7 shoreline beaches to check out

7 shoreline beaches to check out

As Independence Day draws near, families statewide begin hitting area beaches to get some sun. Here’s a list of seven beaches worth checking out.

NOTE: Distance calculated from downtown Meriden

Distance: 33.8 miles / 38 minutes

Cost: Free.

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset.

Features: Swimming and salt water fishing, boardwalk.

Handicapped-accessible: Yes.

The beach features an island connected to the mainland by a sandbar which gets submerged in high tide. Along with enjoying the sun, Silver Sands offers a glimpse of history, according to Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Resource Assistant Alison Regis. The remains of a Catholic retreat center from the 1920s are still on the island. Legend has it that pirate Captain William Kidd buried treasure on the island in 1699.

The interior of the island is closed from May to August to protect nesting heron and egret populations.

Distance: 39.9 miles / 48 minutes

Cost: Weekday parking is $9 and $6 after 4 p.m.. Weekends and holidays are $13 and $6 after 4 p.m.

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset

Features: Swimming, fishing, crabbing, hiking and picnicking.

Handicapped-accessible: Yes.

This beach is perfect for families with young children because the water is more shallow than at other beaches in the state, Regis said.

“You have to walk out quite a bit to get the water to go just over your knees,” Regis said. “Particularly on the left side, it’s really great if you have small kids because they can walk out and the water is really clear.”

The beach is also ideal for train watching, as a rail line passes between the beach and the park. The park also features a tent and RV campground.

Trails traverse areas of the park, including through salt marshes, with viewing platforms to look for wildlife.

Distance: 27.2 miles / 43 minutes

Cost: Weekday parking is $9 and $6 after 4 p.m. Weekend and holiday parking is $13 and $6 after 4 p.m..

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset

Features: Swimming, carry-in boating, fishing, picnicking, biking, hiking trails, camping, nature center and scuba diving.

Handicapped-accessible: Yes.

This beach, which opened to the public in 1920, contains more than two miles of shoreline for visitors to enjoy, in addition to hiking trails and rustic cabins for rent. It is also completely handicap accessible with a boardwalk and beach chairs available for the disabled upon request, Regis said.

Distance: 26.4 miles / 37 minutes

Cost: Parking is $10 and $5 after 5 p.m. to park in town lots.

Hours: Lifeguard on duty from 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, weekends 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Features: Swimming, boating, fishing and walking.

Handicap Accessible: Yes

More than three miles of beaches, broken up into different sections, are close to food trucks and local restaurants for residents interesting in getting a bite to eat after a day in the sun, Pool and Waterfront Coordinator Margaret Ruggiero said. A short distance from the beach residents can also enjoy music at Old Grove Park for the town’s summer concert series.

“We welcome residents and non-residents to come, park, spend the day and enjoy the scenery,” Ruggiero said. “People can go to the beach and stay for a concert later that night if they want.”

Sidewalks stretch along the beach, offering a great place to walk and watch some of the local color - from people playing Bocce ball to street musicians that often set up along the sidewalks.

Distance: 39.1 miles / 42 minutes

Cost: Free admission, parking and water taxi.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Features: Swimming, historic walking tour and concessions.

Handicap Accessible: Yes.

This will be the first full summer the beach will be open in 19 years, according to Timothy Hammill, spokesman for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. Located on a 71-acre barrier island off Long Island Sound, historically, the beach was home to an amusement park and has been visited by former president Franklin Roosevelt and musician Frank Sinatra, Hammill said. New features include a self-guided walking tour for visitors to learn about the history of the beach, Hammill said.

Distance: 50.7 miles / 1 hour 7 minutes

Cost: Weekday parking is $17 and $22 on weekends

Hours: Lifeguards on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Features: Swimming, kiddie spray park, Olympic-sized swimming pool, mini golf, concessions, water slide, half-mile nature walk and seasonal restaurant/cafe.

Handicap Accessible: Yes.

Park Manager David Sugrue said the park is much more than just beach. It offers an array of other kid-friendly attractions, including a triple water slide and mini golf. The beach itself has fine sand, Sugrue said.

“We’ve got the most beautiful, pristine beach,” Sugrue said. “It’s very wide with sugar sand.”

Although there is no swimming after 6 p.m., other attractions remain open for visitors to enjoy. Families can have fun strolling down the half-mile boardwalk and perusing all the park has to offer.

Distance: 67.8 miles / 1 hour 23 minutes

Cost: Nonresidents are $20 per car on weekdays and $10 for seniors over the age of 65. Weekends and holidays are $28 per car and $14 for seniors.

Hours: Lifeguard on duty from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Features: Swimming, fishing, picnicking and electric vehicle charging station.

Handicap Accessible: Yes.

For residents willing to drive the extra distance, Misquamicut State Beach offers over a half mile of beach front with ocean waves unhindered by Long Island, like most Connecticut beaches. The beach features a modern pavilion with outdoor showers and composting toilets. Electric vehicle charging for a maximum of 4 hours.


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