Starting today, Connecticut residents with valid state license plates can park for free at state parks, but you will have a $10 fee added when you pay for a new registration, renewal or plate transfer.
Connecticut has launched the Passport to Parks program, which eliminates fees for Connecticut drivers to park but adds a $10 fee for non-commercial vehicles that have new registrations, renewals and plate transfers registered.
The funds the program generates will go toward the Connecticut State Park system in an effort to restore several services at the parks that had been previously reduced, such as reopening several closed campgrounds, increased staffing of state beaches during the summer and restoration of regular hours of operation at certain nature centers and museums, according to the governor’s office.
Connecticut residents who have valid state license plates will have access all state parks for free, effective immediately.
Out-of-state vehicles will still be charged parking fees, ranging from $7 to $22, depending on the park and time of day. Fees to reserve overnight campgrounds for both in-state and out-of-state visitors will still apply.
The governor’s office said all of the state’s eight lifeguarded state park beaches are anticipated to be fully staffed for the summer, including Hammonasset, Rocky Neck, Sherwood Island, Silver Sands, Black Rock, Burr Pond, Indian Well and Squantz Pond.
Hours of operation at the state’s museums and nature centers will be restored from Memorial Day to Labor Day, including at Dinosaur State Park, Gillette Castle, Meigs Point Nature Center, and Fort Trumbull.
Four campgrounds will also reopen. The Devil’s Hopyard in East Haddam will be open from opening day of fishing season through Labor Day; Green Falls in Voluntown will be open from opening day of fishing season through Labor Day. Macedonia Brook in Kent will be open from opening day of fishing season through Labor Day and Salt Rock in Sprague will be open from the weekend before Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Spring camping will be restored at American Legion and Peoples State Forests in Barkhamsted from the opening day of fishing season through Labor Day.
Mount Misery in Voluntown will be open from the opening day of fishing season through Labor Day.
Fall camping will be restored at Hammonasset Beach in Madison from the weekend before Memorial Day through Columbus Day, at Rocky Neck in East Lyme from the weekend before Memorial Day through the end of September, at Housatonic Meadows in Sharon from the weekend before Memorial Day through Columbus Day and at Hopeville Pond in Griswold from the weekend before Memorial Day through the end of September.
The opening day of the fishing season is on Saturday, April 14 this year.
Reservations at all state campgrounds for the 2018 season can be made beginning at noon on Thursday. Camping reservations can be made online through the Reserve America service or by calling 1-877-668-CAMP (2267).