Highlands Things to Do

  • Top of Sandy Hook Lighthouse
    Top of Sandy Hook Lighthouse
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    Museum
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    Entrance Sign
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    Fort Hancock

    by grandmaR Written Nov 8, 2014

    Sandy Hook is one of three parks that make up the Gateway National Recreation Area. During the War of 1812, a wooden fortification named Fort Gates was constructed in 1813, and represented the 2nd system of defense. The Fort at Sandy Hook, begun in 1859 was a granite fortification that was never completed. This represented the 3rd system of defenses. By the end of World War II anti-aircraft guns had taken over the key defensive role at Fort Hancock. Fort Hancock's Battery Potter, constructed from 1890-1894, was the first disappearing gun battery in the U. S. It stayed in operation until 1906 because it had a 360 degree range of fire and was capable of covering Sandy Hook Bay. Battery Potter is open for tours on Sunday in the summer from 1 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. We saw a movie of a disappearing gun at Fort Monroe. Since we were not there on Sunday or in the summer, we did not get to tour Battery Potter.

    Buildings at Fort Hancock Entrance Sign Buildings at Fort Hancock Buildings at Fort Hancock beach and water
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    Sandy Hook Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Written Nov 7, 2014

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    For more than a century, Sandy Hook Lighthouse keepers lived in isolation at the end of this windswept peninsula. In the 1890s the US Army began building Fort Hancock. The current two-family keeper's quarters was build in 1883. It is the fifth house to stand at this site. The lighthouse keepers no longer have to climb the spiral stairs to the lens house every day before sunset to light the lamps because the light is now automated. The Coast Guard maintains the light and the National Park Service cares for the tower.

    I didn't go in to the museum or lighthouse keeper's residence as there appeared to be no handicapped entrance.

    Sandy Hook Lighthouse Sandy Hook Lighthouse Top of Sandy Hook Lighthouse Museum Informational sign about the lighthouse
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    Sandy Hook Lighthouse--The Oldest Standing

    by VeronicaG Updated Feb 9, 2007

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    Sandy Hook Lighthouse (1764) has the distinction of being the oldest standing lighthouse in New Jersey. It is located at Fort Hancock on the Sandy Hook Peninsula which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

    Sandy Hook Lighthouse was originally called the New York Lighthouse because of money raised to build it came from New York lotteries in 1761 and 1763 and taxes on ships entering the Port of New York helped to pay for its upkeep.

    The Lighthouse once stood 500 feet from the tip of Sandy Hook, but due to topographical changes now sits about 1 l/2 miles from its original location. The structure was built by Isaac Conro to aid the Marines entering the Southern end of New York harbor.

    Sandy Hook Lighthouse
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    THE BEACHES

    by VeronicaG Updated Feb 9, 2007

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    Sandy Hook is one of the beaches where I love to go shell hunting--especially after a storm. I've found a myriad assortment of shells on the beach here. In the Fall and the Winter you have the beach to oneself--in the summer...well, you've got lots of company.

    Pay by the carload ($10) and it makes it a real bargain in this area! Sandy Hook is the site of Wednesday evening concerts--Beach E--from 6 pm-8pm. We've seen everything from the Jazz Lobsters to an Irish Step Dance demonstration and tunes. The State Park begins charging for the privilege of using the beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day--all other times or after 4 pm you can drive over the peninsula for no charge.

    Sandy Hook Beach in the Winter
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    Fort Hancock

    by kazander Updated Sep 10, 2004

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    At the tip of Sandy hook is a mostly deserted military base called Fort Hancock. Most of it has fallen heavily into disrepair, but it is interesting to view the old buildings and homes. Along the western side of the penninsula is a row of identical waterfront houses, all abandoned. It's erie.

    Fort Hancock
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    Sandy Hook Lighthouse

    by kazander Updated Sep 10, 2004

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    The Gateway National Recreation area on Sandy Hook is home to the oldest working lighthouse in the United States. Built in 1764, it's been working continuously from that time. The only exceptions being times of War. We were told by a local that the lighthouse had originally been on the end of the "hook" but after 200 years plus, the ocean had receded a bit , placing the lighthouse in the center. Tours are given on the weekends throughout the spring, summer and fall.

    Sandy Hook Lighthouse
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    Navesink Twin Lights

    by kazander Written Aug 31, 2004

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    Just over the bridge off of Sandy Hook, you will find an unusual lighthouse. Oringinally built in 1828, Twin Lights looks more like a castle than a lighthouse. It's a large brick building with a light Tower at either end. Beautiful view of the river and ocean and surrounding towns can be had at the top of the light. Only the South tower is still in operation. The grounds, museum and tower are open for touring. Free to get in.

    Navesink Twin Lights
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    Sandy Hook (Gateway National Park)

    by Easty Written Jun 22, 2004

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    Sandy Hook is a great place to spend a day at the beach. It is also a great place to learn about military history. This is all part of the New Jersey portion of Gateway National Park (New York has a portion as well). Admission into Sandy Hook is $10 from Memorial Day Friday to Labor Day.

    View of Sandy Hook from the Twin Lights

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    Twin Lights

    by Easty Written Jun 22, 2004

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    Built in 1862, the Twin Lights are located on top of the hill in Highlands, across the bridge from Sandy Hook. You can go up one of the towers and get a pretty good views of Sandy Hook, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury River, and on a clear day maybe the Verazzano Bridge. The best part about the Twin Lights is that it is free. However, climbing the stairs is not recommended for people with a heart condition.

    Twin Lights

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    Sandy Hook

    by virtualpatrick Written Apr 19, 2004

    Monmouth County in NJ contains the most accessible beaches to NYC, Northern NJ, and Philadelphia residents.

    When visiting Sea Bright or the Highlands, stop by Sandy Hook National Park and explore it's coves, beaches, and the lighthouse.

    Lighthouse at Sandy Hook National Park
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    Fortifications and Military Presence

    by PA2AKgirl Written Feb 29, 2004

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    The New York Harbor was set up to be very well protected against enemy attack. If you look at a map, coming into the harbor via the Ambrose Channel, there are two pieces of land that jut out to look like a Gate. This is where Gateway National Recreation Area got its name. Fort Tilden was constructed in the Queens arm of the "gate" and Ft. Hancock at the New Jersey arm. The first battery installed was Battery Potter, in the 1893, the 1st steam lift gun battery. the 2 12" inch guns had a 7 mile firing range. Soon after, in 1894, the 1st concrete batteries were installed. Eventually, cannons and even nike missiles were installed at Ft. Hancock. Like Ft. Tilden, there are batteries, magazines and living quarters to see on the bases...a reminder of how well this area was protected throughout history

    Example of a 1937 Gun Battery at Ft. Hancock
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    Beach and Forest Trails

    by PA2AKgirl Written Feb 5, 2004

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    Sandy Hook has a pretty good trail system...the one through the holly forest is exceptional. Mostly because it's a holly forest. It's so peaceful--very few places I've been I can walk through the woods and hear the ocean in the background. There are also trails that go to little ponds and through the primary and secondary dune system down to the beach.

    On the trail in March
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    Sandy Hook Lighthouse

    by PA2AKgirl Written Feb 5, 2004

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    This is the oldest working lighthouse in the country, built in 1764. It was occupied by the British during the revolutionary war, too. Pretty interesting stuff. The movie they have about it is great and there are tours given on the weekends in the summer. Right down the road there's the Twin Lights of Navasink...another interesting lighthouse. It's way up on a hill and was the place where the 1st wireless telegraph was demonstrated. The NJ coast is dotted with great lighthouses, but these two are a must see.

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    Navesink Twin Lights...

    by feline01 Written Oct 4, 2002

    Navesink Twin Lights Lighthouse
    A double lighthouse perched 250 feet above Sandy Hook. Built in the 1800's, it was one of the first lighthouse to use electricity. Very beautiful building, lighthouse can be climbed for amazing views of the Atlantic, NYC and Sandy Hook.

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    Take A Boat Ride

    by 88Starflite Written Aug 5, 2006

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    In near-by Alantic Highlands you can take a dinner cruise around Sandy Hook bay and the Navesink River.

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