Gunnison Beach is located in New Jersey with beautiful views of New York, specifically of Brooklyn, the New York skyline, and that of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It is the only legal clothing-optional beach in New Jersey and considered to be the largest on the East Coast.
Named after the Gunnison Battery that protected the harbor in the 19th century, the beach later became part of the Fort Hancock military installation in the 50’s. The beach was a popular place for military men who would often go skinny dipping, and when it closed down in the 70’s, many members of the community continued the tradition, and thus, making Gunnison Beach a favored destination for nudists in the area and beyond.
Where is Gunnison Beach?
Gunnison Beach is located on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey on the Sandy Hook peninsula. It belongs to the Gateway National Recreation Area, which is owned by the National Park Services.
The beach is a few miles from New York City, in the Middletown Township, Monmouth County.
How to Get There
The beach is about an hour and 15-minute drive from Manhattan. In late May, the Seastreak Ferry is available and lands right on Sandy Hook, where a free shuttle can take visitors to the entrance of the beach.
The beach is a bit of a walk from the parking lot, where visitors can park their vehicle 350 yards from the beach from 7am to 5pm for a fee of $15.
There is no shelter on the beach so it’s advisable that visitors bring their own umbrellas, chairs, or tents. Three-sided tents are allowed while 4-sided ones are prohibited.
For food and beverages, there is only one restaurant at Sandy Hook, which is The Sea Gull’s Nest, where they serve standard beach fare. There are no vendors on the beach, so it’s ideal that visitors bring their own food and drinks. Drinking of alcohol is allowed as long as no glass containers are used.
A pavilion at the beach entrance features restrooms and showers.
Lifeguards are on duty from 10am to 6pm on a daily basis. Beachgoers are required to get out of the water before 6pm, but can resume swimming at their own risk once the lifeguards go off duty.
Nude Part of the Beach
Gunnison Beach is not completely a clothing-optional beach. Only two of its 6 miles are allotted for nudists, which is the southern area of the beach; while the northern area is for clothed beachgoers. The clothing-optional area is further divided into two: the straight area and the gay area, which is found on the southernmost end of the beach.
The atmosphere at the beach is friendly and lively with the usual crowd consisting of families, children, couples, the elderly, and young people of all shapes and sizes.
Contrary to what many would imagine of a nude beach where models and men with washboard abs bask in the sun, Gunnison Beach has the appeal of any other community beach, featuring local people and friendly beach activities such as volleyball and frisbee.
Overt sexual activity, gawking, and taking photographs are highly prohibited and seriously prohibited. Park Service Rangers patrol the beach on a frequent basis and have very little tolerance for anyone violating rules and proper nude beach etiquette.