This is a supplement to our prior post about Gateway National Park at Sandy Hook, NJ. If you are not familiar with Sandy Hook or how to get there, check out the link before reading on. This is a great day trip from NYC with NO CAR NEEDED.
Here are a few iPhone shots. We choose to stay away from the crowds and we take the 8:15 so you’ll still see the tracks from early morning beach cleaning. Later on, if you like to sit with lots of people, that option is available as you can see in the second photo! There are several beaches with snack bars and bath houses.
2012 brings new services to make our lives easier. First, NY Waterways has added weekend only ferry service from World Financial Center and Pier 79 on the Hudson side as opposed to the Seastreak‘s East River route. The price is slightly higher at $49 round trip per person, however you live on the West Side it is worth the extra $4! Check out the links for schedules from both providers.
And second, Ray’s Bike Rentals has expanded their service as well. Bikes are available for $25/day plus $5 for a basket. They are classic beach cruisers, no gears. This only becomes challenging if you decide to leave the park area to go to Highlands, which brings us to the service updates…
Ray’s Bike Rentals recognized that New Yorkers may want to take advantage of the many bayside seafood joints in Highlands, NJ. This year they added a drop-off at the Highlands/Connors ferry station for an extra $5. Rather than having to schlep back to the beach to return your bike, you now can eat, drink and be merry. Drop your bike and lock it at the ferry only blocks away.
Several years ago, we discovered Highlands, NJ when we wanted to find a hotel at the closest possible beach. There is one and only one bed and breakfast in Highlands, Sandy Hook Cottage. While it isn’t the perfect beach vacation, it isn’t bad for a long weekend with proximity to the beach. Bikes are available, but the ride to the beach is uphill. While we were there, we tried every seafood spot and feasted daily. Prices are cheap compared to New York. Nothing fancy, just good ole seafood in all forms. That was when we discovered The Clam Hut. It is under new management this year and the jury is still out on whether it is better. They are working on updating the menu. We always enjoyed the steamed seafood platter – lobster, clams, corn. That was sorely missing, but as you’ll see we did OK!
The trick to getting into Highlands from Sandy Hook is enduring the uphill battle of the Shrewsbury River overpass. After that, you’re in the clear. But this trip is NOT for the faint of heart. Your reward is seafood and drinks. The restaurants are located by the piers to the right.
While The Clam Hut isn’t something we’d necessarily review with our NYC restaurants, it is the perfect clam shack for hanging out after the beach. The price is right. Stay away from fried foods, i.e. the wings. Also watch the fried seafood. We saw people eating burgers that looked like hockey pucks as well, but maybe they asked for well done? We recommend sticking with steamed or raw seafood indigenous to the area.
We started with oysters on the half shell, which were not the prettiest, but were fresh, ice cold and shucked well. And $16/dozen. Half what we are accustomed to paying across the harbor! No photo. We then followed up with TWO each of the below ‘appetizers’
Drinks are also great here. This is a spot where the locals hang all day long and the options are too great to mention. The drink special was the ‘Endless Summer Punch Bucket,’ a 24 oz. rum punch that comes in a plastic bucket. It was $12 for 3 shots of mixed flavored rums and tropical juices. They also do frozen drinks with and extra shot of Meyer’s rum floated on top for $7.