Where is Hammonasset Beach State Park
The state’s largest shoreline park, Hammonasset Beach State Park resides on Long Island Sound on the coast of Connecticut. The park, which allows visitors to bike, boat, hike, fish, and swim, is one of the most visited sites in all of Connecticut. In addition to offering a variety of outdoor activities, Hammonasset Beach State Park also contains a campground and a nature center. The park is located 26 miles and a 42-minute drive away from New Haven, 41 miles and a 50-minute drive away from Hartford, 85 miles and a hour and thirty minute drive from Providence, Rhode Island, and 103 miles and an hour and forty five minute drive away from New York City. The closest city to Hammonasset Beach State Park is Madison.
How Large is Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach US State Park covers over 900 acres. The park’s geography consists primarily of beach, coastline, and coastal dunes. The amount of beachfront area found in the park totals over two miles, and this beach attracts visitors from all over the country. In fact, the yearly visitation totals for Hammonasset Beach State Park consistently exceeds one million. Another popular attraction found in the park, The Meigs Point Nature Center, which opened in 2016, consists of over 4,000 square feet of exhibit space. The park’s campground also contains impressive statistics such as its offering of over 500 campsites.
Hammonasset Beach State Park Weather
The weather at Hammonasset Beach State Park changes frequently throughout the year. In summer, temperatures in the park average between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures in the park average between 20 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest days of the year appear in Hammonasset Beach State Park in June, July, and August. The coldest days in the park arrive in December and January. On average, Hammonasset Beach State Park and the surrounding area receives around 85 days of rain per year. These 85 days of rain normally result in a total of around 50 inches of rain per year. The park also consistently sees snowfall in the winter months. The yearly snowfall average for the park is around 28 inches.
When did Hammonasset Beach become a State Park
Hammonasset Beach was first designated as a state park in 1919 with the purchase of 499 acres. In its first year of operation, the park drew over 75,000 visitors. This number grew to over 450,000 in 1924. Nowadays, Hammonasset Beach State Park accounts for one quarter of the state’s entire park visitation. During world war II, the park closed and transformed into a U.S Army reservation and an active aircraft firing range. The park is currently managed and maintained by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Things to do at Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park offers visitors arriving at its gates a variety of outdoor activities to participate in. The most popular adventures and experiences visitors can expect to find at the park are outlined by our State Park Visitors Guide below:
Explore the Nature Center
The Meigs Point Nature Center is the perfect place for visitors to start their adventure at Hammonasset Beach State Park. The nature center features several interactive displays that educate visitors about the park’s history, ecology, and culture. The Meigs Point Nature Center also provides visitors with the opportunity to attend various nature programs and events during their stay at the park.
Embark down The Hammonasset Beach State Park Walk
The most popular trail in Hammonasset Beach State Park, the beach walk takes visitors throughout the park and allows them to experience several different environments. The trail is a 3.4 mile out and back trail that is rated as easy. Hikers who have brought their dogs along with them to Hammonasset Beach State Park are also allowed to hike with the trail alongside their furry friend.
Take a Beach Day
The Hammonasset Beach State Park beach draws in the majority of visitors for the park. Therefore, it would not be a surprise if visitors wanted to take a beach day during their stay at the park. Whether you plan to relax in the sun with a good book, catch some waves and go for a swim, or just enjoy time as a family, the two miles of beach found at Hammonasset Beach State Park will suit your needs.
Anglers who visit Hammonasset Beach State Park will want to take advantage of the saltwater fishing opportunities the park offers. Fishing is allowed in the park at the Meig’s Point Jetty and the West Beach Jetty. Night fishing is allowed across all two miles of the park’s beach. Anglers can expect to encounter species such as blackfish, winter flounder, bluefish, summer flounder, scup, weakfish, and striped bass.
Hammonasset Beach State Park provides a habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife. Enthusiasts visiting the park can expect to spot Virginia Opossums, Eastern Cottontails, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl, shorebirds, several amphibians and reptiles, and a large selection of insects. The nature center found in the park can provide additional information regarding where to look for certain species.
Kayak in the Park
Every season a variety of visitors choose to bring their kayak to Hammonasset Beach State Park. These visitors’ kayak in the ocean and in the nearby bays. Visitors looking to kayak in the ocean should be experienced swimmers and comfortable maneuvering in and out of their watercraft.
Camping at Hammonasset Beach State Park
The campground at Hammonasset Beach State Park contains over 500 sites complete with grassy areas, picnic benches, and grills. Reservations for the campground can be made through the park’s website and reservation portal. The campground is outfitted with restrooms, fishing access points, showers, and other amenities.
When to Visit Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park can be visited all year round. However, the park’s visitation drastically increases in the summer months, for the time of year brings excellent weather and constant sunshine. Spring is another great time to visit the park. Temperatures can still be rather chilly for campers in the park in March and early may. Winters in the park can make for a great day visit. Though camping in the park in winter is less than ideal.
Must Have Items to Bring to Hammonasset Beach State Park
Every trip outdoors requires a bit of packing and planning, and a successful trip to Hammonasset Beach State Park is no exception. Below List of Parks details essential equipment every visitor should consider bringing with them before they leave for the park.
Water and Snacks
Two of the most essential items for any trip outdoors are water and high energy snacks. Visitors looking to spend a day at the beach should bring water in addition to any other drinks they bring. The Connecticut sun can dehydrate visitors rather quickly. Summer days spent on the beach can cause this risk of dehydration to escalate.
Swimsuit, Sunscreen, Sunglasses
A swimsuit, sunscreen, and a pair of sunglasses will come in handy when spending all day in the park and at the beach. These items will provide comfort and protection from the sun. Visitors looking to wear their sunglasses while recreating on the beach should bring a cheap pair with them in case, they lose them or damage them in the elements.
Anglers visiting Hammonasset Beach State Park will want to bring all of their saltwater fishing tackle along with them. Anglers will also want to obtain a Connecticut state saltwater fishing license before they arrive at the park. These licenses can be purchased online through the state’s license portal or from a variety of local establishments.
Hiking Boots, Water Shoes
Hammonasset Beach State Park is best travelled through the use of hiking boots and a pair of water shoes or flip flops. The pair of hiking boots will come in handy while traversing the various trials found within the park, while the flip flops will be better suited for activities near or in the water.
Where to Stay in Hammonasset Beach State Park
Visitors looking to stay in Hammonasset Beach State Park will want to secure a reservation for one of the park’s campsites. These reservations can be made through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay at a hotel in the surrounding area will want to initially check out options in Madison. However, visitors deciding they would like to stay in a larger city or have more lodging options to decide between, can make the drive to either New Haven or Hartford.
Food Near Hammonasset Beach State Park
The closest food to Hammonasset Beach State Park can be found in Madison. The city contains several restaurants, bars, and grocery stores sure to replenish a visitor’s stomach and supplies. Visitors looking for additional options or a larger culinary scene can visit New Haven or Hartford. Hammonasset Beach State Park also manages and maintains a concession stand where visitors can purchase drinks and snacks.
Airports Near Hammonasset Beach State Park
The closest airport to Hammonasset Beach State Park is located in Hartford. The Bradley International Airport is 55 miles and about a one-hour drive away from the park. The next closest airport to the park is located in New York City. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is located 99 miles and an hour and a half drive away from the park.