A short stroll at Silver Sands State Park in Connecticut

It’s my first visit to Connecticut, and one of the things I like to do when I get to visit a state for the first time is to visit a state park to learn more about the local nature and history. After spending the afternoon in downtown New Haven, we fancied some fresh air and headed to Silver Sands State Park in Milford, a few miles away.

Silver Sands State Park is located on the shore of Long Island Sound, about 90 minutes east of New York City. It protects 300 acres of Connecticut’s coastal ecosystem and includes, among other things, salt marshes, sand dunes and pretty beaches.

It was still very crowded when we arrived in the late afternoon (lots of people where there to enjoy the beach on this warm summer day). After paying our entrance fee, we began our exploration of the state park.

Tidal marsh at Silver Sands State Park
Hello beautiful Connecticut

Silver Sands State Park was established in a location where there were previously residences. After 75 of these residences were destroyed by Hurricane Diane in 1955, the state purchased the property and slowly began restoring it to return the site to its historic coastal past. Work was also carried out to restore the inland acreage that was used as a municipal landfill until 1977.


A large boardwalk connects the parking lots to the beach, and provides up-close views of the Sliver Sands tidal marsh. I spotted some great egrets and red-winged blackbirds there. It is said that more than 200 species of birds have been recorded in this state park, which serves as an important nesting and foraging area.

Boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park
The boardwalk, a highlight of Silver Sands State Park

The boardwalk continues along the beach, making it accessible along its entire length. The tide was high when I walked there, but there were still a lot of people on the beach and along the boardwalk.

Boardwalk over the water at Silver Sands State Park
A busy day along the Long Island Sound

The boardwalk continues to Walnut Beach, which is not part of Silver Sands State Park. Beyond that, the Long Island Sound shoreline is developed, and the beach is lined with private residences. The state park therefore protects a small natural haven in an urban area.


In the distance, it is possible to see Charles Island, which is part of the state park. Charles Island is connected to the beach by a sandbar (also called tombolo), only visible at low tide. Rumor has it that the pirate William Kidd buried a treasure there in the 17th century, but all that has been found there are the ruins of a Catholic retreat center. Note that access to Charles Island is prohibited between May and September, as it is an important nesting site for herons and egrets.

Beach and island at Silver Sands State Park
Charles Island, on the horizon

After walking along the beach, I decided to take a trail back to the parking lot. This one wasn’t really marked, and I’m not sure it was part of the trail network of the park. But it did me good to leave behind the crowds on the beach and walk into this little coastal wooded area.

Trail at Silver Sands State Park
A quiet trail somewhere in the park

It ended up being a simple and quick visit, but I really enjoyed exploring this little corner of nature in the suburbs of New Haven. And I can’t wait to go explore other state parks!


  1. We spent a weekend in Connecticut a number of years ago and I believe a return trip is in order. This state park will definitely be on the list. I’m such a fan of marshy areas and beaches. That looks like a fantastic boardwalk to take a stroll and see some of the birds and other creatures and critters up close.

    1. Yes, Connecticut ended up being a pleasant surprise, and there are so many other parks and areas we haven’t had the opportunity to visit. I definitely want to go back! 🙂

    1. Nice! I was suprised how for such a small state, there were many interesting state parks! I’m preparing a story on Gillette Castle State Park which I also really liked! 🙂

    1. I would definitely go back to Connecticut, plenty of things to do and see! Thanks for reading John!

  2. Oh, Vanessa, you’re inspiring my wanderlust. What a gorgeous park, and to think it was once a residential area and landfill! Connecticut is one of the four states in the northeastern US that we have not visited, but we are itching to go! Thank you for sharing this great park.

    1. It was also our first time in Connecticut, and even though it’s a small state, it has plenty of beautiful spots to offer. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. So glad they protected this area. Coastal walks can be a real joy, if they are not too crowded. Have a great weekend Vanessa. Allan

    1. It was a bit crowded, but I ended up finding some quieter spots within the park. Thanks for reading Allan, have a great weekend too! 🙂

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