Sandy Hook is a barrier spit in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. The barrier spit, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) in length and varying from 0.1 to 1.0 mile (0.16 to 1.61 km) wide, is located at the north end of the Jersey Shore. It encloses the southern entrance of Lower New York Bay south of New York City, protecting it from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The Dutch called the area "Sant Hoek", with the English "Hook" deriving from the Dutch "Hoek" (corner, angle), meaning "spit of land".
|Sandy Hook, New Jersey|
Sandy Hook seen from an airplane (looking west) on its approach to JFK
|Offshore water bodies||Atlantic Ocean (to the east)|
Shrewsbury River (to the west)
|Elevation||7 feet (2 m)|
|Length||6 miles (9.7 km)|
|Width||0.1 to 1.0 mile (0.16 to 1.61 km)|
|Area||2,044 acres (827 ha)|
|Depth||250 to 300 feet (76 to 91 m)|
|Formed by||Wisconsin glaciation period|
|Age||Last Glacial Maximum ("LGM"; ≈25,000 years old)|
|Operator||National Park Service|
Geologically, Sandy Hook is a large sand spit or barrier spit, the extension of a barrier peninsula along the coast of New Jersey, separated from the mainland by the estuary of the Shrewsbury River. On its western side, the peninsula encloses Sandy Hook Bay, a triangular arm of Raritan Bay. The 2,044-acre (8.27 km2) peninsula was discovered by Henry Hudson, and, historically, Sandy Hook has been a convenient anchorage for ships before proceeding into Upper New York Harbor.
Sandy Hook is part of Middletown Township, although not contiguous with the rest of the Township. Because the peninsula is also federal enclave, Middletown and the federal government have a Concurrent jurisdiction. The community of Highlands overlooks the southern part of the hook.
Sandy Hook is owned by the federal government. Most of it is managed by the National Park Service and U.S. National Park Service rangers as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The eastern shoreline consists of public beaches: North Beach, Gunnison Beach, and South Beach. The southern part of the spit consists of public beaches, fishing areas. The peninsula's ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and are a popular destination for recreation in summer when seasonal ferries bring beachgoers from its various docking points including NYC. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest clothing optional beaches on the East Coast.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse is located within the fort grounds, as is the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), a magnet high school, part of the Monmouth County Vocational School District. At the entrance to Fort Hancock is Guardian Park, a plaza dominated by two Nike missiles. Some of the buildings of Fort Hancock are closed to the public because their structural integrity in decay, and to preserve its profile for future visitors (in line with U.S. NPS mission statement ). A proposal was recently accepted to allow adaptive reuse of some of the buildings in Fort Hancock for private use. This partnership will hopefully help these historic structures to be maintained more effectively.
There is a vocational school that is located further north on the peninsula abbreviated as M.A.S.T., The Marine Academy of Science and Technology. The school was greatly damaged by Hurricane Sandy late 2012, and restored the subsequent year.
The defunct U.S. Army post Fort Hancock at the north end of the peninsula is open to visitation by the National Park Service. The Sandy Hook Proving Ground was used by for many years—beginning after the Civil War until 1919, when the facility was moved to Aberdeen, Maryland—and was later the site of a Nike missile defense installation. The Sandy Hook Nike station is one of a very few stations that are still intact. Almost all of the fort's gun batteries are closed to the public due to their hazardous condition. The exceptions to this are Battery Potter and Battery Gunnison. Battery Potter is open frequently for tours on the weekends, as well as Battery Gunnison which is being restored by volunteers and has two six-inch (152 mm) M1900 guns installed; the weapons were placed there in 1976. Guided tours show visitors a Nike missile, the missile firing platforms, and a radar station with 1960s-era computers. A Civil War-era 20-inch Rodman gun is also in the park; this was an experimental gun that was the largest type produced by either side of that war.
North of Fort Hancock on the western part of the "hook" is an active station of the United States Coast Guard. This is one of the original Life Saving Stations built in 1848 at a site "on bay side, one-half mile south of point of Hook." The site was changed several times through the years due to a change in land or at the request of the War Department, which owned the land. This area is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and is closed to the general public.
Tourism and recreation
The beaches along the Atlantic shore of Sandy Hook—North Beach, Gunnison Beach and the Southern Beaches, A, B, C, D, E—feature parking lots, lifeguards, rest rooms and seasonal concession stands. They do not permit pets on the beaches yearly after March 15. Nude or partially nude sunbathers may be encountered at Gunnison Beach, again it is clothing optional. In contrast, the western shore includes vast acres of sand and trails and a paved path without lifeguards or rest rooms. These stretches are favored by cyclists and kite surfers, and leashed dogs are permitted.
While within Sandy Hook some laws and regulations are different. Day-trippers need be aware of the jurisdictional differences; Sandy Hook falls under 36 CFR (code of federal regulations) , United States Code, as well as New Jersey State Code in instances where federal laws do not pertain. In Sandy Hook a misdemeanor could be a federal crime while outside the park it was a minor infraction.
All of Sandy Hook's regulations can be reviewed inside of the Park's Compendium.
Accommodations near Sandy Hook include bed and breakfasts such as the Sandy Hook Cottage and Seascape Manor, as well as Grand Lady by the Sea, and Nauvoo at Sandy Hook, which are all located in Highlands. Dining options have changed drastically since Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed the island's only eating location, the Sea Gulls' Nest Deck Restaurant. On the peninsula, various food trucks can be found and nearby is the locally known Bahr's Landing, Moby's and Something Fishy.
Local activities include the Sandy Hook All Woman Lifeguard Tournament in July, boat rentals for fishing, parties and tours, and paved path for biking, rollerblading, and walking. The Henry Hudson Trail accessible from Highlands, NJ., which stretches nine miles (14 km) from Aberdeen to Atlantic Highlands and is wheelchair accessible.
The northern tip of Sandy Hook is the traditional finish of the 16.1 mile Ederle, now Ederle-Burke, Swim, which runs from the Battery at the tip of Manhattan Island through the Narrows and into Lower New York Bay. The first successful swim occurred in 1913, when New York lifeguard Alfred Brown came ashore in 13 hours, 38 minutes. As a prelude to her English Channel triumph, Gertrude Ederle swam the same course in 1925, finishing in 7 hours, 11 minutes.
The road that connects to Sandy Hook is Route 36. The road to the peninsula branches from Route 36 at the northern end of Sea Bright becoming Hartshorne Drive within the park. The Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge crosses the Shrewsbury River and carries the road traffic of Route 36 from Highlands in the west to Sea Bright in the east, near the entrance to Sandy Hook.
According to the Köppen climate classification system, Sandy Hook, New Jersey has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Cfa climates are characterized by all months having an average mean temperature > 32.0 °F (> 0.0 °C), at least four months with an average mean temperature ≥ 50.0 °F (≥ 10.0 °C), at least one month with an average mean temperature ≥ 71.6 °F (≥ 22.0 °C) and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. During the summer months at Sandy Hook, a cooling afternoon sea breeze is present on most days, but episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values ≥ 95 °F (≥ 35 °C). On average, the wettest month of the year is July which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < 0 °F (< -18 °C). The plant hardiness zone at Sandy Hook is 7b with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 6.3 °F (-14.3 °C). The average seasonal (Nov-Apr) snowfall total is between 18 and 24 inches (46 and 61 cm), and the average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.
|Climate data for Sandy Hook, Monmouth County, NJ (1981-2010 Averages)|
|Average high °F (°C)||39.1
|Daily mean °F (°C)||32.7
|Average low °F (°C)||26.3
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.27
|Average relative humidity (%)||66.3||62.5||61.6||62.8||66.8||70.1||70.4||70.8||71.9||68.7||67.3||65.9||67.1|
|Average dew point °F (°C)||22.7
|Source: PRISM Climate Group|
According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Sandy Hook, New Jersey would have an Appalachian Oak (104) vegetation type with an Eastern Hardwood Forest (25) vegetation form.
- "Sandy Hook". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Coreholes Reveal Glacial and Postglacial History at Sandy Hook" (PDF). Unearthing New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 11 (1): 3. 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- Greenfield, Beth (August 5, 2005). "Sandy Hook, So Close to Manhattan, So Far Away in Spirit". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "The Atlantic World: Dutch Place Names / De Atlantische Wereld: Plaatsnamen". Dutch Place Names. Library of Congress. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- Rounds, Kate, ed. (2010). "The Shore Next Door". Palisade - Hoboken & Beyond. Hudson Reporter Assoc., LP. 4 (3): 38–39. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Sea Streak". Sea Streak. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- Trebay, Guy (September 2, 2001). "All Undressed and So Many Places to Go". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
Crowds are also increasing these final summer days at Blacks Beach near San Diego, at Mazo Beach on the lower Wisconsin River and at Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a dress optional sand strip run by the National Park Service that was recently deemed by the Clean Beaches Council, an environmental group, one of the top 10 beaches in the United States.
- Flam, Faye. "Clothing optional may not be way of historical human", The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2006. Accessed June 17, 2007. "Sandy Hook boasts the biggest nude beach along the Atlantic. The clothing-optional part is called Gunnison Beach ...."
- "Station Sandy Hook, New Jersey" (PDF). U.S. Coast Guard History Program. United States Coast. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "Sea Streak". Sea Streak. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "American Princess Cruises". Newyorkbeachferry.com. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "USDA Interactive Plant Hardiness Map". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
- "PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
- "Water Temperature Table of All Coastal Regions". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
- "U.S. Potential Natural Vegetation, Original Kuchler Types, v2.0 (Spatially Adjusted to Correct Geometric Distortions)". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sandy Hook, New Jersey.|
- Sandy Hook Visitor Information
- National Park Service Gateway National Recreation Area
- Nike Missile Site NY-56
|Beaches of New Jersey||Succeeded by|