The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States. It is located at the northern end of the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area in Highlands. Amazingly well-preserved, this unique octagonal tower dates back to the 18th century and has been in service since 1764. Except for being darkened during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and II, the beacon has been operating ever since.
The National Park Service owns the tower and the U.S. Coast Guard maintains the light. The lighthouse is open to the public weekends May 1 - Oct 31, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 - April 30, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Park Rangers lead the tours. Tours are first come, first serve and can only be scheduled in person at the Visitor's Center.
The lighthouse is on the grounds of Fort Hancock and is just one of the unbeatable tourist attractions at Sandy Hook. The peninsula also boasts a spectacular holly forest, excellent surf fishing, hiking, beaches, trails, salt marshes, more than 300 species of birds and other historical sites.