Island Beach State Park, Chicken Bone Beach, Poverty Beach
Gunnison Beach is a beach within the Sandy Hook unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey. It is located in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, but is on federal land managed by the National Park Service. It is New Jersey's only legal clothing-optional beach.
Gunnison Beach NJ
Gunnison Beach was named for Battery Gunnison, a fortification built by the U.S. Government in the 1800s to protect New York Harbor. Remnants of the battery, including gun emplacements, overlook the beach. It was once part of Fort Hancock, a test site and proving ground for the U.S. Army for many years and later the site of a Nike missile defense installation. The base was decommissioned in 1972, and a few years later the beach where the soldiers used to skinny dip, opened as a public clothing-optional beach. From Memorial Day to Labor Day a $15 parking fee is charged to enter Sandy Hook.
In 1999, New Jersey passed a law that allows municipalities and counties to prohibit all types of nudism on state or local beaches in their jurisdiction. Gunnison Beach, however, is on land owned and managed by the federal government and therefore is not subject to state or local regulations. As a result, Gunnison became the only legal nude beach in the state. Also, since there is no law against alcohol on federal lands, consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted. Gunnison is the largest clothing-optional recreation area on the East Coast. The clothing optional beach, which offers dramatic views of Brooklyn and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, attracts nearly 5,000 naturists per weekend in the summer months. Part of the beach is shared on a seasonal basis with a reserved breeding ground for the endangered piping plover, a native shore bird.