Connecticut has an extensive and somewhat unheralded coastline along Long Island Sound, stretching from Greenwich in the west to Stonington in the east. Several of the popular spots along the coast offer wonderful beach and waterside running opportunities. Here are a few favorites, classified by town:
Misquamicut & Westerly. Misquamicut is a gorgeous beach on the Rhode Island/Connecticut border, near the tony towns of Westerly and Watch Hill. It’s possible to do a lovely run on packed sand on the 2.5 mile main section of the beach. The beach can get a little narrow and crowded at high tide. There are the usual beachy shops and restaurants along Atlantic Ave., including some rides and a water park.
Niantic Bay Boardwalk, East Lyme. A pretty 1.1 mile trail with great views of Niantic Bay. Start at Cini Memorial Park and continue to Hole-in-the-Wall Beach. For longer, enjoy some pleasant side streets of Niantic.
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme. Bounded by a tidal river and a salt marsh, this is a lovely spot for running in East Lyme. There are several miles of trails — it’s about 1.25 miles from Main St. to the beach on the trails, or a ~3 mile loop including the 1/4 mile beach. Giants Neck Rd. is also shaded and runnable (but no shoulder). TRAIL MAP
Ocean Beach Park, New London. Classic area with beach, Olympic swimming pool, water park, and theater. Half-mile beach boardwalk, and beach for running. There are also lovely roads and paths in adjoining parks that can be combined for a good 4-5 miles: Waterford Beach Park, Harness Memorial State Park, and the Eolia Mansion.
Hammonasset Beach Park, Madison. Located in Madison, this is the longest publicly accessible beach in Connecticut. 2-3 miles of great trails, boardwalk, footpaths, and gravel paths. The 2-mile beach is OK but not great for running (soft-ish sand). TRAIL MAP
Westport. Pretty coastal town with some great running opportunities. We love Sherwood Island Park, which features a 1.5 mile runnable beach (esp. at low tide), and about a couple of miles of lovely trails of varying surface. There’s also gorgeous running around the Longshore golf course, with beach, great homes and water views. We’ve mapped a 4-mile loop starting at Elvira’s Market down to Compo Beach, along the water and around the golf course, using Compo Rd. Make it longer by crossing under I-95 and running along Green Farms Rd. MAP
Milford: 2 great runs. Fantastic running around Silver Sands State Park and the surrounding beaches. There’s a 1.25 mile boardwalk, and about 2 miles of contiguous beach (Wildemere, Chestnut) which can be excellent for running. At certain seasons and during low tide, you can also run out on a sandbar to Charles Island (never run out when the sand is covered in water). We’ve also mapped a 4-mile beach-side route, from Smiths Point Rd., north to Trumbull Ave., using mainly Broadway. Classic beach homes and alternating water views. MAP