HAMMONASSET STATE PARK
A visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park, is more than just another day at the beach. Connecticut's largest shoreline park offers over 2 miles of beach to enjoy swimming, strolling along the boardwalk, or just relaxing in the sun and surf.
"Hammonasset" means, "where we dig holes in the ground" and refers to the place where a settlement of eastern woodland Indians farmed along the Hammonasset River. They subsisted on corn, beans, and squash, and by fishing and hunting. The first colonists arrived in 1639. Property changed hands frequently between Native Americans and the first colonists.
In 1898 the Winchester Repeating Arms Company bought Hammonasset and used it as a testing site for their new rifle. Their Lee Straight Pull rifle was mounted on a horse drawn stone boat, from which it was fired into targets on the beach.On July 18, 1920, Hammonasset Beach State Park was opened to the public. The first season attracted over 75,000 visitors. The park's reputation drew tourists from across the continent as well as the state.
During World War II the park was closed to the public and loaned to the federal government as an army reservation. Meigs Point functioned as an aircraft range. Planes flew over Clinton Harbor, fired at the range and then flew out over Long Island Sound.
The stone breakwater at the Meigs Point end of the park was built in 1955. The stones were brought in by truck from quarries in northern New England.
Today, over one million people come annually enjoy to Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS
web page to learn more.
As Connecticut?s largest public beach park, Hammonasset offers over 550 grassy campsites perfect for the nature enthusiast..
BBs / Inns
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.
14.2 miles from park*
Hammonasset State Park is located near Branford, Clinton and East Haven
- Meigs Point Nature Trail: A 1-mile loop trail, easy to moderate difficulty level. Features a variety of habitats including woodland and beach.
- Willard Island Trails: Consists of several short trails totaling approximately 2 miles in length. Offers views over the salt marshes and Long Island Sound.
- Cedar Woods Loop Trail: An easy half mile walk through cedar woods with interpretive signs about local flora and fauna along the way.
- West Beach Boardwalk Pathway: This is an accessible paved pathway that runs for nearly one mile alongside Hammonasset's west beach area offering stunning ocean views
-Moraine Trail : Approximately two-miles long, this moderately difficult trail traverses woodlands, wetlands, grassland bird conservation areas providing diverse wildlife viewing opportunities
-Hammonasset River Rail Bed Greenway - Partly within park boundaries; follows old rail bed from Route One Bridge southward towards Madison center; flat terrain suitable for biking or walking approximating three miles round trip.
-Shoreline Greenway Bike Path - Paved path extending four miles eastwards from East Beach parking lot toward Guilford border allowing cyclists scenic coastal vistas
-Nature Center Walkways- Network of shorter paths around nature center featuring various ecosystems like butterfly garden ,bird watching stations ; ideal for families with young children
Meigs Point Nature Center
The Meigs Point Nature Center offers programs and activities for park visitors during the summer season. The Center is normally open from late June to Labor Day Weekend, Tuesday ? Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For information on programs, please contact staff at (203) 245-8743. To visit the Nature Center, bear to the left at the access road rotary, go halfway around the rotary and follow the signs toward Meigs Point. The Center is on the left across from the Meigs Point bathhouse. Parking is available near the building.
Please note that the Nature Center telephone number is seasonal. After Labor Day Weekend, calls should be directed to the main park number, (203) 245-2785.
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.
13.9 miles from park*
From the north/Hartford area: take I-91 south to Route 9 south. Off Route 9, take Exit 9. Turn right (south) onto Route 81; continue down Route 81 until you run into I-95. Turn right onto I-95 entrance ramp and go approximately 1 mile to Exit 62, then turn left off the exit. Head south 1 mile down Hammonasset connector, go straight through the light crossing Route 1 (Boston Post Road) into the park.
From the south area: take I-95 north, Exit 62. Take a right off the exit ramp onto Hammonasset I-95 connector. Park entrance will be 1 mile ahead.
From the east/Rhode Island area: take I-395 south onto I-95 south, Exit 62. Take a left off the exit and go approximately 1 mile. Go straight through the traffic light crossing Route 1 (Boston Post Road).
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.