A beach day in New England? You bet! When it comes to enjoying the summer sun, sand and surf, Connecticut has an incredible selection of beaches and parks – perfect for swimming, hunting for seashells or taking in a spectacular sunset.
While the crowds flock to Florida this summer – head to the northeast. Check out these eight beaches in Connecticut.
Ocean Beach Park (New London)
New London’s Ocean Beach Park is quintessential New England, from the boardwalk and charming oceanside homes to the petrified wood and large rocks scattered along the shoreline. Known for its fine sugar sand and theme park attractions, this park is the perfect place to spend the day with the family. Lounge in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, play a round of mini-golf and take a trip down the triple waterslides. There’s also a carousel and arcade. For adult-only fun, enjoy a craft beer at the Sandbar Café, or grab a bite at Fred’s Shanty Restaurant for some serene waterfront dining.
Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison)
With two miles of sandy shoreline, Hammonasset Beach State Park is one of Connecticut’s largest and most visited beaches, and it’s easy to see why. This beautiful state park opened to the public over 100 years ago and has been a favorite destination for swimming, fishing, picnicking, and camping. Enjoy a sunset stroll along the shoreline, explore the walking trails or check out the boardwalk. Need a bite? There’s a concession area on-site, but local mainstay Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale is a must-visit for their fresh seafood and comfortable outdoor patio.
Calf Pasture Beach (Norwalk)
Calf Pasture Beach is a charming beach that boasts much more than just a sandy shoreline. You’ll find baseball and softball fields, a skate park, a fishing pier, bocce ball, and basketball courts here. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try renting a sailboat or kayak and heading out on the water. When you need a lunch break, Ripka’s Beach Cafe has been a local staple at Calf Pasture for over 50 years. Bite into their delicious sirloin burger with a side of truffle fries.
Sherwood Island State Park (Westport)
With spectacular views of Long Island Sound, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport offers beach activities, nature trails and excellent fishing opportunities. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming or playing a volleyball game on the peaceful stretch of beach. Explore the nature trails and keep an eye out for ospreys, herons and egrets. Or, cast a line for striped bass, bluefish and flounder. If you love to fly model aircraft, this park is the only state park in Connecticut with a dedicated model airplane space.
Silver Sands State Park (Milford)
Situated along Long Island Sound, Silver Sands State Park has a lovely stretch of beach perfect for seashell collecting and swimming. Home to a long sandbar extending from the coast to Charles Island, you can walk across the expanse of sand during low tide for a mini-adventure. On the islands, you will find a variety of native birds, from popping plovers (small, sandy-colored birds that are endangered) to herons and egrets. If you get hungry, there are various restaurants near the park. The Greek Spot Café & Grill is right around the corner, so you can enjoy a cool and refreshing Greek salad or flavor-packed Gyro after a day at the beach.
Clinton Town Beach (Clinton)
Clinton Town Beach is one of Connecticut’s smaller, less crowded beaches and home to a pet-friendly walking trail, playground, basketball and volleyball courts, and a splash pad for the kids. Take the adventures on the water with a canoe or kayak (rentals are available at local vendors), or spend an afternoon fishing for striped bass. There are multiple picnic areas at the beach for dinner and a sunset, or check out The Log Cabin Restaurant, only minutes away, for classic American eats in a cozy, rustic atmosphere.
Jacobs Beach (Guilford)
Jacob’s Beach in Guildford is a small 25-acre beach and a well-known seashell collecting spot. Stroll along the boardwalk through an extensive field of seagrass, soak up the sun on the sand or rent a kayak and explore Long Island Sound. A playground will keep the kids busy, and you’ll also find volleyball and basketball courts. After a day t the beach, grab some grub at Pa’s Place for sandwiches, wraps and salads.
Beach Bonus: Harvey’s Beach (Old Saybrook)
Tucked away in the charming town of Old Saybrook, Harvey’s Beach is considered a hidden gem thanks to its serene waterfront that overlooks the shallow tidal flats of Indiantown Harbor. Although it’s a much smaller beach, it still has all the amenities you’d expect from much larger beaches, from rinse areas and changing rooms to food vendors and lifeguards, but without the overwhelming crowds. With a sandbar extending well beyond the beach, the water is super shallow, even at high tide. As a result, Harvey’s Beach is the perfect beach for curious kiddos seeking out small fish and crabs.