Sherwood Island State ParkWestport, CT
Connecticut's first state park is still one of its finest. Located on the state’s picturesque shoreline, the park is a popular destination to swim in Long Island Sound, play a round of disc golf, fly a model airplane, collect seashells along the mile-long beach, or visit the Living 9-11 Memorial. Though just 235 acres of beach, wetlands, and coastal forest, the park holds a treasure trove of opportunity to explore, recreate, and relax within its borders.
The park is divided into three sections: Sherwood Point is home to the 9/11 Living Memorial and Pavilion, which offers a snack shack and other amenities. On the east side, you’ll find East Beach, the Nature Center, the salt marsh, grassy walking paths, and the model airplane field along with a public bathhouse, picnic areas, and other amenities. And the west side with West Beach, forested trails, and the disc golf course as well as another bathhouse and picnic area.
Connecticut’s first state park, Sherwood Island, (which isn’t really an island) almost wasn’t a park at all. The state purchased the first bit of land for the park in 1914, but many passed before it was accessible to the public. As the state tried to secure enough land for the park, it faced resistance at every turn from wealthy landowners who objected to a public park in their backyards. After an epic, 23-year land battle, the state emerged victorious and the coastal park with public access became a reality.
Sherwood Island Connector
Westport, CT 06880
(8:00 a.m. – Sunset)
Main (203) 226-6983
Situated along a saltwater estuary where the freshwater flows of New Creek and Mill Creek mix with the salinity of the Long Island Sound, the waters off Sherwood Island teem with marine life. Depending on the time of year, cast a line from the rocky jetties or the sandy shoreline and get ready to battle it out with some monster fish.
Fishing is allowed at Sherwood Point, East and West Jetty during the open season (April 15 – Sept. 30). The entire beach is open to fishing during the off-season from 8:00 a.m. to sunset only.
Types of fish: Blackfish, bluefish, scup, summer flounder, winter flounder, and striped bass
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before heading out, be sure to check the latest conditions and fishing regulations.
In addition to a beautiful picnic area, beaches, shelters, and even a model airplane runway, Sherwood Island State Park is home to some interesting Connecticut State geology. Although there is a lack of actual rock outcrops, coastal geology is an important aspect of the park's distinctiveness.
Rock Types Found on Main Trail:
Igneous (Basalt), Metamorphic (Schist, Gneiss)
Unknown (Artificial Fill), Surficial Deposits
Minerals of Interest:
Muscovite, Biotite, Feldspar, Quartz
Interesting Geologic Features:
Drumlin, Jetties, Garnet, and Muscovite Sand
9/11 LIVING MEMORIAL
Sherwood Island State Park is home to Connecticut's official memorial honoring to the victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
The park was selected for the memorial because on a clear day, visitors can see the New York City skyline from the shoreline including, prior to September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center. On that day, and for several days following, the smoke from the former World Trade Center was visible from this location, and many gathered here to pay their respects and mourn the innocent lives lost. Although never activated, the Governor’s office and the Office of Emergency Management designated the park as a staging area to lend support to New York City after the tragedy.
The memorial is located on a peninsula within the park and features a nine foot-long granite memorial stone, set into a grassy area and oriented so that visitors face towards the Manhattan skyline as they read the inscription. The inscription reads, "The citizens of Connecticut dedicate this living memorial to the thousands of innocent lives lost on September 11, 2001 and to the families who loved them." The memorial was dedicated in September 2002, during which the names of the 161 Connecticut residents and close family members of residents who lost their lives that day were read aloud. One hundred fifty-three individual memorial names, flanking the main memorial stone, were installed and dedicated during ceremonies in September 2003.
Bio-plaques and a sculpture incorporating artifacts from the World Trade Center, both designed by Connecticut, were installed in the park’s main pavilion and dedicated during ceremonies commemorating the tenth anniversary in September 2011.
Donations for on-going upkeep of the memorial may be made by check to, "Department of Energy and Environmental Protection". Write "9/11 Memorial Donation" in the memo line on the check or in the transmittal letter and mail to:
DEEP-State Parks & Public Outreach, 9/11 Memorial Donation
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Parking fees to the public are waived each year on September 11 until 2025.
- Connecticut’s 9/11 immediate family members have been given lifetime parking passes. If you are an immediate family member of a Connecticut victim and would like to request a new or replacement parking pass, please call DEEP-State Parks at (860) 424-3200 or email us at DEEP.email@example.com.
ART TRAIL SITE
Did you ever wonder what the Connecticut landscape looked like a century ago? Check out “Viewpoints”, a joint project of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Connecticut Art Trail, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Outdoor exhibits reproduce works of art painted in the 19th Century, with information about the artist and the location. Visit the Connecticut Art Trail Website for a preview and look for the Viewpoint exhibits on your next visit to Sherwood Island and other host sites.
NATURE CENTER (Seasonal)
Learn more about Sherwood Island’s diverse ecosystem, including the hundreds of species of amphibians, mammals, birds, fish, mollusks, and insects that inhabit the park. Along with a wide variety of displays and exhibits, the Nature Center offers curious naturalists an opportunity to encounter live animals, ask questions, participate in engaging activities, go on nature walks, and learn about the area’s environment and history.
To visit the Nature Center: The Center is located between East Beach and the salt marsh nature trail.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Open seasonally, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sherwood Island has not one, but two, disc golf courses. One is an 18-hole course that weaves through most of the park’s west side. The second course, on the east side near the Nature Center, has only a few holes and is designed for beginners.
But first, what is disc golf? Disc golf is a variant of golf…but with frisbees. In fact, you can leave the golf clubs at home. Instead of teeing off and trying to sink your ball, you throw a special type of frisbee — or flying disc — towards a target. Like in regular golf, the goal is to reach the target in as few attempts as possible, just tosses instead of strokes.
Though official disc golf equipment exists, a classic frisbee — the kind invented in Connecticut — works well, too. Disc golf not your thing? Hit the volleyball courts for a game or head to the runway and see if you can get your model airplane to fly.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- First-come, first-served — no reservations necessary.
- If the park is too crowded, typically in summer months, portions of the 18-hole course may be unplayable.
- Disc golf course map
Grab a leisurely lunch from the park’s snack shack, relax in the shade of the picnic grove, bask in the sunshine, and soak in the sea air at one of the park’s many prime picnic spots. Need a break from the sunshine? Snag a spot in the shade at one of the pavilions.
Set up your beach chair and an umbrella for a day of sun and surf. Sherwood Island’s beaches are iconic not just because they stretch over one mile along the Long Island Sound. If you stick your toes in the sand, you might notice three distinct colors of sand: red (garnet), white (quartz), and black (magnetite). Because the granules have different densities and shapes, the waves naturally sort each color sand into separate lines. Layered onto that beauty are a non-stop bounty of seashells the waves regularly deposit on the shore.
Accessible Swimming/Beach Surf Chairs: Available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
FREE – In-State Registered Vehicles
$22 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Weekends/Holidays)
$15 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Weekdays, in-season)
$7 – Out-of-State Vehicles (After 4:00 p.m., in-season)
$112 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Season Pass)
Oct 1 – Apr 14
Apr 15 – Sep 30