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The dog days of summer are here, and we are looking at a stretch of warm, sunny weather next week. It’s time to talk places to cool off!

Connecticut has a number of great swimming spots- beaches, lakes, creeks, you name it!

Many of the state parks have spots that are totally free of charge for CT Residents. Towns also offer numerous swimming spots- some do have fees, but the ones on the list are worth it.

PS- Looking for more of a pool day? We’ve got you covered. Splash Pads more your scene? We’ve got those too. 

Swimming Spots in Litchfield and Fairfield County:

Black Rock State Park, Watertown:

Per DEEP: “Black Rock offers excellent swimming, hiking, scenic views, and Native American legend all tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the Western Highlands.” Definitely a worthy stop!

Burr Pond State Park- Torrington:

This swimming spot dates back to the Civil War and Industrial Revolution. It features a beautiful pond and some great hiking trails.

Candlewood Lake Town Park, Danbury: 

Beautiful town spot with concessions, lifeguards, and a great beach. Note that day use fees apply.

Indian Well State Park- Shelton:

Indian Well boats some gorgeous water falls with fantastic swimming- plus shaded areas for picnics and hiking!

Lake Waramaug State Park- Kent:

Many people flock to this lake in the fall (the foliage mirrored across the lake is STUNNING) but it’s also a fantastic summer swimming spot.

Mt. Tom State Park- Litchfield

Hike to the fire tower for some fantastic views, then cool off in the swimming hole.

Sherwood Island State Park- Westport:

Connecticut’s first state park is still a popular swimming spot- and with good reason! It’s a great place to splash around in the Sound.

Silver Sands State Park- Milford: 

This half mile of coastline is beautiful and features tons of fun spots to swim around in!

Note that the sandbar (also known as a tombolo) between Silver Sands State Park and Charles Island overwashes twice daily with tidal flooding, which produces dangerous currents and undertow. Do not walk the sandbar when it is covered in any water.

Squantz Pond State Park- New Fairfield:

Beautiful blue pond and sandy beach nestled within the hills makes this a popular swimming spot on a hot day!

Swimming Spots in Hartford and New Haven County:

Hammonasset Beach State Park- Madison:

This is Connecticut’s largest beach, and it is one of my personal favorites. It features tons of sand, some small waves, and is just an all around good time! Free for CT Residents.

Stratton Brook State Park- Simsbury:

Per DEEP: ” Stratton Brook offers swimming, picnicking, and interpretive programs in a beautifully wooded setting, with wheelchair accessibility.”

Wharton Brook State Park- Wallingford: 

Kids will love playing in the brook or picnicking along the sandy knolls.

Swimming Spots in Middlesex and New London County:

Chatfield Hollow State Park- Killingworth: 

Explore caves, rock formations, and then cool of with a dip at this fun state park.

Day Pond State Park- Colchester:

Day Pond State Park offers a chance to swim in the pond while boasting an impressive amount of Colonial history.

Gardner Lake State Park- Salem:

Gardner Lake State Park may be small, but the lake itself is not- over 500 acres of boating, swimming, and adventure await!

Green Falls Pond- Voluntown: 

Swimming and hiking along the Rhode Island Boarder. There is a small sandy beach on the Northern portion that is perfect for a dip between hikes and waterfall gazing.

Hopeville Pond State Park- Griswold 

Swim, camp, float, or relax at Hopeville Pond. It’s also a popular spot for kayakers!

Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area- Chester:

Another great local swimming spot. It’s secluded and is a great way to spend the day connecting with nature!

Rocky Neck State Park- East Lyme:

This is a great beach for wildlife as well as a fun swimming spot. Splash around in the waves (bring your water shoes since it can be a little, well, rocky!) and then hunt for ospreys, herons, and more!

Wadsworth Falls State Park- Middlefield/Middletown:

Swim in the smaller fall areas (avoid the big areas, it’s not allowed and also fairly dangerous!). Gorgeous hiking as well!

Swimming Spots in Tolland and Windham County

Bigelow Hollow State Park, Union:

The 18 acre Bigelow Pond, and 300 acre Mashapaug Pond are two favorite spots to cool off, fish, and have a great time with the whole family. It’s also a popular hiking spot with some incredibly cool caves.

Gay City Stay Park- Hebron

Gay City State Park has some interesting history to it (think: mill town ruins and industrial era exploration), but our kids really just love splashing around in the pond!

Patriot Park, Coventry:

Fun sandy beach on Coventry Lake. Features a playground, swimming, boat launch, and more!

  • Weekends & Holidays: $30/vehicle
  • Weekdays (Monday – Friday): $15/vehicle
Quaddick State Park- Thompson:

The cool reservoir water combined with a sandy beach area is a perfect area for a swim on a hot day.

Sandy Beach- Ellington:

Beautiful guarded lake with sandy beach. Note that fees apply:

  • $10 Adult Resident/$20 Non Resident
  • $8 Child Resident/$10 Non Resident (5 and under free)
  • $1 Senior

Please note to check conditions before heading out. We’ve had a lot of rain, and sometimes that does wonky things to bacteria levels and water levels.

Before you head out, check the water quality and make sure that swimming is safe. 

Always check local websites and listen to local authorities – safety is no accident!

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