Sandy Hook (New Jersey)

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Missing image
Sandyhook.jpg
Image of Sandy Hook taken by NASA.

Sandy Hook is a narrow coastal spit of land, approximately 12 mi (19 km) in length and 0.5 mi (1 km) wide, along the Atlantic coast of eastern New Jersey in the United States. The peninsula encloses the southern entrance of Lower New York Bay south of New York City.

Geologically, it is a large sand bar, 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 Lower New York Bay. The town of Highlands, New Jersey overlooks the southern part of the hook.

The peninsula is owned by the federal government. Most of it is managed by the National Park Service as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The southern part of the peninsula consists of public beaches, fishing areas, and the SeaGull's Nest, a seafood restaurant operated by the National Park Service. The peninsula's ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and are an extremely popular destination for summertime recreation. Gunnison Beach is one of the largest nude beaches on the east coast.

Throughout history, it has formed a convenient anchorage for ships before proceeding into Upper New York Harbor. The now-defunct Fort Hancock is located at the north end of the peninsula. It is now open to the public. Sandy Hook was a proving ground for the US Army for many years 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. Guided tours give visitors a look at an actual Nike missile, the missile firing platforms, and a radar station (complete with 60's-era computers).

Sandy Hook Lighthouse is located within the fort grounds, as is the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), part of the Monmouth County Vocational School District. At the entrance to Fort Hancock is Guardian Park, a plaza dominated by a large replica of a Nike missile. Some of the buildings of Fort Hancock are off-limits because their structural integrity is dubious.

A controversial proposal was recently accepted to allow commercialization of the buildings in Fort Hancock.

Beyond Fort Hancock is an outpost of the US Coast Guard. This area is off-limits to the public as it is property of the Department of Homeland Security.

The hook is open year-round, but there is an admission fee during the summer.

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