East Lyme, CT is a quaint seaside village community that offers so much for its visitors to see and do. With miles of shoreline to explore and cozy inns to stay in, it’s a wonderful place to have a relaxing and enjoyable getaway.
1.Niantic Bay Boardwalk
Niantic Bay Boardwalk is considered to be one of the nicest waterfront walkways in Connecticut. It’s a wonderful place to take a long walk, relax on a bench, and admire the beauty of the Long Island Sound. Spanning at 1.1 miles long, the boardwalk stretches from Cini Park all the way to Hole-in-the-Wall Beach. In addition to complimentary parking, you’ll find that the boardwalk also has sections of white-sand beach which are open to the public for swimming and sunbathing. Other activities you can partake in include fishing, photography, and picnicking. After exploring the boardwalk, take a stroll through the nearby Main Street which is filled with quaint shops and restaurants.
30 Main Street, Niantic, CT 06357
2.Rocky Neck State Park
Established in 1931, Rocky Neck State Park is one of East Lyme’s most popular public recreation areas. The park spans 708 acres and includes white sand beaches, rocky shores, a broad salt marsh, a tidal river, and a large stone pavilion which dates back to the 1930s. You can spend your time sunbathing on the soft beaches, hiking through the diverse trail systems, or sitting on the salt marsh viewing platform and taking in the scenery. Visitors love bringing a picnic basket, enjoying a meal, and watching the trains go by. Other activities you can partake in include camping, saltwater fishing, and bird watching.
244 W Main Street, Niantic, CT 06357, Phone: 860-739-5471
A part of McCook’s Point Park, Hole-in-the-Wall Beach is a popular white sand beach at which residents and visitors can enjoy some swim and sun on the Long Island Sound. The beach is accessed through a short tunnel under the railroad tracks and can be found right opposite the Niantic Bay Boardwalk. The sand gently slopes into the swimming area which is sheltered by McCook’s Point on one side and a stone jetty on the other. The beach is fairly secluded throughout the year but can get extremely busy during the hot summer months - there is a lifeguard present during these times.
4 Baptist Lane, Niantic, CT 06357
4.McCook Beach & Park
Linked with Hole-in-the-Wall beach, visitors will find the popular McCook Beach & Park. The public space was created in 1954 and spans over 21 acres. There are several facilities and amenities there to make your trip enjoyable such as a covered picnic pavilion which you can rent, bathroom facilities, parking by the beach, and a playground for children of all ages. There are also opportunities to go fishing off of McCook Point. The beach is open all year round, though visitors must get a daily or seasonal pass to access it. The stunning space has a lot of history which visitors can learn about while there, including being a camping site for Niantic Indians as well as the site for European settlers back in the 1600s.
5.The Side Door
© Voloshyn Roman/stock.adobe.com
Tucked away in a corner of peaceful and serene East Lyme, The Side Door is a wonderful little jazz club that has been visited by many renowned musicians in the industry. The club is owned by Kenneth D. Kitchings, who himself is a jazz aficionado who enjoys each and every moment at the club - oftentimes, more than the customer does. Opening night in 2013 started with performances by the Newport All Star Band and the venerable George Wein. Visit the intimate and elegant jazz venue to witness performances by some of the very best jazz artists in the world such as the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, TS Monk Sextet, The Cookiers, Big Chief Donald Harrison, and Ricky Ford.
Old Lyme Inn: 85 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-2600
6.Cedar Ridge Golf Course
© Cedar Ridge Golf Course
Cedar Ridge is a par-3, 18-hole golf course that is wonderful, well-groomed, and can be found right in the heart of East Lyme. The executive course can be played in 2 ½ to three hours and is perfect for beginners and experienced golfers as the course has a short length but demands skills for certain shots. Several of the holds are over 200 yards in length, offering a challenging yet great golf experience. There are supplies, golf carts and club rentals available at their pro shop. Cedar Ridge is also home to several tournaments and events which visitors are encouraged to spectate or participate in themselves.
34 Drabik Road, East Lyme, CT 06333, Phone: 860-691-4568
7.Samuel Smith Farmstead
© Samuel Smith Farmstead
Experience what life was like on a colonial farm circa 1685 at the Samuel Smith Farmstead. The structure is an outstanding example of a simple colonial-era homestead in Connecticut and includes a colonial house, barn, and a farm which sit on 17 acres of rural land. The house is a wonderful attraction to explore as it is one of the few you’ll come across that has been restored and maintained so accurately and impeccably. The living museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained by a non-profit organization, Friends of Samuel Smith House and Property, Inc.
82 Plants Dam Road, East Lyme, CT 06333
8.Nehantic State Forest
Spanning over 5,000 acres, Nehantic State Forest is a publicly-owned forest and recreation area that was established in 1926. The gorgeous outdoor space is extremely popular with residents and visitors as it offers tons of things to do as you explore the local flora and fauna. It is especially crowded during the summer months when the warm weather is just right for picnicking, hiking, swimming, and boating. There are designated areas which allow for seasonal hunting as well. You can launch your boat from either Uncas Lake or Norwich Pond and spend a relaxing day out on the calm waters.
29 Willow Lane, East Lyme, CT 06333
9.il Pomod'Oro Restaurant & Pizzeria
© il Pomod'Oro Restaurant & Pizzeria
Discover premium Italian dining in a friendly and casual environment in one of East Lyme’s best restaurants, il Pomod’Oro Restaurant & Pizzeria. Beckoning Italian food aficionados of all ages, you’ll find a large selection of foods to tantalize everyone’s appetite. Every dish from their kitchen is made fresh daily, no matter if it comprises the handmade pasta or the locally-sourced meats, produce, and other ingredients. Choose from appetizers, soups, salads, specialty pizzas, sandwiches, calzones, handmade pasta, ocean-fresh seafood, tantalizing entrees, and mouth-watering desserts. Be sure to try out the grilled calamari with balsamic glaze, homemade lasagne alla bolognese, and the pan roasted Stonington scallops.
117 Boston Post Road, East Lyme, CT 06333, Phone: 860-739-6234
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© Oran Tantapakul/stock.adobe.com
With all-American favorites and classic comfort foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s no wonder that The Shack has been a family favorite since it opened in 1989. Truly an integral part of the community, you’ll often find friends and families celebrating various milestones at The Shack. Start your day with a hearty breakfast complete with fresh Belgian waffles, French toast, old fashioned griddle cakes, an omelet built your way, a breakfast sandwich, home fries, bacon, sausage, ham, and anything else you can think of. Their lunch/ dinner menu has a little bit of everything so that patrons of all ages will find something that they love. Feast on a crispy chicken salad, a bowl of chili, New England clam strips dinner, or their famous ‘Shack Dog’ topped with bacon and cheese.
Brooks Plaza: 324 Flanders Road, East Lyme, CT 06333, Phone: 860-739-8898
11.Rebeka's Fresh Pasta Restaurant
© Rebeka's Fresh Pasta Restaurant
Taste the culinary concoctions of owner and head chef Ferdinand Plaku at Rebeka’s Fresh Pasta Restaurant. Named after his daughter, the family-friendly restaurant offers a comfortable and intimate setting for you to indulge in delicious and authentic Italian cuisine. His fresh pasta dishes are renowned throughout the state so be sure to stop by and have a meal. Popular options include the calamari with house made marinara sauce, the house made meatball parmesan panini, chicken parmesan with pasta or mashed potatoes, the rigatoni pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce, and the grilled pork chop served with gorgonzola sauce.
135 Boston Post Road, East Lyme, CT 06333, Phone: 860-691-1155
12.Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant
© Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant
Owned by Senator Paul Formica, Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant offers residents and visitors of East Lyme delicious food along with exceptional customer service. The combination fish market, restaurant, and bar is a popular place for people to hang out with friends, enjoy a meal with their family, and just indulge in fresh fish and seafood. The family-owned establishment has been around since 1983 and has expanded over the years to include a number of refrigerators trucks which drive to the Boston Fish Pier in search for quality, fresh, seafood. Pick and choose from their extensive menu and indulge in a lobster/ angus burger with truffle fries, crab cakes, fish tacos, steamed Chesapeake shrimp, and Alfredo pasta with sea scallops.
22 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme, CT 06333, Phone: 860-739-8866
12 Best Things to Do in East Lyme, Connecticut
- Niantic Bay Boardwalk, Photo: stcom/stock.adobe.com
- Rocky Neck State Park, Photo: tadeas/stock.adobe.com
- Hole-in-the-Wall Beach, Photo: nata777_7/stock.adobe.com
- McCook Beach & Park, Photo: wgatkinson/stock.adobe.com
- The Side Door, Photo: Voloshyn Roman/stock.adobe.com
- Cedar Ridge Golf Course, Photo: Cedar Ridge Golf Course
- Samuel Smith Farmstead, Photo: Samuel Smith Farmstead
- Nehantic State Forest, Photo: smallredgirl/stock.adobe.com
- il Pomod'Oro Restaurant & Pizzeria, Photo: il Pomod'Oro Restaurant & Pizzeria
- The Shack, Photo: Oran Tantapakul/stock.adobe.com
- Rebeka's Fresh Pasta Restaurant, Photo: Rebeka's Fresh Pasta Restaurant
- Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, Photo: Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant
- Cover Photo: East Lyme Town Hall