CT question

While staring at maps (frequent locked in the house cold weather activity)

I see that the Connecticut coast must have a million nice places to paddle.

Can anyone suggest clubs, shops, or websites with paddling suggestions and info?

Maybe you’ve even paddled somewhere there. I would love to hear about it.


Access is the key
and you cannot just access anywhere.

Here is a link to state boat launches. State launches are open to all but at some times fees are charged.

Municipalities often have their own launches but you often have to be a resident or pay a hefty fee. For example Madison charges non residents $20 to use the Surf Club launch once. If you were a resident you can get a pass for your entire family for sixty bucks for the summer.

Connyak is probably your best source for clubs using Long Island Sound.

Connyak has a nice list of launch sites. http://connyak.org/

Many CT coastal land owners and their storm-trooper local cops are Nazis, and are unaware of the actual laws regarding access and landing rights on the coast.

You can educate yourself about your rights here:


Very true
And in fact in many coastal towns, the cops break the law by enforcing whatever “rules” they who have the most money dictate.

It’s gotten better in recent years, but you still need to know your rights under the law in this state, and be willing to back away even if you’re in the right. Stick to state boat ramps and hand launch areas, and you’ll have no problems. The listing at ConnYak’s website will keep you at commonly used launches, where you should have nothing but fun.


Discouraged? Don’t be
I lived in CT for 20 years till 2000 and the paddling is varied and plentiful.

Notwithstanding needing to know where to access. Of course a year long launch and beach pass in those good old days was ten bucks a family…LOL.

The only trouble I had with a shoreline landowner was when I went to change clothes in trees. The landowner thought I was using his property as a bathroom (I wasnt and was understandably upset).

Never had any cop trouble…but then again I knew most of the cops from my job.

CT Coastal Waters

– Last Updated: Mar-28-10 8:16 PM EST –

Here are the inside details from a local. Yes there is limited access but it is still plentiful you just have to know where to go. I will give you a brief primer on I what I like the most.

1)Norwalk Islands $20(per car not per boat) to launch in season from the town beach. Numerous islands of which you can land and camp on several of them.

2)Thimble Islands, Branford. Free launch if you can get a parking spot. Once again numerous islands but you can only land on one of them.

3)Great Island, Old Lyme. Free one again

4)East River, Madison. Another free one

5)Mystic River, Mystic. Free one,just upriver from the Mystic Seaport. As you go down river towards the sound there tends to be plenty of power boat traffic.

Keep in mind there are many more access points available also you can land on any beach as long as you stay below the mean high tide mark.

I second Connyak for a great launch directory.

I wouls also recommend the Norwalk Islands for some nice scenic paddling. Depending on time and experience you can play around the sheltered areas behind the islands or out to open water for some texture. It’s busy in the summer so beware of boat traffic. I went out a few weeks ago and it was nice and quiet.


I only paddle salt water from my sailboat, but a few free sites i know of to launch are…

  1. Old Saybrooks North Cove. End of Sheffield lane, there’s a dock and dinghy ramp. Launch there, just make sure to park your car back up the street at the school.

    2)New London. There’s a piece of crap public beach on Pequot ave. by the marinas. I’m real sure you could launch here. Park on the st., or if it’s full, there’s parking up the driveway across from Thamesport marina.

    3)Bluff Point in Groton. I know they do big gatherings here with clubs and a wooden paddle craft show.
  2. Niantic River is beautiful, and I know there’s a few areas where you can park along the river.

Meigs Pt at Hammonassett…
is a great place to launch BUT NOT ON BEACH WEEKENDS!

Crowds are ridiculous, they park where they’re not supposed too and plop blankets all over the launch area. During the week, fantastic access to the Sound or (I think) the Lieutenant River.

Also the treatment plant at the end of Bic Drive in Milford provides parking, a real ramp that’s walk-in only, and access to the Housatonic River south of Sikorsky.

Pilgrim’s Landing off Exit 70 I-95 N. Left off the ramp and look left. This is across from Calves Island at the Mouth of the CT River. Acccess to “The Zipper”, a great sandbar to play in the surf when the tides are right.

Not necessary to go into Hammonasset

There is a hand launch site where Rt 1 bridge crosses the Hammonasset River at the Madison Clinton line.

Ct shoreline access
There was map called “Connecticut Coastal Access Guide” that was jointly published about ten years ago by CT DEP and Long Island Sound Councils, Assembly & Foundation. It was the best such map I’ve ever seen and was available at DEP facilities and tourist info booths. This map showed almost all DEP coastal launches as well as many public ones. It’s long out of publication and my copies are most valued.

This comprehensive map has been split into a number of sections and they can each be downloaded separately from the DEP. While much less convenient, the info is still available. The loss is that you can’t see the big picture of the whole CT Long Island Sound coast in one map or carry it with you. I guess now you will have to pull out your smart phone from it’s dry bag to check on launch sites.