Local Finds

Exploring In My Own Backyard

Growing up I used to see those “old people” who took walks at night and would think, “Oh that’s cute. Look they need to walk every night because they are old.” Now, in what seems to not be too many years later, I am that “old” person looking for new places to take a nightly walk. So yesterday even though it was a typical hot and humid July day, Sandy Hook seemed like the easy answer for a close-to-home place to walk and catch some of the ocean breeze.

Now openly, I love to explore new places. I like the anticipation for finding or experiencing something new. As beach badges and parking prices have risen across New Jersey, an annual National Park pass has become more and more appealing. Even though I go multiple times over the summer, I always feel like there is something new to explore and hidden gems to find.

I don’t always head down to the end of the island but this night I did. On the bay side there are all these quiet and hidden nooks and crannies for swimming, wadding, fishing or just escaping into nature.

Some quick facts about this Jersey National ParK:

  • The park is open 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. daily, except by permit.
  • There is a $20 charge per day for beach parking from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Parking at Fort Hancock is always free. Even better? You can snag an annual pass for $100. So fill the car with as many as you legally can!
  • The park actually intersects two states! Both New York and New Jersey intertwine and spreads over to Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
  • The park is home to the oldest surviving lighthouse in the country!
  • During the cold war the park the Nike Missiles guarded New York City!

There’s more than just the beach too! Check out what else you can do:

  • Sandy Hook Lighthouse: Tours offered between 1 pm through 4:30 pm. Tours are first-come first-serve.
  • Lighthouse Keepers Quarters and Visitor Center: Explore indoor exhibits about the importance of lighthouses.
  • Fort Hancock Post Museum: Explore indoor exhibits about this important army base and its role from the American Revolution to the Cold War.
  • History House: Explore a lieutenant’s quarters overlooking Sandy Hook Bay furnished to the World War II era.

So what’s in your own backyard that you have yet to explore? Where could you go that’s close to home and still a peaceful escape? A place you’ve been to before but never explored? A hidden treasure spot? I encourage you to find an hour to sneak away this week to explore and come back to share what you found!

*Before heading over to the park be sure to check out the website for any changes or updates in prices, time etc. You can get all the info HERE.