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A Walk at Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic, Connecticut

I like to get outdoors and walk, especially if my surroundings are beautiful. I enjoy sharing my favorite spots with others.

View from the boardwalk at Rocky Neck

View from the boardwalk at Rocky Neck

Walking at Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic, Connecticut

Rocky Neck is a Connecticut State Park located in Niantic, Connecticut. It is a very popular beach and campground in the summer. So popular that during a heat wave or on holiday, the park often runs out of parking, and access to the park is closed.

But during the off-season and off-hours, Rocky Neck offers great walking opportunities. You can enjoy the quiet of the seashore with no hassle. In the summer, the crowds lessen in the late afternoon, and with the sea breeze, it is often very comfortable to take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk or at the water's edge.

Currently, there is no admission fee for Connecticut residents. Still, you can check the Rocky Neck website to find up-to-date information. There is also a link on that page to the area's water quality.

This is a link to a hiking map. There are options for a more active and strenuous hike rather than the easy going boardwalk stroll. The more challenging hike is pretty much in the opposite direction of the boardwalk. It's an option for the cooler months.

It Is in a Very Convenient Location

After you enter the park and take the road to the beach, there is a large parking lot.

The train tracks separate the parking from the beach area, but at either end of the parking lot, there is a stone bridge underpass that will give you access to the beach and boardwalk areas.

Once you go under the railroad, you have a choice of either walking the boardwalk or going down to the water and walking the shore.

The boardwalk has benches along the way to stop, sit and enjoy the scenery. I love to pause a while on a bench. I listen to the waves and inhale the sea air. It's very soothing for me to just sit there with the warm evening sun on me.

There are a number of picnic benches scattered about. If you choose to bring a picnic lunch or dinner, these are there for you to use. During peak beach times, you'll find a concession stand open which sells hotdogs, sodas, etc.

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Restrooms are open during peak season times, as well as showers. During the off-season, there are just port-a-potties.

Information on Enjoying the Park

Admission to the park is free for Connecticut residents. For non-residents, the fee is $15.00 during the week and $22.00 on the weekend.

The area also offers many campsites that range from $20.00 a night for residents to $30.00 for non-residents. You can check out this link for more information on fees, permits and seasonal passes for camping. They also have information on hours of operation, park availability, camping restrictions and reservations.

What Else to Do in the Area?

If you turn right out of Rocky Neck and keep going, you will come across plenty more activities to do in the area.

I highly recommend the Book Barn, which is very close by. It is a huge used book store consisting of many separate cottages. Each with a cute name such as "The Haunted." Their shed called "Ellis Island" has the new arrivals. They are all nestled in the garden, and there are picnic tables if you would like to bring your own lunch.

They also buy books daily, so if you're trying to get some off your hands, you can do so here while enjoying the charming setting. They used to have an annual sale in January that has been recently moved to October. The sale lasts for nine days, so you have plenty of time to make it over.

There are a number of rescue cats that wander freely around the property and sit on the bookshelves. On top of that, you can also observe their goats frolicking nearby.

Further down the road, in the town of Niantic, the Book Barn has satellite shops. You can stop in the downtown location as you stroll Main Street downtown.

Don't overlook the town of Niantic itself. There are a lot of very unique shops and a wide range of restaurants on Main Street and on the crossroad of Route 161. The street behind Main Street is Hope Street.

My favorite health store, Natural Food Store, is there and right next to a great Mexican Restaurant, La Llorona. There are more restaurants, breweries and even a cinema right on the surrounding blocks.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

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