Long Island Sound is perhaps the most defining feature of our state, and when the weather warms we flock to the many beaches along the coast. Here we explore some of the state’s most desired beach destinations. We recognize that there are many more beaches, both private and public. Get out there and spend time on the beach you love. Any beach is a good place to be in our book!
This is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, with over two miles of beach to enjoy. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk that hugs the dunes or splash in the cool blue waters. This is the perfect place to go biking, walking, picnicking, fishing or to carry in your boat. With several grassy campsites, it’s easy to turn your day at the beach into a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. Park fees vary based on the season and day of the week.
This 50-acre park includes a beautiful beach with crisp, blue waters that the whole family will enjoy. But there’s much more to do here than just lay on the sand. Check out our water parks list on page 55 for more information on all the fun to be had here.
This beautiful, gently sloping beach is unlike any other in the state. You must walk under the train tracks to access the beach, and once you do, soft white sands expand in both directions. This is a great place to crab or fish, train watch and picnic. You can explore a diverse trail system and observe the beautiful salt marsh from several viewing platforms.
This beach has something no other Connecticut beach has — buried treasure, or at least the rumor of buried treasure. Legend has it Captain Kidd hid his treasure on Charles Island in 1699, but it’s never been found. That doesn’t stop adventure seekers from trekking out to the island during low tide and looking for themselves. On the mainland there’s plenty of beach to spread out on and catch a few rays.
Sherwood Island was Connecticut’s first state park — it was purchased in 1914 — and it remains one of its finest. It covers about 234 acres of beach, wetlands and woodlands. Swim in the Sound, observe the marsh life and enjoy a leisurely lunch beneath the trees. The Sherwood Island Nature Center is open seasonally with a range of displays and exhibits for all ages. The park is also home to the state’s September 11 Living Memorial, which was dedicated in 2002.
As part of the Norwalk Harbor, Calf Pasture Beach is a great place to lay on the sand and play in the surf. Go swimming, boating, fishing from the pier and clam digging here. There are also recreation facilities for volleyball, bocce, basketball and softball, and a skate park is nearby. There are many tree-shaded picnic tables at Shady Beach, located just to the east, where you can enjoy a family gathering. Parking is free for Norwalk residents who have a pass, but there is a $25 fee on weekdays and $30 fee on weekends for other visitors.
The Long and Short of Sound Activities
Want to do more than just lie on the beach this summer? Here are several great activities along Long Island Sound to help you make the most of the warm weather.
Go on a SALTWATER FISHING expedition with Marlintini Sportfishing Inc. in New London. This is the perfect place to fish for striped bass, bluefish, fluke and blackfish on the waters of the Sound. marlintini.com
PADDLEBOARDING is all the rage these days, and you can try it for yourself with Paddleworks CT, which serves Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Guilford, Branford, New Haven and Killingworth, or with Downunder Kayaking in Westport and Rowayton. paddleworksct.com, downunderct.com
Take a SAILING lesson with Longshore Sailing School in Westport or New England Science & Sailing Foundation in Stonington. With classes for adults and children, everyone can get out on the water. There are also kayak and paddleboard lessons available. longshoresailingschool.com, nessf.org
BIKING is a great way to explore the shoreline. Connecticut Shoreline Bike & Boat Tour in Guilford makes it easy with leisurely paced, four-hour, guided tours that include a 45-minute boat tour of the historic Thimble Islands. ctbiketours.com
Or skip the biking and go straight to the BOAT TOUR with Thimble Islands Cruise. Climb aboard the company’s passenger boat, the Sea Mist, and enjoy a 45-minute narrated tour of the archipelago, which includes more than 100 islands, some of which are only visible at low tide. thimbleislands.com
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