Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area

The Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area. is a slender peninsula that goes 6.5 miles into NY Harbor and covers 1665 acres.

Popular as a swimming beach in summer and fishing area year round, it is also a major beach nesting area.

The visitors center (2 miles in from entrance) can guide you to trails & observation areas, and warn you of nesting areas for piping plovers (at right), black skimmers, least terns and many shorebird species.

On the bay side, the Horseshoe Cove Salt Marsh is a good place to look for great blue herons, green herons and egrets. Offshore viewing from the beaches in summer may allow you a view of passing whales (hence the naming of the Spermaciti Cove Visitor Center)

In 1999, New Jersey passed a law that prohibits all types of nudism on state or beaches, but Sandy Hook's Gunnison Beach remains as the only legal nude beach in the state, since it is on federal land and not subject to state or municipal regulations. Gunnison is the largest clothing-optional recreation area on the East Coast.

From the Garden State Parkway, take exit 117 from the North or 105 from the south and follow signs on Rt. 36 for 12 miles. Admission is charged during the summer season.

Tourist information

See Brian Richards' 3D / Panoramic view of the current state of Bridge Construction


  1. The bridge at the entrance to Sandy Hook is in the middle of a multi year bridge replacement project that is causing massive traffic delays on and off Sandy Hook and after 1pm on a sunny day in the summer it can take at least an hour to leave Sandy Hook.
    For an image of the construction see

  2. 3D / Panoramic view of the current state of Bridge Construction see