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Red Bank, New Jersey, sits on the Atlantic elbow of “The Garden State.” Located an hour’s drive east of capital city Trenton and an hour’s drive south of New York City, the place is nearly surrounded by water. Many of the top attractions for Red Bank visitors are the area’s rivers, lakes and nearby Sandy Hook Bay, where residents spend their leisure time.

Families get active together at the city’s Marine Park, along the southern bank of the Navesink River. Tourists cast their lines from the public-access fishing pier or take in views of the river while the kids scuttle around the marine-themed playground.

Boaters head to Red Bank Marina on Front Street to set sail on the Navesink aboard motorboat and pontoon rentals or to paddle the waters in a kayak. Rowboats are also popular rentals for those fishing for native blue claw crabs.

Five miles west of Red Bank is Swimming River Reservoir, set on a former 19th-century equestrian estate. Hikers can trek a loop trail accessed at Thompson Park, where maps are available. The six-mile trail affords beautiful views of both the reservoir and Marlu Lake and the waterfowl that inhabit them.

A journey across Sandy Hook Bay to the 2,044-acre Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area makes for a relaxing day trip. Tourists can head east out of Red Bank along Rumson Road and enjoy the scenic drive along Ocean Avenue, which delivers them to the park’s southernmost tip. Along the way, history buffs can stop at the Twin Lights State Historic Site, in Highlands, and marvel at the country’s only connected lighthouse, built in 1862. On the grounds of the park stands the oldest surviving lighthouse in the nation, Sandy Hook Lighthouse.

At Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit—on a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic—water pursuits are the draw. Spermaceti and Horseshoe Coves are Red Bank summer tourism hot spots, offering vacationers sandy fun, bird watching along the salt marshes and traipsing the boardwalk.

Red Bank winter tourism means snowy carriage rides through the picturesque downtown, hot chocolates from The Danish Cafe and ice boating on the Navesink River.

Sightseers in Downtown Red Bank should view the 1870s Red Bank Station House, a rare example of Stick-Style architecture, and Molly Pitcher Inn on Riverside Avenue. The Inn was built in 1928 and named after Revolutionary War heroine Molly Hays.

Another top attraction in Red Bank is the Count Basie Theater on Monmouth Street. Swing music legend William James “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank in 1904, and although his childhood home is no longer standing, the theater pays tribute to his genius. The theater opened with vaudeville flair in 1926 and continues to entertain, hosting national acts like Bill Cosby and B. B. King.

To warm up in winter or cool down in summer, visitors stop at The Downtown on West Front Street for a cocktail and to dance to live music by top local musicians.