Silver Sands State Park

Sandy beaches, birds, a mile-long boardwalk, and seashells are the big attractions at Silver Sands State Park. The 297-acre park also includes Charles Island, connected to the beach via a sandbar (also known as a tombolo) visible at low tide. Once a privateer’s landing, this wooded island is now home to one of Connecticut’s largest heron and egret rookeries. Read on for some ideas.


Silver Sands beach stretches over a mile and features soft, white sand that is a popular four-season waterfront destination. It is rated one of the best beaches in Connecticut and boasts a three-quarter mile all-weather boardwalk, dunes, marshland, wildlife, and a dazzling array of seashells.

The park is also home to a significant number of birds, including a regularly used winter roost for Rough-legged Hawks and one of the largest wading bird rookeries in the state. It is also an Audubon Important Bird Area and a Long Island Sound Stewardship Site.

The sandbar connecting Silver Sands to Charles Island is exposed at low tide. This 14-acre tuft of beach, once a busy seaside resort and later a Catholic retreat, is now a sanctuary for herons and egrets. It is also rumored to be the location of Captain Kidd’s treasure, though nobody has ever actually found it! A free parking lot is available, but it can fill up on nice weekends.


Several miles of sandy beaches and boardwalks provide visitors with stunning views of the Long Island Sound. The park’s coastal habitats support important wading bird rookeries and salt marsh and dune restoration conducted by CT DEEP.

If you plan ahead and come at the right time, you can walk out to Charles Island – a small, 14-acre tuft of sand that was once home to seaside cottages, a religious retreat, and Captain Kidd’s buried treasure. Today, the island is an important wildlife sanctuary and is closed to the public from May 1 – August 31 so herons can nest in peace.

BSC Group provided planning, site design, geotechnical engineering, and structural and watertight design of the park’s new 3800-foot-long, all-weather boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park and Walnut Beach. Synthetic decking was designed along the entire length of the boardwalk. The result is the longest continuous boardwalk in Connecticut! During your visit, be sure to stop in the nearby Greek Spot Café for a bite to eat. We recommend the homemade challah French toast and killer iced coffee. Visit this site!

Picnic Areas

The picnic areas at Silver Sands State Park are a great place to relax and enjoy a meal. Pets are welcome here as long as they are on a leash that is no longer than 7 feet in length to help protect wildlife.

Miles of natural beach and wide boardwalks beckon visitors to this coastal oasis. The park also hosts educational and community events to promote conservation awareness. The 297-acre park is a bird sanctuary and provides nesting habitat for migratory wading birds and Least and Common Terns, and serves as an important stopover habitat for land birds.

The park’s sandy beaches, three-quarters of a mile of all-weather boardwalk, sand dunes, wooded trails, salt marsh, and wildlife make it a popular four-season waterfront destination. Silver Sands State Park occupies the site of 300 parcels and 75 homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Diane in 1955, which led to the state acquiring the land to transform it into a park.


Silver Sands State Park packs a stunning mosaic of coastal habitats into its 300 acres. A broad beach hemmed by boardwalk is accompanied by dunes, restored salt marsh, and woods along with the 14-acre bird sanctuary of Charles Island out in Long Island Sound.

Visitors can hike the entire length of a tombolo (sandbar) revealed at low tide or visit the popular dune walk. The boardwalk also connects to nearby Walnut Beach, owned and maintained by the city of Milford, for additional hiking, swimming, building sand castles, or casting a line.

A favorite family activity is the annual Sand Sculpture Contest, held in late July at the entrance to the park. Rules state that sculptors may use only sand and items found on the shoreline such as buckets, milk cartons, and flower pots to form their structures; no superstructures are allowed. Parking at the park is free to Connecticut-registered vehicles with a beach sticker. Check this helpful information.



Driving directions from Spartan Home Services to Silver Sands State Park

Driving directions from Silver Sands State Park to Short Beach Park


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