Today we are taking a look at some of the best beaches near Stratford, CT. As you may or may not know this area of CT is filled to the brim with ‘local-only’ beaches. Of course, you can still pay and visit but the hefty prices and abundance of private beaches can be hard to navigate.
We’ve selected only our favorite beaches from the area. Usually, you will have to pay $40 per car if you are a nonresident but we’ve also got some cheaper options on the list. Since we consider prices high we’ve only put the best beaches on the list.
Of course, as always you will get the information on driving distance and a link to Google Maps so you can easily find these places that we mention. Oh, and at the very end we’ve got an extra pick for you that is a good alternative for the beaches we mention.
Please also keep in mind that the parking prices we mention might differ. A lot of prices change in this season and we expect changes in the upcoming beach seasons as well. We’ll try to keep things up to date but we might be off by $5-$10.
1. Short Beach & Long Beach
Distance: N/A – In Town
The local beaches at Stratford are Short Beach and Long Beach. We didn’t want separate entries as they are right next to each other and they are locals only for the most part. You can part at Short Beach for $40 per car if you are out of town though.
Short Beach is a compact sandy beach that is well-loved by locals. People flock here during the summer months to swim and chill on the beach. It’s actually a pretty good beach with nice sand and calm water.
You will also find a small beach park next to Short Beach which has some opportunities for playing sports and picnic tables with shade. The toilets could be better but it’s okay.
Long Beach is more of a rural beach. It is on a natural barrier. You’ll find a nice sandy beach here with only a handful of people around and almost no facilities. It’s a nice place if you are looking for a secluded spot. Long Beach is residents only though so if you don’t have a beach sticker you’ll be turned around, unfortunately.
2. Seaside Beach
Distance: 5 miles – 10 minutes
Seaside Beach is the beach of Bridgeport. It’s right next door to Stratford meaning you can get there super easy. Once again this is a local beach for Bridgeport residents with a hefty $40 per car charge for anyone out of town.
It is a pretty nice beach and it’s definitely more equipped than Short Beach in Stratford itself. The sandy shore is clean and beautiful. It’s a nice place for families. We’ve found the beach to be pretty clean most of the time.
You’ll find picnic opportunities, lifeguards in the season, and beach volleyball courts. It’s a great beach and it’s rightfully popular among the locals. It usually fills up during summer but it’s a beach close to Stratford and it’s one of the better ones.
3. Silver Sands Beach
Distance: 5 miles – 10 minutes
Silver Sands Beach is part of Silver Sands State Park. It’s a nice state park on the shore with some interesting trails and tons of opportunities for bird-watching.
There are also opportunities for fishing and there is the beach which is a nice sandy beach. Sometimes the waves put small rocks and even small shells on the sand so it’s best to have some comfortable footwear if you plan to visit.
CT Residents can park free but if you have a plate that’s out of state you’ll need to pay $40. It’s an overall nice beach near Stratford with opportunities to explore the state park itself.
4. Hammonasset Beach State Park
Distance: 35 miles – 40 minutes
We already featured Hammonasset Beach as one of our favorites in our area but once again we must highlight this amazing place. Especially considering it’s such a great beach near Stratford, CT.
This beach or rather state park is quite special on the CT coastline as it welcomes visitors from all over the nation. Okay, you still have to pay if you are not a CT resident but it’s only $22 on the weekends and even cheaper during weekdays.
The beach itself is a vast sandy beach with plenty of space for everyone. People from all over the coast love to come here so there is a little crowd but the sheer size of this beach makes it feel secluded and uncrowded.
We can safely recommend Hammonasset Beach State Park as one of the best on this list and it’s one of the cheapest as well.
There are grills, toilets, and picnic tables. There are no restaurants on the beach so we suggest that you bring your own food.
5. Sherwood Island State Park
Distance: 12 miles – 15 minutes
Yet another great state park that has a beach. You might be wondering why we mention all these state park beaches. It’s simple, as we’ve said in the beginning, the CT coast is full of private and resident-only beaches.
All of the small towns have beaches but almost all of them are simple and not worth the cost for non-residents. Hence, we are sticking to places that stand out from the crowd like amazing state parks.
Once again it’s free for CT residents and $22 for out-of-state plates. Sherwood Island State Park has pretty nice trails and amazing nature. The beach is reasonably big. It’s a sandy beach with plenty of space for every visitor.
Picnic tables are available in the state park and there is a nice clean toilet facility. There is even a model aircraft airport in the park. We usually find kids fascinated by the small aircraft and they love to watch them fly around. If the weather is good you’ll usually find some people out there flying their model airplanes.
6. Shady Beach Park
Distance: 19 miles – 25 minutes
Finally, we have Shady Beach Park as an excellent beach near Stratford. It’s a sandy beach with lifeguards, nice facilities, splash pads, and swings for children.
It’s one of the less crowded beaches in the area as it’s not a CT resident beach but a Norwalk resident beach. This means anyone not from Norwalk must pay $40 on weekdays and $60 on weekends. One of the most expensive beaches around!
If you can look over the price tag you’ll get an incredibly safe and clean beach. You can see that the money is put to good use and you’ll definitely be able to avoid the crowds by choosing Shady Beach Park.
+ 1 Quassy Amusement & Waterpark
Distance: 28 miles – 40 minutes
Our bonus pick is the Quassy Amusement and Waterpark. If you must pay for parking at most beaches anyway why not have a fun day out at the amusement park?
The season pass is $99 while daily passes are $41 for the amusement and waterpark and $31 for the waterpark only. If you are staying in the area for a longer period then the season pass is definitely a nice deal.
The waterpark has multiple slides, splash areas, and thrill rides. There is even a beach as the amusement park is right next to a lake, so you can definitely consider this one a beach as well. Overall, it’s a nice place to consider as you can create some great family memories together here.