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The 10 Best State Parks in Connecticut

Here's what you need to know...
  • There are 65 state parks in Connecticut
  • Connecticut’s state parks, as well as protected forests and other park areas, are ideal places to go when you want to relax and enjoy time outdoors on your own or with family and friends
  • State parks are located throughout all regions and provide you with year-round recreational opportunities
Despite the fact that Connecticut is the third smallest state in the country, it has an impressive 65 state parks. In addition, it has 27 state forests and 10 state wildlife areas.

Each of these areas has been carefully selected for its distinctive natural beauty and because of the habitats that it protects.

Many of the state’s residents, as well as out-of-state visitors, regularly spend time at these parks throughout the year. The abundance of outdoor recreational activities and the variety of natural landscapes on display in these parks are appealing to many people.

Make sure you have the proper coverage for your vehicle before you go on any road trips. Use our free insurance comparison tool above! 

The 11 Best State Parks in Connecticut

#1 – Rocky Neck State Park

Area: 708 acres
Established: 1931
Highlight: Sandy beaches on a tidal river

Rocky Neck State Park is located a short drive from Mystic, and it is the ideal place to go when you want to spend a day fishing or crabbing at the beach with family or friends.

There are also campsites in open areas and wooded grounds, a beach swim area, and several hiking trails. The abundance of coastal wildlife in the area makes this the perfect place to go when you want to observe species in their native habitats.

#2 – Silver Sands State Park

Area: 297 acres
Established: 1960
Highlight: Sandy beach, Charles Island

Silver Sands State Park is located near Milford and offers you a tranquil beach experience.

The park has a beautiful boardwalk that runs along the length of the beach, and you can enjoy running, walking, or even fishing.

During low tide, you can walk from the beach out to Charles Island. Charles Island is heavily wooded and is home to a wide range of water birds, making it a great spot for viewing wildlife.

#3 – Fort Trumbull State Park

Area: 16 acres
Established: 1972
Highlight: A military fort

Fort Trumbull State Park is located on the shore of the Long Island Sound, and it proudly features the remnants of the historic military fort known as Fort Trumbull.

This fort was originally built in 1777, and it notably fell to the British when Benedict Arnold captured it in 1781.

This is an educational venue to visit that has numerous exhibits, displays, educational movies, and more that the whole family will love.

#4 – Harkness Memorial State Park

Area: 230 acres
Established: 1950
Highlight: Eolia Mansion

The Eolia Mansion was originally constructed by the Harkness family in the early 20th century, and this wealthy family was closely linked to the Rockefeller family.

The family bequeathed the mansion and 230-acre waterfront estate to the government in 1950, and it became a gorgeous public park. The mansion is often used to host weddings and special events, but you can also visit the area, shoreline fishing, boating, and more throughout the year.

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#5 – Penwood State Park

Area: 787 acres
Established: 1944
Highlight: Lake Louise

Penwood State Park is a rather small park, but it is contiguous with Talcott Mountain State Park. This makes the entire park area seem much larger and more robust.

Together, these two parks boast a wide range of trails that are ideal for hiking and biking.

You can also enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing, and trail running here. The Penwood State Park Trail is a 10.4-mile trail with a moderate rating, and it features an impressive waterfall and stunning views.

#6 – Collis P Huntington State Park

Area: 883 acres
Established: 1973
Highlight: Wildlife sculptures, archery hunting

At the Collis P. Huntington State Park near Bethel and Newtown, many people are drawn to the area to view the incredible wildlife sculptures that feature bears, wolves, and other animals.

Others enjoy hunting at the park, and archery hunting is available for deer only during select months.

This park is suitable for a wide range of other outdoor activities as well, such as canoeing, horseback riding, cross country skiing, mountain biking, trail hiking and more.

#7 – Burr Pond State Park

lake-65443_1920-1600x1600Area: 438 acres
Established: 1959
Highlight: Burr Pond

The entire land area of Burr Pond State Park wraps around the 85-acre Burr Pond. This is a rather shallow body of water that is only 13 feet deep at the deepest level. It is ideal for fishing crappie, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and many other species.

Swimming and boating are also popular on the water, and there are several picnic areas on the land nearby. A 2.25- mile hiking trail with an easy rating wraps around the perimeter of the pond, and one part of this trail connects with Sunnybrook State Park.

#8 – Lover’s Leap State Park

Area: 127 acres
Established: 1971
Highlight: Lover’s Leap Bridge

Lover’s Leap State Park is a walk-in park that is located on the scenic Housatonic River.

The Lover’s Leap Bridge is actually a rock formation that is located over the Housatonic River and that offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes.

Swimming, fishing, and sightseeing are popular activities at the Lover’s Leap State Park.

#9 – Haystack Mountain State Park

Area: 292 acres
Established: 1917
Highlight: Observation tower

When you visit Haystack Mountain State Park in Norfolk, you can climb to the top of the observation tower that is perched at the peak of Haystack Mountain. From this vantage point, you can enjoy views of the neighboring town of New Canaan and other areas.

The park is also home to an abundant range of wildlife, and this includes raccoons, bears, deer, foxes, and more.

From this vantage point, you can enjoy views of the neighboring town of New Canaan and other areas. The park is also home to an abundant range of wildlife, and this includes raccoons, bears, deer, foxes, and more.

#10 – Chatfield Hollow State Park

environment-1726539_1920-1600x1600Area: 412 acres
Established: 1949
Highlight: Indian caves, restored water wheel

Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingham is a unique state park in Connecticut. It is home to scenic Schreeder Pond as well as to a restored water wheel, Indian caves, a reproduction covered bridge, and several historic sites.

During your time at this state park, you can explore hiking trails and caves, climb rock formations, feast on a picnic with family or friends, and more.

Driving Safely in State Parks

If you plan to explore the state parks in Connecticut, you should ensure that your car insurance is updated and current.

A smart idea is to review your coverage every six months to ensure that it meets your needs. It should comply with minimum state laws, and it should also meet any additional needs that you have for optional coverage.

Whether you are driving in the state parks or through them, you should be observant of road conditions and obstacles on the road. In particular, understand how these factors may impact your safety on the road:

  • Cyclists, runners, and hikers
  • Wild animals
  • Fallen debris
  • Unsafe roads

It may be smart to keep an emergency kit in your car in case you have a breakdown or mishap. An emergency kit may include a flashlight, flares, a blanket, a first aid kit, food that will not spoil, bear spray window defroster, a simple toolkit, and more.

Car Insurance for Driving Through State Parks

AdobeStock_38015788-1600x1600 (1)If you plan to spend any time in a state park in the near future, you may be wondering what type of coverage you need on your car insurance policy. Consider how these coverages may help you:

  • Liability insurance – as required by law
  • Collision insurance – pays for your expenses if you are involved in a collision
  • Comprehensive insurance – pays for your expenses if your car is damaged by falling debris, wildlife, bad weather

Be sure to review your coverage before you set off on a road trip to state parks. Your coverage must be updated and in place before you need it if you want to enjoy the full benefits that it can provide to you.

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