12 Parks in Milford, Connecticut

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled along Long Island Sound, Milford is a vibrant coastal city in New Haven County, Connecticut. This historic city was founded in 1639 and today has a population of over 52,000 residents. Milford is known for its scenic beaches, coastal parks, nature preserves, and lively downtown district.

For its size, Milford boasts an impressive number of public parks and recreational areas. In this article, we will highlight 12 of the top parks and natural spaces in and around Milford that are perfect for picnics, hiking, sports, relaxation, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Eisenhower Park

Eisenhower Park is one of Milford’s most popular community parks, spanning over 90 acres adjacent to Interstate 95. The park contains extensive recreational facilities including lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball and softball diamonds, soccer and football fields, beach volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, picnic areas with charcoal grills, playgrounds, walking trails, and more.

The northern section of the park encompasses a large freshwater pond for catch-and-release fishing. The southern end features an off-leash dog park area separated into sections for large and small dogs. With its diversity of amenities and location right off the highway, Eisenhower Park is convenient for residents and visitors alike.

Silver Sands State Park

Encompassing 306 acres along Long Island Sound, Silver Sands State Park contains some of the best beachfront, dunes, and tidal marshlands in the state. The park’s mile-long boardwalk and nature trail afford stunning views across the salt marsh and shoreline.

Recreational activities include swimming, fishing, saltwater sportfishing, and shell fishing. The park has a designated picnic area with shelters and charcoal grills, as well as a playground, volleyball court, three tennis courts, and athletic fields. The coastal park ecosystem is home to abundant birdlife and shoreline marine animals. Silver Sands State Park is one of Connecticut’s scenic gems.

Walnut Beach

Walnut Beach is Milford’s own 501-acre oceanside park with a picturesque stretch of sand beach nestled against Long Island Sound. It contains playgrounds, picnic spots, athletic fields and courts, bocce ball, concessions and restrooms, splash pad, and over a mile of walking trails that afford gorgeous coastal views.

During the summer, Walnut Beach also features arts and crafts vendors setting up on the boardwalk, free open-air concerts at the bandstand gazebo, and Friday night bonfires on the beach. Walnut Beach Park is renowned as one of New England’s top 10 beaches.

Fowler Field Park

If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors alongside aviation history, pay a visit to Fowler Field Park situated next to Milford’s Daniel S. Dickinson Airport. The 22-acre park contains open grass areas, wooded nature trails good for birdwatching, and direct access to observe vintage aircraft at the adjoining Connecticut Air & Space Center.

Fowler Field Park hosts regular events like the annual Wheels and Wings car show every August, with aviation fly-ins and classic car exhibitions. The park also includes a military memorial, information kiosk, and seating plaza. Panoramic views overlooking the airport runways and Housatonic River lend a uniquely aviation-themed recreational space.

Lisman Landing Beach

Found along the northern end of the city’s coastline, Lisman Landing Beach spans 10 acres of prime shoreline with a newly constructed seawall and walkway. The sandy beach area spans 400 feet and reopens for the 2023 summer season after completion of reinforcement efforts to guard against erosion.

Visitors to Lisman Landing Beach can enjoy picturesque views across the sound, with fishing access along the rocky breakwall that extends into the bay. It’s an excellent spot for beachcombing and sunbathing. The park area also includes a playground, picnic tables, restrooms, and parking. It’s one of Milford’s hidden coastal gems.

Wepawaug River Greenway

For scenic riverside views and placid nature walks just minutes from downtown Milford, the mile-long Wepawaug River Greenway linear park affords an easily accessible eco-friendly retreat. Located adjacent to Milford’s wastewater treatment plant, the multi-use greenway features paved and woodchip walking trails with views of the tidal Wepawaug River.

Benches line the route under the tree canopy which provides cooling shade during hot summer days. Songbirds, waterfowl, and small wildlife inhabit the bordering salt marsh and forest ecosystem. Informational signage describes the tidal wetland habitat. The greenway includes access at Naugatuck Avenue and New Haven Avenue, with plans to extend the riverside trail to connect more neighborhoods throughout Milford.

West Shore Park

West Shore Park stretches for nearly a mile along the western bank where the Wepawaug River meets Long Island Sound. The 78-acre oceanside park contains picnic shelters, playground, splash pad, concert stage, athletic fields, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, swimming area, kayak launch site, and 1.2 miles of walking trails.

During summer months, the park hosts free music concerts and movie nights. West Shore Park connects to nearby Shell Beach and Bayview Park, comprising over 200 total acres of recreational city parkland with stunning coastal scenery. It’s one of Milford’s most scenic community parks.

Gulf Beach

If you’re searching for a more secluded and serene oceanside landscape, head over to Gulf Beach park near the western outskirts of Milford. Spanning 150 acres, Gulf Beach on the Jeffrey Point peninsula features a mile-long pristine sandy beach, dramatic rock outcroppings, brackish pond, towering oak grove, open meadows, and over 5 miles of nature walking trails that afford panoramic vistas across Long Island Sound.

The park has picnic tables and charcoal grills plus restroom facilities seasonally. As a protected wildlife habitat, Gulf Beach remains in a beautifully undeveloped natural state, perfect for beachcombing, birdwatching, fishing, and appreciating the peaceful isolation of the Connecticut coastline.

Eells Pond Preserve

Operated by the Aspetuck Land Trust, Eells Pond Preserve protects a 58-acre freshwater coastal habitat featuring peaceful woodland trails encircling the glacial Eells Pond. Visitors can observe a variety of wetland ecosystem plant and animal life. The Preserve has a small parking area and informational kiosk near the trailhead off Love Lane.

The blue-blazed trail forms a 1-mile loop marked by educational signs describing the native flora and fauna. Benches are situated along the route to rest on and admire scenic views of the pond and surroundings. As a peaceful natural area in close proximity to downtown Milford, Eells Pond Preserve makes an ideal spot for learning about local ecology while enjoying a tranquil woodland walk.

Fowler Field Walking Trail

Adjacent to the wildlife habitats of Eells Pond Preserve lies the mile-long woodchip Fowler Field walking trail, accessible next to 96 South Street in central Milford. As another project spearheaded by the Aspetuck Land Trust, this easy family-friendly trail forms a loop through tranquil meadows and mature oak woodlands.

It connects to a short spur path leading to an elevated bird blind, perfect for wildlife viewing over the bordering wetlands ecosystem. Interpretive signs describe the trees, wildflowers, birds, butterflies, and animal species found throughout the trail area which includes habitat protection for threatened New England cottontail rabbits. Benches line the wheelchair-accessible pathway which affords a peaceful nature walk without leaving town.

Merwin Point Park

Situated on a peninsula in Milford’s northern tip lies secluded Merwin Point Park spanning 110 acres of beachfront on Long Island Sound. The oceanside landscape encompasses tidal salt marsh, mature woodlands, two lengthy sand beaches with picnic tables, biking and hiking trails, and rocky points for fishing.

As a peaceful spot for swimming, birdwatching, or sitting waterside, Merwin Point Park offers panoramic views across the sound with regular sightings of osprey and wading shorebirds. The park connects to adjoining Connecticut Audubon Society coastal sanctuary lands for over 200 acres of protected coastal habitats to explore via nature trails.

Parsons Complex

For active recreation and green space in the heart of downtown Milford, head over to the Parsons Complex spanning 35 acres adjacent to the Wepawaug River. This community park area contains outdoor swimming pools, splash pad, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, gardens, open fields, children’s playgrounds, bocce ball, walking paths, and the historic Parsons Veterans Memorial bandshell.

The site of the original Parsons family homestead built in 1639, the park hosts numerous events year-round like summer concerts, farm markets, food festivals and athletic tournaments. Visitors can also access the riverfront walkway and connect to the nearby Wepawaug River Greenway trail. With lovely landscape views and many family-friendly amenities, Parsons Complex is a beloved community gathering space in Milford’s city center.

Conclusion

With its scenic shoreline parks, community recreational spaces, and conserved wildlife habitats, the Milford area provides something for everyone when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. From kayaking along the Wepawaug River to beachcombing the sandy stretches of Silver Sands beach, Milford’s parks encompass a diversity of landscapes and activities to experience year-round.

The city continues efforts to expand public access and amenities at these parks while protecting the local ecosystems and native plant and animal inhabitants that rely on these preserves. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, we hope this guide gives you some new ideas of Milford parks and natural spaces to check out and make the most of the city’s outdoor recreational offerings.

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