2017 Crossroads Sunset Trail
2017 Crossroads Sunset Trail
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Long Island Sound is known for being a fantastic summer destination, and Rocky Neck State Park contributes to this reputation. The 710-acre park lies just 45 minutes south of Hartford and two hours east of New York City. It's not just a summer park, however, as visitors come year-round for hiking, fishing, and RV camping. There are many RV rentals in New London County for you to experience this place yourself, along with all of the other great parks near Rocky Neck. The soft sandy beaches, clear waters, hiking trails, and wildlife are sure to leave an impression.
The area now known as Rocky Neck State Park has long been recognized for its fantastic resources. Native Americans came to this place to take advantage of the abundant bounty of marine life that fed them, and European settlers would later do the same. Conservationists managed to pool enough money to purchase the land in 1931 and deed it to Connecticut as a state park. Many of the facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, including the impressive timber and stone Ellie Mitchell Pavilion, one of the landmarks that makes this park so unique.
Most visitors to Rocky Neck State Park arrive in the summer to take advantage of the white sandy beaches. With little rock to be found anywhere, the beach is perfect for sunbathing and sifting sand through your toes. On top of that, the protection offered by Long Island and Fishers Island give you some calm waters for cooling off in the ocean on a hot day. You’ll find typical beach facilities at Rocky Neck, including restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a concession.
Rocky Neck State Park, despite its small size, has an extensive network of trails. Most of these trails are relatively flat and easy, though there are small hill climbs on some of them. For the most part, they're less than a mile in length but can be combined into larger circuits. You can walk around the entire park in a two-and-a-half-mile loop with great views of the river, under the shade of oak, hickory, and maple trees. More popular trails include historic Tony's Nose, the old Shipyard Trail, and Baker's Cave. You'll get a great glimpse of the glacial history that shaped this park and views of the salt marshes that provide a haven for herons, osprey, and swans.
Fishing is popular throughout the year for campers at Rocky Neck State Park. Crabbing is another very popular activity here in season. During summer, you can cast your line for bass, mackerel, and flounder from the fishing jetty. You'll be more than welcome to fish from the beach during colder months when the sunbathers and swimmers are absent.
The Rocky Neck State Park RV campground offers 135 sites in mixed settings of either shaded, wooded sites, or campsites in open areas with broader views. These are back-in only sites with a maximum RV length of 35 feet. An additional 23 sites are tent-only. Each site provides a fire ring and picnic table. The campground is made up of multiple loops next to the salt marshes and the abundant wildlife that lives there. You can’t directly access the hiking trails from the campground, but it’s just a short walk to the beach where you can then explore more of the park.
There are no RV hookups at the Rocky Neck State Park campground, but it does have a dump station and water taps throughout. RV campers also have access to the campground’s hot showers and flush toilets. Pets are prohibited in the campground due to park policy.
The campground at Rocky Neck State Park is wonderfully situated with convenient access to Interstate 95, making your exploration of the eastern seaboard a breeze. The little town of Niantic is right outside of the park and has a few gas stations for you to choose from. Waterford is just across the river from Niantic and is a great place to explore with a beautiful downtown area, concerts in the summer, and crafts fairs. This area is home to a large submarine fleet, and the Navy invites you to the Submarine Force Library and Museum, where you can tour an actual submarine. A short drive further east takes you to the infamous town of Mystic, Connecticut and the Mystic Seaport Museum, an East Coast landmark.
Seafood lovers are going to love this part of Connecticut, with plenty of options for lobster, crab, and clam chowder. You’ll be right in the middle of the New England versus Manhattan clam chowder rivalry. There are plenty of restaurants where you can get both here and decide for yourself. That's a big decision, though, so you may want to continue sampling different styles during your RV camping adventure. From Rocky Neck State Park, you’re two hours west of Boston and Cape Cod and two hours east of New York City – a great central location!