7 Must-Visit Islands in Connecticut

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: October 12, 2023
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7 Must-Visit Islands in Connecticut
Two of these beautiful islands are located in Long Island Sound.

Connecticut is a southern New England state known for its stunning scenery, from the rolling hills of the countryside to the pristine beaches along the coast. Along with its 253 miles of shoreline, Connecticut also has at least 180 islands, not counting all of the small rocks and reefs in the Thimble Island archipelago, a significant island chain in the Long Island Sound. While the state does not have any resort islands, there are plenty of smaller landforms accessible by boat that are great for recreation. Check out these top seven must-visit islands in Connecticut and discover how you can get there and the available activities.

1. Cove Island

The wonderful Cove Island Park at Stamford, a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States of America.

Cove Island is a popular spot for recreational activities.

©Pit Stock/Shutterstock.com

Located in the cove section of Stamford, Cove Island is an 83-acre park and beach in the Long Island Sound. The island is attached to the mainland by a bridge and is accessible by car. You will find diverse habitats, from ponds and estuaries to grasslands, forests, and salt marshes. Visitors use Cove Island for many recreational activities and amenities, such as beaches, walking trails, a playground, a biking path, and a seasonal ice rink. The park is also a wildlife sanctuary and an important habitat for birds. You must have a parking pass to access the island.

2. Thimble Islands

Thimble Island shown to the public at a popular public beach tour from a boat ride tour over water.

Thimble Islands consist of numerous small land masses in the Long Island Sound


The Thimble Islands is an archipelago in the Long Island Sound. It consists of numerous small islands near the southeast corner of Branford. There are at least 100 islands, but they can number over 300 if you count simple rocks. Despite their small size and remote location, over 80 houses are situated on the Thimble Islands. And the largest island in the chain is 17 acres, which Yale University owns and uses as an ecological laboratory. The islands have very little wildlife except for birds. If you want to visit, you can book a boat tour or explore by kayak.  

3. Fayerweather Island

Young couple hiking along rocky breakwater towards Black Rock Harbor light connecting to Fayerweather Island in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is a favorite challenge for many tourists to Seaside Park.

Fayerweather Island is one of the must-visit islands in Connecticut

©Allan Wood Photography/Shutterstock.com

Located south of Bridgeport’s Seaside Park, Fayerweather Island is a seven-acre land mass that contains the Black Rock Harbor Lighthouse and a resurgent coastal forest. You can walk on the strip of rocks that connects the mainland to the island, just be sure to wear proper footwear. The rocks take you to the lighthouse, where you can have a beautiful view of Black Rock Harbor and the sound. The lighthouse is historic, first lit in 1823 and deactivated in 1932.

4. Sheffield Island (Norwalk Islands)

American flag flying near the stone beacon of Sheffield Island lighthouse in Connecticut on a warm sunny day. It is a popular summertime attraction.

Sheffield Island has a historic lighthouse, beaches, and picnic areas

©Allan Wood Photography/Shutterstock.com

Located in the northern Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Norwalk River, Sheffield Island is at the end of the Norwalk Islands. Sheffield Island is a popular summer destination where visitors can relax on the beaches, view the historic lighthouse, and check out the wildlife refuge. From late spring to early fall, you can board a catamaran for a cruise to the island, including a spectacular sunset cruise. Or visit the lighthouse in summer for an epic clambake!

5. Enders Island

Beautiful Enders Island located at Connecticut USA

Enders Island features walking trails and flower gardens


This 11-acre island is in Stonington, off the coast of Mystic, Connecticut. Enders Island is in Fisher’s Island Sound, connected to Mason’s Island, which is connected to the mainland. You can get to the island by car via the causeway, and it is open year-round to the public. The only inhabitants are those part of the Catholic Society that runs the local retreat center and art school. Visitors have access to the walking trails, flower gardens, and incredible views.

6. Cockenoe Island

Views of Long Island Sound in early August at sunset near Noank and Watch Hill

Cockenoe Island is in the Long Island Sound.

©K Ireland/Shutterstock.com

The Cockenoe Island is in the Long Island Sound off the coast of East Norwalk. It has a storied history featuring Native Americans, pirate treasure, and buried rum during prohibition. Today, the island is mainly used as a camping and bird-watching spot. It’s an important habitat for wading and shorebirds. And people can take a boat tour to the land mass. It’s the perfect day trip to get away from the world and listen to the waves gently lap the rocks.

7. Goose Island

Long Island Sound

Goose Island is located in Long Island Sound.


Goose Island is in the Long Island Sound and belongs to the town of Guilford. This rocky island is uninhabited and privately owned. It’s small and virtually becomes underwater during high tide. But it features a lighthouse and is an essential habitat and roosting spot for many birds, especially geese, gulls, terns, and cormorants. You can take a boat tour around the island and look for basking seals during colder weather.

Summary of the 7 Must-Visit Islands in Connecticut

RankMust-Visit Islands in Connecticut
1Cove Island
2Thimble Islands
3Fayerweather Island
4Sheffield Island
5Enders Island
6Cockenoe Island
7Goose Island

The photo featured at the top of this post is © phucTechnology/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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