Silver Sands State Park

Not every beach comes with a legend, but Silver Sands Beach in Connecticut sure does. Its tale of pirates and treasure stretches back to 1699 when the notorious Captain Kidd is reputed to have buried treasure here. Today, this stretch of fabled land, properly called Charles Island, is a park of Silver Sands State Park in Milford, where many come to enjoy a day at the beach and watch wildlife - and more than a few dream of treasure.

The beaches in Silver Sands State Park hug the shores of the Long Island Sound, just like Rocky Neck State Park and Penfield Beach. Along the Silver Sands, there's plenty of room to stretch out a blanket and relax with a picnic lunch or a good book.

A picnic area with barbecue grills is available, and a restroom area is provided for visitor comfort. But no snack bars or concessions can be found here, so be sure to pack a cooler and bring along the sunscreen or anything needed for a day at the beach.

Beachgoers also enjoy taking a stroll along the sandy shores of the beaches in Silver Sands State Park, which are loaded with shells and other interesting treasures from the sea. A boardwalk also runs along the beaches, where visitors can stop along the way and admire the views from the observation telescopes of the lovely salt water tidal marsh and grassy wetlands.

Of course swimming is a popular pastime for visitors to Silver Sands Beach in Connecticut, especially when high tide arrives. The waters of Long Island Sound also are favored for fishing and crabbing. Just off the beaches in Silver Sands State Park, the salt waters of the ocean mix with fresh water, giving a unique opportunity to catch a wide variety of species.

Charles Island, the place of legend, is accessible by a sand bar (called a tombolo) as long as it's not high tide. The island is inaccessible to visitors, however, between May 1 and August 31, because herons and egret use the land as a place to nest. In the summer, beachcombers can grab some binoculars to watch the avian happenings on the fourteen-acre nature preserve. The birds are a majestic sight, especially in large numbers, and white-tail deer are commonly spotted as well. The rest of the year, provided that the weather is fair, visitors can explore the fabled corner of Silver Sands State Park when conditions are right. Many anglers find the waters around Charles Island rather favorable for bluefish and horseshoe crabs.

There is no fee to enter or park at Silver Sands Beach in Connecticut, and entry is permitted between at 8 a.m. and sundown. Lifeguards are on duty during the warmer months of the year, but unsupervised swimming is permitted. Leashed pets are allowed in the park, but they need to stay off the sand.

Besides Silver Sands State Park, the city of Milford is home to five city-managed beaches. These Connecticut beaches offer lifeguard service daily during the hottest days of July and August and weekends during the rest of the summer. Gulf Beach and Walnut Beach have the most visitor amenities, and a small per-diem parking fee is required. Anchor Beach, Hawley Avenue Beach, and Middle Beach simply offer sand, surf, and sun to enjoy.

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