Connecticut may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about beach vacations, but this beautiful state has a lot to offer when it comes to coastal getaways. From sandy shores to calm waters, Connecticut’s beaches provide a perfect escape for relaxation and fun in the sun. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top-rated and best beaches in Connecticut, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.
Ocean Beach Park
Located in New London, Ocean Beach Park is a family-friendly destination that offers a half-mile shoreline covered in soft sand. This upscale beach maintains a lively and youthful vibe, making it an ideal spot for all ages. Admission to the park includes access to various facilities such as changing areas, showers, and the beach itself. Additionally, visitors can explore nature trails, enjoy a picnic, or let their kids have a blast at the kiddie playground and spray park. For an additional fee, visitors can access the Olympic-size swimming pool or enjoy token-operated entertainment like kiddie rides, arcade games, and waterslides. The park also hosts live entertainment regularly and holds special events throughout the park season.
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park, located in Madison, is the largest beach in Connecticut, stretching two miles along the Long Island Sound. This expansive beach offers a boardwalk, a concession stand, and a designated car-top boat launch area for kayakers. The park also features the Meigs Point Nature Center, which offers daily and weekly programs for all ages, including nature walks, presentations on native turtles, and interactive exhibits. With over 550 campsites and rustic cabins available for rent, Hammonasset Beach State Park is a perfect option for a family beach vacation. Visitors can also opt to stay at the nearby Madison Beach Hotel, which offers a range of amenities and beach access.
Calf Pasture Beach
Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk is a top choice for a day at the beach, offering a wide range of activities and facilities. This beach features beach volleyball nets, a baseball/softball field, a bocce court, and hiking trails. Visitors can also enjoy a beach access pier, a sailing school, and token-operated entertainment. The beach hosts special events throughout the summer season, including classic car shows and live music performances. For those planning to stay overnight, Hotel Zero Degrees Norwalk offers family rooms and a fun rooftop terrace with games.
Compo Beach in Westport is part of a 29-acre park that faces the Long Island Sound and borders the Saugatuck River. This beach offers a boardwalk, a pavilion, and several recreational facilities, including beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, and a softball field. Families with younger kids will appreciate the playground, while older siblings can spend time at the skate park. Compo Beach also offers accessibility options, including Mobi Mats and wheelchair-friendly picnic pads. Although there are no beachfront hotels at Compo Beach, the Delamar Southport is a short drive away and provides luxury amenities and services.
Harvey’s Beach in Old Saybrook is known for its soft sand and shallow, safe waters, making it an excellent choice for families with young swimmers. This affordable beach offers lifeguards during the summer season, as well as conveniences such as restrooms, a bathhouse, a concession booth, and picnic tables. The local recreation department also organizes various programs and events throughout the summer, including beach yoga and summer movie nights. Visitors can explore the historic town of Old Saybrook, which features buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and attractions such as the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the General William Hart House & Museum.
Jennings Beach in Fairfield offers a wide stretch of soft sand and great views of the Long Island Sound. This beach provides amenities such as concessions, restrooms, and a playground, making it a popular choice for families. Lifeguards are on duty until dusk during the summer, ensuring a safe swimming experience. The beach is also adjacent to the Henry Rowland Memorial Playground and a skate park. While parking fees are relatively high, visitors can enjoy the spacious shoreline and family-friendly atmosphere.
Sherwood Island State Park
Sherwood Island State Park in Westport is Connecticut’s oldest state park and offers a range of recreational activities. This park features woodlands, wetland areas, and sandy shores. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, bird-watching, and walking along the park’s trails. The park also houses a nature center with exhibits and educational programs. Sherwood Island State Park provides picnic areas, bathrooms, showers, and a food concession for visitors to enjoy a full day at the beach.
Silver Sands State Park
Silver Sands State Park in Milford offers a less crowded beach experience due to its somewhat remote location. This beach boasts calm waters, making it ideal for families with older children. While amenities are limited, visitors can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful views. Charles Island, located nearby, is closed between May and September to protect nesting birds. Parking is free, and visitors can grab a sweet treat at Walnut Beach Creamery, just a short distance from the beach.
PLAN A TRIP TO THE BEST BEACHES IN CONNECTICUT
These are just a few of the top-rated beaches in Connecticut that offer a range of amenities and activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a lively family beach or a peaceful shoreline retreat, Connecticut has a beach to suit your preferences. So pack your beach gear and sunscreen and head to one of these beautiful beaches for a memorable summer getaway.