Connecticut's New Haven region has fine state and local parks

Lighthouse Point State Park -credit shutterstock
Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Road New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-8019

Lighthouse tours, water sports, marine biology programs, paddling tours

Lighthouse Point in New Haven is on New Haven Harbor. The park attracts visitors for swimming, fishing, boating (from a public boat launch), and picnicking. Lifeguards are on duty during summer.
The park is one of the most popular spots for bird watching along the East Coast. The East Shore Ranger program leads group tours of the lighthouse and offers programs about marine ecology, sailing history, and the history of the forts. To plan a tour, call 203-946-0790.
The Lighthouse Park Carousel is one of less than 100 in use today. The Lighthouse Park Splashpad is a series of fresh water fountains.
Hours: Open year-round, 7 a.m. to sunset; April 1 to November 1.
Parking fees: New Haven registered vehicles, free; non-resident vehicles, $20/day, $100/season
Edgewood Park

Edgewood Avenue New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-8028

Lovely urban park; good for strolling, tennis, skateboarding, bird watching, relaxation

Edgewood Park is an important and well-loved outdoor resource for the people and visitors of New Haven. The park offers places to walk and jog, watch birds, do some cross-country skiing, play tennis, skateboard at Coogan Pavilion, or just relax by a lovely pond. The park has the Coogan Pavilion & Gazebo, a playground, several ponds and the city's West River, many walking trails and a sensory trail, a skate park, a dog run, and wetlands viewing station, and more.
Hours: Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
West Rock Ridge State Park

Wintergreen Avenue Hamden, CT Phone:

Hiking, fishing, paddling

West Rock Ridge is a major feature of the New Haven region skyline, offering vast views of New Haven harbor and Long Island Sound. This small state park has areas for paddling, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Park map.
Hours: The park is open for walk-in access from 8 a.m. to sunset. The south overlook drive to the summit is open for vehicles from Memorial Day through October.
Hammonasset Beach State Park-credit-CT Office of Tourism
Hammonasset Beach State Park

1288 Boston Post Road Madison, CT Phone: 203-245-2785

Very large park on Long Island Sound offers swimming, salt water fishing, boardwalk, lots of camping sites

Connecticut's largest shoreline park offers over two miles of beach to enjoy swimming, strolling along the boardwalk, or just relaxing in the sun and surf. Activities include saltwater swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking, fishing, paddling, bicycling, and camping. The Meigs Point Nature Center offers programs and activities for park visitors on a limited year round basis. Facilities include bathrooms, boardwalk, car top boat launch, concessions, nature center, picnic shelters, picnic tables, showers. - Hiking Map - Camping Map
Hammonasset offers over 550 grassy campsites. Open for the season from May 21 through October 30 (call 203-245-1817). Camping fees: $35/night for CT residents and $45 for non-CT residents; rustic cabin is $70/night for CT residents and $85/night for non-CT residents.
Sleeping Giant State Park

200 Mount Carmel Avenue Hamden, CT, 06518 Phone: 203-287-5658

Hiking and trout fishing are best activities at this ridge top park overlooking New Haven

This park gets its name for a two-mile-long ridge of mountaintop that looks like a giant at rest. A two- mile walking trail leads to the observation tower on the peak of Mount Carmel, where hikers can experience an excellent view of Long Island Sound and New Haven. - Trail Map
Trout fishing is allowed; Sleeping Giant State Park is a designated Trout Management Area.
East Rock Park

bounded by Livingston Street, Davis Street, State Street and the Mill River New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-6086

Walking, fishing, paddling, picnicking, and more are done at this riverside park

This 425-acre park offers nature and walking and bicycling trails, playgrounds, recreational areas, a bird sanctuary, and a spectacular view of Long Island Sound. Recreational opportunities include baseball fields and basketball courts; bicycling on paved roads; paddling on the Mill River; fishing and crabbing; football and soccer fields; ice skating; picnicking and playgrounds; an 800-foot self-guided nature trail; sledding.
Highlights of the park are climbing to the Summit of East Rock, which is accessible by foot, bicycle or car; the Trowbridge Environmental Center; the Pardee Rose Garden and Greenhouse (203-946-8142); and the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. - Park Map
Hours: Open sunrise to sunset.