Home » A Jersey Shore Getaway Guide to Sandy Hook, NJ

A Jersey Shore Getaway Guide to Sandy Hook, NJ

by The Jersey Shore Girl
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Known for its pristine beaches, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere, Sandy Hook has a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. For those looking for a fun getaway, or looking to spend more time outside, Sandy Hook is a must-book destination. Read on for a guide on what to do when visiting Sandy Hook, New Jersey. 

sandy hook nj things to do

Things To Do

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the admission fee to Sandy Hook Beaches is $20 for cars and SUVs, which is a bargain considering how many activities you can pack into the day. America the Beautiful Access Pass and America the Beautiful Senior Pass holders receive a 50% discount for beach passes, while active military members and veterans with these passes will see free admission. Check out the official park site for more on how to obtain these passes.


There is so much to explore outdoors. Sandy Hook has seven miles of beaches to check out. On the east side are sandy beaches with views of the Atlantic (and Manhattan depending on where you are), and on the east side of the peninsula are bay-side beaches, which have calmer waters and are dog-friendly.

Adventurous Activities

In between all the beaches are nicely kept walking and biking paths, which are paved with yellow lines to help direct traffic north and south. With miles to explore from the park entrance up to the end of the peninsula, adventure awaits avid bikers and leisurely family riders alike.

Looking for some playtime on the water? Head to Beach C Bayside Lot C to Sandy Hook Kayaks. There you can rent everything from one or two-person kayaks to stand-up paddleboards. Don’t worry if you need some help, the team also offers lessons. Sandy Hook Kayaks also now offers inflatable island rentals which can hold chairs and a cooler to take the fun out on the water.


To keep the fun going multiple days in a row, Sandy Hook also offers overnight campsites for tents via reservations right in the middle of the park. If you are looking for a night in nature between May to October, make sure to pack your tent and sleeping bag. These areas can have up to six occupants and one car, so plan accordingly.

Fort Hancock

Once you’re ready for a break from the sand, head north to Fort Hancock, an old Army base with a history dating back to the Revolutionary War. When you first arrive on base, you’ll see rows of yellow houses (formerly officer quarters) with other buildings (including a chapel, gym, and theater) intermixed. You can pop up into McFly’s On The Hook if you’re feeling hungry, or are looking for a quick iced beverage.

Read More: How to Celebrate a Bachelorette at the Jersey Shore

There are a few can’t-miss spots to visit when walking around, which you can see during a self-guided historic walking tour. Definitely visit the lighthouse, which is the oldest operating lighthouse in the U.S. You can’t go in, but you can walk around and see it shine bright.

From there you can meander through the old homes, some have been refurbished while others look like ruins of days past. There are quite a few batteries to explore too. The one right across the street from the lighthouse is now an eerie walkway to an empty area where four large mortars once stood. There is also Nine-Gun Battery to walk by, which was erected in 1904.

Perhaps one of the best views in all of Sandy Hook is atop the Gunnison Battery, at the entrance onto Gunnison Beach, which boasts wonderful views of the city on a clear day.

If, after a day exploring the Fort, you still haven’t had your fill, you can stay overnight. You can actually rent houses on Fort Hancock, giving you unique 24-hour access to all the area has to offer.

Where To Eat

While you can eat at McFly’s On The Wall within the park, there are more options just outside the entrance.

1st Cup Coffee | 96 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands


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A few minutes farther inland is Atlantic Highlands. You can spend a while walking the cute main street. If you stop in town, make sure to try a cup of joe from 1st Cup Coffee. Along with a menu of classic and unique beverages (the Cafe Borgia is amazing), they also support local establishments by selling their products including flowers, mugs, jewelry, and more.

2nd Jetty | 40 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright


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Just across the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, the main bridge that takes you across the water to Sandy Hook to the North or Sea Bright to the South, is 2nd Jetty, a favorite watering hole for locals. The seafood is fresh and the restaurant has a full-service bar.

Rum Runner | 816 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright


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If you drive a bit farther south, you’ll pass Rum Runner in Sea Bright – an upscale option with amazing water views both indoors and out. The decor is extremely trendy and light, with large windows to highlight the water. This place has everything from flatbreads to tacos, and of course, so many seafood dishes to choose from.

See More: Mini-Golfing Down the Shore: Where to Play

Nicholas Creamery | 84 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands


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Sometimes there is just nothing better than a sweet cone of ice cream after a fun-filled day at the beach. Nicholas Creamery has unique flavors made in small batches using all-natural, seasonal ingredients. This place is on the way out of the Atlantic Highlands and is a can’t-miss, sweet stop to end of a trip to Sandy Hook.

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