Gateway National Recreation Area Provides Recreational Access for Sandy Hook for Memorial Day Weekend

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Date: May 20, 2020

Contact: Brenda Ling, 347-216-0395

Middletown, N.J. – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Gateway National Recreation Area will continue to provide limited recreational access and services for Sandy Hook for the Memorial Day weekend. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

With public health in mind, please note the following for the Memorial Day weekend at Sandy Hook:

  • The beaches at Sandy Hook are currently unprotected. Lifeguards will be on duty June 6.
  • The beaches are accessible for passive recreation, such as walking and running.
  • Parking is reduced to 50% capacity.
  • Fees will not be collected for Memorial Day weekend but will resume in June.
  • Limited port-a-johns are currently available at several locations. Bathroom facilities will be available May 30.
  • Guardian Park Picnic Area is closed. Barbecuing and group picnicking are not allowed within Sandy Hook at this time.
  • The Multiple Use Path is accessible for recreational use, such as biking, walking, and running.
  • 2019 Fishing Permits will be honored in 2020 season. 2020 permits are not being issued at this time.
  • Campground is closed.
  • Food service is not available.
  • Ferry service is not available.

Park rules and regulations remain in effect. Standard operations include:

  • Alcohol is prohibited, except by permit.
  • Smoking is only permitted in designated parking areas.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Carry-in carry-out garbage policy.

Current Beach Rules prohibit:

  • Alcohol;
  • Smoking;
  • Tents or shelters;
  • Barbecuing and open fires;
  • Group gatherings; Group picnics;
  • Sports;
  • Glass containers;
  • Coolers that are more than 24 quarts in size;
  • No dogs from March 15-September 15; and
  • No kites from March 15-September 15.

Visitor should not access areas with symbolic fencing, climbing on groins, or enter the dunes (except at designated dune crossings).

Visitors are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Gateway, our operational approach will be to continue to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers. 

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. 

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels (@GatewayNPS). Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

About Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway is a large diverse urban park with 27,000 acres spanning Sandy Hook in N.J. and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in N.Y. It offers green spaces, beaches, wildlife and outdoor recreation, all alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes. It is the 4th most visited National Park Service unit with more than 9.2 million annual visitors. For more information about Gateway, visit

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