Before America was a nation, what became New York Harbor welcomed adventurers and settlers alike to the New World. Today, the harbor's beaches and islands make up Gateway National Recreation Area, established in 1972. Spanning two states, New York and New Jersey, Gateway appeals to a wide variety of visitors who can check out military installations, wildlife refuges, and historical sites while enjoying exceptional views of the Manhattan skyline. If you're visiting the New York metropolitan area, a side trip to explore Gateway is a welcome break from the city's bustle.
RV Parks & Campgrounds Near Gateway National Recreation Area
People love RVing because it's a convenient and comfortable way to visit national parks. You can drive around or establish a home base and explore from there. If you've wanted to check out RV life without a big commitment, renting a vehicle is the way to go. RVshare makes the rental process manageable for everyone.
RV Rentals Near Gateway National Recreation Area
Things To Do Near Gateway National Recreation Area
Although it's within two states, Gateway National Recreation Area is surprisingly compact and diverse. Sandy Hook's beaches, Jamaica Bay's wildlife, and Staten Island's military bases please visitors of all interests. Best of all, New York City and all its attractions are right there as well.
Old Dune Trail/South Beach Dune Trail
These are separate but connecting trails that run the length of Sandy Hook. Hikers will alternate between a holly forest and the beach, with the great view of Manhattan in the distance. Note that some of the trails are shared between pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area
Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island
One of the most iconic statues in the world, Lady Liberty lifts her famous torch that welcomed immigrants to the United States. Nearly one-third of Americans are descendants of the 12 million people who came through Ellis Island, which maintains an extensive database available to visitors. The processing center is now a museum with interactive exhibits.
Liberty and Ellis Islands in New York Harbor
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
One of the largest bird habitats in the northeastern U.S., this nearly 13,000-acre space is actually located in New York City! The refuge was established on its own in the 1950s before becoming part of Gateway in 1972. Bird-watchers and nature lovers will enjoy this quiet oasis with lots of walking trails, and the visitor center has numerous exhibits covering both nature and the history of the area.
175-10 Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens, NY
Asbury Park Boardwalk
Visitors to the Jersey shore will find lots of boardwalks, but Asbury Park's is arguably the best known, thanks to a guy from nearby Freehold named Bruce Springsteen. Along with lovely ocean views, shops, and restaurants, you can see two legendary Jersey music venues, the Stone Pony and Convention Hall. The boardwalk has been refurbished in recent years, and you can take a step back in time to when the Jersey shore was the place to spend the summer.
1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Built in 1764, this landmark is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States. The light can be seen from up to 19 miles away! Tours are conducted daily and include the lightkeeper's house.
Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area
Fort Wadsworth Museum
There has been some sort of military installation on this site since the mid-17th century. The museum covers the history of the forts and battery. It's also notable for being the starting point of the New York City Marathon.
120 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY
Floyd Bennett Field
This was the first municipal airport in New York City. During World War II, it was also a naval air station. Today, it houses a museum detailing the airport and station's history and serves as a local recreation center.
3159 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Nearby Shops and Restaurants
This food truck makes its home at Gateway. A little slice of Hawaii in New Jersey, it offers dishes like Spam musubi (think sushi but with spam) and poke bowls. For dessert, don't miss the pineapple float known as the Notorious POG.
North Atlantic Beach Drive, Sandy Hook, NJ (locations vary)
Christine's Italian Ristorante
In an area known for excellent Italian food, Christine's goes a step above. Its traditional and modern dishes get raves from locals and visitors alike. Try the veal on the bone, and start your meal with Italian egg rolls stuffed with sausage and cheese.
42 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
This eclectic shop offers clothing, home decor, and works by local artists. It's a great place to pick up a gift or a little something for yourself. Did you forget to pack a swimsuit? You can find one here.
78 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
If you're in the market for local souvenirs that are a bit different, this offbeat gift shop has you covered. T-shirts, glassware, collectibles, and even Christmas ornaments are available here. Arty or funny, there's something in Foolish Ginger for everyone.
608 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ
How To Get To Gateway National Recreation Area
The Sandy Hook Unit is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway. Take Exit 138 to State Route 36, and follow the signs. For the Staten Island and Queens units, it's much easier to take public transportation as parking is extremely limited. Numerous train and bus routes, as well as ferries, are available to those areas.
26 Hudson Road, Highlands, NJ 07732 (Sandy Hook) 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305 (Jamaica Bay)
Fee: Entry Fee (Per Person) There is no entry fee.
It may be in the shadow of one of the biggest cities in the world, but Gateway National Recreation Area has something for everyone. History, nature, and beautiful beaches combine with city amenities to make your visit memorable. In an RV, you can have a home away from home as you explore this popular national site.