Camping in Sandy Hook (Gateway National Recreation Area)

Sunrise over the ocean at Sandy Hook

The beautiful Sandy Hook unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area is basically in our backyard. Yet it is easy to overlook the splendor in our own neighborhoods.

Sandy Hook is a bit of a shit-show in the summer. The spectacular stretches of beaches attract many sunbathers (there’s even a nude beach) and the whole park is usually closed early in the day due to maximum capacity being reached.

But, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, the crowds thin out slightly, parking fees are no more, and it is possible to nab a weekday campsite.

I spent one night camping at the tent-only Sandy Hook campground on a weekday night in early September. The weather was perfect. And the sunset and sunrise lovely.

My review of camping at the Sandy Hook unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area can be found below or on theDyrt.

There are 20 tent sites spread across four loops. There is NO beach access. Some sites have shelters, others do not. Pay attention when reserving. All sites have a fire pit and picnic table. Sites are walk-in (only about ¼ mile) and carts are available to haul gear. Two water spigots and bathrooms with flush toilets are also on-premise. No electric, hook-ups, or showers. The nearby beaches have outdoor shower facilities though. The racoons are fierce. They will eat through your tent. Use the bear lockers provided to store anything scented.

Activities abound: hit the beaches for (non-motorized) water sports or sunbathing (Gunnison is the nude beach), learn about the military history of the area on an NPS tour, visit the oldest working lighthouse in the US, walk or bike the multi-use trails, go birding, and more! Nearby Hartshorne Woods Park (Monmouth County Park System) has great hiking and mountain bike trails too.

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September 3 – 4, 2019

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