Sandy Hook Beach

Sandy Hook Gateway National Park

Sandy hook beach is a beautiful 2,044-acre peninsula that is part of Middletown Township but owned by the federal government and managed by the national park service. It was discovered by Henry Hudson in the early 1600’s and the western shoreline includes acres of sandy coves, beaches and trails that have been an attraction to cyclists and kite surfers. The Western shore is also a safe haven anchorage for ships resting before heading north into the New York harbor.

The Atlantic Ocean facing shoreline is approximately 7 miles long consisting of  public beaches, parking lots snack bars, and fishing areas that have been considered some of the finest in the garden state. Its also home to gunnison beach which happens to be one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the east coast. The Marine Academy of Science and Technology also known as M.A.S.T is a vocational high school that calls the peninsula home and located on fort hancock. M.A.S.T was almost completely destroyed from hurricane sandy in 2012 but has since been rebuilt. America’s oldest working lighthouse also resides on fort hancock, built in 1764 and is open to the public for tours. Fort hancock was built in 1857 and owned by the united states army. It was  used as a coastal artillery base that defended New York harbor and the atlantic coast for many years.

Operating Hours:

  • 5am-10pm Daily (April 1st-October 31st)
  • 5am-8pm Daily (November 1st-March 31st)
  • All navigable waters are open 24/7
  • Visitor centers are open everyday except thanksgiving, christmas and new years day

Beach Badge & Parking Fee:

  • $15 per day for beach parking (memorial day weekend – labor day weekend)
  • Fort hancock parking is always free

Lighthouse Tours:

  • 1pm-3:30pm
  • Children must be at least 48inches tall to climb lighthouse tower
  • Reservations must be made prior to the group’s visit to the lighthouse
  • Reservations must be made three weeks in advance of the requested tour date
  • Maximum group size is 35 participants
  • Email sandy hook national park service to set group tour date

Lighthouse Visitor Center:

  • 10am-4pm daily
  • Visitor center phone number is (732) 872-5970


  • Pets must be with thier owners at all times and only on the bay side (All Year)
  • Oceanside (September 15 – March 15)

2nd Jetty Seafood

140 Ocean Ave
Sea Bright, NJ 07760

Sandy Hook Bay Marina

One Willow Street
Highlands, NJ 07732

Sleep here….

Beachwalk Hotel

344 Ocean Ave
Sea Bright, NJ 07760
(732) 842-8450

Things To Do…


Sandy hook beach can get absolutely epic with the right winds and swell direction. There are many parking lots along the 7 mile stretch to pull in and check out the surf with the most popular one being parking lot D otherwise know as “The Cove”. If you rather know before you go you can click here.


The fishing on this national park is nothing short of incredible. Fisherman from all over the state flock to this peninsula to catch the fish of their lives. During the striper runs in the fall and spring you’ll see fisherman shoulder to shoulder for 7 miles. It’s quite a site to see.


The sandy hook bike trial consists of two lanes running up and down the 7 mile stretch going right through many of the national parks abandoned military housing, armories and forts. If you dont have a bike of your own we recommend heading into highlands to rent one from our friends over at kranky cycles. Visit Website Here!

Sun Bath

Tens of thousands of new jersey residents and tourist come to sandy hook beach each year to lay out in the sun. This naitonal park is the most northern beach on the jersey shore so its the first option for many north jersey residents.

Nude Beach

Gunnison beach is the only clothing optional beach in all of new jersey. It is located down past Fort Hancock and is recommended that you part in parking lot F. Beware of the park rangers, them seem to be a hassle.

Fort Hancock

Fort hancock is famous for its bunnkers, gun batteries abandoned officer homes (officers row) and other broken down military berrics. Fort hancock is also home to MAST highscool.

Lighthouse Tours

America’s oldest still functioning lighthouse happens to reside on fort hancock. For more information on it be sure to check out our lighthouse profile here.

How To Get Here

From North Jersey and New York: – South on the New Jersey Turnpike – Exit 11 onto the Garden State Parkway (South) – Exit 117 (Keyport/Hazlet) – After toll, bear left and follow Route 36 East – 12 miles to park entrance (after crossing the Highlands Bridge)-Stay right to enter the park.

From South Jersey: – North on Garden State Parkway – Exit 105 (Eatontown), bear left for Route 36 East – Continue on Route 36 East, pass Monmouth Mall and across Route 35 through Eatontown and Long Branch (Route 36 is called Joline Avenue here). – Continue on Route 36, which turns left and follows north along ocean. (Route 36 is called Ocean Blvd. here) – North for six miles through the towns of Long Branch, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright to park.

From Philadelphia & Camden, New Jersey: – New Jersey Turnpike north to Exit 7A (Shore Points) onto I-195 – East on I-195, to Garden State Parkway north. – GSP north to Exit 105 (Eatontown). – Then follow “From South Jersey” directions above.

Sea Streak Ferry

NYC To Sandy Hook Beach