Fort Hancock, NJ - Looking for something to do in the great outdoors this summer and fall? The Sandy Hook Foundation (SHF) suggests considering Camp Gateway at Sandy Hook as your camping resource. Opening this Memorial Day, reservations for Camp Gateway can be made at www.recreation.gov/camping.
In addition to sleeping under the stars, camping at Sandy Hook includes a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including access to five ocean beaches where lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Surf fishing is permitted at all beaches except when lifeguards are on duty.
A great way to see Sandy Hook is by bicycle, traveling the seven-mile long multi-use path which starts at the park entrance and loops around Fort Hancock. It is shared by walkers, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Bike rentals are available to campers throughout the summer. Hiking trails begin at the Sandy Hook Visitor Center and at Area M near Nine Gun Battery. Sandy Hook is also a prime spot for birding. Non-motorized, car-top boats can be launched from Beach Area C and Horseshoe Cove. Surfing is allowed on beaches B and C. Windsurfing and kite-boarding is best on the bay across from Beach Area C. Kayak rentals will also be available at C beach throughout the summer. The North Beach Observation Deck has tables and a view of New York Harbor.
Sandy Hook is also known for its cultural resources, including the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmarks, and the country's oldest continually working lighthouse, built in 1764. Buildings within the park are still closed, but be sure to check seasonal programs www.nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit/index.htm for more information.
In 2019, The Sandy Hook Foundation made a significant investment of $100,000 towards the expansion of Camp Gateway within the NIKE Radar Site. The deactivated NIKE site is noteworthy as being listed as the most intact missile site in the eastern U.S., possibly in the entire United States. A mandate of Gateway National Recreation Area is to expand camping opportunities for the public, and SHF’s support will enable larger groups of families, Scouts, and community organizations to camp within the park in group settings. The aim is to pilot the program this fall.
The Foundation’s investment is in part due to recent studies like the one from the 2019 Kampgrounds of America (KOA) report that indicates that 7.2 million households in the United States have started camping in just the last five years because of a growing interest in outdoor activities, bringing the total number of campers to 78.8 million. Many of these campers are headed straight to National Parks. “We are fortunate to be able to open up Camp Gateway at Sandy Hook this season and look forward to welcoming visitors this summer - we expect it to be a busy season and encourage everyone to recreate responsibly. People who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.” says Pete McCarthy, Sandy Hook Unit Coordinator.
For 32 years, SHF has funded initiatives that promote the health and well-being of the public who use Sandy Hook. The Foundation funded the purchase of beach wheelchairs to provide access to the shoreline, and this summer are working to provide free yoga classes on Saturday mornings at Beach E from 7 - 8am from June through August. The Foundation has also committed to invest in two hydration stations for refillable water bottles, and they will be located along the Multi-Use Path (MUP) for use by the public.
To learn more about The Sandy Hook Foundation or to support your national park, please visit www.sandyhooknj.org or call 732-291-7733.
For detailed information on visiting Gateway National Recreation Area please visit https://www.nps.gov/gate/index.htm.