Update for 2016: This post was written in 2013. Since that date, the parking rates have increased significantly. The non-resident rate is now $20 during the week and $50 on weekends & holidays.
So when I think of summertime, I think of the beach. I just love the beach. I love the sand between my toes, I love the views, and I love that a beach day will usually totally wear out my two-year-old twins 🙂
Since becoming a Mom, I’ve only taken the kids to a few Connecticut beaches (Clinton, Hammonasset, and Old Lyme), so when a friend invited me to Fairfield to visit her local beach, I was excited to go.
Jennings Beach is located in Fairfield, Connecticut right off of 95 and is a very family friendly destination:
- Located right off the interstate, It is easy to find
- The beach area is large (not narrow like some of the other CT beaches I have visited)
- There is plenty of parking available
- The beach has:
- A concession stand
- Public restrooms and showers
- A really nice playground is located in the same area
We arrived around 10:30 in the morning on a Friday of the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. There was plenty of parking available.
Now I’ve only been to this beach on weekdays, so I don’t know if parking is challenging on the weekends (maybe someone can comment and let me know), but the parking lot is huge, so I can’t imagine that parking is every really a big issue.
After we parked, we headed towards the beach and entered through the back of the concession area.
For this outing not only did we bring the usual beach gear (umbrella, chairs, towels, toys, cooler, sunscreen, etc.) but we also brought the jogging stroller. It is easy to maneuver a stroller with big wheels from the parking area to the concession area and then a bit more challenging to maneuver it onto the beach, but it is completely doable. With a baby in tow, it makes a day at the beach so much easier if you bring a stroller or something else they can rest in (e.g. a pack-n-play).
I’ll give you more details on the concession area in a minute, but first, check out this pretty beach.
We got ourselves all set up somewhat near the water. I wasn’t sure where high tide was so I didn’t want to get too close and have to deal with moving everything again.
I liked that we were close to the concession stand and restrooms and right next to a lifeguard.
Everyone immediately wanted to go take a dip in the water and play in the sand.
Sweetheart went to work practicing her new standing skills.
And then it was snack time for the crew.
Before long it was lunch and nap time for the baby. I got her fed and down and hubby took the kids up to the concession stand for a bathroom break and bite to eat.
The beach pavilion is pretty straight forward. It includes: restrooms with changing areas, outdoor showers, picnic tables both in the shade and in the sun and a concession stand with, of course, food and beverages for sale. Even though we brought a lot of our own food and drinks with us, it was so nice to have the concession stand right there. Sometimes you just don’t want to lug all of our own stuff to the beach!
After lunch, the twins discovered the outdoor showers. Great.
Well, at least it kept them entertained for a while!
I finally coaxed them away from the showers and back to our sitting area. The weather was beautiful, the baby was napping, and I was hoping the kids would play in the water/sand and give me a chance to read a little of my book and maybe catch up a little with my sis. Well, I didn’t get much of the book read, but the kids did keep pretty busy with digging and pouring and playing with their Dad. You don’t really need much more than sand and water to keep a toddler entertained for a bit, right!
Before long, we knew we really needed to start packing up. The twins had pretty much missed their nap time (when would the meltdown start?) and I wanted to have them check out the sandcastle playground before we left. So, we packed back up, headed back to the concession stand for a restroom break, headed back to the car to drop off our stuff, and headed across the parking lot to the playground.
Here is a picture of the pathway from the parking area.
And here’s the playground!
The playground was big, had every feature you could imagine and my kids didn’t want to leave.
But alas, we had to leave and start making our way home to West Hartford. After a bit of a meltdown, my kids did finally fall fast asleep in the back seat. A combination of water, sun and sand is usually a good triple threat when it comes to wearing out toddlers and today was no different.
I love discovering new beach destinations in Connecticut and am so happy I finally got a chance to check out this great one!
Have you been to Jennings Beach? Any tips? What is your favorite Connecticut beach? Which one should we visit next?
Get directions here:
Hours & Admission:
This public beach is open year-round, but from Memorial Day to Labor Day a beach sticker or parking fee is required to park in the adjacent lot.
- Beach access is FREE
- Parking fees are $15 for Weekdays and $25 for Weekends and Holidays
- Beach stickers are available for residents and non-residents
- Only cash is accepted for parking fee payment
Tips & Things to Bring:
- The usual beach accessories: chairs, umbrella, towels, sunscreen, toys, etc.
- Cash for parking fee payment and food and beverage purchases.
- The beach pavilion includes: restrooms, a concession stand, and outdoor showers
- The concession stand has a variety of food and beverage items for sale. They also sell beach toys and other beach necessities. The stand only accepts cash for payment.
- The beach has lifeguards.
- Bring a jogging stroller if you need one. You can easily roll the stroller from the parking area to the beginning of the beach, but it will be a bit of a work out to get it through the stand. You can do it!
- The sandcastle playground is located across the parking lot from the beach.
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