuant to 36 CFR 2.14(a)(1). Sanitation and refuse violations may result in issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice pursuant to 36 CFR 2.14(a)(1). Proper outdoor receptacles must be provided in sufficient number to accommodate the needs of lessee and lessee's guest or invitees.
8. Sanitation: In the event the receptacles available onsite are not sufficient for the purposes of the event/capacity, additional receptacles must be provided by the applicant. A sufficient number to accommodate the needs of applicant's guests or invitees. Sanitation and refuse violation may result in the issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice pursuant to 36 CFR 2.14(a)(1).
9.Noise Level: Sound, audio, or music shall not be broadcast at a level exceeding 60 decibels beyond a distance of 50 feet from the perimeter of the leased premises at any time. Moreover, the unit coordinator reserves the right to determine whether sound, audio, or music is broadcast or projected at a reasonable level. The unit coordinator may require the volume of any sound, audio, or music deemed unreasonable to be lowered. Excess noise disturbs occupants of facilities in the Fort Hancock Historic District. Failure to abide by these conditions may result in noise violations and the issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice: 36 CFR 2.12 (Audio Disturbance) and/or 36 CFR 2.34 (a)(3) Disorderly Conduct.
10.Quiet Hours: Quiet hours within the park begin at 10 pm every night and will be enforced. Events expected to go past 10 pm require onside supervision, the cost of which may be considered additional rent. Noise violations may result in issuance of a U.S. District Court Violation Notice pursuant to 36 CFR 2.12 (Audio Disturbance) and/or 36 CFR 2.34 (a)(3) Disorderly Conduct.
11. Decorations & Alterations: Alterations to the premises are prohibited. Decorations hung or affixed in ay manner to the walls, fixtures, floors, or light fixtures are prohibited. No tape, glue, staples, nails, or tacks may be affixed to any painted or finished wood surfaces, including the floors. Hanging anything from the rafters is also prohibited. Ladders are not available on the premises.
Scattering of rice, bird seed, confetti, glitter, bubbles or other similar items are prohibited. Outdoor use of ballons, glass, or any decoration hung or affixed to any tree, signs, or other park property is prohibited. Additionally:
Flying lanterns, tea lamps, or any other flying objects are prohited and not allowed near the bay. They are hazardous and pose a threat to the endangered species, nature, and other natural resources.
Fireworks are prohibited in accorance with federal law.
12. Caterers and Event Planners: Caterers and event planners unfamiliar with the premises must complete a pre-event walkthrough of the premises with the appliacant and an NPS representative prior to the event. Caterers and event planners must be identified on the application, if known at the time of completion. The information must be provided no less than 30 days prior to the scheduled event.
13. Kitchen Facilities: Kitchen facilities are not provided.
14. Generators: Generators are prohibited unless specifically authorized in writing by the NPS, in which case a fire and safety inspection will be conducted by the NPS Fire Chief or designee. All generators (gasoline, propane powered stoves, and accessories, including fuel storage) are subject to inspection by NPS and must comply with all applicable NFPA and NPS fire safety standards.
15. Hazardous Materials: Hazardous Materials (which are toxic, explosive, corrosive, flammable, infections, radioative, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or otherwise hazardous, including but not limited to asbestos, formaldehyde, and radon gas) are strictly prohbited. Otehr hazardous materials such as gasoline, diesel fuel, or other petroleum hydrocarbons must be used in accordance with applicable regulations.
16. Cleanup and Trash Removal: Lessee is resonsible for removal of all equipment and trash collection. The Chapel and adjacent grounds must be cleaned and left vacant and in broom clean condition. Two trash bins and two recycling bins with bags are provided for the collection of trash and recycling during the event. Lessee is to separate recycling and trash in provided containers, remove bags from trash/recycling bins and place collected bags in the designated containers in the trash shed located outside behind the Chapel. If recycling and trash are not separated properly the security deposit may be forfeited.
Chapel must be left in the condition found, any deviation may result in forfeiting of the security deposit. Any damage to the Chapel as a result of the lessee's vendors is the responsibility of the lessee.
17. Inclement Weather: The National Park Service and the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recration Area are not responsible for providing shelter or any alternate location in the event of inclement weather.
18. Pets: Pets are allowed in Sandy Hook, however, they must be leased at all times. All pets, except ADA service animals, must remain outside and are prohibited from entering any government building, including the Chapel. Pets cannot be left unattended and must be cleaned up after.
19. Outside activities: Bounce houses, metal horseshoes, and fires are prohibited. All other games and activies must be approved by the NPS.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do my guests have to pay to get in?
No, your guests do not have to pay to enter the park. The fee at the entrance gate is a "beach parking pass". Your guests can state they are attending your event and they will be let through without paying.
Can cars be parked in the parking lot overnight?
No. The park closes at 8 pm. Shuttles for your guests are a great idea!
Can I have my rehearsal at the Chapel?
It depends. If you rent the Chapel for the 2.5 day package, yes, but you must be out of the park by 8 pm. None of the other packages will give you access to the Chapel prior to the day of your event.
Are chairs and/or tables included?
No, but they can be rented at an additional cost.
Where can I take pictures?
Anywhere in the park that is open to the public. Your lease does not give you access to closed areas.
What time does my event have to end?
10 pm. The park closes at 8 pm, but your lease is until 10 pm. Your event will end at 9 pm and all guests must exit by 10 pm unless you have made arrangements to stay later.
How will my vendor gain access to the Chapel?
You will have to provide access to the Chapel for your vendors. You are given a key once the lease begins.
Can I put signs up?
Yes, but they must be removed after your event. Signs must be approved prior to use. We recommend the small real-estate signs. Balloons are not allowed.
What is the Chapel's address?
35 Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732. We do not recommend putting this into a GPS. GPS units rarely work correctly within Sandy Hook.
Are the bathrooms accessible?
Yes, both of the main restrooms are accessible. The small back bathroom to be used by vendors is not accessible.
Is there a kitchen?
No, there are no kitchen facilities.
Does the Chapel have AC and/or heat?
Yes, the Chapel has head and AC. The AC is limited due to the vaulted ceilings.
Do I need liability insurance? How can I get it?
Yes, liability insurance is required to lease the Chapel. Please see information packet for details. We recommend starting with your own insurance agent (where you get your auto, home, or renters insurance), and asking if they provide event liability insurance. Most major insurance companies do provide event insurance. Liability insurance may also be available through online vendors. The United States of America must be listed as a co-insurer or certificate holder.
Is alcohol/liquor allowed? Do you require a liquor license?
Liquor is allowed and a liquor license is required. If your caterer is providing and serving the liquor they are required to have one, most caterers do. If you are serving/providing the liquor yourself, liquor liability insurance must be added to the liability insurance certificate.
Can you lease the Chapel and the grounds separately?
No, the Chapel and grounds must be leased together. You cannot lease one without the other.
Where do I get my marriage license if I get married at Sandy Hook?
If you are a NJ resident, you can get it in the county/town you live. If you are an out-of-state resident, you much get your license at Middletown, NJ. Even though Sandy Hook's address is Highlands, NJ, it is considered part of Middletown.
Please email us at GATE_SAHOspecialparkuses@nps.gov with any additional questions.