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The 10 Best Beaches in Connecticut

The past couple of weeks of below-freezing temperatures have Connecticut residents missing the warm weather.

With over 600 miles of coastline, the state is home to some of the most scenic beaches in New England, from Hawthorne up to Pequot Point.

With surfable waves inconsistent at best, both locals and tourists can enjoy other water-related activities such as wing foiling, paddle boarding, fishing, and sailing.

The calm ocean is also idyllic background noise for more relaxing pastimes like sunbathing, reading, or listening to music.

As us year-rounders dream of summer months scraping ice from our windshields, let’s look at 10 of the best beaches Connecticut has to offer.

The 10 Best Beaches in Connecticut

Covering 2 full miles of shore, Hammonasset Beach State Park is the largest public beach in Connecticut.

Here, visitors can enjoy volleyball, picnic tables, the boardwalk, and what really sets this destination apart - the campgrounds.

Hammonasset has just over 550 grassy campsites that are open every year May through October.

When ticket booths are up and running (Memorial Day – Labor Day) both entry and parking are free for in-state residents, and either $15 or $22 for out-of-state vehicles, higher prices being over the weekend.

Hammonasset’s silky soft sand, pristine condition, and countless seashells make this vast beach well worth the trip.

#2: Ocean Beach Park – New London, CT

Just as well-kept as Hammonasset, Ocean Beach Park is paradise for families with little kids. In addition to the picturesque beach itself, along the boardwalk, you’ll find a playground, mini-golf, swimming pool, ice cream shop, and waterslide.

In-season parking is $30 during the week and $35 on weekends.

Whether visitors are looking to just relax on the sand or tire out their kiddos with all the attractions, there’s certainly something at OBP for everyone. 

#3: Penfield Beach – Fairfield, CT

One of two beaches on this list I’ve become especially fond of since being in college, Penfield is a go-to getaway for any student at Fairfield University.

Less than a 10-minute drive from campus, this beach is a perfect place for both Stags and other beachgoers to lay out, paddle board, go for walks, shell hunt, and swim.

As one might expect, Penfield is its most welcoming in May-September, but don’t be surprised if during the colder months you catch a few brave locals running on the sand or polar plunging.

Late May through early September visitors must either have a parking sticker on their car or can choose to pay $20/weekdays and $50/weekends. 

#4: Harvey’s Beach – Old Saybrook, CT

Anyone who has been to Harvey’s Beach solely at high tide may be wondering what the destination is doing so far up on this list.

While sand space is limited once the water creeps upshore, the secret to Harvey’s Beach is going at low tide when the tiny beach transforms into sandbar heaven.

Another great place for families, little ones can wade in the tidepools, hunt for hermit crabs, and make drip sandcastles until the ocean rises again.

More reasonably priced, summer parking fees at Harvey’s are $15 on weekdays and $25 on weekends. 

#5: Calf Pasture Beach – Norwalk, CT

Known for its killer sunsets and live music performances, Calf Pasture Beach is an undeniable gem of Norwalk, CT.

The spotless shoreline is bordered by freshly cut grass, perfect for picnicking and de-sanding after a day well spent on the water.

Year-round, locals can use the scenic running/walking path, a 1.5-mile loop that takes visitors through all of Calk Pasture, then up and around Shady Beach and back.

There’s also an exciting boardwalk that includes a splashpad, playground, pier, and for seafood lovers, Ripka’s Beach Café.

Parking here comes at a high cost though with in-season fees being $42 during the week and $72 on weekends. So come prepared to stay until sunset…you won’t want to miss it!

#6: Compo Beach – Westport, CT

Neighboring the Saugatuck River, Compo Beach provides a very welcoming environment with barbeques for visitors to use, plenty of benches that face the water, and a shaded pavilion for taking breaks from the heat.

In the summer months, while going for a dip or relaxing on the sand, visitors can also expect to see sailboats race by, either out competing or practicing.

Once ticket booths close in September, Compo is the perfect place for dog owners to let their pups run around off-leash and roll around in the sand.

Fees are similar to Calf Pasture’s at $45 on weekdays and $70 on weekends.

#7: Greenwich Point Beach – Greenwich, CT

With beautiful walking trails and well-kept picnic areas, Greenwich Point is a great beach to go to if you’re planning to visit southern Connecticut.

It’s located on a peninsula that jets out into the Long Island Sound, and on a clear day offers distant views of New York across the water.

The flat ocean is perfect for swimming and boating, both of which become 10x better if you’re up early enough to catch the colorful sunrises here.

During the summer, parking passes are $45 per vehicle in addition to $10 day passes required for each visitor. 

#8: DuBois Beach – Stonington, CT

They say good things come in small packages, and this phrase perfectly describes DuBois Beach.

Though tiny in comparison to other shorelines in Connecticut, this sandy inlet offers a quiet, peaceful atmosphere you can’t be guaranteed at bigger beaches.

Neighbors with Mystic Seaport and the Stonington Lighthouse, DuBois is an ideal place to spend the day or just to catch the sunset after exploring Mystic.

Parking is free of charge and day passes are $15 per person.

#9: Long Beach – Stratford, CT

Long Beach was given its title because this peninsula stretches across 1.5 miles of shoreline.

Sandwiched in between the Sound and the Lewis Gut, Long Beach provides panoramic views unlike any other beach around.

It’s kept very clean year-round and even in the summer doesn’t get too overly crowded.

In season, parking passes are $20 during the week and $40 on weekends. 

#10: Sasco Beach – Fairfield, CT

Another little escape for Fairfield students to venture to during the year, Sasco Beach is also a less than 10-minute drive from campus.

It’s pretty perfect right when we get back to school in early September since the weather is still beautiful, but payment booths have already closed. It’s quaint, secluded, and the parking lot overlooks the water.

Memorial Day – Labor Day though only vehicles with a beach sticker are allowed to park here.

The Bottom Line: Best Beaches in Connecticut

Whether Connecticut visitors or locals are looking for a beach day laying in the sun, walking the boardwalk, catching a breathtaking sunset, or picnicking in the shade, the state has a wide array of options to choose from.

There’s a beach for everybody, and with the list above it’s hard to go wrong.


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