Welcome to Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit! There are a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities available at the park including history tours, living history demonstrations, hiking, birding, kayaking, camping, swimming, and biking. Sandy Hook is known for its beautiful beaches, the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark, and the country's oldest continuing working lighthouse.
Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at five ocean 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. Surf fishing is permitted at all beaches except when lifeguards are on duty. Fishing beach and "M" lot are prime spots. Please stick to the posted signs for closures, as they do occur throughout the summer months for endangered shorebird nesting. For a great way to see Sandy Hook by bicycle, the seven-mile long multi-use path starts at the park entrance and loops around Fort Hancock. It is shared by walkers, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Bike rentals are also available throughout the summer. Hiking trails begin at the Sandy Hook Visitor Center and at Area M near Nine Gun Battery. Walking ocean beaches is permitted but in spring and summer shorebird nesting season closes some areas. 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. Non-motorized, car-top boats can be launched from Beach Area C and Horseshoe Cove. Horseshoe Cove is popular with recreational boaters. Landing on beach with a motorized boat is prohibited. Surfing is allowed on beaches B and C. Windsurfing and kite-boarding is best on the bay across from Beach Area C. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are also available at C beach throughout the summer. Enjoy a blanket picnic on the beach. The North Beach Observation Deck has tables and a view of New York Harbor. Grilling outside of the campground is permitted only at Guardian Park in Fort Hancock. The Visitor Center is now located in the Keeper's Quarters adjacent to the lighthouse and is open from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The lighthouse tours with a ranger occur every 30 minutes from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., daily. Climbers must be at least 48 inches tall to climb. For seasonal programs both ranger-led and partner-led, visit www.nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit/index.htm for more information. Please visit www.nps.gov/gate for more information about any of the above.
This campground accommodates tent camping only. Be prepared to walk your gear up to .25 miles into the sites from the parking area. No cars are permitted in the campground or campsites. All campsites come equipped with a fire-ring, charcaol grill, picnic table, and food storage container. Please bring your license plate information with you for check-in.
Firewood must be purchased at the Camping Office in the campground. No outside wood is permitted.
Ice is available for sale at the Sandy Hook Campground. $2.95/8lb bag.
Flush toilets and running water are available. There are no showers and no electric outlets in the campsite or in the bathrooms. There is no public Wifi.
There is no day-use permitted in the campground; all guests must be camping overnight.
All Beach Centers have restrooms and outdoor rinse showers.
A variety of Food trucks are available throughout the summer at various beach plazas. Presence is not guaranteed daily.
Gateway National Recreation Area exists within one of the most urbanized areas of the country, covering 26,000 acres of New Jersey and three New York City boroughs. Among the urban environment, the park boasts grasslands, woodlands, sand dunes, beaches, ponds, salt marshes and forests.
Twin Lights New Jersey Historic Site - Situated 200 feet above sea level atop the Navesink Highlands, Twin Lights has stood as a sentinel over the treacherous coastal waters of northern New Jersey since 1828. Named Navesink Lightstation, it became known as the "Twin Lights of Highlands" to those who used its mighty beacons to navigate. The lighthouse tower, museum, gift shop, and other buildings are open daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., September through May. Mount Mitchill Monmouth County Scenic Overlook - At 266 feet, this overlook in Atlantic Highlands sits on the highest natural elevation on the Atlantic seaboard (excluding islands) from Maine to the Yucatan providing beautiful views of Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay and the New York skyline. Hartshorne Woods Mounmouth County Park - A hilly, forested 787-acre site overlooking the Navesink River, this park is among the highest elevations along the Atlantic Coast and features prominently in area history as a former coastal defense site. Known for its challenging trail system and scenic views, Hartshorne Woods is a popular park for area hikers, bicyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. Holmdel Monmouth County Park - Holmdel Park is one of Monmouth County's most popular locations for active recreation and nature appreciation. Acquired by the Monmouth County Park System in 1962, just shy of one million visitors enjoy this 565-acre site yearly. This park features a historic farm, an arboretum, fishing, picnic areas, 4 tennis courts, 2 playgrounds, ice skating, sledding and 10 miles of trails - including a 1/2 mile paved loop linking the Pond View and Forest Edge areas of the park with group picnic facilities and playgrounds.
Charges & Cancellations
Recreation.gov refund and cancellation policy:
ADA Access: N
The campground is rustic with no showers or electricity. Tenting only, with all gear needing to be carried to the site. No vehicles allowed at the campsite. Some of the sites do have a wooden pavilion covering the picnic table. Sites also have metal storage units for locking up foodstuffs to protect them from being pilfered by the numerous and bold raccoons. Grills and fire rings are at all sites. The federally operated campground is only occasionally staffed and only after you call.
If you like sandy camping and want something 1 hr or so outside NYC, this is a great spot. Some of the campsites are very large, some have coverings over the picnic table. There are some quirks to this campgrounds:
No cars are permitted in the campground, so you will have to lug your gear to your spot so choose wisely my friends!
No outside wood is permitted - but you can buy some in the store (cash only).
There are no showers, only toilets.