5 Reasons to Spend the Day at Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway National Recreation Area is comprised of three different areas: Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in New York, and Sandy Hook in New Jersey—all of which make-up this one national park. Spend the day exploring the New Jersey location, which has fun things to do for the whole family, from outdoor adventures to historical sites.


1. Families will love biking the Multi-Use Pathway.

Get the whole family outdoors and active when you pedal along the 7-mile paved Multi-Use Pathway, which is shared by walkers, bikers and rollerbladers. Beginning at the park entrance, you can follow the trail around the park, which meanders by the Visitor Center, around historical sites and alongside beautiful beaches. 


2. The natural habitats make for prime bird watching.

Bring your binoculars to spot an array of migrating and nesting birds. During the summer months, meet a park ranger on weekend mornings at Lot M Observation Deck to look through the scope for spotting raptors, songbirds, marsh birds and more. During the rest of the year, just stop by Plum Island, North Pond or the Horseshoe Cove salt marsh to spot some feathered species.


3. History buffs can explore numerous historical sites.

Those with a curiosity for the past will find plenty to discover. See the Fort Hancock Historic Post, Battery Potter, Mortar Battery and Battery Gunnison, as well as the storied Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1764, and withstood an attempted attack by the British Fleet during the American Revolution.


4. Camp Gateway is the perfect place for summer camping adventures.

Pack up the family for the weekend, and camp at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, where 20 tent campsites (April - October) are available just inland of the Horseshoe Cove. Each campsite includes a picnic table, grill and fire ring, with restrooms nearby.


5. It’s an ideal spot to dine alfresco. 

Pack a picnic, and find a scenic spot to have a feast outdoors. At the North Beach Observation Deck, take in views of the New York Harbor as you dine at one of the picnic tables, or grab a picnic table and shelter at Guardian Park in Fort Hancock.


Find even more ideas for enjoying national parks in New Jersey this summer.