5 Saltwater Hikes Last Updated 3/16

Most of Connecticut’s popular hiking trails are in the upstate hills and woods, but there are some very good ones right on the shoreline that bring saltwater views and the smell of the sea. They have the added benefits of being fairly level (in some cases, a little more like walking than hiking) and within easy access of I-95, U.S. Route 1 and even rail lines. Here are five, moving from east to west, that make a great way to spend a nice morning or afternoon.

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1| Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, Stonington

The 4.5 miles of trails wind their way through forest and tidal marshes, with great views of birds and waterfowl. You might even spot an increasingly rare New England cottontail rabbit.

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2| Bluff Point State Park, Groton

The 4-mile loop trail to the bluff passes along the Poquonock River and through wooded and open areas until opening entirely onto the Sound.

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3| Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

There are many trails in the Rocky Neck network, and you may wish to combine a couple for your out-and-back. Don’t miss a look at the 1930s stone pavilion that dominates the park’s western shoreline.

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4| Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison

Hammonasset is mostly known for its long sandy beach, but there’s a nature center and trails with one loop and two out-and-backs that add up to 5.7 miles.

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5| Farm River State Park, East Haven

There are several trails here, not extensive and definitely of the informal variety, but they will take you across bluffs or along marshland to some lovely seaside views.