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Sandy Hook's Gunnison Beach Report.

July 2003

My wife and I went to Sandy Hook's Gunnison Beach on Sunday. It is better than ever.

To get there from New York City go either to Exit 11 on the New Jersey Turnpike and south on the Garden State Parkway or take the Verrazano to 287 to the Outerbridge Crossing and thence to the Garden State. Get off the Garden State at the Keyport exit (labeled Sandy Hook) which you can reach from both the express and local lanes. Drive down the (horrid) NJ 36 strip mall road for about 12 miles (it seems like 100) until the bridge. Get in the right lane on the bridge, and at the end of the bridge make the hard right, crossing under the bridge, and going north to Sandy Hook. There is a $10.00 per car entrance fee.

It takes an hour and quarter from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The nude beach, Gunnison Beach, is at parking lot G. Go north about 5 miles on the beach road until you get there. You will pass the entrance to the beach on the right, with rest rooms, outdoor showers and a food stand. If you have a lot of stuff you might want to drop it and a stuff guard off at this point. We arrived at 8:45, and got one of the last parking spaces in the lot.

Later arrivers park in more northerly lots, at least a quarter of a mile north. After the entrance you walk down a long boardwalk and then across the incredibly wide beach. You immediately see 'beyond this sign you may see nude sunbather' signs. No hassle. You can get beach wheelchairs for handicapped people by inquiring at the ranger station.

The beach was crowded and friendly. If you score 3 points for the nudity of couples (her top, their bottoms) with 3 being the best and 0 being the norm at the beaches we don't like to visit, the average score was around 2.9. Almost no gawkers, no binoculars, no clothed photographers. Families, couples, singles, straights, gays all having a great time and wearing no clothes.

The beach was incredibly clean. There is a small drink and hotdog shack on the beach itself, and a bigger one at the entrance. The blankets and umbrellas were clustered at the south end of the beach. The north end of the clothing optional zone continues by dunes beyond which endangered piping plovers nest, so no people settle there, but you can walk nude a mile up the beach until you get to the fishing beach. I stopped not because of a sign, but because everyone north of where I was clothed. Cowardice, not knowledge!

Sandy Hook is a part of Gateway National Seashore, a National Park! The rangers and lifeguards are feds! They are friendly, polite, helpful, and clothed. They are on our side. It makes you want to pay taxes to keep the beach up. If you go, pack everything out that you take in to keep the beach clean.

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