Madison, CT

SYNOPSIS:  One of the great things about Putnam County is it’s proximity to so many wonderful destinations – NYC’s Broadway, Greenwich Village and Wall Street; the Catskills and the Adirondacks.  And beaches.  As long as you don’t hit traffic, Jones Beach on Long Island isn’t that far away.  And don’t forget the Connecticut beaches.  One of my favorites is this one – Hammonasset Beach State Park.


APPROXIMATE TIME:  As little or as long as you like, but since you pay to get in, stay long enough to get your money’s worth.


DIRECTIONS:  From Putnam County, take Route 84 east into Connecticut.  Take exit 11.  Make a right onto Wasserman Way, then a quick right onto Route 34.  Stay on Route 34 for about 23 miles.  There are spots where it turns left and/or right, but just STAY on Route 34 until you get to Interstate 95.  Take I-95 north 18 miles to exit 62.  Make a right off the exit ramp,  and the park entrance is about 1.5 miles down.

THE VISIT:  There are over two miles of beaches, the sand is nice, and the waves are usually small.   The boardwalks are top notch, and the bathroom and changing facilities are clean and large.   If you like to camp, there are over 500 campsites on the property.  And if you want to take a break from the beach, you can visit the Meigs Point Nature Center or take a walk on the trails of the Hammonasset Natural Area Preserve.   After a day at the beach, there are a number of seafood restaurants on the Boston Post Road, to complete the sun, sand, salt & surf experience.

HISTORY:  The word Hammonasset is a Native American word that means “where we dig holes in the ground”.  Don’t be surprised if there is a lot of lead around Hammonasset – the Winchester Repeating Arms Company bought the property in 1898 and used it to test rifles.  It opened in July of 1920 as a park, but closed during WWII to be used as an Army reservation and aircraft range.  The stone breakwater was added in 1955.


Click here for a map of the park:  Hammonasset Beach State Park

Pets are allowed in the park if leashed and picked up after, but are not allowed on the beach or in the campground areas.  The park is open from 8am to sunset.  There is an entry fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  For more info call the park at (860) 424-3200 or email  The webpage for Hammonasset State park is  You can also visit, a volunteer organization devoted to advocating for the park.