Activities and Amenities
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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.
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.
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.
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. Windsurfing and kite-boarding is best on the bay across from Beach Area C. Horseshoe Cove is popular with recreational boaters. Landing on beach with a motorized boat is prohibited.
Enjoy a blanket picnic on the beach. The North Beach Observation Deck has tables and a view of New York Harbor. Grilling is permitted only at Guardian Park in Fort Hancock.
This campground accommodates tent camping only. Be prepared to walk your gear up to .25 miles in to the sites from the parking area. No cars are permitted in the campground or campsites. Flush toilets and running water are available. There are no showers and no electric. Firewood needs to be purchased at the lighthouse. No outside wood is permitted.
There is no day-use permitted in the campground; all guests must be camping overnight.
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.
All Beach Centers have restrooms and outdoor showers.
For seasonal programs both ranger-led and partner-led, visit www.nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit/index.htm for more information.
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 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.
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