Parenthood may have put an end to lazy lounging in the sun, but visiting a great Connecticut beach with a curious, playful toddler or preschooler in tow is a whole new kind of fun. What makes a good beach or lake experience with a little one? These tot- and mom-approved spots have features like bathrooms, concessions, gentle (or no) surf, tide pools, or spraygrounds that allow for more independent exploration with fewer meltdowns. Just pack some toys, sunscreen, and your patience, and your bound for a fun beach day.
Great Beaches for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Fairfield County
Gentle surf at Jennings lets kids cool off closer to the shoreline. Photo by Ally Noel
Jennings Beach - Fairfield
This 27 acre site offers visitors a large sandy beach with low surf and great views of Long Island Sound. It is handicapped accessible with a concession stand, and bathroom facilities. This beach is also connected to the very popular Sandcastle Playground and is definitely worth checking out.
Calf Pasture - Norwalk
There is so much going on at Calf Pasture Beach all summer long. Enjoy the playgrounds, newly added splash pad, and mini golf all situated on 3/4 of a mile of open coastline with beautiful views. There are also special events scheduled all season long from car shows to concerts. Enjoy a meal at Ripkas Beach Cafe, a full service restaurant.
Great Beaches for Toddlers and Preschoolers in New Haven County
Hammonasset Beach State Park - Madison
Hammonasset has always had a lot going for it: a wide beach, concessions, and tide pools for finding critters at low tide. But this year it has added the newly opened Megis Point Nature Center. The Meigs Point Nature Center is an environmental education facility run and operated by the Department of Environmental Protection. They have a variety of summer activities that are sure to thrill your budding naturalist.
RELATED: 7 Great Tide Pools to Take Kids to in Connecticut
Great Beaches for Toddlers and Preschoolers in East Connecticut
Ocean Beach Park - New London
Sugar sand beach - Check! Amuseument Rides - Check! Mini Golf - Check! Pool, waterslide, and sprayground - check, check, and check! After some fun in the sun at Ocean Beach Park, grab a bite to eat at the Sandbar Cafe.
Rocky Neck State Beach - East Lyme
Clear, gentle waters and a stone-free beach with expanses of white sand make it ideal for swimming. Diverse trails within the park provide easy and interesting walks to the scenic salt marsh and to points of interest such as Baker's Cave, and Tony's Nose and Shipyard. Keep an eye out for ospreys, cranes, herons and other waterfowl. Rocky Neck provides something for all members of the family.
Looking for more beach fun? Then check out 13 Great Beach Day Trips in Connecticut .
Top photo courtesy of WalkingGeek/cc by 2.0