Upon returning to New York City from Canada, I left the city again right away for some much needed beach time! The image I had in my mind of the shores of Jersey was very much influenced by the Jersey Shore TV show, and so I was surprised to find miles and miles of unspoiled sandy beaches on the Sandy Hook peninsula, a narrow stretch of land that borders the Atlantic to the east and the Lower New York Bay to the west. This place couldn’t have been more different from what I had envisioned! The peninsula itself is tiny, 6 miles (9.7 km) long and 0.1 to 1 mile (0.16 to 1.61 km) wide – the perfect size to be explored by bike. And that’s exactly what we did. We cycled through salt marshes, along wide beaches and rocky shores, through a holly forest and past historic sites, like the oldest operating lighthouse in the US. The well-maintained bike trail allows you to cycle (or hike) the entire length of the peninsula, or you can just find a spot on one of the many beaches, put your towel down and enjoy the sound of the ocean and the crying seagulls above you. Most of the beaches were deserted, but I can imagine that they get super busy during July and August.
We finished the day on the northern tip of the peninsula, where you find the historic district of Fort Hancock, still intact with gun batteries and military buildings dating back to the late 19th century. We arrived there just in time for a spectacular sunset, and vowed to head back to New Jersey soon to explore more of its pristine beaches.
Stay tuned for more photos of our beach day – it is super easy to get there from New York City, btw – there is a direct ferry from Manhattan that brings you right to the beach in 40 minutes!