During the summer months, visitors are welcome to the island after a brief ferry ride from Greenwich. Upon arrival, you are sure to find plenty of exploration opportunities, beaches to lounge on, a historic lighthouse, and much more. Discover why Great Captain Island is worth a spot on your Greenwich vacation itinerary!
Looking for more summertime activities? Find Great Captain Island and other local attractions in our free Greenwich Vacation Guide! Download yours for free and get instant access to a full list of things to do in Greenwich.
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.
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. 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 more 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, sparrows, crabs, and more.
Your Romantic Summer Getaway Awaits at Stanton House Inn
Our romantic bed and breakfast outside of NYC is the ideal getaway for couples visiting Greenwich! The historic mansion was built as the private home of Stanford White over 100 years ago, and now it is recognized as the most romantic bed and breakfast in Connecticut. You will be surrounded by historic charm as you enjoy a plethora of modern amenities, including an immaculate swimming pool. Our cozy guest rooms exude romantic ambiance with beautiful decor and unique features including fireplaces and wet bars. Guests will also have the chance to take advantage of our exclusive vacation packages and extras! Ready for the romantic getaway of a lifetime? Book your favorite room at the Stanton House Inn today! We look forward to welcoming you soon!
If you haven’t already, be sure to download your free copy of our handy Greenwich Vacation Guide! You’ll find all of the best local recommendations for activities, dining, shopping, and more on each page.