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Sandy Hook Beach Excursion
An easy day trip from New York City

Gateway National Seashore bliss on a summer day

Updated May 2018.

One of the amazing things about New York City is how many fine beaches are near it.

Sandy Hook, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, sits at the entrance to New York harbour.

Sandy Hook has sand and surf as fine as any on the east coast. The part accessed by ferry from New York City is the closest beach to NYC that is not crowded.

You will love it!

The video shows just how pristine upper Sandy Hook's beaches are. The buildings inland are former Fort Hancock ones, when it guarded the entrance to New York Harbour.

Seastreak ferry

Take a Seastreak ferry boat to Sandy Hook in the Gateway National Seashore on a nice summer day.

The trips begin in Midtown Manhattan or in the Wall Street area.

You must have a reservation. See the website for details.

Reaching Sandy Hook

Reaching there is half the fun.

If you board Midtown, your ferry follows the Manhattan and New Jersey skylines down the Hudson River to the tip of Manhattan. You'll see the best sights found on the regular harbour tours.

You pass close to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the main point of entry of millions of new Americans at the end of the Nineteenth and beginning of the Twentieth centuries.

Then, you enter the most impressive area of New York Harbour, surrounded by large ships and other water traffic, with the Wall Street area skyline to your left.

Container facilities and other piers mostly on the New Jersey side of the harbour handle more than half of the cargo entering Canada and the U.S. from the east. Activity continues around the clock.

Passing under the high Verrazano Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn, you glade through the wide mouth of the harbour looking out at the open Atlantic.

The Sandy Hook beaches accessible by Seastreak ferry

Garrison offers a beach environment for everyone, except those looking for a boardwalk amusement atmosphere.

There are beaches for families and the southern part of one to the south called Gunnison Beach for those who choose to go clothing optional. If you want to practise naturalism, stay within the area marked clothing optional by the National Park Service.

Docking on the calm side of the Sandy Hook, it's a short walk to most of the beaches or still as of the summer of 2018 you can use Seastreak's free transfer vehicle to the various beaches.

You can also explore the old military buildings that are part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Sandy Hook once protected the entrance to New York Harbour.

Because parking is so limited on Sandy Hook and this area is so far from the park vehicle entrance, its wide beaches are never really overcrowded. This is in marked contrast to Coney Island and Jones Beach.

You often find the surf excellent, and always are the views toward Long Island and the ships entering or leaving New York Harbour.

There are life guards in case you need them.

Be prepared

Although there are washrooms, showers, and a rudimental food service available, Seastreak places you there for many hours.

You absolutely have to remember to bring a powerful sun block, as well as regular sun tan lotion, and lots of water. These are essential. There's nearly no shade. A beach umbrella will be helpful.

You should also bring along a picnic lunch—bread, hard cheese, fruit, and other items that will not spoil in the heat.

Unless there have been changes, the food service there offers few choices.

If you miss your boat back, getting back to Manhattan could be a real hassle—quite difficult and super expensive. Other than Seastreak, no public transit serves this area of Gateway National Seashore.

Be on time.

Besides, the ferry ride back to Manhattan is even more spectacular than the outbound trip.

You sense the excitement of the millions of new Americans who entered the U.S. via this route.

Have a great time!

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