Photos of the Long Island Sound

Issues & Actions

Rocky Neck

Location: East Lyme, CT

Anchor Site(s): Rocky Neck State Park

About the Site: Rocky Neck is the third most visited state park in Connecticut, most notable for its distinct geology and unusual diversity of recreational opportunities on the Sound. Visitors of all ages are drawn to activities from camping to scuba diving to nature walks, and interactive displays at the nature center provide context for the many outdoor activities interspersed among wildlife habitat. Its 710 acres include a rare example of a coastal thicket, an area dense with shrubs and young trees in passage between being a meadow and forest. Architecture enthusiasts are sure to explore the historic stone Ellie Mitchell Pavilion, which was built in 1936 by the State Park and Forest Commission using native stones and timber from each of Connecticut’s state parks.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Hike through miles of serpentine trails enjoying the shade from Rocky Neck’s oak-dominated coastal thicket.
  • Explore the beautiful, historic and architecturally significant Ellie Mitchell Pavilion.
  • Visit the coastal education center to see tanks and terrariums with local species, or use computer programs with games and ecological programs.
  • Camp out in one of 160 open and wooded sites.
  • Indulge in a range of activities suitable for families or outdoor adventurers: saltwater fishing, picnicking, camping, scuba diving, swimming, hiking, field sports, cross-country skiing, camper nature program, interpretive program, mountain biking, roller-blading, and bird watching.
  • Go saltwater fishing on the jetty (open year-round) and you might catch blackfish, winter flounder, bluefish, or striped bass

Dive Deeper

  • State Parks: Rocky Neck
    Prepare for a visit to Rocky Neck by reading through this overview of the park’s geology and its historical background.
  • Bride Brook
    Engage with East Lyme’s history by learning the iconic story behind the name of Bride Brook, a stream that runs through Rocky Neck. Or learn about the restoration project completed in 2010 that brought this important alewife run back to health!

Get Involved/Events

  • Check the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide for an overview of Rocky Neck State Park, available activities and facilities, and directions.
  • The CTDEEP website on Rocky Neck State Park provides camping information, an overview of the park, and links to various regulations.

Field Notes

  • Camping reservations are required during the summer.
  • Be sure to check CTDEEP’s regulations on shore fishing in coastal state parks.

Credits and Sources

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

      • The name of Bride Brook, a stream in Rocky Neck, is attributed to a creative wedding ceremony in 1672 that took place on both sides of the water.
      • A neck is a narrow stretch of land, hence the name Rocky Neck describes the rocky shoreline.
      • A thicket is an area in transition between a meadow and a forest.

Rocky Neck

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