PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2011 (our very first post ever!), and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it may also contain some outdated information. Please be sure to check the state park website for the latest information on Hammonasset Beach Park and the Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale website for that most current information on that destination. As of February 2018, there is one big change at Connecticut State Parks: parking is now FREE for Connecticut residents! Find out more about the new Passport to Parks program here.
Oh how I love the Connecticut summers . . . the weather is in the 80’s, there is a nice breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. I need to get out of the house and enjoy this!
Lucky for me, my adorable niece decided to visit us for two weeks this summer and allowed me the opportunity to venture out into new territory with baby Bruiser and baby Sparkles. She was visiting us from Florida, so I thought it was only right to check
out one of the Connecticut beaches with the expert on sun, surf and sand.
We decided to head to Hammonasset State Park in Madison County mainly because I had been there before and knew a little about what to expect. (I had never been there with two 5 month old babies, though, so this would certainly be an adventure.)
I packed the car with the following accessories:
- Jogging stroller – I use the Bumbleride Indie Twin (love it!)
- Two chairs – I highly recommend the backpack chairs
- Sun Umbrella (with SPF protection)
- Sun Hats
- Beach blanket
- Beach towels
- Diaper bag with all the essentials
- Sun tan lotion
- A good book (wishful thinking)
- A cooler with snacks and drinks
- Two baby bjorns
Our plan was to drive down during the babies’ morning nap, hang out on the beach for a few hours and then grab a bite to eat at a yummy seafood restaurant nearby.
We got to the beach around 12. This was a good bit later than I would have preferred, but it seemed to work out fine. We paid $13 and saw two options for places to park: Middle Lot and West Lot, we decided to park in the West Lot. There was a huge parking lot with plenty of parking.
We loaded up the kids in the stroller, got all our other accessories and headed out to the beach.
Fortunately, this beach is handicap accessible, so that also makes it accessible for someone with a stroller. I brought my jogging stroller, but I think any type of stroller would work.
As we walked in there were large bathrooms with separate changing areas and a baby changing station. You could easily get a stroller in and out on your own.
Oh – there was also a little snack stand selling lots of goodies. We didn’t try anything because we had brought our own food, but it was great to know that it was there if we needed it.
The kids were ready for their day at the beach, so we headed out to find our spot. There is a little pathway that runs along the edge of the beach that allows you to easily roll your stroller till you find your perfect spot. You do have to do a bit of a workout to get the stroller from the walkway to your spot in the deep sand. Boy did my legs hurt after that.
We found a perfect spot on the beach and enjoyed a beautiful day!
The only negative item is that it seems the beach has experienced a lot of errosion and therefore the beach is pretty narrow and a little steep. Given the narrowness of the beach and the fact that it is a State Park, it can get a bit crowded, but if you don’t mind making friends with your neighbors, it will suite you fine.
Bruiser and I shared a mommy and me moment.
We had a very enjoyable time at the beach. The kids even took a nice nap in their stroller and I got a chance to read some of my book. Shocking!
Well, after a few hours, we got hungry and I suggested we hop back in the car and drive a short ways to a great place for yummy seafood, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale Restaurant. My stomach was growling just thinking about fried shrimp, the perfect summer meal!
The really fun thing about this restaurant is that they not only have great seafood, but they also have salt water taffy and ice cream for sale and a carousel on site! Not such an exciting thing for two babies, but a ton of fun for toddlers and older kids. The carousel is $1 and the money goes to charity. The soft serve kids cup was $1.89. There were also picnic tables in the back and tons of room for kids to run around.
So, we loaded up the kids in my double jogging stroller and rolled right into the restaurant.
Now, I have to admit that it was a little challenging to get my stroller through the restauarant, but I did it. In the back section there are booths with a very wide aisle and I was easily able to park my stroller in the aisle and my neice and I sat in the booth. It was helpful to have someone else with me, because I think it would have been challenging to try and get my stroller up to the front counter to order. I parked the stroller with my neice, and then went up to the front counter, ordered and brought back our food.
If you are out and about with one child that still needs to be carried, I would strongly recommend bringing them in a baby carrier instead of a stroller. With twins, though, I don’t always have a lot of options. Also, I checked out the bathroom and there is no baby changing station, so keep that in mind if you need to change your little one!
Hammonasset Beach State Park:
1288 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT
Get directions here:
The park is open from 8 am to sunset.
Parking Fees (updated July 2016):
It is best to check the state park fee information page here for the latest information, but in general, for a CT resident, it is $13 per car on the weekend and $9 per car on the weekday. Sales tax will no longer be added to the fee.
Many libraries offer a state park pass as part of their museum pass program. This pass is free to check out and waives the vehicle entrance fee at state parks during the summer. Check here for a list of many of the state library museum pass programs.
You can also get a Connecticut State Park Season Pass for $67 for the calendar year that allows you unlimited access to any state park. More information can be found here.
Cash to pay the parking fee, stroller, umbrella, sun protection items, chairs, and a beach blanket
More items than you can carry! Depending on where you park, it can be a decent walk to your beach spot.
For more information, please check out the Hammonasset Beach State Park website.
Also, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale is at 1301 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT
Get directions here:
- Fast, Friendly & Efficient Counter Service
- Indoor and Outdoor Seating
- Air Conditioned Porch
- Enjoy The Largest Outdoor Picnic in New England!
- Bring Your Own Beer & Wine
- Hundreds of Picnic Table Seats in Our Outdoor
- Spacious Picnic Area with Our Carousel & Pavillon
- Mastercard & Visa Accepted