Things to Do - Sandy Hook

View of Fort Hancock from the Sandy Hook Lighthouse at sunset.
View of Fort Hancock from the Sandy Hook Lighthouse at sunset.

NPS PHOTO

Looking for fun this week?

History

Gateway's calendar includes nature walks and history tours and programs for Sandy Hook. Take a stroll around Fort Hancock Historic Post. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Keepers' Quarters and Barn are open seven days a week to tell the story of lighthouses and the men and women who maintained these life-saving sentinels. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse will be closed between September 7 and October 6 and again from October 18 to the spring of 2017 for repairs and rehabilitation. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

The lighthouse will be open for tours during the Fort Hancock weekend October 7 to October 9, 2016 and for the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey October 15 and 16, 2016.

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

Surf fishing is permitted at all beaches, except:

  • at oceanside beaches when lifeguards are on duty, and;
  • when sections of the beach are closed to protect nesting shore birds (typically March to September).
  • When areas of the beach are closed due to safety concerns.

Salt water fishing in New Jersey requires a permit from the state of New Jersey. Registration is free. The New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program is part of an improved data program to help protect long-term sustainability of recreational fishing.

Annual passes for nighttime fishing can be purchased from the park. 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. Annual Fishing Passes can now be purchased online and picked up after 7 days or mailed within 14 days. For more information, please e-mail us.

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.

Biking

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. Bike Rentals may be available during the peak season as weather permits. Always call ahead the for the best service.

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.

Hiking

Trails begin at the Spermaceti Cove Lifesaving Station (closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy) 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.

Birding

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. Birding is not permitted in the campground for the duration of the camping season. In summertime on Friday mornings from 9 am to 11 am, join a park ranger at the Spermaceti Cove boardwalk (park at lot between Lot D & Lot E) to learn more about birds on the bay. A scope will be set up to view osprey, egrets and songbirds.

Camping

Overnight tent camping is available at Sandy Hook. Click here to read more on Camp Gateway. Reservations are available at www.recreation.gov under "Camp Gateway."

Boating

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 the beach with a motorized boat is prohibited.

Canoe Cruise Program

On three special days: Saturday, September 3, Sunday, September 18 and Saturday, September 24 from 9:15 am to 12 pm, take a two-mile morning paddle to explore Sandy Hook Bay from an ideal vantage point - the water itself. Rangers guide visitors (ages 7 and up) on a two and a half hour tour of the bayside waters and Skeleton Hill Island. Go to www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to make your reservation.

Picnics

The North Beach Observation Deck has tables and a view of New York Harbor. Guardian Park has picnic tables, shelters and grills. Grilling is only permitted 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.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone:

(718) 354-4606
US Park Police- 24 hour dispatch for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island 718-338-3988 Sandy Hook Law Enforcement - 24 hour dispatch for Sandy Hook, NJ 732-872-5900

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