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State beaches, parks open for season with Metro-North shuttle connections

Park ConneCT bus service launches Memorial Day Weekend to connect train riders to three state beaches.

MADISON, Connecticut — Gov. Ned Lamont and state officials have a message for residents of New York, Massachusetts, and other neighboring states: drive to not through Connecticut.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials joined Lamont at Hammonasset State Beach Friday to launch the summer park season and highlight a new shuttle service to state beaches.

“Part of the cycle of Connecticut life, we kick off the summer right here, Memorial Day Weekend Hammonasset State Park,” Lamont said flanked by local and state officials.

With three million visitors a year, Hammonasset is Connecticut’s most visited state park. Now, with sun and warmth on tap for the unofficial start to summer, thousands are expected to come.

“You can hop on a train, you can hop on a bus and utilize the Park ConneCT,” said Sen. Christine Cohen, D, Guilford

A new program called Park ConneCT brings Metro-North riders from as far away as Manhattan to Hamonasset, Silver Sands, and Sherwood Island beaches. 

“While you’re here take a chance and go into Madison. We’ve got a lot of lovely restaurants and shopping opportunities,” said First Selectman Peggy Lyons.

According to park officials, attendance at all Connecticut parks is up by seven million since the pandemic.

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“A 50 percent increase in visitor levels and it stuck. We thought maybe that would die off when folks got back to their regular patterns. But actually, I think folks just discovered how special these places are,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.

Connecticut’s tourism website saw more than 70 million viewers last year. If you’re wondering what to get into this season, click here

Samaia Hernandez is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at shernandez@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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