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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Sherwood Island State Park - Westport

Sherwood Island State Park is one of the popular beachfront state parks in Coastal Connecticut and it also gets the ranking of Connecticut's first park. The Connecticut State Park Commission was born in 1913 and their first purchase was five acres of salt marsh in Westport, the beginning of Sherwood Island State Park (currently 238 acres). 

While there are 110 state parks in eight counties in Connecticut, Fairfield County has six parks, four of which are off the coast and to the north. As my Connecticut State Park guidebook "A Shared Land" points out, "the population here is so dense and the land so expensive that it's hard to acquire parkland and economically impractical to create forests". The shortage of public places in this dense and expensive county makes this state park an important resource to those who live there.

Sherwood Island State Park green spaces
Sherwood Island State Park walkways and memorial

You won't find hiking trails here but you will find a swimming beach, picnic areas, walking paths, a 9/11 Memorial, a nature center, and a pavilion with concessions. We stopped on a Sunday in October and just enjoyed walking the path along the park on a beautiful sunny afternoon. 

9/11 Living Memorial

The park has a view of the Manhattan skyline and became home to the 9/11 Living Memorial which is dedicated to the Connecticut residents who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks.

Overall, it was a lovely place for a Sunday walk in the fall season or a picnic in the summer. While it is open for swimming, the beach is full of shells and probably not somewhere I would visit for a swim in the summer. I certainly prefer the state parks that offer solitude and hiking trails but I can truly appreciate this large chunk of land that is open to the public instead of another private estate. 

Sherwood Island State Park Beach
Sherwood Island State Park Beach


Swimming, picnicking, fishing, nature center, walking, bird watching

The Nature Center is open memorial day to labor day, Wednesday - Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.

Conservation plaque in the pavilion
Conservation plaque in the pavilion


Not allowed in the busy season (April 15 through September 30). Dogs are allowed in the off season from October through April. 

Sherwood Island State Park Pavilion
Sherwood Island State Park Pavilion


This is a popular spot for kids with the beach swimming area, large grassy lawns, and picnic areas. 


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