Silver Sands State Park

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Silver Sands State Park
Connecticut State Park
Beach and tombolo to Charles Island at low tide
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County New Haven
Town Milford
Coordinates 41°12′00″N 73°04′16″W / 41.20000°N 73.07111°W / 41.20000; -73.07111Coordinates: 41°12′00″N 73°04′16″W / 41.20000°N 73.07111°W / 41.20000; -73.07111
Area 297 acres (120 ha) [1]
Established 1960
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location in Connecticut
Website: Silver Sands State Park
Aerial photo of Silver Sands State Park, including Charles Island
Silver Sands State Park at Sunset

Silver Sands State Park is a Connecticut state park in Milford, Connecticut, USA which consists of 297 acres (120 ha) of beach, dunes, restored salt marsh, open areas and woods.[2] The park offers facilities for swimming in Long Island Sound, picnicking, trails, boardwalks and opportunities for bird-watching.[3] It includes the 14-acre (5.7 ha) bird sanctuary of Charles Island, which is rumored to be the site of Captain Kidd's buried treasure.[4][unreliable source?] Silver Sands is adjacent to the city-owned park, Walnut Beach. The main entrance is located on Meadowside Road in Milford.


The park land was acquired by the state after Hurricane Diane destroyed 75 homes there in 1955. The area includes the tidal channels of the Fletcher's Creek and Nettleton Creek watershed and had been a local dumping site and landfill until 1977.[5] Soil analyses have indicated the presence of heavy metal pollutants, probably due to the area's use as a dump.[5]

In 1997, a project to restore the coastal wetlands along Silver Sands was approved. The park was renovated according to plans begun in 1990 by architect Alfredo De Vido and completed in 2000.[6]


During low tide, visitors can walk across the tombolo to Charles Island. The wooded interior of Charles Island is protected for heron and egret rookeries. It is one of the largest wading bird rookeries in the state.[2] The ruins of a Catholic retreat from the 1920s remain on the island.

A boardwalk with railings extends from the parking lot to the beach (about 200 ft) and also runs along part of the beach. The land alongside the boardwalk had been used as a landfill. However, the salt water tidal marsh is being environmentally restored. Through the marsh, there are also remnants of the foundations of cottages that were destroyed by Diane. There is also an old dirt road that goes east-west through the park. Park trails form segments of the East Coast Greenway.

Many birds can be seen at the park. Least and common terns feed here. It is also a wintering area for raptors such as the rough-legged hawk, the snowy owl and the short-eared owl.[2]


  1. ^ Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (January 23, 2014). "State Parks and Forests: Funding" (PDF). Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. p. A-3. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Silver Sands State Park". Audubon Connecticut. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Silver Sands State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Zurko, Roz (October 13, 2009). "Charles Island Milford Connecticut for treasure and ghost hunting". Yahoo Voices. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Anthropogenic Trace Metals in Tidal Marsh Sediments, Silver Sands State Park, Milford, CT, Dias, S., Page, L., Fleming, T. H., and Coron, C. R., The Geological Society of America, Northeastern Section - 40th Annual Meeting (March 14–16, 2005) Saratoga Springs, New York.
  6. ^ Alfredo De Vido (1998). Alfredo DeVido: Selected and Current Works. Images Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-875498-76-5. 

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