• Grounds: open year round
  • Visitor Center/Lighthouse Keepers Quarters: open daily, 9 am – 5 pm
  • History House (hours vary by season)
  • Junior Ranger Programs
  • Food truck service in summer months
  • Free admission
  • Parking is $15/day from Memorial Day – Labor Day

Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground

26 Hudson Road, Highlands, NJ 07732


Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook—part of the Gateway National Recreation Area—provided coastal defense for New York Harbor from 1895 until 1974. Now a National Historic Landmark, the fortifications were designed to be invisible from the sea. The first of the many concrete gun batteries at Fort Hancock was constructed as early as 1890. The Mortar Battery included an extensive tunnel system meant for storage of guns and ammunition. During World War II, the tunnels were converted into a top-secret command center for defense of New York City.

The site also includes the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the country, where Sarah Paterson Johnson became an Assistant Keeper in 1864. The lighthouse is now maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.


  • Ranger led tours of Battery Potter, Nine Gun Battery and the Mortar Battery are available in the summer and early fall
  • Visit the Sandy Hook Lighthouse for a ranger-guided tour (open daily from 1 pm - 4:30 pm)
  • See a video about the site at the Sandy Hook Visitor Center (open daily 9 am -5 pm, located in the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters)
  • Take a self-guided walking tour of the Fort, including “Officer’s Row” and other buildings

Journey through Jersey strives to have the most up-to-date information, but always check with the site itself before planning a visit.