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NEW JERSEY: Sandy Hook OR Allaire State Park

Old Aug 4th, 2004, 05:52 AM
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NEW JERSEY: Sandy Hook OR Allaire State Park

We will be visiting friends in Morristown and would like to do a day trip somewhere when they're at work. From another post, wonderful Fodorites gave me many ideas including:

* Allaire State Park
* Sandy Hook in Gateway Rec. area

Of the two, which has the most to do for a day or an afternoon? Also, is food available around the areas, somewhere fun or unique or with a view?

We're also open to any other ideas you can give! We've explored Morristown National Park (wonderful!) and we're often in The City, so we'd like something within 1-2 hours drive.

Thank you for any and all advice.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Sany Hook is a nudist beach (the only one in NJ) so if that is what you want go for it.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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For information on things to do in and around Allaire, take a look at http://www.monmouth.com/~gdibarba/allairepage.htm and http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandf...s/allaire.html

Another place to consider would be the Delaware Water Gap, about an hour from the Morristown area. There is a national park there. You can swim in or canoe on the Delaware, hike in the forest, and the gap itself is quite something. Take a look at http://www.nps.gov/dewa/index.htm. Bring a picnic or stop at one of the many road-side restaurants for a hot dog and root beer, the ultimate NJ experience?..

I don't think all of Sandy Hook is nudist. Also, in September during the day there will not be a lot of people on the beach. For info on Sandy Hook, take a look at http://www.nps.gov/gate/pphtml/activities.html
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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If you can stand a slightly longer drive, my favorite is Island Beach State Park (maybe exit 82?) right beyond Seaside Heights. Leave Morristown (I lived there for 7 years) by 7am and arrive at the Island Beach by 9:30am. The later you leave, the more traffic you will hit on the GSP and the causeways to the beach. Admittance fee is by the carload, maybe 4 or 5 bucks, and they only allow so many cars in. Sometimes they may fill up by 10 or 11 am on weekends. The beaches are clean and wide. They have real bathrooms with showers and concession stands. If you want real privacy, continue to drive in the park past the two main parking lots and you will find little lots for maybe 8-10 cars each with little paths through the dunes. These lots will have outhouses only and no snacks so pack your own. Warning - if there is a land breeze you may be bothered by sand flies so bring some spray. Have fun whereever you go.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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Sandy Hook is not a nudist beach! There is a nudist beach at Sandy Hook.
Sandy Hook and Allaire are completely different. Allaire is a restored village and nature paths,and Sandy Hook is a pennisula with beaches and some historical buildings at old Fort Hancock
If you want to spend time at a beach, I would recommend Ocean Grove or Spring Lake. After some beach time, they are both fun to stroll through and shop. Both have restaurants. Ocean Grove is a Methodist Camp Meeting Ground, has interesting houses, a large auditorium and even an old time tent community.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Just a warning about Spring Lake vs. Sandy Hook: Spring Lake prohibits any food, coolers, etc. on the beach. (People end up leaving their coolers on the boardwalk and walking up and having lunch up there.) In addition after any significant rain (like 1/2 inch) there are a couple of beaches in Spring Lake that have been closed to bathing because of contamination in the water. This has been happening quite frequently lately.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Thank you all very much! We will try to do both Allaire and Sandy Hook (on different days).

Can anyone offer ideas for fun restaurants in the area? Do the two parks offer food - I checked all the websites offered but couldn't find any mention of it.

Also, any insider tips for the quickest way?

Thanks again!
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Sandy Hook has a restaurant, Gull's Nest. Also, lots of restaurants right outside.
Allaire is more isolated without a restaurant on site. I would suggest a picnic.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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My favorite beach by far is Island State Park it is exit 82 off the gsp, and proceed toward seaside park at the entrance to the state park is THE BERKLEY FISH MARKET whic is one of te top seafood restaurants in new jersey-just ask the governor, and it is moderately priced and casual.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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kc15 I have lived in NJ all my life and am a foodie and have never heard of The Berkley Fish Market, so although it may be good, I find it hard to believe that it is among the top rated restaurants in the Garden State.

As previously noted, Sandy Hook is part of Gateway National Park, and has many beaches, only one of which is notoriously a nude beach.

Audra, if you have access to bicycles, there is a very nice paved bike trail from Allaire State Park out to the beach town of Manasquan. I think it's about 7 miles each way, and a fun ride.

For a true taste of the Jersey Shore, you might try Point Pleasant Beach which has a traditional Boardwalk with games & rides & food, as well as a nice beach with full services (changing facilites, bathrooms etc.)

Spring Lake is our day trip beach of choice, and although a previous poster mentioned no coolers allowed (this keeps the beach nice and clean), there are two facilities along the beach that have food services & restrooms.
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Thank you again for the replies!

For reasons that are too long to go into, we were planning Allaire State Park this Saturday. Checking their web site, they have a fund raiser garage sale there that day! Obviously it will be a different feel to the park, but will it ruin it completely? The website alludes to the garage sale being in a seperate part, but is anyone familiar with it to really know?
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Old Aug 5th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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topping....anyone?
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Old Aug 5th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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Audra, the park is pretty big, so I don't think their event will take away from any experience there...

Here's their website if you want to familliarize yourself before you get there http://www.monmouth.com/~gdibarba/allairepage.htm

Leave early from Morristown, as there's sure to be shore traffic on Saturday morning headding down the Parkway.
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Old Aug 5th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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Thank you, tpatricco! Any insider tips for an easier way there to avoid shore traffic?

Also, we *MAY* venture to OCEAN CITY on Monday for a few nights (if we can get reservations). Any insider routing tips to avoid traffic there too?

Thank you so very much.
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Old Aug 5th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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If there was an easier way...if only!

Parkway is pretty much the easiest. The back roads aren't direct at all. Best bet is just to leave early, before 9am I'd say and hope for the best on a Saturday. On Monday the traffic should be no problem.

From Morristown you'd take 24 East to Junction with 78 East (runs right into it...no exit) and then Garden State Parkway South to your destination exit.

Morristown to Allaire should take 1.5 to 2 hours. I live in Union (about 20 minutes from Morristown)...wave on your way by!

In Morristown, go to Pazzo Pazzo for dinner one night!

Trish
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Old Aug 5th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Thank you so much, Trish! And thanks for the pizza tip, too! Any other must - do places to eat? Appreciate any and all ideas as our friends are, um, well, they like to stick to the same old same old....but are open to ideas. (if that makes sense?!)
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Old Aug 12th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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Just wanted to report back that we did go to Allarie State Park and had a great time! Very nicely done with friendly, helpful guides costumed in period attire. The special flea market that day was in another section totally (parking lot?) so it didn't interfere at all with the flavor of the area. Fun general store and bakery. Strolling the area was just what we needed after a crazy day in the city (and our crazy days at home) - very peaceful and like taking a trip back in time.

Didn't make it to Sandy Hook this time but will definitely go the next time. Thanks again to all!
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Old Aug 12th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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Hi Audra, glad you had a good day at Allaire. Saturday was beautiful! We were at Sandy Hook on Sunday Afternoon, another georgous day in the Garden State! Looks like this weekend we won't be so lucky!

Other restaurants in the Morristown area...Not fancy but we like Dublin Pub, Famished Frog, Calaloo Cafe. Also Valentino's for fancier Italian. Not so much a summer venue though. Also tons of great restaurants in the Madison/Chatham area. Garlic Rose (moderate), Scalini Fedili (fancy), Il Mondo Vecchio (fancy).
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Old Aug 12th, 2004, 12:46 PM
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For those of you that are familiar with SandyHook, is the Inlet cafe still worth visiting? Although a bit of a dive, it used to be a great place for little necks. amd I liked waling along the water.

Keith
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