Hit the Beaches

Summer weather is here and that means getting ready to enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer at some of Connecticut’s most talked about beaches. Just be careful because the water temperature is cold.

Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison: National Geographic rated this beach “second only to Cape Cod Bay,” along with the “gentlest surf and mildest water temperatures in New England.” Out of all the beaches in the state, Hammonasset is Connecticut's largest. There’s plenty of room to swim, stroll the two miles of white sand or paths made especially for nature enthusiasts. Get there by taking Route 1, exit 62 off I-95.

Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven: For more than 70 years, beacons at Lighthouse Point welcomed tired sailors and their ships back home, and now Lighthouse Point Park welcomes beach goers. This park located on the Long Island Sound, features year-round events, plenty of swimming area and a refreshment stand. On weekends, take a whirl on The Lighthouse Park Carousel, or cool off at the park’s newest attraction, the Lighthouse Park Splashpad – a series of water fountains to help you beat the heat. Get there by taking exit 50 toward Woodward Ave. toward Lighthouse Point.

Ocean Beach Park in New London: This park also made National Geographic’s list of “Best Beaches”. Along with its beautiful boardwalk complete with observation decks, the park boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a triple water slide. There are also a variety of family-friendly activities going on throughout the season including carnival rides, miniature golf, playground, and health club. After taking in some sun, stop at any of the number of restaurants, a food courts, and ice cream stands Ocean Beach Park has to offer. Another plus, The Mystic Aquarium is a short drive away. Get there by taking exit 75N or 83S off I-95.

Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic: L.L. Bean calls this beach an "all things to all people" park. It covers more than 700 acres with white sand and shallow water, fit for camping, hiking, swimming and saltwater fishing. While you’re there, check out Tory’s Nose and Baker’s Cave, which housed Tory sympathizers in the Revolution, or Bride Brook Marsh, a great place to take in the view. Get there by state Route 156 (244 West Main Street) in East Lyme.

Silver Sands State Park in Milford: Featured in Yankee Magazine’s “New England’s 10 Best Beaches,” this park snagged the win for the “warmest water” category. It’s one of the smaller and quieter beaches in Connecticut, so relax and take in the scene with its long boardwalk and observation telescopes. It's also loaded with shells so it’s great for beach combing. Get there off I-95 by taking exit 35. Follow Schoolhouse Road south to Route 1 (Bridgeport Avenue). Turn left onto Route 1 then right at first light (Silver Sands Park Way).

So slide into your flip-flops, pack a picnic lunch and head for Connecticut’s beaches where the sun, sand and surf is a reason to visit all by itself!

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