Nothing says summer like stretching out on the sand, listening to crashing waves, and enjoying a warm ocean breeze.
But you don’t need to get on a plane to enjoy sandy beaches, or even brave the traffic out to the Hamptons!
The Connecticut shoreline is an especially beautiful place to visit during the summer months, with some fantastic beaches.
Sunny days and cool nights offer endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Below, we’ve compiled just a few of the best beaches near Greenwich, CT.
Whether you’re looking to spend your days in New England hiking, biking, or simply soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches near Greenwich, CT, you’ll love getting fresh air here.
Table of Contents
- The Best Beaches in Greenwich, CT
- Connecticut Shoreline Beaches
- Beaches in Rye, NY
You Need to Visit These 8 Beaches Near Greenwich, CT
We’re listing the 4 beaches here in Greenwich. But if you want to explore farther afield while you’re here, we added a list of beaches close to Greenwich in Westchester County and Fairfield County, Connecticut.
The 4 Best Beaches in Greenwich, CT
While making a splash at our historic inn’s outdoor pool is a great warm weather pastime, many of our guests love to spend the day at the Greenwich beaches during the summer season. If you are one of these visitors, we’re happy to share our top picks for the best local beaches that you won’t want to leave off your summer bucket list.
Greenwich Point Park
Boasting a long stretch of sandy beach, miles of walking trails, boating opportunities, and views of the New York City skyline, this park is one of the crown jewels of Greenwich.
Known to locals as Tod’s Point, Greenwich Point Park is one of the area’s most popular beaches. According to some very exuberant visitors, it may be the best beach in Fairfield County. This Old Greenwich park is open daily from 6 a.m. until sunset.
11 of the Best Activities to Do at Greenwich Point Park
This large park permits visitors to engage in all sorts of activities on its walking trails and long sandy beach:
- Nature viewing and birdwatching
- Water sport rentals like paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing
4 of the Things We Love the Most at Greenwich Point Park, AKA Tod’s Point
- The Beach: Recognized as the region’s best beach, Greenwich Point Park is the perfect place to bring a blanket and soak in the sun. You may also choose to pack a lunch and enjoy a romantic picnic right beside the water.
- Recreational Activities: If you are feeling active, Greenwich Point Park is the place to be. You’ll find nearly endless opportunities for exploring such as jogging, cycling, or hiking the park’s trails. In the warm summer months, you’ll find plenty of visitors in the water enjoying a quick swim, fishing, or sailboarding.
- Hiking and Nature Viewing: Greenwich Point Park is home to very diverse coastal habitats. As you venture through the park, you’ll find a spellbinding environment complete with groves of oak and honey locust, patches of cherries, apple trees, and other berry producing shrubs. There is even a well-established grove of holly trees. Of course, where there are natural and productive habitats, there is wildlife. Keep your eyes open for rabbits, squirrels, deer, and chipmunks in the marshes, songbirds singing from the trees, or crabs scattering along the beach. And, of course, the myriad sea birds. Be sure to download a Greenwich Point Park trail map and bring your camera.
- Beautiful Scenery and Views: Since the park is located right on the Long Island Sound, you can bet there are plenty of gorgeous views to take in! Many visitors enjoy traveling to the westerly tip of the park, where you’ll find gentle sea breezes and a secret garden. If you find the footpath leading from the garden into the woods, you’ll discover a lovely hanging garden that stands on the Tod Mansion stone foundation. At the western-most edge, you will also be introduced to a panoramic view of the Long Island Sound and the skyline of nearby New York City.
Tod’s Point is definitely the top-tier of parks in Greenwich, we recommend it to everyone when they visit.
And with added benefits like no need for a park pass, a winter visit to Greenwich Point Park is high on our list of the best things to do in Greenwich, CT, in the winter.
A local realtor recently told me that he brings town guests considering moving to Greenwich here to help seal the deal as far as deciding to move here.
You’ve been warned!
Little Captain’s Island, or Island Beach
While Tod’s Point is fantastic, I am partial to Island Beach, a stunning spot located just two miles south of Greenwich Harbor. This relaxing beach can only be reached by ferry, and only in the summer, which makes it feel worlds away from town.
History of Island Beach
Once named Little Captain’s Island, Island Beach in CT is a place that boasts rich history. The name “Little Captain’s Island” was inspired by Revolutionary War commander Captain Daniel Patrick. This beach was privately owned for generations until two families feuded over the island in 1764. The island remained unowned until the state of Connecticut acquired it in 1879.
Then and Now
In the early 1900s, Island Beach underwent several changes. It was home to a small amusement park that closed due to low attendance during World War I. You can still find remnants of the forgotten park on the island today, especially the footings of the ferris wheel. In 1918, the island was purchased and donated as a gift for the townspeople. Not long after, residents funded the ferry that still transports guests to and from the island. Since then, Island Beach has been a popular summer getaway for locals and visitors alike!
Tips for Visiting Island Beach
The best time of year (well, only time) to visit Island Beach is during the summer months. Boaters, however, can reach this destination year-round. If you wish to take the Greenwich Island Beach ferry, it runs from June to September and costs $10 to board. For exact times, be sure to take a look at the Greenwich Ferry Schedule.
What to Expect at Island Beach
Once you land on the island, you’ll discover plenty of ways to relax and have fun! This island is the perfect place for swimming in the Sound and sunbathing. Guests can utilize the grill areas, snack bar, dressing rooms, picnic pavilions, and restrooms. If you’re looking for a romantic date idea, we highly recommend bringing a picnic and that special someone. There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than by enjoying a lovely meal right on the beach!
But my favorite part of being at Island Beach is simply sitting on the main beach, facing back towards town. You get a beautiful view of downtown Greenwich, with the tree-shrouded land rising-up to the first inland ridge, studded with church steeples. But the sandy beach makes it feel like you’re on an island in the Caribbean.
It’s a trippy combination.
Great Captain Island
You’ll also want to check out Great Captain Island, a 17-acre piece of land that features a historic lighthouse constructed in 1829. Great Captain’s Island is open to the public year-round. However, the town of Greenwich only has a ferry running to it from June to September.
If you make it out there, you’ll find hiking trails, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, and designated swimming areas. There are no tours available at either the island or the lighthouse.
A Brief History of Great Captain Island
The history of Great Captain Island stretches back into the 18th-century. The island was given its name according to a local legend. Rumor has it that a man named Captain Kidd buried a treasure of gold and silver somewhere on the island. If the legend is true, the treasure has yet to be found. In 1763, King George III of England granted the island to John Anderson. Not much is known about the time the island stood in Anderson’s possession.
1800s on Great Captain Island
In 1868, a lighthouse was constructed on the eastern point of the island. The lighthouse keeper, his assistants, and their families lived a nearly self-sufficient existence on the island as they kept their own chickens, cows, and gardens. The rest of the island was open to the public for camping, fishing, swimming, and hunting.
1900s on Great Captain Island
In 1926, the island was sold to a developer who opened an exclusive seaside playground with a members-only clubhouse. After the market crash of 1929, the club was unable to attract enough members and was forced to shut down.
Misfortune continued with several other developers who attempted to open beach clubs on the island, two of which ended in terrible fires. Finally, the town of Greenwich purchased the island in 1966. Today, it is still owned by the city and is open for public enjoyment.
Things to Do on Great Captain Island
The picturesque, crescent-shaped island is only accessible by ferry or private boat. Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. Here are the most popular visitor activities on the island that we’re sure you’ll love:
- Take Photos of the Great Captain Island Light: Although the lighthouse is no longer in service, it is still occupied by a caretaker and his family. Since it is a private residence, the lighthouse is not open for tours. However, you may be able to see it as you approach the island. Have your cameras ready to take pictures of this historic wonder.
- Visit the Beach: The western portion of the island is specifically reserved for swimming and laying back on the beach. Picnic tables, grills, and restrooms are also available. The Great Captain Island beach is the perfect destination to escape the crowds and revel in peaceful relaxation.
- Nature Viewing: Great Captain Island is a gold mine for nature lovers! It is home to a conservation area, a rockweed cover, a salt marsh, and so much more. As you explore, you may even find some native wildlife including osprey, herons, egrets, Great Horned owls, sparrows, crabs, and more.
Byram Beach and Pool
If you’re not a huge fan of the ocean, Byram Beach has the only public pool in the area, located right at the water’s edge.
As part of Byram Park in Greenwich, CT, Byram Beach is an ideal place to relax and soak in some summer sun. The 20-acre parcel was acquired by the town in 1918 and the beach was constructed using sand from Long Island, NY. The purchase of the Rosenwald property in 1975 expanded the beach, adding even more activities for visitors.
What to Do at Byram Park Beach
Albeit the smallest of the public beaches in Greenwich, there’s more than meets the eye here.
Relax on the Beach
What’s a day at the beach without spending some time on the shore? Whether you decide to lay out with a good book or take a dip in the refreshing saltwater, you can’t go wrong with a day on Byram Beach.
Swim in the Freshwater Public Pool
Saltwater not exactly your forte? No problem! The park is home to the only outdoor public pool in town. That way, you won’t have to worry about sand caking your feet or salt from the ocean clinging to your skin.
Play a Game on the Softball and Tennis Courts
Challenge your friends to a game of tennis or softball on the lighted courts.
If you’re interested in fun facts:
Legend has it that some of the stones from the cliffs that surround the softball courts were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Hike to the Rosenwald House Site
Above the ball field, you’ll find the former site of the Rosenwald House. Although the home can no longer be found, visitors love to make the hike for the stunning panoramic views of Long Island Sound.
Enjoy a Cookout
Several areas for quiet picnics and BBQ’s are scattered throughout the park. This is a great opportunity to host a party with your friends or enjoy a romantic picnic with your sweetheart. A clambake area with a pavilion is also available upon reservation for larger groups.
View the Nature and Wildlife
If you foster a deep appreciation for nature, we encourage you to take a stroll through Byram Beach. From the mature pines, maples, oaks, and lovely flowerbeds, the park is a true sight to behold. As you explore, you may also find some native residents including waterfowl, mute swans, Canadian geese, and mallards.
Watch out for geese poop, though.
What To Know Before Visiting Greenwich Beaches: Don’t Forget Your Greenwich Beaches Park Pass
If you’re not a Greenwich resident, obtaining access to our beaches in the summer months can be a little tricky.
Please note that due to effects to limit the transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19, Greenwich beaches are closed to non-residents for the 2020 season. The only people that can access the beaches are people who can prove they live in Greenwich, using a previous year’s pass, or driver’s license.
You’ll need a non-resident Greenwich beach pass, or Single Entry beach pass. These can be purchased on weekdays at either:
Be sure to purchase a pass for each person in your party and a separate pass for your vehicle.
All Greenwich beaches require passes for non-residents from May 1st until October 31st. Passes are $8 per day for visitors, while parking passes (valid for Tod’s Point only) are $40 per day. The ferry to Island Beach is an additional $13 for non-residents. For complete information on all summer beach activities on the various Greenwich beaches, you can visit the Greenwich Parks and Recreation website.
Guests of Stanton House Inn don’t need to worry about obtaining passes if you opt for our Greenwich Beach Vacation package.
Non-residents can enjoy free entry to Greenwich Point Park and the other beaches from November 1st to April 30th.
More Connecticut Shoreline Beaches
Greenwich may have the best beaches that are closest to New York City, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the state is devoid of great places to lounge and enjoy the sun.
Cove Island Park
Two sandy beaches, a small salt marsh, and intertidal mudflats are waiting at Cove Island Park. The beach’s rocky shoreline areas are perfect for anglers, and a small bluff provides excellent views of the Long Island Sound. Feel free to spend an afternoon birding, crabbing, swimming, or flying a kite!
Calf Pasture Beach
Located in Norwalk, Calf Pasture Beach offers a picturesque shoreline complete with blue waters, soft sand, and coastal views. Recreational opportunities abound here. Visitors can play volleyball, basketball, or baseball. There’s plenty to do on Calf Pasture Beach, but we recommend simply relaxing and enjoying the view!
Plan an entire day trip to Norwalk to explore all of its attractions, activities, and things to do throughout this unpretentious little city.
Sherwood Island State Park
Covering 238 acres of beach, wetlands, and woodlands, Sherwood Island is Connecticut’s oldest state park. This beautiful spot offers tons of opportunities for fun in nature. Fishing is allowed anywhere on the shoreline outside of swimming areas, and a shaded picnic grove is a perfect place to have a bite to eat. If you plan on going for a swim, be sure to wear water shoes to protect your feet from sharp shells and rocks.
Read even more of our favorite places to visit in CT in the summer before you head further up the coast, or inland.
Public Beaches in Rye, NY
Rye, New York, is closer to Greenwich than Norwalk or Westport, though not in Connecticut, obviously.
Rye Playland Beach and Pool
A trip to the coastal Rye Playland is the perfect way to spend a summer day with the kids. This amusement park near Greenwich has a beach and pool, as well as a variety of thrill rides, family rides, daily entertainment, and concerts.
Ready for some fun in the sun and sand? Book our Greenwich Beach Escape Package today! It includes 2 one-day entry passes and a one-day parking pass to one of our favorite nearby beaches.
We can’t wait to host you this summer!
Updated and republished for the 2020 season on May 26, 2020