Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Sandy Hook, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, is a great place to spend the day or weekend with the family. Whether you want to make your trip educational or relaxing, Sandy Hook has it all. With large beaches on both sides of this barrier spit, you can enjoy a variety of beach activities. If you're interested more in history, Sandy Hook is home to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse and the ruins of an old fort. Camping and day-picnicking areas are also available throughout the park.

Spending the day at Sandy Hook can be a lot of fun. Activities range from fishing, biking, and birdwatching to kayaking. Sandy Hook also has numerous beaches that run along the outsides of the barrier, and with views of New York City in the distance you will have the luxury of viewing the famous skyline from the beach. But the beaches aren't the only nature-related activity on Sandy Hook. There are plenty of small hikes that run along the beach and next to some of the old ruins from the days of Fort Hancock.

If you're looking more for an educational day, the history of Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock is all around you. You can start at the visitor center, where you can find information on daily activities, such as guided tours and ranger programs. Next head to the lighthouse to view the living quarters and the beacon inside of the lighthouse. The ranger programs and guided tours educate people on the history of Fort Hancock, the proving grounds, and so much more. The old barracks of the fort and relics accompanying it are off-limits, but placards are set up to provide historical information on the buildings still standing. Steeped in history, Sandy Hook is great place to spend a day, a weekend, or even a week learning and exploring. 

Whether you are looking to get some sun, observe nature, or do some biking or hiking, Sandy Hook is the perfect destination. While the park does see a lot congestion on the weekends, they close the park to additional entry once the parking lots fill up, and the park's large size makes it hard to feel to congested. There is seriously something for everyone on this little barrier spit, and the views of New York aren't so bad either.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee


Large beaches. Historical value. Great views.


Crowded on weekends. Daily fee.


Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Picnic tables
Bird watching



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