40 Favorite Places Around Connecticut and Long Island Sound

To celebrate CFE/Save the Sound’s 40th anniversary, our members, staff, board members, and supporters helped us assemble a master list of 40 treasured places around Connecticut and Long Island Sound. Take a look and you might discover a new favorite place of your own!

1. Rocky Top property, Hamden, CT
“In Hamden, one of our favorite places is the newly protected Rocky Top property recently acquired by the Hamden Land Conservation Trust. Great place to hike and open to the public.” – Willow Sirch, CFE/Save the Sound grant writer



2. Headwaters of the Niantic River, East Lyme, CT
These lovely young deer entertained me for over one half hour at this low tide in an area we call Golden Spur—the headwaters of the Niantic River and abutting the lovely Oswegatchie Hills. Fishing, crabbing, birding, kayaking, boating and hiking are all available. Great place to love and play.” – David Robinson


3. Charles Island, Milford, CT

“The lush greenery and croaking egrets in the summer; the burning sunsets and relaxing calls of the loons in fall/winter. Paddle, boat, or even walk to the island. It’s amazing how being just a half-mile offshore can give you a whole new perspective.” – Joey Eigenberg



4. Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT
“Eagle Landing State Park and Clark Creek Wildlife Management Area is a beautiful strip of land along the Connecticut River overlooking the Goodspeed Opera House and antique swing bridge. As an important riparian buffer, it provides water filtration, sediment capture, habitat for wildlife and plants, as well as access to the river and scenic parkland for the public. Otherwise known as the Haddam Land Swap property, it is the posterchild of open space protection and will always remain a stark reminder of how much we stand to lose if we don’t protect our public spaces in Connecticut.” – Melissa Schlag, CFE/Save the Sound advocacy communications specialist

5. A Pond in East Mianus, CT

“When I sit in my Adirondack chair, the busy world disappears and I am at peace; one with the dragonflies and the Great Blue Heron pacing the far edge of the pond.” – Leslie Lee, CFE/Save the Sound board chair





6. Silver Sands State Park, Milford, CT
“We love this beach to walk along and to find sea glass!” – Kristin Jones





7. Water Company Land, Various Locations, CT

“My favorite places include the water company owned land around the state that work to preserve and protect sources of drinking water while also providing for incredible recreational opportunities such as hiking trials, fishing, etc. CFE has been key a stakeholder, understanding how special, precious and unique these lands are to the protection of public health.” – Lori J. Mathieu, Public Health Section Chief, Drinking Water Section, Connecticut Department of Public Health

8. Mohawk State Park, Litchfield, CT
“The perfect year-round health club for the outdoorsy, offering great hikes and roads for biking and walking three seasons, a spring fed pond for summer swims and, of course, Mohawk Mountain for skiing as well as cross country skiing and sledding.” – Katherine Freygang



9. Thimble Islands, Branford, CT
“I love the Thimble Islands, especially Outer Island, in Branford, CT. It is a great place to kayak, and Outer Island is the only one that the public can visit.” – Kenny Foscue







10. Cummings Park and Beach, Stamford, CT
“One of my favorite places on Long Island Sound is Cummings Park and Beach in Stamford, CT. At the beach there is a long fishing pier that begs to be walked. If you stand all the way at the end of this pier you can see my old elementary school, my dad’s flounder fishing spot, ALC Beach in Shippan, Vincent Island and the “fort,” Long Island and the smoke stacks, Stamford Land Conservation Trust Nature Preserves, boats coming and going, memories of Stamford Fireworks, and of course if you look back in to the park you will see the greatest winter-time sled hill in all of Stamford.” – Marina DeLuca, CFE/Save the Sound executive assistant




11. Madison, CT
“These dogs fetch, and leave no trace!” – Cinny MacGonagle









12. Westbrook Harbor, Westbrook, CT
“Nightfall on Long Island Sound last week. The sunsets heading into fall are spectacular on the Sound. This is in Westbrook Harbor with Duck and Menunketesuck Islands in the distance.” – Chris Cryder, CFE/Save the Sound land campaign manager



13. Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center, Milford Point, CT
“I have been volunteering at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center for 15 years. The Wheeler Salt Marsh, during any season is incredibly beautiful. We have a large variety of shore birds visiting us during the spring and fall migrations. Eagles occasionally will be on the marsh fishing in the winter. Our ospreys are our yearly visitors. Sunsets on the marsh change from pink to orange to gold and the marsh grasses colors change to beautiful hues of gold and orange in the fall. Our beach on Long Island Sound is a host for many migrating shore birds—Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, Least terns and other tern and plover populations. Whether it is a calm day and the water is like glass, or a windy, blustery day and the waves crash onto the shore, the Coastal Center’s beach and salt marsh are one of my favorite natural places in Connecticut.” – Beverly Propen




14. Niantic River and Oswegatchie Hills, East Lyme, CT
“Always beautiful as you go across Rt 1 from East Lyme into Waterford.” – Deb Moshier-Dunn



15. West Neck Beach, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington, NY
“Clean water, few motor boats!” – Kevin Roberts

16. West Rock Ridge State Park, Hamden/New Haven, CT

“20+ miles of trails at West Rock are perfect for trail running and mountain biking. Lucky to have so many amazing trails in an urban area. The best part is connecting them to other trails in surrounding towns to make large loops. Large variety of plant and animal life, as well. There is prickly pear cactus on the southwest ridge! I’ve seen bears (well, one bear), bobcats, foxes, coyotes, owls, colorful birds (scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, etc.), hawks, copperhead snakes, hog-nosed snakes, and more.” – Annalisa Paltauf, Save the Sound green projects administrative assistant




17. Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, CT
“The view out to the Sound is gorgeous, and I love this pic of two trees holding hands.” – Joseph DiMaggio, director of member engagement





18. Mulberry Point, Guilford
“As seen from a drone, this is Mulberry Point in Guilford, CT, our home away from home. There’s nothing quite like the sound of the waves and the sea gulls here to make you feel completely relaxed.” – Dawn Henry, CFE/Save the Sound board member







19. Buttonwood Farm, Griswold, CT
“A beautiful farm that supports an amazing organization… Make-A-Wish.” – Sandy Mieczkowski








20. Marsh at Sherwood Island State Park, Westport, CT
“My favorite place is the marsh behind Sherwood Island Park where I spent a lot of hours fishing as a kid catching snappers and fiddler crabs. It was away from the beach crowds and felt like a miniature wilderness. Now my son, Henry, can enjoy these same adventures.” – Long Island Soundkeeper Bill Lucey





21. Wadsworth Falls, Middletown, CT
“I love it there because of the wonderful hiking trails and of course the two beautiful waterfalls. It is a hidden gem in Middletown and along with the falls and hiking trails, it has a great little beach spot and picnic area.” – Michelle LeMere, CFE/Save the Sound assistant director, member relations and annual fund





22. Marshlands Conservancy, Rye, NY
“The Marshlands abut Milton Harbor and create a beautiful, serene and natural backdrop… Forest, meadow, salt marsh and shore can be explored and appreciated here.” – Libby Alexander, CFE/Save the Sound board member






23. The Airline Trail, East Hampton, CT
“Lovely views of the forest and great for getting exercise and connecting with wildlife!” – Brian Gay







24. Oswegatchie Hills, East Lyme, CT
“My favorite hike, Oswegatchie Hills in East Lyme—460 acres preserved in the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, and 236 acres still need to be saved!” – Suzanne Thompson, Oswagatchie Hills Coalition coordinator






25. Tod’s Point, Greenwich, CT
“Tod’s Point. Preferably with a paddleboard or clam rake.” – Peter Linderoth, Save the Sound water quality program manager







26. Quarry Pond, Branford, CT
“My favorite quarry pond in Branford—calm, peaceful, unspoiled, and a three minute walk to the beautiful LI Sound.” – Evan Heller, CFE/Save the Sound board member








27. Salt Meadow Park, Madison, CT
“Here is a picture of the former Griswold Airport, now Salt Meadow Park in Madison, CT. We (Trust for Public Land when I was there) helped the town buy the land which was going to be developed, conserved 22 acres, including the coastal forest and turned it into a town park.” – Alicia Sullivan, CFE/Save the Sound chief development officer





28. Top of East Rock, New Haven

“What’s great about this place is that every time you go you can see something different, and despite it being such a bustling city, it’s surrounded by so much nature.” – Joseph DiMaggio, director of member engagement





29. Sperry Falls, Woodbridge, CT

“Local swimming hole on Sargent Brook (tributary of the West River). Lovely, quiet spot for a swim in the middle of a hot trail run or bike ride!” – Annalisa Paltauf, Save the Sound green projects administrative assistant






30. Pine Grove, Niantic, CT
– Petie Reed









31. Bantam Lake, Litchfield, CT
“This a painting I did at Point Folly, Bantam Lake. The largest natural lake in CT. Summer heaven…not everything is LIS!” – Diane Stoner, CFE/Save the Sound board member







32. West Wharf Beach, Madison, CT
“One my favorite places… in my favorite mode of transport. Long Island Sound from West Wharf Beach, Madison.” – Alicia Sullivan, CFE/Save the Sound chief development officer







33. Stony Creek and Thimble Islands, Branford, CT
“We are relatively new to the area and this was one of our first experiences with the Sound and the New England coast when we arrived four years ago. It was a wonderful evening and gave us a sense of connection and welcome to Connecticut.” – Todd Cort, CFE/Save the Sound board member





34. Goldsmith Inlet, Peconic, NY

“Across the mouth of the inlet, the near part of the beach and dune system is Goldsmith Inlet County Park. Further along are a mix of private lands and two other County Parks—Soundview Dunes County Park and Peconic Dunes County Park. Kenney’s Beach is where the cottages are in the background. Furthest east is Horton’s Point, where there is a famous lighthouse. Long Island Sound on the left, of course, all the way!” – Louise Harrison, Save the Sound New York natural areas coordinator


35. East River Nature Preserve and Westwoods, Guilford, CT
“The East River Nature Preserve or the Westwoods in Guilford, both of which are part of the Guilford Land Conservation Trust holdings.” – Roger Reynolds, CFE/Save the Sound, chief legal officer & general counsel



36. Plum Island, NY

“My favorite place to save: Plum Island, NY!” – Melissa Schlag, CFE/Save the Sound advocacy communications specialist







37. The Preserve, Old Saybrook, CT
“Early June in The Preserve. A blanket of mountain laurel, our state flower, begins to open.” – Chris Cryder, CFE/Save the Sound land campaign manager




38. Hamburg Cove on the CT River, Lyme, CT
 – Martin Dodd, CFE/Save the Sound legal consultant


39. Rocky Neck State Park Beach, Niantic, CT
“I love the sandbar that forms at low tide. You can wander far offshore, exploring the exposed underwater landscape and meeting all sorts of interesting creatures. Nearby Bride Brook is a Save the Sound habitat restoration site that now supports a thriving alewife run.” – Ariel Shearer, CFE/Save the Sound member engagement specialist




40. Kelsey Island, Branford, CT
“This is the view from our 24’x16’ cottage shack where we’ve lived unplugged, un-electrified, and with one spigot off the deck every summer for a quarter-century. Kelsey Island is a magic place. I suppose it is the night sounds of cicadas, waves breaking on the beach, and the occasional hoot of the great horned owl that I am most in love with. Three upland spines of pitch pine dominated woods growing out of lovely pink granite connected by marsh.

This is the view from our deck, out on Horseshoe Beach, a small barrier beach protecting that marsh behind. We witnessed this beach being rolled back about 20 feet onto the marsh during Superstorms Irene and Sandy—a process that has occurred for centuries and is now accelerating. The dunes were flattened, leveled, and denuded. But over the past five years they have re-vegetated and reformed. A reminder that this wonderful, dynamic living system is fully responsive to storm events and will continue to migrate—so long as we don’t mistake this habitat as an immobile building site.

I remember a moment now a decade past. I hopped off the deck to bail wash water from our cistern. As I listened to the beat of the waves, and felt my pulse, I realized they were in exact sync. Peaceful magic.” – Curt Johnson, president of CFE/Save the Sound


Want to add your favorite place to the list? Write to Ariel.


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