35 mile intermediate route (includes ferry ride)
Starts in Lower Manhattan ends at the Sandy Hook Beach ferry terminal.
A- Battery Maritime Building Slip 5
B- Seastreak Ferry Terminal at Highlands
C- Asbury Park Beach
D- Silverball Arcade Museum
E- Asbury Festhall & Biergarten
F- Cardinal Provisions
G- Battery Potter
H- Sandy Hook Ferry Terminal
Looking for a respite from city life? Take a quick 35 minute ferry ride over to Sandy Hook and Asbury Park to enjoy some of that coastal living (at least for a few hours)! Sandy Hook is part of the National Park Service, and part of the National Gateway Recreational Area of New York and New Jersey, which includes Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, and Staten Island. The majority of the Sandy Hook is car free, which makes it amazing for exploring by bike! Sandy Hook is home to many beautiful beaches, as well as batteries, historic Army buildings, and the oldest serving lighthouse in the United States. I have been to Sandy Hook twice now, and one of the highlights for me was definitely taking a guided tour of one of the batteries of Fort Totten.
Start your trip at Battery Maritime Building Slip 5 in Manhattan, where the Seastreak Ferry will pick you up. There are two options for taking the Seastrek ferry on a weekend, one at 8:15 am and one at 11 am. While it might sound torturous to try to get on a ferry at 8:15 am, I recommend taking the earlier time, as you will probably want those extra hours to explore the island, and the last ferry from Sandy Hook leaves at 5:45 pm. The bike fee has been waived during the pandemic, and it is encouraged that you bring your bicycle on the ferry, so don't worry about that! Once you board the ferry, sit back and enjoy the 35 minute ride to Sandy Hook!
You will want to depart the ferry at the first stop for Highlands, New Jersey. It is easy to bike over to Sandy Hook from here, and this stop will better position you to ride down to Asbury Park. Once you get over the Navesink Avenue bridge onto Highland Beach, it's a pretty straight shot down Ocean Avenue (which at some point turns into Ocean Blvd) to get to Sandy Hook. I found traveling on these roads to be relatively low stress, as some parts are on separated bicycle paths running next to the beach, and the rest of the route is on pretty wide roads with ample room for cyclists. The photo below gives a good depiction of what you can expect on the roads:
Once you get to Asbury Park, you can park up your bike and do some exploring on the boardwalk. There is a nice beach here, as well as lots of typical boardwalk activities. One small but enjoyable activity on the Asbury Park boardwalk is the Silverball Museum Arcade, which is a pretty accurate description of what you can expect to find inside. Both a museum and arcade, the Silverball Museum is home to over 600 pinball games (on rotation) that are available to be played on. Each pinball game has a small description of its past uses, and information about where it was made. As someone who didn't spend a fair amount in arcades growing up, it was a pretty delightful way to spend an hour. And don't worry, if you are in it for the long haul, when I was there they had an option to play for 6 hours! This might have changed due to the pandemic, but according to their website they are still open for business.
This Asbury Park boardwalk is fun to walk around and explore. When I was there they had some interesting art displays set up, and it looked like they were on there way to refurbishing some of the older buildings on the boardwalk. Off of the boardwalk, the neighborhood is enjoyable to stroll around as well, with a few breweries to check out, cute shops, and tasty cafes. You can check out this guide for more options on what to see and do, but I will say, I ate at the Cardinal Provisions cafe and had a filling vegetarian burrito bowl (you will need to fuel up for your ride back to Sandy Hook!) and stopped by the Asbury Festhall & Biergarten for a refreshing beer. I recommend both places if you want a fresh lunch and after (or before) lunch drink. After you've satisfied your Asbury Park explorations, its time to hop back on the bike and explore Sandy Hook! Also- be conscious of the time as you want to make sure you don't miss your 5:45 ferry back to NYC.
Head back on Ocean Boulevard to Sandy Hook, essentially just reversing the direction of the way you came. This time, instead of going back over the Navesink Ave Bridge, just continue on under it onto Sandy Hook. This is the area of the ride that is mainly car free, so you can relax and enjoy the nature trails and do some exploring without worry. There are some nice beaches here that you can check out, and if you have time before your ferry back to the city, I recommend stopping by Battery Potter for a battery tour. I found the tour to be super enjoyable and informative, you can explore this old battery and learn about how it was the first disappearing gun battery in the United States. Inside the battery you can explore the steam hydraulic lift system and see where soliders used to be stationed waiting for an attack.
When it's time to board the ferry, make sure to head over there on the earlier side, because a line does usually start forming. The ferry will take you first to 35th Street in Manhattan, and then back to the Battery Slip 5, so you can get off at whichever location is most convenient for you. I recommend just sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the sunset and low cost boat tour of Lower Manhattan!
Hi! I'm Rachel.
I'm creating curated bike routes in all 5 boroughs of NYC. Routes include downloadable route map, descriptions of the bicycle infrastructure, and suggestions on places to eat and things to see. Enjoy!