8 tips to reach the beach on a summer weekend

Some beaches have more parking than others

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s beaches are crowded in the summer, sometimes being forced to turn people away after reaching capacity.

“We pulled in and the parking lot is full to the brinks,” said Alicja Merta, who spent her Friday at Rocky Neck State Park.

That where tip number one comes in: Parking lots at the state parks open at 8 a.m. and fill up fast, so go early.

Tip two: Some beaches have more parking than others. Hammonasset Beach in Madison has more parking than Rocky Neck in Niantic: 6,000 spots compared to 2,000.

A warning at number three: If the state parks are full, it’s a long walk to reach the beach. From the front gate at Rocky Neck to the water is nearly a mile-and-a-half. Beach chairs, a cooler, and kids make that long walk even more difficult. However, some nearby businesses offer parking spots to beach-goers.

“Like in front of the Rocky Inn Suites,” said Leslee Anderson of Bristol. “They have a whole big grass area and they charge for parking and these people walk all the way from there, like two miles or more.”

Number 4: Check out nearby town beaches, which may still have room. Waterford has one, but the closest may be McCook Point Park in Niantic.

Number 5: Go on Twitter and Facebook to get real-time updates on beach closures from DEEP.

Number 6: Go camping at the state parks. You won’t have to wait on any line.

“We’re right here,” said Lynn Lawrence, who is camping at Rocky Neck. “We just get on our bikes and walk, or take our little cars and get there. We get right in. No lines no nothing.”

Number 7: Ride your bicycle to the beach, then you don’t have to worry about parking.

Number 8: Head to Rhode Island beaches if Connecticut state beaches are full. You may still hit traffic, but at Misquamicut Beach just over the state line, there are lots of private parking lots and something you don’t usually see in Connecticut.

“The big waves and surf is definitely a plus,” said Carrie Connell, who traveled from Wethersfield to go to the Westerly, R.I. beach.

Copyright 2015 WTNH

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