Are you looking for a beach vacation? There’s no reason to waste time or money traveling to Nantucket, Maine, or the Caribbean.
Instead, spend a summer afternoon at a much more accessible beach. Instead of traveling, you can spend more time delighting the senses and relaxing the mind.
Cove Island Park is a beautiful and tranquil oasis on the Long Island Sound in Stamford, Connecticut. The 88-acre park has a rich history dating back to the early twentieth century, when it was first developed as a recreational destination.
Today, it remains a popular destination for residents and visitors alike to enjoy outdoor activities and take in the breathtaking natural scenery.
The park is easily accessible, just off I-95 exit 9, and is a short drive from many Connecticut towns as well as New York City. The park is open all year and visitors are admitted for free.
History of Cove Island Park in Stamford, CT
Cove Island Park has a long history that dates back to the early twentieth century. The city of Stamford owned the park’s current location along Holly Pond. The area was originally a common area for grazing residents’ livestock.
which it developed as a recreational destination in the 1920s. The park had a large beach, a playground, and several picnic areas at the time.
A large bathhouse and an Olympic-sized swimming pool expanded the park in the 1930s. It was a popular swimming and sunbathing spot for residents and visitors alike, and it remained so for several decades.
The US Coast Guard used Cove Island Park as a training ground during WWII, closing the beach to the public. Following the war, the park was repurposed as a recreational destination.
The park underwent a major renovation in the 1960s. The city added new facilities, including a marina and a boat launch ramp. The park was also further expanded to include more land for nature trails and wildlife preservation.
Cove Island Park is still a popular spot for residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and admire the scenic beauty. The park’s facilities have been updated over the years, but its historical charm and natural beauty remain.
Amenities and Activities at Cove Island Park
Visitors to Cove Island Park can enjoy a variety of amenities and activities.
Check Out the Beaches
Cove Island Park is home to two beautiful and relatively unpopulated beaches. During the warm summer months, visitors love to lounge on the beige-colored sand and swim in the refreshing Atlantic waters. The long beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The stunning rocky coastline is also great for a scenic stroll or fishing. There are several vantage points for lovely views of the Long Island Sound.
Enjoy a Picnic
The vast meadows at Cove Island Park are ideal for a romantic mid-day picnic. Lay out a blanket, soak in the sun, and enjoy a meal from the park’s food vendors. There are plenty of picnic tables located throughout the park, including at the beaches. We also recommend bringing a kite – the warm breeze makes kite flying a perfect after-picnic activity!
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Human visitors are not the only ones who enjoy Cove Island Park! The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including numerous bird species, small mammals, and even the occasional seal.
Many species of birds call this area their home. The park also attracts a wide range of migratory birds throughout the year. It makes it one of the best locations on Connecticut’s coast for birdwatching.
If you follow the walking trails into the lowland habitats, you’ll find yourself in the salt marshes. They are prime habitats for waterfowl and many other waterbirds. You’ll also find a state-of-the-art nature center dedicated to Long Island Sound species.
The trails looping around the park are excellent for walking and biking, even via roller blade. Whether you want to cross paths with wildlife, or not.
A marina and boat launching ramp are also available at the park. It’s an ideal location for launching small boats and kayaks to explore Long Island Sound.
Don’t own a boat? No worries!
SoundWaters rents paddle boards and kayaks for exploring the coastline right at Cove Island Park.
After all, the best boat to own is a friend’s boat.
Go Ice Skating
Terry Conners Ice Rink is located within Cove Island Park and welcomes skaters all year long. The rink is also home to several professional ice skating teams including:
- Skating Club of Southern Connecticut
- And the Stamford Hockey Team
Ice rentals are available in hourly increments and additional skating time is offered in the spring and summer months. It’s a great excuse to cozy up with each other and keep warm!
Special Events and Programs to Enjoy at Cove Island Park
Cove Island Park offers a variety of special events and programs throughout the year. Some examples of events frequently held at the park include:
- CT Summer concerts and movies on the beach
- Annual Fourth of July fireworks show
- Beach clean-up and conservation events
- Community festivals and fairs
The park also offers several recreational programs such as:
- Nature and bird watching excursions
- Kayak and paddleboard rentals at the aforementioned Soundwaters
- Fishing clinics for kids and adults
Groups can also rent the park’s facilities for events such as:
- Birthday parties
- Family reunions
- And picnics
The park has several reservable areas, including a picnic shelter, beach area, as well as the marina. For more information and to make a reservation, contact the park.
Cove Island Park is a must-see for anyone looking to spend a day outside in a beautiful and tranquil setting. The park is open all year, and visitors can contact the park for more information or to make a group event reservation. The park is open from 9 AM to sunset.
Places to stay near Cove Island Park
The closest place to stay near Cove Island Park is a motel, right off of Exit 9 in Stamford.
But all the best hotels in downtown Stamford are within a short driving distance from Cove Island Park. So there are plenty of good places to stay nearby, if you need one.
Other Beaches Nearby to Cove Island Park
There are a number of other beaches near Cove Island Park to enjoy. Check out the respective city and town websites for more information and entrance fees. Some other fantastic beaches nearby to Greenwich and Stamford include:
Cummings Park and West Beach
Cummings Park is 79 acres in size, and West Beach is 26 acres. Both are located on the coast of Stamford, across a small channel from each other. Two beaches, a pond, six ball fields, two side-by-side soccer fields, six tennis courts, a basketball court, a pavilion with restrooms, concession buildings, beach volleyball courts, and open lawn space make up the two parks.
This beach in nearby Old Greenwich is popular for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Greenwich Point Park is its official name, and it offers more recreational activities such as concession areas, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Calf Pasture Beach
Sherwood Island State Park
- A long beach
- Picnic areas
- A nature center
And a lengthy loop of nature trail that meanders through the entirety of Sherwood Island State Park