Are you looking to plan your summer vacation in the northeast? Don’t miss out on the lovely beaches in Connecticut, which are perfect for a warm summer’s day.
From start to finish, this article is filled with all of the best Connecticut beaches for a fantastic beach vacation.
Each one has been carefully selected with your summer vacation in mind, so you’ll find ones that have great amenities, some that are hidden gems, and more in between!
While most people would rush to go to either the west coast or the south for their summer vacation, the northeast is highly underrated.
You’ll want to visit these beaches for their beauty, smaller crowds (seriously, even when they’re busy, they’re not that busy), and incredible sunsets.
Best Beaches in Connecticut
Here are our favorite Connecticut beaches that you can’t miss this summer!
Ocean Beach Park
First is Ocean Beach Park, one of the top beaches in Connecticut. It’s also easily one of the more popular beaches to visit in the state because of its prime location in New London.
Besides, this Connecticut beach was voted as one of the best beaches in the state by National Geographic!
It’s known for its fantastic wooden boardwalk and wide range of activities available to the public.
At this family-friendly beach park, there’s a cafe in case you get hungry, a playground for children to have fun, and even an 18-hole miniature golf course in case you need a break from relaxing in the sun and swimming.
Other activities at this white beach include picnicking, swimming, and sunbathing on the soft sand.
One of the more unique facets of this beach is the Olympic-size swimming pool, where there is a lifeguard on duty. This is the perfect place for younger kids to swim because you can rest assured there are lifeguards nearby.
Read next: Best Places to Visit in the Northeast, USA
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut, is another of the more popular beaches in the state. It’s been a top place to visit ever since it was first established in the early 1900s and has two miles of shoreline, making it one of the longest beaches in Connecticut.
There are so many great things to do at Hammonasset Beach Park, including swimming, lounging in the sun, walking along the boardwalk, and even making sandcastles in the sand.
Because of the park’s length, it’s not super challenging to find a spot for yourself either, especially if you get there earlier in the morning to claim an area.
One of the best parts about this beach is that you can also go camping there. It’s open usually all through the summer up until October and features just over 500 different campsites.
Calf Pasture Beach
Calf Pasture Beach is one of the more underrated Connecticut beaches, but that’s what makes a day trip so worth it.
It’s located in Norwalk and is filled with fun things to do. For the most part, only locals visit the park, making it somewhat of a hidden gem.
At Calf Pasture Beach, guests can play sports, have fun in the water, attend a special event (sometimes there are even concerts!), walk the coastline, enjoy the skate park, beach volleyball, and more.
Plus, it’s located right near Ripka’s, a great spot to try some of the seafood that New England is so well known for.
Note that there is a small fee if you plan on using one of the picnic tables at the beach.
Shady Beach Park
Shady Beach Park is located right near Cafe Pasture Beach in Norwalk! So, it has a lot of similar activities to the beach and is popularly visited just by locals in the town, making it a perfect place to visit if you don’t want an overly busy beach.
Some fun activities include eating at the picnic areas, bringing children to the splash pad, and swimming, of course! Luckily, there are lifeguards, so you can rest assured that someone with strong safety knowledge is nearby at all times. Try to stick around until the park closes for an incredible sunset as well.
Another of the most underrated beaches in Connecticut is Compo Beach! It’s in Westport and has absolutely incredible views with pristine sand and great amenities. What’s not to love? There’s a covered picnic pavilion, places to play sports, and of course, restrooms.
The park itself covers just shy of 30 acres, so it’s pretty extensive. If you want to be near the water but aren’t up for swimming, don’t worry! There’s also a skating area, basketball courts, and even a softball field.
Plus, Compo Beach, in particular, is also very accessible, featuring access to wheelchairs and floating beach wheelchairs as well.
Misquamicut State Beach
Misquamicut State Beach is one of the beaches in Connecticut that you won’t want to miss out on. It’s located in Westerly, one of the top spots to visit in the state, especially in the summer months, because of how many fun things there are to do.
The beach is about three miles long and is located on a barrier island, covering around 50 acres of land.
At the beach, there’s a playground, tons of places to layout in the sand, shaded pavilions, showers (indoor and outdoor), and even spots to charge electric vehicles. Rest assured, there are also food concessions and a lifeguard tower.
Harvey’s Beach in Old Saybrook may be one of the most famous beaches in the whole state. Besides, this lovely beach has low parking fees, making it a fantastic choice for families on a budget.
The park is around 100 yards long and is very well-loved by locals in the area, especially by families, because of its shallow waters. At Harvey’s Beach, some popular things to do include swimming, fishing, and even boating.
In addition, Harvey’s Beach boasts excellent amenities, so you can rest assured that you’re taken care of.
There are lifeguards, concession stands, a playground, restrooms, and activities such as beach yoga and kite lessons during peak season. This is another park that’s notable for its handicap accessibility as well.
There is a small fee to enter the park, but if you visit during the weekday, you can save $10, and there will be fewer visitors there.
Pear Tree Point Beach
Pear Tree Point Beach is a smaller Connecticut beach in Darien! It’s said to be one of the more beautiful beaches in the area, mainly because tourists do not often visit it. The beach boasts tons of activities, including swimming, boating, picnicking spots, grilling areas, a bathhouse, and more.
In addition, there’s a concession stand and lifeguards at the park, too, two essential amenities. Many people don’t know that the beach is also two beaches. There’s a small daily entrance fee, but it’s worth it for its beautiful views, handicap accessibility, and location.
Don’t forget to explore the rest of the town (including a stop at Avellino’s Italian Restaurant) when you’re done.
Located in Fairfield, Jennings Beach is one of the top beaches in Connecticut, perfect for visiting on a warm summer’s day. It’s the largest beach in Fairfield and covers around 27 acres of land, offering unbeatable views of the surrounding area.
There are many amenities at Jennings Beach, including volleyball courts, restrooms, and even a concession stand if you get hungry. In addition, the beach is handicap accessible, there are lifeguards on duty, and there are swimming lessons offered at the beach for those who want to better their swimming skills.
For a fun time, be sure to attend the Sand Jam Family Fun Dance & Family Movie Nights, which occur a few times throughout the summer months.
Sherwood Island State Park
Sherwood Island State Park is an excellent beach in Westport, Connecticut. It’s absolutely massive at around 238 acres because it doubles as a state park and beach.
The beach is most popular among families visiting because of the great amenities and BBQ facilities.
If you’re looking for another reason to visit Sherwood Island State Park, it was the very first state park in Connecticut!
Activities at the park include swimming, fishing, and playing sports. There’s also a nature center, bathroom facilities, showers, and a concession stand.
You will find shady oak forests with walking trails, picnic tables, and a salt marsh with an observation deck on the west side of the park. While on the east, you will find the Tidal Marsh Nature Trail and an extensive open area, which is a popular spot for flying model airplanes.
Unlike other beaches in Connecticut, Sherwood Island State Park has sharp shells that can be found in the sand, so make sure to wear protective footwear if you plan to visit here.
Silver Sands State Park
For another sizeable beachy area in Connecticut, look no further than Silver Sands State Park in Charles Island, Milford.
It’s located on Long Island Sound and is rather large at just shy of 300 acres, so there are tons of things to do at this beach in particular. Plus, there’s even a bird sanctuary!
It is an established nature preserve that is closed to visitors from May through August, although you may approach it during that period to view the shore.
Popular things to do at Silver Sands State Park include swimming and fishing, but many people also search for shells and go bird watching here too.
Facilities at the park include the boardwalk (an absolute must-do because the views are incredible), and restrooms are also available to visitors. It’s definitely more of a natural feeling beach in Connecticut.
West Beach at Rocky Neck State Park
West Beach in Rocky Neck State Park is in East Lyme! This beach is one of the most visited beaches in Connecticut, with some of the buildings at the beach even dating back to the 1930s. This is one of the most popular beaches to visit for those in the area because of how scenic it is.
There are technically two beaches at Rocky Neck State Park: East Beach and West Beach. The one in the West is better because it has a concession stand. There are restroom facilities, picnic tables, lifeguards, and of course, miles of sand for you to relax along.
One of the unique things about West Beach is that the local train goes right through the beach, near the sandy area. Kids will love this!
Clinton Town Beach
As the name suggests, Clinton Town Beach is located in Clinton, Connecticut. It’s a popular beach for tourists and locals alike.
There are views of the Long Island Sound from the sand, and the beach itself is right on Clinton Harbor.
Clinton Town Beach has many amenities, including restrooms, a food concession stand, and even easy boat access.
Plus, those who love fishing will be happy to know there’s even a fishing area on top of a bridge that crosses over one of the rivers!
Fun activities at this beach include relaxing in the sand, swimming, boating, and of course, fishing.
Good to know: During summer, beach access is restricted to Beach Pass Holders only. Non-residential visitors must pay a parking fee to access the beach.
Hole in the Wall Beach
How can you go wrong with a name like Hole in the Wall Beach? Located in East Lyme, this is a gorgeous beach with serene blue waters right on the coast of Connecticut. It’s also only a short way from the Niantic Children’s Museum, a must-visit for families visiting the area.
The beach is aptly named because you have to get to it by going through a tunnel that stretches below a set of railroad tracks. Kids, in particular, will love this fun aspect of the beach!
At the beach, popular things to do include swimming, walking the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, and of course, relaxing on the sand. It’s a bit of a smaller beach but is still worth visiting. There are amenities including restrooms, outdoor showers, and even easy access to McCook Point Park.
Waterford Beach Park
Next up is Waterford Beach Park, located in Waterford, Connecticut. It’s a lovely sandy beach with views that will take your breath away. Some of the best views of Long Island Sound can be seen from thighs park.
Fun things to do at Waterford Beach Park include fishing, swimming, using the beautiful walkways, and of course, taking in the view. There are also a few picnic spots that are perfect for family gatherings at the beach.
Once you’re done at the beach, be sure to head to Michael’s Dairy, one of the best spots to visit for ice cream on a hot summer’s day!
Jacobs Beach may only be about 25 miles, but it’s one of the most tranquil spots along the water in all of Connecticut. It’s located in Guilford and has a beautiful boardwalk leading out to Long Island Sound’s water.
Amenities at Jacobs Beach include picnic spots, pavilions (in case it rains or you need shade), restrooms, boat racks, and even grills.
Plus, there’s a playground if you’re visiting with a family and the kids get bored of swimming. In addition, some parts of the viewing spaces are accessible to those in wheelchairs.
McCook Point Beach
Last but not least is McCook Point Beach, located in East Lyme. This beautiful public park is right near Hole in the Wall Beach and Crescent Beach, two other great beaches in the state. It has excellent views of Niantic Bay, and there’s even free wifi available to those at the beach.
There are quite a few different amenities at McCook Point Park, including a bocce court, restrooms, pavilions, a bandshell, and of course, easy access to Hole in the Wall Beach. Some lifeguards watch the swim area, and there are occasionally public events held here too.
Other Beaches in Connecticut
- Walnut Beach
- William’s Beach (a few miles away from one of the best aquariums in Connecticut)
- DuBois Beach
- Eastern Point Beach
- Esker Point Beach
- Penfield Beach
Final Thoughts on Connecticut Beaches
Now you know all of the top beaches in Connecticut! No matter which one you opt to visit for your summer vacation, you’ll genuinely have a blast. Don’t forget to save this post for later and share it with others!