Farewell to the Sea Gull’s Nest (Highlands, NJ)

Photo from Yelp

They were never quite known for their food. As reported by The Journal, the Sea Gull’s Nest which has sat vacant on Sandy Hook since 2012 has finally been demolished. It had suffered damage during Hurricane Sandy and was never able to recover enough to open again. Their menu was a small one, offering light fare such as burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and such, but they also had a full-service bar which was most of the draw. It seems for everyone who had fond memories of dining oceanside at this remarkable location, there were many more who felt the restaurant was a tourist trap that snagged money out of desperate beachgoers as the only dining establishment within miles. Be that as it may, I do remember eating here as a small child with family several years before they closed.

One would think another incarnation of the Sea Gull’s Nest would have opened some time in the last seven years. The location, lack of quality food on Sandy Hook (most of the food trucks there now are borderline horrid), and the thousands of people who could be served daily, make this spot a no-brainer. However, as pointed out in this article from 2017, there have been myriad difficulties concerning the National Park Service, flood insurance, etc. And now, just recently, with alcohol being bannedfrom Sandy Hook, it looks like any hope of a restaurant opening anywhere on the property is dashed.

I was too young to remember the quality of food, but I do recall many wonderful evenings eating with family as the sun set over the beach. For some reason, and this could be a displaced memory, I remember us ordering a pot of steamers there. There seemed no better place to eat such a food—pulling the clams out of their shells and being given a container of hot water to clean them off in before dunking them in melted butter.

As sad as it is to see another relic of the past go, it is probably better that the Sea Gull’s Nest is demolished rather than sitting there rotting before our eyes. I imagine they will simply make more parking out of the space, which is not a bad thing. The busy beach season has not even started yet, and already we are seeing some changes down on Sandy Hook. What will be next? Maybe some funding to fix up some of the dilapidated buildings in Fort Hancock? Hey, a guy can dream…



  1. Seagulls Nest was a great place for a cold beverage and a beautiful view!
    ps It’s not actually located in Highlands, NJ – adjacent to it.


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