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FAQ (In Progress)

This will be my first time at a nude beach. What should I expect? 

Relaxation, freedom and the awesomeness of Gunnison. You’ll be sorry you didn’t go earlier and you will become immediately addicted.

It's not simply the option for nude sunbathing that brings people to Gunnison. Another thing that sets this beach apart is the overall sense of community that exists here. There are people who come to the beach on a regular basis, for years.

Best to arrive early.  Parking lot fills up fast on weekends.   Expect a long walk!   It is about 1/2 mile from parking lot to the water, much of which is through sand.   Bring food and beverages.  It is a long walk back to the food trucks.   NO GLASS BOTTLES!   And park policy is "pack out" so be prepared to take ALL of your trash home with you when you leave. 

As you walk toward the water you will pass a sign that says "Beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers".   That is the start of the clothing optional area.   Enjoy!   

How do I get there?

Very detailed information about getting to Sandy Hook is available on this website:

Once you arrive at Sandy Hook:

By car - After the park entrance booths, drive 3.3 miles on Hartshorne Drive.   RIGHT onto Atlantic Ave.   Drive 1.2 miles on Atlantic Ave and you will see the Gunnison entrance plaza on your right.   (There is an unloading zone there, but no parking).   To park, continue straight another 900 feet (straight through intersection - becomes "Gunnison Road"), then LEFT into parking lot G.

By ferry - Yellow school busses will be waiting for you.  Take the one for Gunnison Beach.

How much does it cost to park? 

A parking fee is collected at the entrance booths of Sandy Hook from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.   In 2016 the fee is $15/day or $75 for a Season Pass.  There is no fee if you arrive prior to 7AM or after 5PM.  There is no fee in the off season. 

The lots fill VERY early on weekends in peak season, so arrive by 9:30AM or so to insure getting a spot.  Once the main lot fills you may be bumped to overflow lots (longer walk).  

If you are 62 or older, you can purchase a "Senior Pass" ($10, good for life).  Then all parking fees are 50% off.  A similar "Access" pass is available free for those permanently disabled.  Both passes are sold at Sandy Hook.  Contact the park for details.

How much parking is available for Gunnison Beach?

The main parking "Lot G" has 786 spots (770 regular + 16 handicap spots).  There is a grass overflow lot about 1,000 feet west of the main lot that has capacity for about 120 cars.

If both lots are full, you can park in the North Beach lot, about 1/2 mile north.  That has 341 spots, but many will be used by patrons of North Beach. 

In total, Sandy Hook has 4200 beach parking spaces for all beach areas.

What time should I arrive?

The parking lot fills up on summer weekend days.  By June, the main lot closes by 11am or noon.  By peak season, late July, it can close as early as 9:30 or 10am.  When the main lot closes, you are diverted to an overflow lot (long walk). Once about 4200 cars have entered, the park's main entrance is closed for a few hours.   Arrive early!  

There is no problem parking on weekdays.

What food concessions are available?

 Nothing is sold out on the beach.  Best to pack in your beverages and snacks.   There are food trucks in the entrance plaza.   As of 2016 there is a spring roll truck and an ice cream truck.  There is a vendor who rents umbrellas and chairs for $10 ea for the day.

What kinds of bathroom and shower facilities are available?

 The entrance plaza has men's and women's bathrooms; open during the day through the summer season. A third small unisex bathroom in the middle is sometimes open when the others are not. Showers are outdoor and for rinsing off only, so no nudity and no soaping up. 

Hours of operation? 

Beach season:  April 1st through October 31st, the park is open 5AM to 10PM.   Off season:  November 1st through March 31st, the hours are 5AM to 8PM.

When are the lifeguards on duty?

Lifeguards are on duty 10am to 6pm every day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.   

How can I get to Gunnison from NYC using public transportation? 

There is a ferry leaving a few times a day from the 35th st. pier and Wall st. You can find more info about it at

Another alternative is NJ transit. The closest train station is Red Bank. From there you can take a car service, or bring your bike with you and bike to the beach.

What should I bring to Gunnison?

 Some common checklist items:   Sunscreen.  Beach towel or blanket.  Sunglasses.  Footwear (sand gets hot).  Beach chair.  Umbrella.  Beverages.  Snacks.  Cooler.   Reading material.    Personal music player.   Windscreen (and rubber mallet).   Hat.  Games.  Plastic bag to pack out your trash.     

If you bring a cooler with wheels, be aware that the wheels do not work in the sand.  You will have to carry it or drag it.   Or look into getting a Wheeleze cart.

NEVER bring glass containers!    Also don't bring:  tents, pets, kites, boogie boards

Can I bring my tent?

No.  As of 2016 tents are not allowed.   Rangers will tell you to take it down.   You can use windscreens, umbrellas and canopies that are not enclosed.

Why isn’t the blue mat path going all the way down to the water? 

This path is funded by us, Gunnison beachgoers. There is an ongoing fundraiser to add more mats. You are welcome to donate. Every little bit helps. More info here

I’m self-conscious about my body. What do I do? 

You will find a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. You’ll feel right at home. Gunnison is a reflection of society at large, with people of all shapes, sizes, genders, ages and sexual orientations.

Men ask: what if I have an erection? 

You would be surprised at how rarely this happens. Nudist places are far less sexually charged than places where bikinis, thongs, or other provocative clothing are worn.  If it does happen, simply don a towel, turn over, or take a quick dip in the water.  It is natural, so no need to feel embarrassed, but be polite and discrete about it.  People will think you are a jerk if you walk around flaunting an erection.  

Touching or rubbing yourself is a far different matter. The rangers take this very seriously and will arrest for lewd behavior.   Best to leave your wiener alone, except to apply sunscreen.

Is it okay for a single guy to go to Gunnison?

Of course!  Many do.   Important to be respectful, polite and friendly.    

Is it safe for a single woman to go to Gunnison? 

Yes. You may find the occasional creep/gawker.  Be assertive and tell them to move along.   If you feel uncomfortable, find a spot near a couple or a bigger group and set up next to them.

Is alcohol allowed at Gunnison? 

Yes!   Drink responsibly.   Do not bring any glass containers (VERY important!).   

Can I have sex on the beach? 

No!  Any sexual activity is illegal on the beach.  This rule is aggressively enforced by the rangers. Even if you don’t think they see you, they do. Rangers hide in the dunes and use binoculars to watch for shenanigans.  Arrest is an expensive and humiliating ordeal and you'll have to face a judge in Trenton for a federal offense.  Don't risk it.  A hotel room is much cheaper.

Why is the entire south side of the beach closed off sometimes? 

This part of the beach is a reserved breeding ground for the Piping Plover, and endangered native bird. This section is closed from late May through late August.  When the section is open, you can walk south about 3/4 mile until you reach a "entering clothed area" sign.

Is there a "gay" section?

Traditionally, LGBT folks congregate in the south 1/4 of the main beach.  Don't think of it as a rule though.  Anyone is welcome to sit anywhere.  Pro tip: Women can sit in the "gay" area to avoid dopey dudes from pestering them.

Do I need to be completely naked?

It is a “clothing optional” beach, and it means just that. You can go and sun yourself in shorts or a bikini, or even a tuxedo for that matter.   Be aware though that clothed guys can make people uncomfortable if it appears they just came to walk around "sightseeing".    Women who remain clothed do not upset anyone at all.    Whatever you choose, nude or clothed, be respectful.

Most first-timers adjust to social nudity in a matter of minutes and discover it’s not nearly as big a deal as they thought it would be.  Some feel self-conscious before they undress since they’re likely to be the only ones not nude.

Is camping available at Gunnison?

 Not at Gunnison, but camping is available at Sandy Hook.  Check the Gateway National Recreation Area site for details.  The camping area is NOT clothing optional. 

Can I fish at Gunnison?

Yes, but you must remain at least 50 feet outside of the red flagged areas while lifeguards are on duty.   People sometimes do fish at Gunnison between 5 am and 10 am when the lifeguards arrive.   Overnight fishing is available by permit.  Check the GNRA site for details.

Is photography allowed?

 Yes, but NEVER take photos of anyone without permission.   Make sure not to catch people close by in the background of your shots.

What if I receive unwelcome advances? 

This rarely happens. Everyone should feel comfortable. Behavior requiring an apology should not be tolerated. If the situation escalates, you can ask the rangers help at  (732) 872-5900).

I didn’t see garbage bins anywhere. Why is that? 

Gunnison is a national park. You must take all your garbage out of the park yourself. Do not bury it in the sand, don’t leave it at the bathrooms, don’t leave it on the beach. Take it out and dispose of it outside of the park. 

Are pets allowed at the beach, and what about kites? 

No pets, or kites, in high season (March 15 to September 15).  The main reason for both is that they are disruptive of nesting shore birds.

See detailed information about pets on the Sandy Hook website.

How do I contact the park rangers if there is an emergency?

Add this to your phone:  Sandy Hook Ranger Station (24 hours):  (732) 872-5900
You can also speak to a lifeguard and they will call the rangers for you.

Other helpful information 

At the entrance to the beach, at the rest area there is an information board. There you can read about fun and interesting activities organized by the rangers all over the Sandy Hook area. 

What web links might help me plan a trip to Gunnison?

NWS Weather Forecast:

NWS Hourly Forecast:

Weather Underground Marine Forecast:

NWS Coastal Waters Forecast:

Weather Buoy 44065 (16 miles SE of Gunnison):

Sandy Hook Coast Guard Weather Station SDHN4 (1 Mile west of Gunnison):

NOAA Sandy Hook Tides:

SwellInfo Surf Forecast:

Sandy Hook Lighthouse Web Cam (looking at Gunnison):

Gateway National Recreational Area:

Facebook - Gateway National Recreational Area:

Twitter - Gateway National Recreational Area:



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