Bushy Point Beach, Connecticut
Bushy Point Beach is a mile-long beach separated in to two sides by dune grass.
Natives from the small town of Groton, Connecticut, refer to it as the Sandbar from the early 1950s when vacationers were allowed to drive their car and camp near the shore along Long Island Sound.
The only way to this beach is through Bluff Point State Park. The park is home to a variety of recreational activities year round including hiking through forest trails, swimming, fishing, and shellfishing.
Things to do and see at Bluff Point State Park:
- Native wild flowers
- Wild fruit and berries growing on trees and vines throughout the park
- Common sea birds such as gulls and herons; also endangered birds such as the Piping Plover
- Hiking trails through long dirt roads with twists, turns and hills
- Mountain biking for adults and children
- Equestrian safe trails
- Great walking exercise for moms with strollers
- Dogs are welcome on the hiking trails
- The point on top of the bluff where visitors gain a bird's eye view of Long Island Sound off of the coast of Connecticut
- The Sandbar which is a one-mile stretch of beach for swimming
- There is also picnicking at the entrance
- Park benches are placed throughout the forest
Herons flock near the salt marshes alongside the Sandbar
Growing up near the Sandbar
Today, growing up near the Sandbar affords many opportunities to walk the shell laden shoreline.
Around 1950, families would travel to the Sandbar down the long rocky dirt paths by automobile. Traveling with blankets, tents, cooking equipment, and minimal food supplies allowed recreational opportunities for children to play along the coast line and adults to fish for flounder.
Days of driving any where near the Sandbar are long over. Walking or bicycling is the only way to get to the connecting trails that lead to one of Connecticut's magnificently hidden gems. Like a pearl forming in an oyster, Bushy Point Beach is a rare find.
Have you ever visited Connecticut State Beaches?
Taken for granted.
This beautiful area is taken for granted by those who live close by. We often forget how wonderful it is to enjoy free nature hikes and beautiful beaches that other people have to drive to see because they live far away. Many people traveling from other states often comment that living so near the shore is a luxury and most commonly afforded by the wealthy.
There is a perception that only the wealthy can afford to live nearby this massive open waterfront real estate. However, this is simply not true.
Bluff Point State Park was ravaged by the 1938 hurricane that moved foundations off their surfaces forcing many residents to flee inland a short distance. This area is rich in history for sure.
Surrounded by homes converted from their long ago temporary status as military housing during World War II, Bushy Point Beach is not only pristine enjoyment for the rich and famous. It's a way of life for the people who made this area what it is today. Fishing, shellfishing and lobstering are common activities entrusted to fisherman around this area. In other words, it's not just for relaxing. Some have found a way to support their families through the fruits the sea provides.
What to Expect if Traveling to the Sandbar
Wear comfortable sneakers for walking.
Wear beach shoes if going in the water.
The rough walking conditions encourage visitors to wear comfortable shoes. When hiking the forest trails, one may wish to wear comfortable sneakers or hiking boots. Expect muddy patches or large puddles, especially after rainy weather.
Sometimes the trails are completely washed over during high tide after a storm.
Poison ivy is rampant through the forest and on the outer edges of the walking paths. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Try to stay away from the immediate sides of the paths. Avoid brushing up against wild overgrowth at the forest edge.
The Sandbar is covered with rocks and shells. While walking the one-mile strip, there are two choices. Take your shoes off and walk in the water. Stay up on higher ground where the beach is more sandy. Either way, it is posted to stay away from the dune vegetation that is often damaged by summer and recreational foot traffic.
Summer blossoms along the Sandbar.
Dune Vegetation runs through the middle of either side of the Sandbar.
The end of the point.
At the point.
Once you reach the end of the point at the end of the Sandbar, you will have walked a mile long distance (not counting the hike through the forest). During low tide, it's possible to walk across the rocks to the small island a short distance away.
Walking on the rocks left above low tide waters is very dangerous. Rocks become very slippery from the wet algae growing around them. It is advisable to proceed with caution and never let children play around the rocks alone.
During low tide, it's possible to walk across the glistening rocks to this small island.
Swimming at the Sandbar.
Swimming is permitted at the Sandbar. There are warning signs that no life guards are on duty. Swimming is at your own risk. Keep in mind that the ocean is wide. The waters are deep. The bottom is rough so swimming shoes are necessary to keep from cutting your feet on sharp broken shells lining the murky bottom.
Use plenty of sunblock here as there is no shelter from the sun.
No life guard on duty.
At the top of the point past the Sandbar, there is an area where visitors can sit and enjoy the scenery. People are often spotted fishing off of the lower rocks.
Hiking to the top.
Beyond the Sandbar, at the top of Bluff Point, there is an amazing bird's eye view. This is something that pictures cannot describe. It's a sight to be seen for sure.
A bird's eye view from the top.
The Top of Bluff Point. A place to sit.
The start of the Sandbar. Where sand finds beach.
Bluff Point isn't limited to the Sandbar beach. There are amazing hiking trails and hidden secrets hushed throughout these forest trees.
Some of the oldest trees survived the 1938 hurricane and stand tall to tell secrets of travelers visiting from years past.
A fallen tree serves as a reminder of the 1938 hurricane that devastated the area.
If trees could talk.
Bluff Point is full of life.
Bluff Point serves as a reminder of times past.
Happy memories of children playing on the sandbar, catching blue crabs walking too close to the shore, and grilling freshly-caught flounder flopping at the end of a fisherman's pole.
Today, Bluff Point is a place to walk, think, and feel at peace among the fresh wild fruit, flowers, and ocean breeze.
This quiet place is a memory of things from long ago, gone, but not forgotten.
Wildflowers dance along the walking trails.
A rock shaped like a whale points in the direction of the Sandbar.
At the tip of the sandbar.
Looking back from the tip, one can see the depth and magnificent largeness of it all.
The ocean is vast.
There are many tales hidden in the layers of sand buried by the crashing waves of the sea.
From the tip of the sandbar looking back.
The stories from old keep me company.
While thinking about the stories I've heard about this place, truly I wasn't walking alone.
The secrets that are hushed here when a silent wind blows bring a smile to my face as I head back home.
A reminder that I was once here. Memories are gone, but not forgotten.