Warm weather has arrived. With plenty of beaches, shops, and great restaurants, here’s a guide to some of the best places to visit on Connecticut’s shoreline. Hammonasset Beach State Park
Since 2018, all Connecticut registered vehicles have access to free parking at state parks, just one perk of visiting Hammonasset Beach in Madison. The beach is over two miles, with plenty of room for families and friends to set up a spot. If sitting on the beach isn’t your thing, there is a boardwalk with beautiful views, paths for biking and hiking, a picnic spot, fishing, and Nature Center programs and exhibits. Ocean Beach Park
Located in New London, Ocean Beach does have a parking fee, but it includes admission. This beach has concession stands, live en
tertainment, rides, mini golf, and more. It reminds me of of the boardwalks along the New Jersey shore. Ocean Beach is definitely a full day experience.Lenny and Joe’s
Connecticut famous seafood restaurant chain has a wide variety of fried fish, hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream. The chain’s Madison location, a short drive from Hammanosset, is the perfect way to end your beach day. Enjoy outdoor or indoor seating, with a must-stop visit at the restaurant’s carousel for kids! Sea Swirl
If your headed into Mystic for the day, stop by Sea Swirl, a road-side restaurant with great views. Also offering up fried fish, burgers, and ice cream, Sea Swirl is the picture-perfect New England summer spot! Oyster Club
The Oyster Club, also located in Mystic, is an upscale dining option. The restaurant offers indoor seating, but don’t miss out on the treehouse-style outdoor dining! This spot is great for a date-night. There is a nightly seasonal menu and a weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mystic Market
Mystic Market has several locations throughout the state and is a great option if you are hoping to eat lunch on the shore. Pick from a selection of freshly made salads, pastas and sandwiches to bring with you to the beach. The market has several vegetarian and vegan options, locally made drinks and a coffee bar with pastries. Olde Mistick Village
If you’re looking to start your holiday shopping early, visit Olde Mistick Village in Mystic for a variety of small shops. Items include toys, jewelry and more. There are also restaurants in the Village.
Sammi Bray of Southington is a student at Trinity College in Hartford. She is studying public policy and law, with a minor in rhetoric, writing and media studies. She can be contacted at email@example.com.