Looking for a one-tank trip to the beach? Gateway National Park in Sandy Hook, New Jersey is family friendly beach that is only 2 hours from Allentown and 45 minutes from Manhattan. There is no entrance fee to enjoy the park, beach and lighthouse but there is a $15.00 parking fee. Gateway National Park at Sandy Hook is a 'dog friendly' beach on the Inlet side of the Hook but dogs must be leashed at all times. There are no amenities (i.e. life guards, rest rooms, food or beverages) available on the Inlet side (western shore) of the Park. Dogs are not allowed at any time on the eastern or Atlantic shore of the Park. The view of Manhattan from the shore is spectacular.
If your family is interested in swimming, sand casting, or just relaxing on the sand this seven mile stretch of ocean and bay beaches will be a great day trip. The area was originally discovered by Henry Hudson in the early 1600s. The beach is surrounded by a natural Holly forest and is home to many migratory birds. There is also a lighthouse and some abandoned military batteries for exploring. Sandy Hook also offers some of the most scenic and well maintained jogging and cycling trails in all of New Jersey. During the summer (especially summer holidays) the beach gets filled to capacity well before noon, visitors should arrive early in order to gain admission.
Regular beach goers recommend packing your own picnic to take along because there are not many concessions or restaurants available. Glass containers are prohibited.
If you're looking for a way for your family to escape the summer heat and get there with one tank of gas, there is no better option than Sandy Hook, whether on the beach, in the lighthouse, or fishing.