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15 Best Beaches with Public Access near New Haven, CT

New Haven is the gateway to some of Connecticut's most breathtaking beaches. Discover the best options open to public!
Lighthouse Point Park and lighthouse in New Haven, CT

New Haven, a bustling city known for its rich history and academic prowess, is also the gateway to some of Connecticut’s most breathtaking beaches.

From serene stretches like the Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary, ideal for those who appreciate the gentle sounds of chirping birds, to bustling spots like Hammonasset Beach State Park, filled with activities and amenities galore, there’s no shortage of seaside splendor.

Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, prepare to be enchanted by the coastal treasures that lie just a short drive away.

Discover the most popular beaches with public access near New Haven!

1. Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary

  • Distance from New Haven: 4 miles
  • Activities: walking, fishing, birding
  • Facilities: parking, restrooms, trails

Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary, a serene coastal gem located just 4 miles from New Haven, offers visitors a picturesque beach stroll and a rare brush with nature’s finest avian wonders.

The adjacent Audubon center is replete with engaging aquariums and telescopes, perfect for observing ospreys and diverse bird species.

Visitors can enjoy the gentle sounds of chirping birds, the caress of the ocean waves, and the soothing feeling of soft sand underfoot.

Amenities include washrooms, a quaint gift shop, and a parking lot.

However, a leisurely walk from the lot to the beach’s far left side promises breathtaking views, albeit with a mix of coarse and soft sands.

Nearby, a smorgasbord of restaurants awaits the hungry traveler.

For a tranquil beach walk day, Sandy Point is unparalleled.

2. Morse Park

calm beachscape in West Haven, Connecticut
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 4 miles
  • Activities: biking, walking, baseball, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: picnic tables, playground, restaurant

The nearest beach to New Haven, Morse Park emerges as a tranquil retreat, especially during the serene winter and spring months.

This expansive beach, free for all visitors, offers a scenic space for leisurely walks and biking adventures.

Families cherish their time at the nearby skatepark, making memories as children playfully coast on scooters.

Baseball enthusiasts are in for a treat, as the park showcases multiple diamonds, drawing both youth and adult leagues for some thrilling games.

While nostalgic residents might remember grabbing a bite at the former Chick’s diner, several longstanding seafood joints nearby ensure culinary delights.

Although some areas of the park await revitalization, notably Old Field Creek, the beach stands out for its pristine condition.

Ample parking and the potential for more scenic amenities further accentuate its charm.

3. Lighthouse Point Park

The New Haven Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, Connecticut
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 6 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, bird-watching, walking
  • Facilities: lifeguards, playground, restrooms, picnic tables

Lighthouse Point Park in East Haven is a picturesque haven that captivates visitors with its blend of history and natural beauty.

The iconic lighthouse stands tall, offering a perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts, especially during breathtaking sunsets.

The expansive beach beckons with opportunities for strolls, picnics, and sunbathing.

However, visitors are urged to tread cautiously on the jetty’s slippery rocks, which intriguingly house granite boulders and sea glass treasures.

Families are particularly smitten with the spacious playground, while history buffs can find a plaque detailing the area’s ties to the Revolutionary War.

The park further boasts nature trails, a bird sanctuary, and a vintage carousel that occasionally opens for rides.

With covered pavilions adjacent to the beach, this 82-acre gem seamlessly marries relaxation and recreation, ensuring a memorable experience for all.

4. East Haven Town Beach

East Haven Town Beach near New Haven, Connecticut
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from New Haven: 7 miles
  • Activities: volleyball, shell hunting, picnicking, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: volleyball courts, playground, parking, restaurant, bathroom

Tucked away in East Haven, the Cosey Beach, popularly known as East Haven Town Beach, is a pristine retreat adored by locals and visitors alike.

Ensuring a tranquil experience, the shoreline boasts of impeccably clean sands occasionally dotted with shells, gentle waves, and a serene ambiance.

What sets Cosey Beach apart, however, are its state-of-the-art amenities: spacious parking for residents, on-site bathrooms, shaded benches, and volleyball courts ready for an energizing game.

Parents will delight in the well-maintained playground on the beach’s edge and the splash pad across the street, perfect for summer fun.

Nearby, seafood restaurant – Sandpiper – promises delicious treats, while two expansive gazebos offer respite from the sun.

With its top-notch facilities and natural charm, Cosey Beach stands as one of Connecticut’s finest coastal gems.

5. Oak Street Beach

A pier on Sand Point Beach (Oak Street Beach) at New Haven Harbor on Long Island Sound
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 5 miles
  • Activities: picnicking, biking, walking, fishing, picnics, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: restroom, parking, picnic tables, boardwalk, pier

Located in Savin Rock Park in West Haven, Oak Street Beach is more than just a sandy escape; it’s an embodiment of community spirit combined with nature’s charm.

A popular locale for leisurely walks, the beach’s sprawling boardwalk takes visitors on a journey along the serene coastline to the captivating Bradley Point, and for the adventurous, even all the way to Woodmont Beach in Milford.

Those seeking relaxation can luxuriate on the fluffy sand or seek refuge under a tree, engrossed in a book.

Families will appreciate the nearby park with its verdant spaces, perfect for shaded picnics.

Swimmers might encounter a sprinkle of seaweed, but the water remains inviting.

Enhanced by amenities like ample parking, picnic tables, and benches, Oak Street Beach stands as an inviting oasis for all to enjoy.

6. Bradley Point Beach

aerial view of the beach near New Haven, CT
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from New Haven: 5 miles
  • Activities: walking, biking, picnicking, fishing, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: restroom, parking, picnic table, playground, boardwalk

Neighboring Oak Street Beach, Bradley Point Beach beckons with its pristine shores and family-friendly amenities.

From the expansive boardwalk that offers breathtaking vistas of the sound, to the children’s playground ensuring the little ones are entertained, this destination provides an all-encompassing beach experience.

Those who appreciate quiet moments will find solace during the weekdays, while those aiming for some physical activity can indulge in walking, running, or cycling.

Moreover, the beach’s war veteran monument stands as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made, adding depth to the location.

With ample benches for relaxation, clear and calm waters, and the iconic Savin rock enhancing its backdrop, Bradley Point isn’t just a beach; it’s an escape where stress dissipates.

7. Woodmont Beach

Scenic Snapshot of Classic Wooden Homes by Woodmont Beach, New Haven, CT
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 8 miles
  • Activities: fishing, biking, volleyball, kayaking, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: basketball court, parking, playground

Nestled in the heart of Milford, Woodmont Beach stands out as a tranquil haven for those seeking a reprieve from the bustle.

This pristine shoreline offers not just sandy stretches but a host of amenities, catering to both the solitary visitor and families alike.

As you tread the scenic walking path that meanders along the coast, you’re treated to views of both historic and contemporary homes, reflecting the region’s rich tapestry.

Fitness enthusiasts can shoot hoops at the basketball court, while younger visitors delight in the recently refurbished playground.

For those seeking relaxation, the expansive grassy areas are perfect for laid-back picnics.

And as the sun sets, fishing enthusiasts can often be found casting their lines, making Woodmont a melting pot of activities set against the tranquil backdrop of the sea.

8. Gulf Beach

  • Distance from New Haven: 13 miles
  • Activities: walking, running, cycling, boating, fishing, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: bathrooms, parking, picnic tables, pier

Gulf Beach, often hailed as a coastal gem in the heart of Milford, presents visitors with a picturesque boomerang-shaped expanse of fine sand and crystal-clear waters.

Frequented by locals and tourists alike, this beach is a bustling hub of activity—be it walking, running, cycling, or boating.

Fishing aficionados are particularly drawn to its spacious dock, with an enticing view of the iconic Charles Island as their backdrop.

Additionally, the beach’s close proximity to ‘Goodies’ ensures that appetites are satiated with sumptuous burgers, ice creams, and more.

Those preferring a serene retreat can visit during the off-season, ensuring an undisturbed coffee-sipping experience with unparalleled views.

Clean facilities, including well-maintained restrooms and ample parking, elevate the Gulf Beach experience, making it a must-visit for every beach lover.

9. Silver Sands State Park

Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Connecticut beach near New Haven
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 15 miles
  • Activities: walking, biking, swimming, sunbathing, kayaking
  • Facilities: restrooms, lifeguards, boardwalk, pavilion, rentals

The most popular beach near New Haven, Silver Sands State Park stands as a captivating coastal gem.

Its expansive sandy shoreline, coupled with pristine facilities, creates a haven for both relaxation and adventure.

The park features immaculate bathrooms, an updated changing area, and a delightful array of local cuisines at the food stalls.

Beachgoers often rave about the fries! For those with an adventurous spirit, the unique opportunity to tread a tombolo to Charles Island during low tide adds allure.

The expansive boardwalk, seamlessly connecting to Walnut Beach, serves as a picturesque stroll echoing the charm of New England.

Kayak rentals, volleyball courts, and a vivacious marine life make Silver Sands more than just a beach—it’s an experience.

Whether you’re here for a tranquil walk or snorkeling, it promises a day well spent.

10. Walnut Beach, Milford

Walnut Beach Lifeguard Stand in Milford, Connecticut
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 15 miles
  • Activities: birdwatching, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: volleyball, picnic area, lifeguards, bathrooms, parking, pier

Walnut Beach, located in the picturesque town of Milford, promises an unparalleled coastal experience.

The beach boasts a sprawling shoreline where visitors can indulge in activities ranging from spirited volleyball matches to serene moments watching the tide.

Keen eyes will appreciate the scenic view of Charles Island, accessible during low tide, and the lengthy dock invites those seeking a closer look.

Adjoining the beach, a beautifully-maintained boardwalk offers an array of shops and eateries, perfect for a seaside bite.

Bird enthusiasts can revel in the nearby marshlands, a haven for birdwatching.

Amenities include clean public restrooms, picnic areas, and rental options for kayaking and paddle boarding.

And for those fishing enthusiasts? A dedicated pier awaits.

Ensure you’ve got your Milford sticker for a smooth parking experience!

11. Stony Creek Beach

  • Distance from New Haven: 12 miles
  • Activities: swimming
  • Facilities: lifeguards, limited parking

Tucked away in Branford lies the Stony Creek Beach, a small local gem open to public.

Renowned for its spellbinding sunsets, this beach offers families a safe haven with its kid-friendly shores supervised by vigilant lifeguards.

Those seeking relaxation will appreciate the picturesque gazebo, providing a perfect spot to bask in the beach’s tranquil atmosphere.

Though compact in size, Stony Creek Beach boasts pristine, crystal-clear waters that beckon for a refreshing dip.

Visitors should note the limited parking, suggesting an early arrival to secure a spot.

Adjacently, Madera Park offers an extension of nature’s charm, making the area an idyllic escape.

Despite its quaintness, this beach remains a cherished gem in a vibrant town.

12. Jacobs Beach

Connecticut coastline near New Haven, CT
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 16 miles
  • Activities: swimming, kayaking, badminton, volleyball, tennis
  • Facilities: parking, restrooms, showers, pavilion, picnic area, playground

Located in the heart of Guilford, Jacobs Beach beckons locals and visitors with its renewed charm.

This serene nook, once rugged, now showcases pristine sands, meticulously groomed for optimal comfort.

Children revel in the modern playground while the splash pad offers delightful respite from the summer heat.

Adventure enthusiasts can launch kayaks from the quaint dock, or perhaps indulge in beachside games, with courts ready for tennis, badminton, or volleyball.

Two pavilions provide sun-weary visitors a cool haven.

Modern amenities abound, including sparkling restrooms, convenient showers to wash away sand, and refreshing beverages — the beach’s lemonade is touted as legendary.

Plus, the occasional chimes of the Good Humour truck promise sweet treats.

With ample parking and open to all CT residents, Jacobs Beach stands as a testament to Guilford’s commitment to seaside beauty and recreation.

13. Surf Club

  • Distance from New Haven: 20 miles
  • Activities: picnicking, basketball, walking, hiking, swimming
  • Facilities: picnic area, playground, bathrooms, boardwalk

Located near Madison Center, Surf Club Beach offers visitors a sublime blend of nature’s beauty and modern amenities.

This pristine beach is a perfect escape, whether you’re seeking sun-soaked relaxation or playful recreation.

For families, the playground promises hours of fun, while sports enthusiasts can indulge in an impromptu basketball game.

The adjacent picnic and barbecue areas serve as ideal spots for laid-back lunches or evening gatherings.

Prioritizing visitor comfort, the beach boasts well-maintained restroom facilities and a snack stand, ensuring guests never go wanting.

Local events often grace the venue, tantalizing taste buds with delectable food options.

Regulars often comment on the warm, sociable atmosphere, making it not just a beach, but a community haven.

14. Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonasset Beach State Park near New Haven Connecticut
Source: wikimedia/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from New Haven: 22 miles
  • Activities: hiking, camping, biking, bird watching, swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: boardwalk, restroom, volleyball court, parking

Visitors to Hammonasset Beach State Park are welcomed by an expansive stretch of sandy shoreline, catering to both leisure-seekers and adventurers.

Families rave about its safety, with ample handicapped-accessible parking and restrooms, ensuring every visitor feels accommodated.

A stroll along its vast coast reveals the park’s meticulous maintenance, evident from the cleanliness and well-groomed terrain.

Camping enthusiasts celebrate the spacious sites, and while privacy is limited, the camaraderie amongst campers is tangible.

Moreover, top-notch restroom facilities set the benchmark for campground standards.

Beachgoers are treated to a plethora of activities, from shell collecting and bird watching to beachfront relaxation.

With a scenic paved trail, camp store, outdoor theater, and nature center, Hammonasset seamlessly blends natural splendor with modern comforts, promising an unforgettable experience.

15. Clinton Town Beach

beach boats in Clinton Town Beach near New Haven, CT
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from New Haven: 24 miles
  • Activities: walking, swimming
  • Facilities: playground, limited parking, splash pad, snack bar, lifeguards

Clinton Town Beach offers visitors an idyllic blend of relaxation and activity.

Catering to both children and adults, the sandy stretch is not only safe for youngsters but also boasts a unique book box for those eager for some seaside reading.

Parents can comfortably monitor their children, while the stunning westerly-facing orientation promises breathtaking sunsets every evening.

Active beachgoers will relish the sizable sandbar, ideal for swimming during high tide.

And for those wanting a blend of beach and greenery, the beach offers a concise walking trail teeming with wildlife.

Ample parking and facilities like a playground, splash pad, lifeguard services, snack bar, and even an on-site restaurant amplify the beach’s appeal.

The historic beach walk further adds a touch of nostalgia, making Clinton Town Beach a must-visit family destination.

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