Sandy Hook Travel Guide

Sandy Hook, New Jersey, is a sandy, somewhat hook-like peninsula known as a “barrier spit” that protrudes northward into the Atlantic Ocean on the north end of Monmouth County. The spit ranges from a mile to a tenth of a mile in width and is six miles long. Sandy Hook is famous for its historic importance, its beautiful beaches, and for being the northern extremity of the famed Jersey Shore.


Sandy Hook has long been the site of famous lighthouses that aided ships on their way to and from New York City, and historically significant lighthouses remain there to this day. The remains of an old army fort, Fort Hancock, are also on the peninsula, and an operational U.S. Coast Guard Station, one of the first ever to be built, adds yet further to Sandy Hook’s colorful history.

Things to see and do in Sandy Hook

The entire Sandy Hook area is governed by the National Park Service, and its 2,000 acres are well worth exploring. The only entrance to the hook by land is on U.S. Route 36, but you can also arrive by ferry in the summer time. Hiking, biking, fishing, and munching on seafood at local eateries are all popular, but swimming easily is the top activity. The east shore is lined with picturesque beaches that rank among New Jersey’s finest. Try North Beach and South Beach, but be aware that wearing clothes is considered “optional” at Gunnison Beach.

Sandy Hook Lighthouse – Sandy Hook, New Jersey

A view of the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse at Fort Hancock.

Stop by old Fort Hancock, where you will see Nike missiles, antique artillery pieces, a proving ground with abandoned gun platforms, a mortar battery, and other military structures and equipment. Some of the fort is off limits, however, due to safety concerns.

Also on the grounds of Fort Hancock, you can see the old Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is the oldest operational lighthouse in the U.S., having been built back in 1764. It was originally only 500 feet from the waterfront, but today, sand has accumulated and rendered it 1.5 miles inland.

Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Atlantic Ocean shore at Sandy Hook with view of NYC. Sandy Hook is in New Jersey, USA.

Just south of Sandy Hook, and overlooking it, is the town of Highlands. From there, you can get a wonderful view of the area, since it sits on a bluff. You can also see the Navesink Twin Lights, a former lighthouse structure turned museum. The two light towers can be seen for a great distance by boats approaching from the north, and patterns like “tower one lit and steady but tower two blinking” were used to send messages to oncoming vessels.

Climate conditions

Sandy Hook has a “humid subtropical” climate. Its summers are hot and humid, while its winters are relatively mild. July highs average 86 degrees, while January highs average 39 degrees.