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part ofGateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service
Status: Open through Fri Oct 30 2015   Season Dates


Welcome to Gateway National Recreation Area! There are a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities available at the park including history tours, living history demonstrations, hiking, birding, kayaking, camping, swimming, and biking.

Natural Features:

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.

Nearby Attractions:

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.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Campsites
  • Accessible Drinking Water
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Grills
  • Accessible Picnic Areas
  • Accessible Picnic Shelters
  • Accessible Sites
  • Accessible Trails
  • Accessible Walkways
  • Bay Access
  • Beach
  • Beach Access
  • Bike Rentals
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Campfire Circles
  • Campfire Programs
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cell Phone Service
  • Comfort Station
  • Cultural Activities
  • Drinking Water
  • Drinking Water (Peak Season)
  • Educational Programs
  • Emergency Services
  • Entrance Station
  • Evening Programs
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fishing
  • Flush Toilets
  • Food Services
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Interpretive Trails
  • Lifeguards
  • Lighthouse
  • Lighthouse Tours
  • Lights
  • Outdoor Showers
  • Parking Area
  • Paved Parking
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Ranger Station
  • Recycling
  • Restaurant
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Shade
  • Swimming
  • Tent sites
  • Trailhead Parking
  • Trash Collection
  • Visitor Center
  • Water (Seasonal)
  • Water Access
  • Water Activities
  • Water Spigot
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Windsurfing
Within 10 Miles
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Bait Shop
  • Bank
  • Campfire Supplies
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Community Park
  • Firewood Vendor
  • Fuel Available
  • General Store
  • Grocery Store
  • Hotels
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Motel
  • Mountain Biking
  • Playground
  • Scenic Drive
  • Washer & Dryer
Know Before You Go
  • No pets.
  • No day-use within the campground.
  • No alcohol.
  • Tent camping only. Camping is prohibited in the parking area.
  • No vehicles permitted in the campground.
  • No electric hookups.
  • No outside wood is permitted.
  • No walk-ins after 8:00 p.m.
  • Campers arriving after 8 p.m. must have a reservation
  • Firewood must be purchased at check-in from 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. Campers arriving after 8 p.m. will not be permitted to have a fire as they will not have wood.
  • Collecting firewood in the park is not permitted.
  • Firewood is $9.95 plus tax, cash only.
  • No outside firewood is permitted.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
40.44917, -73.99611
40°26'57"N, 73°59'46"W

From North Jersey and New York: South on the New Jersey Turnpike, Exit 11 onto the Garden State Parkway (South), Exit 117 (Keyport/Hazlet). After toll, bear left and follow Route 36 East 12 miles to park entrance (after crossing the Highlands Bridge). Stay right to enter the park.

From South Jersey: North on Garden State Parkway, Exit 105 (Eatontown), bear left for Route 36 East. Continue on Route 36 East, pass Monmouth Mall and across Route 35 through Eatontown and Long Branch (Route 36 is called Joline Avenue here). Continue on Route 36, which turns left and follows north along ocean (Route 36 is called Ocean Blvd. here). North for six miles through the towns of Long Branch, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright to park.

From Philadelphia & Camden, New Jersey: New Jersey Turnpike north to Exit 7A (Shore Points) onto I-195, East on I-195 to Garden State Parkway north, GSP north to Exit 105 (Eatontown). Then follow "From South Jersey" directions above.

For directions by bus or ferry please go to www.nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit/directions.htm .

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

26 Hudson Road
Highlands  NJ  07732

Phone Number:

Information:  (347)630-1124

Special Events:

The events listed here are not intended to be an all inclusive list. Please contact the park for further details.

  • Free 2015 Beach Concerts
    Every Wednesday 6:00 PM at Beach E
    • June 17 Brian Kirk & the Jirks
    • June 24 Steve Reilly & the Rain Band
    • July 1 The British Invasion Tribute
    • July 8 Tim McLoone & the Shirleys
    • July 15 The Carl Gentry Band
    • July 22 Motor City Revue
    • July 29 Pat Guadagno & the Candle Brothers
    • August 5 The Haven - special guests-The Sam Sims Trio 5:30 start
    • August 12 The Shots
    • August 19 Rain Date
    from Jun 17 2015 to Aug 19 2015
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