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Life Can Be a Beach in Fairfield County

Why travel when you can head to the inviting shores along Long Island Sound?

Officially, we are a little less than two weeks into summer, but Connecticut’s residents – in particular those in Fairfield County – enjoyed the sights and sounds of the surf when the winds were biting in December.

The solitude of a walk on the sand on with a black Labrador while bundled in a turtleneck and scarf is peaceful and relaxing.

To stand at the Sept. 11 Memorial site on Sherwood Island and stare across the sound and gaps in the New York City skyline is sobering. It was calming to look out over the sands in the quiet of December and fun to wonder about the bustle and fun they’d be in July.

The National Ocean Service says there are 618 miles of tidal shoreline for the state of Connecticut, offering a multitude of recreational activities, from swimming to fishing to boating to just soaking up the sun.

While the beaches of New York and New Jersey border the Atlantic Ocean, Connecticut’s are off Long Island Sound, they are still attractive and versatile, nonetheless.

“There’s a lot of variety,” said Jeff Freidag, superintendent of the ’s Marine and Facility Operations Division. “It all depends on the kind of beach you are looking for.”

The beaches aren’t free, but favorable in comparison to Jones Beach and the Jersey Shore. Connecticut’s beaches are easy to get to be car or train.

“ (in Norwalk) is the fifth-ranked beach in the Tri-State area,” said Mike Mocciae, Director of recreation and parks in Norwalk. “It has become a destination spot for many.”

Here’s a thumbnail look at the hours, rules and other information on some of Fairfield County’s beaches:

Hours: Half-hour after sunrise and half-hour before sunset. Overnight camping (reservations only) allowed only on “island beaches” ( and ).

Admission: Residents, 5-15 ($5); 16-64 ($30); over 65 (free). Non-residents pay $20 per car plus $5 per individual. Free from Nov. 1 to April 1.

Cooking facilities: Grills available. Not allowed to bring your own. Concessions available.

Alcohol: Permitted, but not in glass containers.

Pets: Permitted during winter months. Only service dogs allowed during season.

Beach balls and ball playing: Not allowed on sand. Permitted on grassy, designated areas.

Rafting: Floatation devices allowed.

Fishing: Allowed in designated areas.

Lifeguards: Available Memorial Day through Labor Day, from 9 a.m., to 6 p.m.

Stamford

Hours:  9 a.m., to 7 p.m., on Cove Island; 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., on and West Beaches.

Admission: Resident with vehicle registered in Stamford, $20; without sticker the fee is $20 daily; seasonal, non-resident seasonal passes are $150, only valid during weekdays.

Cooking facilities: Grills and concessions. No grills at West Beach.

Alcohol: Not permitted after 9 p.m., in city parks; glass containers not permitted.

Pets: Service animals only. Dogs allowed on with leashes.

Beach balls and ball playing: In designated areas.

Rafting: Not allowed.

Fishing: In designated areas. Pier off Cummings Beach.

Lifeguards: Available, seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on all beaches.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., no overnight camping.

Admission: $40 non-resident; daily $40 per vehicle.

Cooking facilities: Available in picnic areas.

Alcohol:  Permitted, but glass containers not allowed on beach.

Pets: Service animals only.

Beach balls and ball playing: Not allowed in beach areas.

Rafting: No flotation devices allowed.

Fishing: Not allowed in designated swimming areas.

Lifeguards: 9 a.m., to 6 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Norwalk

Hours: 7 a.m., to 11 p.m., no overnight camping allowed.

Admission: Non-resident $20 per car. Free pass to residents.

Cooking facilities: Grills and concessions available. 

Alcohol: Allowed, but not in glass containers.

Pets: Only service dogs permitted.

Beach balls and ball playing: Not allowed on sand, but permitted on grassy areas. Volleyball, basketball and softball fields available.

Rafting: Designated areas for kayaks and canoes.

Fishing: Pier available.

Westport (Sherwood Island—see also Compo and Beaches)

Hours: 8 a.m., to sunset; no overnight camping allowed.

Admission: $9 for residents and $15 for non-residents during the week; $13 for residents and $22 for non-residents during the weekend. Season pass for Connecticut residents, $67 and $112 for out-of-state.

Cooking facilities: Grills and concession stands available.

Alcohol: Not allowed.

Pets: Service dogs permitted year round. Domestic dogs not allowed, April 15 to September 30.

Beach balls and ball playing: Allowed in grassy areas behind beach.

Rafting: Coast Guard approved products only.

Fishing:  In designated areas.

Lifeguard: 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., on East Beach.

Fairfield

Hours: Dawn to 11 p.m.

Admission: For , adult residents pay $8 daily and $10 weekends (children under 17 pay $4 and $6); non-resident adults pay $15 and $18 (children pay $8 and $12). For , admission is free, but from Memorial Day to Labor Day a beach sticker is required. Without a sticker the fee is $15 weekdays and $25 weekends.

Cooking facilities: Available, as are concession stands.

Alcohol: Not permitted.

Pets: Service animals only. Dogs and horses allowed, Oct. 1-March 31.

Beach balls and ball playing: In designated areas.

Rafting: In designated areas.

Fishing: In designated areas.

Lifeguards: Only on weekends, May 28 through June 19, then fulltime after June 24.

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