12 Best Connecticut Beaches for New York Day Trips

Looking for a New York day trip to Connecticut beaches? Connecticut has some of the best beaches in New England, yet most people don’t think of going to Connecticut for beach getaways. They usually head to Cape Cod, the Hamptons, or Jersey Shore, yet Connecticut has miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Here are the best Connecticut beaches.

Connecticut Beach
Connecticut Beach

1. Lighthouse Point Park Beach in New Haven, Connecticut

Lighthouse Point Park is one of the best beaches in Connecticut. It is a beach located at the eastern point of Connecticut’s New Haven Harbor. It’s also one of the few places in Connecticut where you can actually get up close to a lighthouse!

Spend the day at Lighthouse Point Park. Admire the historic Connecticut lighthouse (also known as Five Mile Point Light). Relax at the beautiful beach and grab lunch from the concession stand. Enjoy your lunch at one of the picnic tables in the park. Let the kids splash around the Lighthouse Park splash pad. It’s perfect for cooling off on hot summer days! There is also a carousel at Lighthouse Point Park, which is a nice break from the beach.

Go bird watching, Lighthouse Point Park is one of the most popular places for bird watching along the East Coast. There is also a fishing pier and public boat launch at Lighthouse Point Park.

light house point park beach
Photo Credit: City of New Haven

Lighthouse Point Park Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Carousel
  • Splash Pad
  • Concession Stand
  • Public Boat Launch
  • Pavillions

Lighthouse Point Park Beach Non-Resident Pass

Lighthouse Point Park beach is open to the public. There is a fee to park at Lighthouse Point Park, non-resident vehicles are charged $25 per day and $30 per day for out-of-state vehicles. There is no charge to park at Lighthouse Point Park if you drive a registered New Haven vehicle. Check the Lighthouse Point Park site for the most up to date information.

Lighthouse Point Park Beach Address

Lighthouse Point Park Beach is located at 2 Lighthouse Road, New Haven, CT 06512

2. Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut

Hammonasset Beach state park has one of the best beaches in Connecticut. It is a beautiful beach in Madison, Connecticut with over 2 miles of beach, one of the largest shoreline parks in Connecticut.

Spend the day relaxing on the sandy beach. Enjoy the magnificent views of Long Island Sound as you take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk.

Beach Long Island Sound

Hammonasset Beach State Park Amenities

  • Beach
  • Bathrooms
  • Boardwalk
  • Car Top Boat Launch
  • Concession Stand
  • Nature Center

Hammonasset Beach State Park Non-Resident Pass

Non-residents can enter Hammonasset Beach state park. Hammonasset Beach state park non-Resident daily entrance is $22/car per day on weekends before 4pm, $15/car per day on weekdays before 4pm and $7/car per day after 4pm. Check Hammonasset Beach state park site for the most up-to-date information.

Hammonasset Beach State Park Address

Hammonasset Beach state park is located at 1288 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT. Directions to Hammonasset Beach state park from the west/New York area: take I-95 north, Exit 62. Take a right off the exit and go approximately 1 mile. Go straight through the traffic light crossing Route 1 (Boston Post Road) into the park.

3. Sheffield Island Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut

Sheffield Island Beach offers a unique experience for New York day trippers looking for a beach getaway. Take a ferry cruise to Sheffield Island Beach to get up close to a lighthouse.

Located in Norwalk, Sheffield Island is home to one of Connecticut’s lighthouses. Get up close to Sheffield Island Lighthouse by taking a 3-hour ferry cruise tour to Sheffield Island. Go on a guided tour of the lighthouse.

Make it a beach day and relax on Sheffield Island beach, play on the lawns around the lighthouse or have a picnic lunch before returning back to the Norwalk Seaport Ferry Dock in Norwalk. There are also lots of opportunities to observe wildlife at Sheffield Island which is home to Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

sheffield island cruise
Photo Credit: Norwalk Seaport Association

Sheffield Island Lighthouse Cruise Information

Buy your tickets in advance from Sheffield Island Lighthouse Cruise Tour. Board the ferry from Norwalk Seaport Ferry Dock, 4 North Water Street, Norwalk, CT 06854. Phone: 203-838-9444

4. Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Connecticut

Sherwood Island State Park is a beautiful beach in Westport, Connecticut. It is also Connecticut’s first state park.

Sherwood Island State Park is an easy one-hour and 15 minutes drive from midtown Manhattan. It’s the perfect place to spend the day at the beach. Enjoy a picnic while relaxing on the sandy beach. Don’t forget to visit the Sherwood Island Nature Center.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches

Sherwood Island Park Amenities

  • Beach
  • Restroom facilities
  • Picnic Tables
  • Sherwood Island Nature Center

Sherwood Island Park: Non-Resident Day Pass

Non-residents can enter Sherwood Island Park. Non-Resident daily entrance is $22/car per day on weekends before 4pm, $15/car per day on weekdays before 4pm and $7/car per day after 4pm. Check Sherwood Island Park site for most up to date information.

Sherwood Island Park Beach Address

Sherwood Island Connector, Westport, CT. Direction to Sherwood Island Park Beach from I-95 north and south: Take Exit 18 to access the Sherwood Island Connector. Follow the Connector directly into the park.

5. Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Connecticut

Silver Sands State Park is a beautiful beach in Milford, Connecticut. Spend the day relaxing on the sandy beach. Or take a stroll at the three-quarters of a mile long all-weather boardwalk.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches
Photo Credit: Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection

Silver Sands State Park Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Boardwalk
  • Portable Toilets

Silver Sands State Park Beach: Non-Resident Day Pass

Non-residents can spend the day at Silver Sands State Park beach. Silver Sand State Park non-resident daily entrance fee is $22/car per day on weekends and $15/car per day on weekdays. Check the Silver Sands State Park Beach for the latest information.

Silver Sands State Park Beach Address

Silver Sands State Park Beach is located at Silver Sands Parkway, Milford, CT. Directions to Silver Sands State Park Beach from I-95: take Exit 35. Follow Schoolhouse Road south to Route 1 (Bridgeport Avenue). Turn left onto Route 1 then right at first light (Silver Sands Park Way). Follow Park Way across Meadowside Road and continue down hill to main parking lot.

6. Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut

Calf Pasture Beach is a beautiful beach in Norwalk, CT with a fishing pier, playground, sand volleyball courts, bocce courts, skateboard park, picnic tables, grills, and a restaurant. Sailboats and kayaks can be rented from Norwalk Sailing School.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches

Calf Pasture Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Playground
  • Splash Pad
  • Skate Park
  • Playground
  • Ball fields
  • Fishing Pier
  • Restaurant
  • Picnic tables and grills
  • Restroom facilities
  • Norwalk Sailing School

Calf Pasture Beach Non-Resident Day Pass

Non-Resident day pass to Calf Pasture Beach is $40/car on weekdays before 5pm, $65/car on weekends and holiday before 5pm and $20 every day after 5pm. There is a limit of 100 non-resident parking passes sold each day. Check the Calf Pasture Beach site for the most up to date information.

Calf Pasture Beach Address

Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, CT 06851

7. Bayley Beach in Norwalk, CT

If you are looking for a family-friendly beach in Connecticut, then take your family to Bayley Beach. Bayley Beach is a beautiful beach in Norwalk’s Rowayton section.

Spend the day at the sandy beach. Grab lunch at the snack bar and sit at one of the picnic tables. Take your kids to play at the playground. There is also a volleyball area and basketball court at Bayley beach.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches

Bayley Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Playground
  • Volleyball area
  • Basketball court
  • Snack Bar
  • Restroom facilities
  • Picnic tables and grills

Bayley Beach Non-Resident Day Pass

Non-residents accessing Bayley Beach during the summer season must pay to a parking fee. The parking fee is $100 for the Fourth of July and the day of fireworks, $50 per car for special events, $30 per car on weekends/holidays and $25 per car on non-holiday weekdays.

Walk-ins are $10 per person or $25 per family. Check the Bayley Beach Site for up-to-date information.

Bayley Beach Address

Bayley Beach is accessed down a drive located at 11 Pine Point Road in Rowayton, CT.

8. Jennings Beach in Fairfield, Connecticut

Jennings Beach is a beautiful beach in Connecticut. It is the largest beach in Fairfield with 28 acres of beautiful coastal land.

Beach goers will enjoy stunning views of Long Island Sound from Jennings Beach. Relax on the large sandy beach. Grab lunch at the concession stand. There are also volleyball poles and sailboat racks at Jennings Beach. Families in need of a break from the beach can play at the adjacent playground and skate park.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches

Jennings Beach Amenities:

  • Beach
  • Concession Stand
  • Restroom facilities
  • Sailboat racks
  • Playground
  • Skate Park

Jennings Beach Non-Resident Day Pass:

Jennings Beach is open to the public. If you drive into Jennings beach, you will need to pay for a parking pass. Non-Resident beach stickers are required from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Daily Parking fees are collected at the gate between 10am-8pm. Parking at Jennings Beach for non-residents is $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends and Holidays. Check the Jennings Beach site for the most up-to-date information.

Jennings Beach Address

Jennings Beach is located at 880 South Benson Road, Fairfield, CT

Hotel near Jennings Beach

Make it a weekend getaway, stay at the Inn at Fairfield Beach. The Inn at Fairfield Beach is a 9-minute walk to Jennings Beach in Fairfield, CT. It is situated just across the street from the Connecticut shoreline. The Inn at Fairfield Beach is a charming, New England hotel with a nautical feel.

9. Penfield Beach in Fairfield, Connecticut

Penfield Beach is another beautiful beach in Fairfield. Relax on the sandy beach or go for a swim in Long Island Sound. Grab lunch at the concession stand or have a bbq using one of the beach’s charcoal grills. Families who need a break from the beach can visit the playground.

Penfield Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Concession Stand
  • Playground
  • Sailboat racks
  • Restroom facilities

Penfield Beach Non-Resident Day Pass

Penfield Beach is free and open to the public. However, the parking lot at Penfield Beach is only for Fairfield residents. The parking lot is open from 10:00 am – 11:00 pm to Fairfield Residents with a valid Fairfield Resident Beach Sticker only beginning the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Check the Penfield Beach site for the most up to date information.

Penfield Beach Address

Penfield Beach is located at 323 Fairfield Beach Road, Fairfield, CT

10. Pear Tree Point Beach in Darien, Connecticut

Pear Tree Point Beach is a beautiful beach in Darien, Connecticut. Pear Tree Point Beach is approximately 8 acres with 2 beautiful beaches, picnic areas, grills, gazebo overlooking the Long Island Sound. There is also a concession stand at the beach.

New York Day Trip to Connecticut Beaches
Photo Credit: Town Of Darien

Pear Tree Point Beach Amenities:

  • Beach
  • Concession Stand
  • Darien Boat Club
  • Picnic Tables and Grills
  • Restroom facilities

Pear Tree Point Beach: Non-Resident Day Pass

Non-residents can buy passes to spend the day at Pear Tree Point Beach. Non-Resident daily entrance fee is $53/vehicle per day. Check Pear Tree Point for the most up to date information.

Pear Tree Point Beach Address

Pear Tree Point Beach is located at Pear Tree Point Road, Darien, CT

11. Island Beach in Greenwich, Connecticut

Island Beach is the town of Greenwich’s private island. Take a ferry to Island Beach. Spend the day relaxing on the sandy beach at Island beach. Grab lunch at the concession stand and sit at one of the picnic tables on the island. There is also a playground on Island Beach.

View from the Ferry to Island Beach

Island Beach Amenities

  • Beach
  • Concession stand
  • Playground
  • Picnic tables

Island Beach Greenwich: Non-Resident Day Pass

Taking a day excursion can be pricey and takes advance planning. It will run you $20/per person per day plus $35 parking for your car. You will need a single entry park plus a ferry pass per person and a parking pass for your car. The single-entry park pass can’t be purchased at the ferry dock, it can only be purchased at Eastern Greenwich Civic Center during weekday business hours.

Single entry park passes are $7 per person/day. The ferry passes are $13 per person (ages 5-64 years old) and $7 per person (ages 65+). The parking fee is $35 per car/day. Check the Island Beach site for the most up to date information.

Hotel near Island Beach

Make it a weekend getaway, stay at the Delamar Hotel Greenwich Harbor. The Delamar Hotel Greenwich Harbor is a beautiful, waterfront hotel in Greenwich, CT. The Delamar is walking distance to the Town of Greenwich ferry dock which takes you to Island Beach.

12. Surf Club Park Beach in Madison, CT

Surf Club Park Beach is a 45 acre park on beautiful Long Island Sound with 1200 feet of sandy beachfront. There are a lots of amenities at Surf Club Park Beach- basketball courts, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts and athletic fields.

There is also a boating area for sailboats and kayaks. If you need a break from the beach, you can bring the kids to the playground.

Grab lunch at the concession stand, M&J Beach Grille and Seafood Seafood Shack on the beach. You will feel like you are on vacation as you walk up to the beachfront take out counter with picnic tables and tiki umbrellas on the sand. Order New England seafood favorites like fish and chips, fried shrimp, fried clam strips and lobster rolls. 

Surf Club Park Beach Amenities

  • Picnic area with tables and grills
  • Playground
  • Bocce Courts
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Sand volleyball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Athletic fields
  • Seasonal concession stand
  • Boating area for sailboats and kayaks

Surf Club Park Non Resident Beach Pass

Surf Club Park is a Connecticut beach open to the general public, including non-residents. Non-resident beach passes can be purchase at Surf Club Park. Weekdays non-resident beach pass (Monday-Thursday) is $25 and Weekend non-resident beach pass (Friday-Sunday) is $40. The number of non-resident beach passes are limited on weekends and Holidays.

Surf Club Park Address

Surf Club Park is located at Surf Club Rd., Madison, CT 06443. From I-95 North, Take exit 61, Continue on CT-79 S/Durham Rd. Take Boston Post Rd to Surf Club Rd.

Are Connecticut Beaches Open to the Public (Non-Residents)?

Most beaches in Connecticut are open to the public. Non-residents can purchase beach passes and parking passes to gain access to Connecticut beaches. However, some towns make it difficult for non-residents to gain access to their beach.

As a non-resident, you can access Connecticut beaches by purchasing non-resident beach passes and non-resident parking passes. It does take some advance planning for non-residents to buy beach passes and parking passes. In many Connecticut beaches, there are restrictions in place for non-resident beach passes.

For example, some Connecticut beaches have a maximum daily limit of non-resident beach passes sold per day. While other Connecticut towns make the logistics of buying non-resident beach passes and parking passes inconvenient since you can’t buy beach passes at the beach entrance.

Also, many of the non-resident beach passes are very expensive. For example in Greenwich, the total for a family of 4 to spend the day at Island Beach is $115! The price includes ferry passes, beach passes and parking pass.

If you are looking for non-resident-friendly Connecticut beaches, I recommend visiting the beaches located in Connecticut State Parks. Connecticut State Park beaches are more accessible to non-residents since it’s easy to buy beach passes. Plus the non-resident beach pass pricing is more reasonable.

Which Connecticut Beaches are State Park Beaches?

The State Park beaches in Connecticut are Sherwood Island State Park, Hammonasset Beach State Park and Silver Sands State Park.

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