Sandy Hook is the peninsula that rises north from one of the Jersey elbows towards New York City. The run from landing out to the point and back is probably 4 hours give or take but you shorten or lengthen it by how far you go. The wind and general chop makes it a moderate trip but it can get a little more difficult when the chop increases and you add in boats and shore fisherman that need to be dodged. Luckily you can always dodge to shore for a rest.
When you start out you're passing some of the old naval housing; a scenic row of older brick homes. Then you'll pass the Coast Guard dock before you get to the beach areas. The beach areas usually don't have any people except for a few beachcombers and fisherman as well as flocks of sea gulls. You can usually find some swells and waves that you can ride in towards the shore before continuing on. There are lots of other chances for wave riding as well, especially at the tip where the boat traffic and the tidal currents create some nice swells.
As you continue on you start to get a really nice view of New York City. There is a strong temptation to just paddle on over to the city. Don't. It's further than you think and there's lots of boat traffic. It's certainly a doable trip for an experienced kayaker but plan for it or better yet go with one of the outfitters that runs a trip out to the city (from Staten Island, I think).
If you continue on, you'll be north of Sandy Hook. At some point you'll realize that you're looking out to the open sea. Next stop is Europe (yeah, right). You can continue around and follow the shore down the east side of the peninsula but there's no landings there as the beaches are swimming beaches so you'll have to go back all the way around. I've never actually done that. I'm usually too busy playing in the waves.
On our last trip we were getting ready to head back from the tip and were suddenly surrounded by small blue fish chasing prey to the surface. Fish were splashing all around us and then gulls flocked around us to get their share. Suddenly boats of fishermen converged on us and were casting lines all around us. All the commotion scared the fish away and we paddled out of the area. The tide was coming in and was carrying us and the fish. Every now and then the fish would surface all around us again, the gulls would swoop in and the boats would motor in. Lots of excitement as long as we watched for the over-enthusiastic fishermen.
There are restaurants in nearby Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright. Motels are located along Rte 36 on the way to Sandy Hook. Rest room facilities are in the park.
The park charges a $5? entrance fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day before 5PM.
Take Exit 117 on the Garden State Parkway onto Route 36 West. Follow the signs to Sandy Hook. Enter Sandy Hook and follow the road until you're by the picnic ground with the large missile. Park there and you'll be entering the ocean in the small cove behind the trees.
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Open Water/Ocean