Gateway National Recreation Area encompasses more than 26,000 acres in New York and New Jersey and attracts almost 10 million visitors who enjoy year round recreational and educational programs.
The area's Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a metropolitan wilderness just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of New York City. It comprises 9,155 acres of diverse habitats including salt marsh, fresh and brackish water ponds, upland field and woods, and an open expanse of bay that lends itself well to kayaking and canoeing.
The recreation area also has locations and visitor centers in Staten Island, New York, and Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
Visitors to each of the area's locations have a variety of activities available to them, including hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, sailing and bird-watching.
Gateway National Recreation Area has no entrance fees. However, during the summer months, a $10 beach parking fee is charged at Sandy Hook.
This destination comes from the National Park Getaways series, which helps people find new places to reconnect with nature, history, family and friends.
Each Wednesday, the National Park Service posts a new getaway idea on its website, nps.gov/getaways. There's a new park idea every week and most of the activities listed are free, so they're good, budget-friendly vacation options.