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Gateway National Recreation Area

The Gateway National Recreation Area in Highlands, NJ is pet friendly between certain dates. Dogs are not permitted on ocean-side beaches at Sandy Hook Unit from March 15 through September 15 due to piping plover season. Pets are permitted on bay-side beaches at Plum Island and Horseshoe Cove throughout the year, but must always be on a leash. Dog owners must carry out all trash, and make preparations for carrying out dog waste. Parking is $20 in the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Visit Website

Or call (718) 354-4606 for more information.


BringFido Guest Rating

Gateway National Recreation Area has received a rating of 4.3 out of 5 bones by 15 canine critics on BringFido.

  • Cindy
    Jul 24, 2020
    Not Bad at all we will definitely go back

    Recently we ended at Sandy Hook after the other location we took our dog to was closed. Not bad at all, we went during the weekend and our dog was allowed across parking lot C and F so we decided to go all the way to the end to lot F. since it was all the way at the end it wasn’t as crowded and just perfect. There were other dogs there as well. Did not find any ticks on my dog after and we enjoyed the time spent there. Still be cautious of everywhere you take your dog for ticks. We will definitely go there again.

  • Matt
    Sep 29, 2019
    Sep 15 - Dogs Allowed on Ocean

    Please note that Sept 15 (not Labor Day) is the date after which dogs are allowed on the ocean side of Sandy Hook. THe restriction starts again on March 15

  • Karl
    Aug 21, 2019
    Relaxing and fun!

    My close friend and I went out here during the end of august. Was not crowded, cool breezes from the shore line despite being 89°out. I read allot about ticks and flees, i brought Ticks and flee spray for dogs. We didn't see or have any ticks though. Our dogs had a blast despite neither one wanting to go in the water. I don't know what everyone was talking about free parking, unless it is off season. But we had to pay general day admission fee which is $15 which wasn't bad. The dog only beach is across the parking lot C. There kayakers and paddle surfers there too. Had a good time ourselves watch the dogs play in the sand and people out in the water.

  • Emma
    Jul 8, 2018
    Awesome trip

    We went in the summer when the ocean-side isn’t open to dogs. We were restricted to the bayside but it was wonderful! She loved it. And it was a busy day but the bay side was pretty free of people. Our dog had a ton of fun! And we were warned of ticks but she got none.

  • Kendra
    More than a year ago
    Ticks everywhere

    We went for a few hours with our 8 month old cavapoo.. in the car, I had 2 ticks running in my arms. When I got home, my pup was covered in ticks!! I took out 3 of them that were attached. This place is infested with ticks! Would never recommend this place to anyone!

  • Carrie
    More than a year ago
    Quiet and relaxing

    Clean beach, uncrowded. We were a little worried reading some of the other reviews, but found no ticks or debris on the beach. Our 8 month old pup had a great day playing in the sand and with the gentle waves on the bay side. Perfect outing! I would recommend parking at the further end of lot B or in lot C though as there was a lengthy walk across hot sand to return to the car at the lower end of lot B. Enjoy!!!

  • Lillie
    More than a year ago
    Good in theory

    so my husband brought up the idea of taking our dogs to the beach so we found this website and decided this was the closest one well upon arriving you have to park and lug all our stuff across a highway and we were there for no more than twenty minutes before I noticed ticks on my dogs which led us to leave needless to say we spent the remainder of the day bathing our dogs giving them haircuts and removing ticks I would never recommend this place to anyone!!!!!!!

  • Sarah
    More than a year ago
    Tick City

    Aside from the litter strewn sand, my goldie came home covered in ticks... everywhere. Never again!

  • Dani
    More than a year ago
    Aspen my husky swam all day

    Parking is free when you bring your dog. We also walked the trails and saw a lot of history. The only place we couldn't bring the dog was inside the lighthouse and on the bathing beaches. The only downfall is there's ticks so you must check everyone and everything even if you only use the beach. We will definitely go back.

  • RS
    More than a year ago
    Needles & trash disaster

    The bayside beaches were strewn with pebbles and hypodermic needles- ouch! The sand was full of rocks and pebbles- so a disaster for the kids. Biking with my toy Maltese was our saving grace.

  • Tom
    More than a year ago

    Parking is FREE if you tell them where you are going which is LOT "L". We just went yesterday for the first time and found that out. Had a great time with our dogs.

  • Kenny
    More than a year ago
    BTW > Parking is $15 p/ car

    But with a family, could be cheaper than most beach tags.

  • Kenny
    More than a year ago
    Beautiful place w/ dogchild

    I just got back from vacation and stopped by Gateway Nat'l park with the mutt. Ended up staying the entire day on the bay side beach. Peaceful and uncrowded.

    Another hint to dog's and beaches... Take fresh water, and a way to make "shade". Yes this is also a carry in/carry out everything place. We'll go back, and maybe for a few day stay. There's history at the north end (no dogs on trails unfortunately so we didn't get to look around too much)

  • Mayra
    More than a year ago
    M amaral

    We loved this beach!! It is close by, parking is on the other side of thee street, my dog enjoyed, clean and natural area...

  • Liz
    More than a year ago
    Great Beach for dogs

    Great beachfor dogs on the bayside during summer season or any time of year. Will see other dog owners. Beautiful beaches on ocean side or bay. Sandy Hook is not typical "beach" area, is more wild and natural. Off season ocean side is dog friendly and see lots of other dog owners as well. Horseshoe Cove was great area for dogs, nice views of Hghlands and can watch the ferries going to/from NYC. Was nice and quiet and my dog loved it. Since Horseshoe Cove and Plum Island are on the bayside, no big waves and not very deep for quite long walk. Need to carry out dog waste, policy of park is carry out trash. Have supplies to pick up dog waste to remove. I used a big coffee can with wrapped waste inside then disosed of later. Highly recommend this beach ! My dog loved it !

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Gateway National Recreation Area