MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The pandemic may have shifted how we have fun this summer, but thankfully, the outdoors provides endless ways to enjoy your summer - for free! Watching the sunset is breathtaking, no matter how many times you've done it before. It always looks different, and the colors are astounding! So grab a blanket, pack a picnic or pick up take out, and enjoy a summer sunset with friends and family at one of these great locations:

Atlantic Highlands Marina - Atlantic Highlands Harbor  - located on Simon Drive, in Atlantic Highlands - is a great place to enjoy a summer evening.  Take in the gorgeous view of the New York Skyline as the sun lowers, while enjoying an ice cream cone from Nicholas Creamery up the street!  Another option is to gather some friends for a pitcher of the delicious white sangria from On the Deck, whose outdoor patio offers a spectacular, unobstructed view. 

Bayshore Water Front Park, Port Monmouth - This park, located on Port Monmouth Road in Port Monmouth, is a hidden gem located on the Sandy Hook Bay. It has a fishing pier, picture-perfect views of the New York Skyline, and is home to the famed Seabrook-Wilson House, known to locals as "the Spy House."  If you take Wilson Road from route 36, and travel all the way down towards the bay, you will reach the Bayshore Water Front Park for the perfect sunset!

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Sandy Hook - The bay side of Sandy Hook offers absolutely stunning sunset views. Watch the sky turn incredible shades of orange, pink, and indigo while the lights of downtown Highlands twinkle across the bay, and the notorious Twin Lights Lighthouse stands in the background. Get there early and bring a beach chair; you're going to want to stay awhile. 

Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook - Also located on Sandy Hook, Fort Hancock is the picture-perfect place to get some unique photographs of the sunset. The evening sky is an excellent backdrop for snapshots of the historical 19th-century buildings that were once home to military officers and their families. 

Marlu Lake, Lincroft - Located on the grounds of beautiful Thompson Park, Marlu Lake is a go-to place in Monmouth County for kayaking and canoeing. Make a day of it by going to a hike along the Swimming River Reservoir, or riding your bike along Thompson's excellent bike trail, before you hunker down by Marlu to watch the sunset! Note: You can also rent canoes on Marlu lake on select weekends from 10 am - 3 pm. See the park's website for more details. 

Popamora Point Beach, Highlands - This tiny bay beach is located at the end of Shore Drive in Highlands. It is at the end of a 1.5 mile stretch of the Hudson Trail that starts in the Atlantic Highlands Marina and ends at Popamora Point. This section of trail is a testament to the beauty of the Bay Shore area, where the woods meet the sea! Take in views of Sandy Hook Bay and the lush woods as you walk, then reward yourself by relaxing on the sand and watching an incredible sunset. 

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