128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732
Phone: 718-354-4606 \ Fax: 718-354-4764
Park Hours: April 1st through October 31st, 5 AM – 10 PM, November 1st through March 31st, 5 AM – 8 PM
Lighthouse Visitor Center Hours: Daily, 9 AM – 5 PM
For centuries, the safest way to sail into New York Harbor was by hugging the shore of Sandy Hook, where the water was deepest. This six mile peninsula had an outsize influence on the safety of the harbor and the defense of New York City. From its days as a British colony and outpost to the era of nuclear missiles, Sandy Hook lighted the paths of seafarers and protected New Yorkers from potential attack and invasion. Since the Federal government completed purchase of the entire peninsula in 1814, it was spared the commercial development that dominates much of the New Jersey coast. In 1982, the Sandy Hook peninsula was designated as the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark.
Sandy Hook includes the oldest surviving lighthouse in what is now the United States. Built in 1764, it is still in use today. The British Army captured the lighthouse in 1776 and held it until the evacuation of New York in 1783. At least once the Continental Army tried to knock it down. Sandy Hook’s maritime history includes the heroic U.S. Life Saving Service, which saved passengers and crew from shipwrecks. The distinctive structures of the USLSS can still be seen here today. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.