10 Boardwalks You Should Visit in Connecticut
On a warm day, what could be a better way to while away a few hours than by taking a stroll along a boardwalk? Some will pass by the beach, others will cut through ancient forests and mysterious swamps. Regardless of whether we’re talking beachfront boardwalks or any other kind, Connecticut has a bunch of them. Next time you’ve got a spare afternoon and nothing to fill it with, add some fun to your day with a visit to one of these top ten Connecticut boardwalks.
10. Lordship Seawall, Stratford
The Lordship Seawall in Stratford is a lovely place for a walk or a bike ride. There’s plenty of benches along the way for you to stop and look out over the sound, along with several highly recommended restaurants and cafes nearby to grab a bite to eat.
9. Niantic Bay, Niantic
The Niantic Bay boardwalk is a gorgeous stretch between Niantic and Waterford that serves as an incredibly popular spot with both locals and tourists alike. Along the way, you’ll pass by numerous placards that detail the history of that part of Niantic. At either end, there are small public beaches, both of which have parking spaces for accessing the boardwalk.
8. Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
If you want an isolated boardwalk with nothing but birds for company and views for entertainment, steer clear of Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison. Attracting over one million visitors annually, the state’s largest shoreline park is not necessarily the best place in the world to go for some peace and quiet. It is, however, one of the best spots in the state to enjoy some family-friendly entertainment. Along with two miles of sugar-white sand, there’s an environmental education center with over 50 species of wildlife, a large campground, picnic shelters, and a very pleasant boardwalk that’s perfect for a stroll, a jog, or a chance to stand still and admire the gorgeous views. If you get peckish, head for the Lobster Landing, an inconspicuous-looking seafood shack serving up the best lobster rolls in New England.
7. Captain’s Cove Seaport, Bridgeport
Some boardwalks offer peace, serenity, and a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle. Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport isn’t that kind of boardwalk. With dozens of dining options, bars, escape rooms, shops, fishing charters, boat trips, and other attractions, it’s the ideal place to enjoy some outdoor fun in a wonderfully friendly, family-orientated environment.
6. Walnut Beach, Milford
Walnut Beach in Milford offers enough activities and attractions to keep the whole family entertained for days on end. The boardwalk itself is beautiful, with a railed observation area offering spectacular views over Charles Island and the water. There are also several excellent shops and restaurants to stop by, along with plenty of benches to rest up at. The beach is equally attractive. If you’re lucky, you meet even catch a farmers market, live music concert, or one of the other fun events that regularly take place here.
5. The Garden of Ideas, Ridgefield
Think of a boardwalk and there’s a good chance you’ll picture a beach. But Connecticut actually boasts any number of stunning inland boardwalks that could happily compete with even the prettiest beachside walk. Take the Garden of Ideas in Ridgefield as an example. Its ten acres of marshland are easily explored via its elevated boardwalk. With abundant wildlife, diverse topography, and breathtaking views, it’s a magical place to visit. While you’re there, be sure to check out the arboretum, sculpture garden, and art gallery too.
4. Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme
If boardwalks are your thing, Rocky Neck State Park has them by the handful. And that’s not all it’s got to boast about. As Lonely Planet notes, the 710-acre park has the perfect mix of easy beach access, nature trails, and unexpected diversions to keep the whole family entertained. The beach can get crowded in the summer months, but the boardwalks that criss-cross the salt marshes are usually blissfully peaceful. Herons, cranes, and ospreys all populate the area, so be sure to keep your binoculars to hand. For stunning views over Long Island Sound, head to the wood-and-cobblestone Rocky Neck Pavilion. Built during the Great Depression, the pavilion is now closed, but it’s still a lovely place to wander around.
3. Ocean Beach Park, New London
Regularly voted one of the best beaches in New England, Ocean Beach Park ticks all the boxes. It’s got soft sand, clear waters, a bunch of things to see and do, and, of course, a picture-perfect boardwalk. As Visit London says, it’s a truly family-friendly destination, with the wide-plank boardwalk serving as its beating heart. Peppered along the boardwalk are numerous covered benches for when the sun gets too much, along with several binoculars offering dreamy views of New Longdon Ledge Light. On a clear day, you might even see all the way to Montauk. On the other side of the boardwalk are dozen of attractions, including a mini-golf course, a spray park, nature trails, rides and games, gift shops, concessions, and more besides. If you’re lucky, you might even catch an evening magic show or square dancing. If you’re looking for the kind of destination the entire family can enjoy, this is it.
2. Simsbury Land Trust Bog, Simsbury
If you’re looking for a quiet stroll in nature but don’t much care for the beach, take the advice of Only In Your State and head for Simsbury Land Trust Bog in Simsbury. Once you arrive, follow the Bog Trial to reach the elevated boardwalk. From there, you can venture deep into the swamp, passing by some of the strangest but most beautiful surroundings in the state as you do. Keep your eyes peeled for frogs and turtles as you walk.
1. Silver Sands State Park, Milford
If nature, beaches, hiking, and a three-quarter mile long all-weather boardwalk sound your idea of heaven, you’re going to love Silver Sands State Park, Milford. Despite being just a short distance away from the thrills and spills of Ocean Beach Park, it feels like a different world. Instead of the shops and the crazy golf, there are broad sand flats and tidal marshes, and instead of the crowds of people, there are flocks of birds. As you walk across the salt marshes and Fletchers Cree via the 200-foot raised boardwalk, be sure to stop and take in the views as often as possible – they really do deserve it.