So close to Manhattan, yet a world away – and that’s just the point. The Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area is a place for people to get away from the city. This barrier island is lined with beaches for swimming, historical relics, trail to exercise, and nature abounds.
Good to know:
While parking at the fort is always free, there is a charge to park at the beach Memorial Day-Labor Day.
+Sandy Hook Light is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in America, completed in 1764.
If you’d like to climb the 100+ steps, there are free guided tours that take you to the top from 1PM-4:30. The views are outstanding and your guide will teach you about the history of the fort and reconstruction since Hurricane Sandy.
+Fort Hancock was established in 1895 and remained active until 1974 on Sandy Hook to protect a strategic point: New York Harbor. Different areas from throughout the years are open for exploration and include information panels.
Don’t miss the six-inch guns at Battery Gunnison, on certain days there are volunteers to elaborate on their use during WWII.
+Nike Missile Site tours are held on certain weekends November through April and they are really fascinating.
Learn about a once top secret area with guided missiles that protected New York City during the Cold War.
+Multi-Use Pathway is 7 miles long, beginning at the entrance and ending in Fort Hancock.+Hiking trails take off from the Visitor’s Center and Area M near Nine Gun Battery. I visited the latter on a hazy spring day where I could just make out the skyline in New York.
Flowering bushings on the sand were a spectacular sight.
There were other various wildflowers and cacti. I spotted many birds in this pristine area.
Gateway National Recreation Area includes additional access points including Jamaica Queens, Staten Island – which I look forward to exploring soon.