Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

#3 of 13 in Nature in Mystic Country
State Park · Nature / Park
Rocky Neck State Park is a public recreation area situated on Long Island Sound in the town of East Lyme, Connecticut. The state park's include a tidal river, a broad salt marsh, white sand beaches, rocky shores, and a large stone pavilion dating from the 1930s. It is managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
During the 19th century, various fertilizer operations occupied the site. The park traces its beginnings to 1931, when conservationists purchased the land and held it until the state legislature authorized state purchase. During the Great Depression, a 356-foot, timber-and-granite pavilion was constructed by federal relief workers.
PavilionThe Ellie Mitchell Pavilion is a Rustic-style building completed in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration. Designed by Russell F. Barker and others, the curved masonry building stands more than long and wide. It is the largest Depression-era structure in the state.
Construction began in the early 1930s as part of an effort to ease crowding at Hammonasset State Park. Much of its timber and granite were drawn from local suppliers and quarries, and from an abandoned fish fertilizer plant on the grounds. Supporting pillars were fashioned from trees cut from each of the state parks and forests. The pavilion was handed over to the state in October 1936 and opened as the Ellie Mitchell Pavilion. Visitors could purchase food, eat in the dining areas, and warm themselves by eight fireplaces during cooler months. In 1986, the pavilion and its surrounding were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Rocky Neck State Park reviews

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202 reviews
  • We camped for the weekend and we were pleasantly surprised how beautiful the park was. The staff was friendly and helpful. It was crowded but it wasn’t annoying or anything. Lots of families enjoying....  more »
  • Wanted to try a new beach along the CT shoreline, and this did not disappoint. The boardwalk around the beach combined with multiple benches meant we could walk then sit and enjoy the beauty of the.....  more »
  • Coming from NY, I thought $22 was a little steep for a state park; $12 is the usual price up here. However, the beach was nice, clean, and quite relaxing. We went on a busy Saturday, so there were lots of families, but we still found a nice spot in the sand and I didn't feel concerned about leaving any of my things on the beach while we were in the water. The water was also clean. It was a lovely experience and I'd go back again.
  • I've been going there from central MA for 24 years now. Easy 1 hour drive down 395/95. Park is routinely well maintained. The beach is long and sandy, and in general has small waves making it great for small kids. Not many shells to pick up but at low tide, the east beach has an outlet stream from the salt marshes, wide shallow sandbars and if you have sharp eyes, many tiny hermit crabs to study.
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