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Rocky Neck State Park 'Rocky Neck State Park' © Daniel Gaedeke
A look out at the rock jetty.
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USA Parks
Connecticut
Mystic Country Region
Rocky Neck State Park
ROCKY NECK STATE PARK
ROCKY NECK STATE PARK
P.O. Box 676
Niantic, Connecticut   06357

Phone: 860-739-5471
Toll Free: 866-287-2757
Reservations: 860-739-1339
Email:
Rocky Neck State Park
'Rocky Neck State Park'
© All photographs copyright Daniel Gaedeke. d.gaedekeyahoo.com

website

A look out at the rock jetty.

Rocky Neck State Park
'Rocky Neck State Park'
© All photographs copyright Daniel Gaedeke. d.gaedekeyahoo.com

website

Pavilion.

Rocky Neck State Park
'Rocky Neck State Park'
© All photographs copyright Daniel Gaedeke. d.gaedekeyahoo.com

website

View off the pavilion.

Rocky Neck State Park
'The rocky neck'

Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck State Park

The large stone pavilion, diverse trail systems, and gently sloping beach make this park ideal for families. Try crabbing or fishing. Look for hawks, cranes, and herons. Rocky Neck provides something for all members of the family.
Nature of the Area
An ideal setting for families, Rocky Neck State Park has a wide array of interesting geological features perfect for exploring. The best geology in the Park can be investigated along the water's edge near the beach, only a short walk from the parking lot. Likewise, the hiking trails in the Park have nice examples of glacial plucking and glacial boulders. Loose sediments at one time covered Connecticut's coastline, including Rocky Neck State Park. This layer of loose sediments protected the seaward flank of New England's bedrock from erosion. Eventually these sediments were washed away and the bedrock underneath was re-exposed. As a result, the topography along Connecticut's coast is more level than the topography inland, since the bedrock was not exposed as long to the effects of erosion.

In addition, glaciation had a huge impact on the way in which Rocky Neck State Park appears today. During the most recent advance of glaciation in New England, which took place approximately 24,000 years ago, there was a point where the climate became too warm for the advancing glacier. As the ice tried to flow south, the warm climate melted the glacier back. For approximately 5000 years, the glacier hovered over New England, advancing and melting. Containing large quantities of rock, sand, and clay, the glacier dumped these materials as the ice melted. Known as a terminal moraine, a large pile of rock, sand, and clay piled up at the edge of the glacier, marking the maximum advance of glaciation in the Northeast. Long Island, Fishers Island, Bluff Point, Napatree Point, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod all formed as a result of that terminal moraine.

Long Island and Fishers Island act as a natural breakwater, protecting the entire coastline of Connecticut. Both Long Island and Fishers Island can be seen on a clear day from the beach at Rocky Neck State Park.

A good place to start exploring Rocky Neck State Park's geology is the area surrounding the large stone pavilion that is located near the beach. Directly beneath the pavilion are large outcrops of granitic gneiss. Gneiss (pronounced "nice") is a high grade metamorphic rock subjected to intense heat and pressure during formation. Gneiss is easily identifiable by the segregation of light and dark minerals giving it a banded texture. Gneiss usually consists of mostly elongated and granular, as opposed to platy, minerals. The granitic gneiss exposed at Rocky Neck State Park is part of the Potter Hill Granite Gneiss dating back to the Proterozoic. This gray, coarse-grained gneiss is irregular in texture with patches and streaks of pink granite. Likewise, there are lenses of orange-pink microcline feldspar. Other minerals present in the Potter Hill Granite Gneiss include quartz, garnet, tourmaline, and biotite. Rock and mineral collecting is prohibited in State Parks.



History of the Area
Located on Long Island Sound in the town of East Lyme, 710-acre Rocky Neck is a popular recreation spot. The public now enjoys use of the park because of a few farsighted conservationists who secured the land in 1931, using their personal funds until the State Legislature authorized its purchase.

Rocky Neck's varied terrain offers something for everyone. Clear waters and the stone-free beach with expanses of white sand make it ideal for swimming. Picnickers find the large stone pavilion useful and unique. In the 1930's, relief agencies constructed the curved masonry building of native materials and crafted supporting pillars with wood cut from each of the state parks and forests. Diverse trails within the park provide easy and interesting walks to the scenic salt marsh and to such points of interest as Baker's Cave, Tony's Nose and Shipyard. Family camping within walking distance of saltwater bathing is also popular at Rocky Neck with 160 wooded and open campsites offering weekenders and vacationers attractive overnight accommodations.

Bounded on the west by a tidal river and to the east by a broad salt marsh, Rocky Neck was known to both Indians and colonists as a place of abundant fish and wildlife. Today, high spring tides allow schools of alewives (herring) to swim into Bride Brook toward inland spawning grounds. The osprey, or fish hawk, is a frequent early summer visitor. In the fall, cranes, herons and mute swans wade among cattails and rose mallow. Seasonal changes provide opportunities to fish for mackerel, striped bass, blackfish and flounder.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
CampingPrimativeyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
Rocky Neck Campground offers 160 sites in both open and wooded settings. The camping season begins in May and ends September 30.
Nearby Accommodations
Located along the CT Shoreline midway between New York City and Boston, and only one hour from Hartford, with tons of local attractions both on the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River.
8.7 miles from park*
Accommodation Availability Calendars
Boats and RVs
Rent My Camper.com, Inc - Shirley, NYMotor Home Campers
We'll Hook You Up with all the comforts of home including heat and AC. We deliver, setup and pickup. Our campers sleep up to 10. Just bring your food and clothes we've covered everything else, even clean linens and towels Camper is supplied with pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, all your kitchen needs.
49.2 miles from park*


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Nearby Parks


Things To Do in the Area
RiverQuest-Connecticut River Expeditions - Haddam, CTBoating
Explore the Connecticut River aboard the R/V River Quest, an environmentally friendly 64', 60 passenger vessel docked at Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT.
Web Site: ctriverquest.com
19 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 1 1st time was a charm! by Lyn
Walk to the Connecticut Sound. Exc beach low waves, life guards!! no additional fee to get in! Great bike paths, flat area. Park very clean. Park staff very nice. Bathrooms average clean.
October 10 Eat pie by aaaaa44
eat pie
July 2 Family Friendly by Dave
Our family went for the first time last year and loved it. It is not the best campground in the world but for basic, safe, coastal camping it rocks. The beach was clean and lifegarded. The campsite was trimmed and ready to go. The price was ridiculously low for our stay and we will be going back again this year for a full week stay. I recommend this location to anyone looking for a solid campground with supervised activities and an ocean beach.
May 9 AWESOME by Kat
i have never been campingand this was the first place i gone now i go every year. It is so much fun and so much to do.


Area Campgrounds

Wolf's Den Campground
256 Town Street
East Haddam, CT
860-873-9681


Aces High RV Park
301 Chesterfield Road
East Lyme, CT


Camp Niantic-By-The-Atlantic
271 West Main Street
Niantic, CT
860-739-9308


Indianfield Campground
306 Old Calchester Road
Salem, CT
860-859-1320


Salem Farms Campground
39 Alexander Road
Salem, CT
860-859-2320


Witch Meadow Lake Campground
139 Witch Meadow Road
Salem, CT
860-859-1542


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Tidewater Inn Bed and Breakfast - Madison, CTBBs / Inns
Located in the shoreline village of Madison, CT, the Inn offers a cozy and elegant atmosphere of antiques and estate furniture.
Web Site: thetidewater.com/
17.9 miles from park*
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Directions
Exit 72 off I-95: Follow the turnpike connector south to Route 156. Turn left and take Route 156 east for 1/4 mile to the park. The park street address is 244 West Main Street (Route 156).

USA Parks
Connecticut
Mystic Country Region
Rocky Neck State Park
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