There are plenty of parks around Old Lyme, many of which offer hiking paths through the woods or access to the area's beaches, ponds, or lakes.
Ferry Landing State Park sits near the mouth of the Connecticut River and, despite its small size, has plenty of activities just minutes from Shore Road and a short distance from Lyme Street.
This park is incredibly scenic and, depending on the time of year, a pretty quiet place to hang out for a couple of hours.
Here's what you should know about Ferry Landing State Park, a facility that's sure to become one of your favorites after you buy a home in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
How to Get There
Reaching Ferry Landing State Park is as simple as taking Exit 70 off the I-95 and heading south. If you're arriving from Old Saybrook in the west, you can get directly onto Shore Road from the highway. From there, you'll turn right onto Ferry Road and follow it to the end.
When coming from the east, you'll take Exit 70 onto Lyme Street and follow it south until you reach Ferry Road. However, you'll have to turn onto Shore Road to cross the Lieutenant River before turning back onto Ferry Road.
Ferry Landing State Park is accessible from the southern parts of Old Lyme via Shore Road, which runs through a significant chunk of town.
Using the Boardwalk
As you arrive at the park, one of the first things you'll see is the boardwalk. This wooden structure begins near the parking lot and extends into the Connecticut River for a fair distance. It heads under the Old Saybrook-Old Lyme Bridge, around a small bay, and all the way to the mouth of the Lieutenant River without touching land.
This boardwalk is a popular fishing spot with locals because there's more than enough space to spread out and find a place to yourself. Many residents put crab traps in the water here, too, catching fresh blue crap for that night's dinner.
Even if you aren't into fishing, the boardwalk offers a pleasant walk into some marshland and is a great place to watch yachts pass by as they head to Old Saybrook's marinas.
Enjoying the Green Space
The boardwalk isn't the only place to enjoy the outdoors at Ferry Landing State Park because there's a green space there, as well. This space isn't overly large, but there are benches and picnic tables for you to sit while your kids run around in the grass.
As you enjoy the green space, keep an eye out for the osprey, heron, and ducks that make this area home. The birds tend to live in the marshland, but you never know when you'll see a few of them swimming or flying nearby. The train bridge is often home to an osprey nest, too.
Heading to the Beach
A spot near the water wouldn't be complete without a beach, and Ferry Landing State Park has a small sandy area near its entrance. While this beach isn't anything spectacular, it's close to the parking lot and has enough space for young kids to splash in the water.
There are also a couple of picnic tables near the river that provide a nice place to stop for lunch.
As a bonus, it's possible to launch a kayak from the beach. Once in the water, you can head either north or south on the Connecticut River or paddle around the corner and explore the marshland at the Lieutenant River's mouth. The choice is up to you.
The Old Lyme Dock Company
If kayaking isn't your preference, the marina steps from Ferry Landing State Park that has you covered. The Old Lyme Dock Company is a small facility with seasonal and transient slips, washrooms with showers, and fuel services.
You'll also find an on-site dockside store at this marina, and they offer limited hauling and storage services. The facility's sister marina, the Essex Landing, offers even more storage if the Old Lyme Dock Company is full for the season.
Buying a Home in Old Lyme
For birdwatching, fishing, and crabbing near the heart of downtown Old Lyme, it's tough to beat Ferry Landing State Park. This venue is small but has many features and is a destination that residents love because of its ease of access and beauty.
The park is free to use year-round, and even though it does get some tourist traffic in the summer, it mostly remains a hidden local gem that you'll come to appreciate when living in Old Lyme, Connecticut.