Connecticut’s Best Public Beach
When you think of the perfect beach, what comes to mind? If you said, “soft sands, plenty to do and a boardwalk with a view,” then you just described Ocean Beach Park in New London. This public beach is not only a beloved Connecticut institution, but is also known throughout New England and was even named one of the best beaches by National Geographic.
Ocean Beach Park faces the Long Island Sound where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, and boasts a half-mile of soft, “sugar-sand” shores, giving beachgoers plenty of room to spread out, and plenty of opportunity to build that perfect sandcastle. A truly family friendly destination, the beach is lined by a wide-plank boardwalk where shade-seekers can find covered benches, as well as binoculars offering coveted views of New London Ledge Light and even across to Montauk on a clear day.
On the other side of the boardwalk lies all the main attractions, including an Olympic-sized pool, triple water slide, mini golf course, rides and games, a spray park, nature trails, a gift shop and concessions, just to name a few!
The 50-meter swimming pool is a great option to have on a hot day, or just when you want to switch things up from the ocean. The water slides are also a hit with the big kids and offer incredible views from the top.
For the little ones, there’s a free spray park for kids 8 and under to cool off, as well as a kiddie ride section that will surely bring back fond memories of your own childhood, with classic rides like a carousel, train ride, bumble bee fliers and more. For the older kids and grownups, the Scrambler should do the trick for an adrenaline rush.
There’s also an arcade, an 18-hole mini golf course and nature trails offering scenic views of Alewife Cove.
Feeling hungry? There are plenty of options for food and drink, including the Sandbar Café located on the upper deck overlooking the beach and boardwalk, offering full-service meals and adult beverages. For fast food, check out the Boardwalk Galley on the lower level, also overlooking the ocean and serving up beachside favorites like their famous clam fritters. For a sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with a soft-serve cone from the Boardwalk Creamery.
While Ocean Beach Park is a popular destination all summer long, one of the best times to go is Monday nights, when they host their weekly “Cruise Nights” sponsored by local radio station, Classic Hits 98.7. Antique cars and other interesting vehicles “cruise by” while a live DJ spins classic music. Parking and admission are free, and there are special deals on rides, mini golf and the water slide as well.
Other special events include beach blanket movie nights, magic shows, trivia nights and a live music series at the Boardwalk Stage.
Ready to hit the road? Ocean Beach Park is located at 98 Neptune Avenue in New London. There is a parking fee per car, which includes admission for up to five people, or you can walk-on and pay a per-person entrance fee.