Just 45 minutes from NYC, Greenwich Point Beach, also known as Tod’s Point, is more than just your regular Connecticut beach. This private beach offers day passes to the public and plenty of activities beyond the sand.
In the neighborhood of Old Greenwich, you will find one the most coveted piece of land in all of Greenwich, CT during the summer months–Greenwich Point Beach. Unfortunately, it is a private beach for Greenwich residents, but guests and non-residents can buy a $9 day pass plus $40 parking pass online and join residents during the summer. Greenwich Point Beach is located on 147 acres and it’s much more than just a beach on the Long Island Sound with gazebos for shade and beach concessions. Venture beyond and you’ll find plenty of trails, picnic areas, water activities, and more to enjoy.
History Behind Tod’s Point
Before it was known as Tod’s Point, Greenwich Point Beach was known as Monakewego to the Siwanoy Indians, which translates to shining sands. The Siwanoy Indians used to use it as a fishing camp until it was purchased, along with the rest of Old Greenwich in 1640 by two wealthy people who named the land Elizabeth’s Neck. It wasn’t until 1884 that John Kennedy Tod, a wealthy New York City banker, purchased the property and transformed the property into Greenwich Point Park. Hence the nickname us locals give it “Tod’s Point.”
Innis Arden located about 2 miles from Greenwich Point Beach, which today is a private club with a 18-hole golf course, was actually man-made. John Kennedy Tod created it by filling and connecting two small islands with a road around a lake created by a tide-control gate. For a long time Innis Arden and Tod’s Point were open to Old Greenwich neighbors and guests staying at local inns, but eventually closed it to all guests.
As you walk throughout Greenwich Point Beach many of the buildings have been restored and are still used today such as the Chimes Building used by the Old Greenwich Yacht Club’s Community Sailing program, the Cowbarn and former stables now serve as storage and work areas for the park staff.
Access, Hours, Where & How to Buy Day Passes
Tod’s Point is open every day from 6AM to sunset. The best time of day to go is first thing in the morning, if you’re able to be an early riser…and I mean real early! The town rakes the sand and cleans it of debris every morning leaving a flat and untouched bed of sand. If you’re able to be one of the first to see the beach completely raked, you’ll be the first to lay an imprint on that sand for the day. It’s a sight to behold…or so I’ve been told. I myself have never managed to get up early enough to see it.
Because Tod’s Point is a private beach, if you’re a resident and purchased the OnePass for the May – October season, entry is free with the pass, as long as you have a CT license plate vehicle. If you’re not a resident, from May 1 – October 31st you’ll need to purchase a day pass online to enter any Greenwich Town Park facility. Outside of that time period, entry is free to anyone. You can purchase tickets on the Greenwich Town website, here, Monday to Friday between 9AM and 1PM. Tickets are $10 per person and $40 per vehicle. You have to buy both if you plan to arrive by car. If you prefer to save money on the vehicle, you have to try and find someone to drop you off at the beach!
The beach even opens up to dogs between December 1st to March 31st, so if you have furry friends they can come too.
30 Amazing Restaurants in Greenwich, CT Right Now
The beauty of Greenwich Point Beach is that you can experience it during both low tide and high tide. During high tide, people scramble to find a small area on the sand away from others. During low tide, a huge tidal flat creates a playing ground for all from grown ups playing water sports in the water to kids making sand castles. The water in the Long Island Sound is not like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. It is very cold year round, which makes it refreshing in the summer, but can be bit jarring to some. It reaches 21C/70F around July, but that’s as warm as it gets.
Wear beach shoes. This isn’t your typical Caribbean soft sand beach. It has plenty of rocks and if you don’t have tough callusy feet like me, you’ll need a pair of water shoes or beach shoes for the sand.
Although you may come across jellyfish at times, the most common sea creature you’ll come along are probably horseshoe crabs. Now when you see them you may be terrified by the size of them, but they’re actually completely harmless. I’ll always remember my Italian friends reaction when she first saw one, she was terrified! They are very common in the Long Island Sound. Horseshoe crabs are only found in North America between Maine and Mexico on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in Southeast Asia. Although they are called crabs, they’re actually more similar to spiders and scorpions. What makes them so special is that they are living fossils, they’ve existed before dinosaurs were even around, about 445 million years ago.
The beach has a number of public showers and changing rooms you can use as well as public restrooms.
Fun Event: Sandblast Sand Sculpture Festival
Every July the town of Greenwich hosts the Sandblast Sand Sculpture Festival. You guessed it, a sand building competition. All participants typically win gift cards and a small gift. Creativity is key here and the sky is the limit. You can build anything from a squid made of sand to a mini golf course.
There is a lot more variety at the Greenwich beach concession stands than your regular beach concession. Yes you’ve got your typical burgers, fries, and hot dogs, but you also have a variety of salad options from Italian to Caesar and Greek, a Thai veggie green bowl, and a number of sandwiches to choose from such as fried shrimp, flounder, cheese steak, meatball park, grilled chicken, fried codfish, clamwich, and so forth. There are two beach concessions one is located on the south end of the beach at the Susie Baker Pavilion. The Pavilion is a restored Old Barn originally from 1887. This is the concession you got to if you want eat on a huge patio with plenty of outdoor seating. The second beach concession is located on the north end of the beach and is more of a grab-and-go style, with limited seating on the side. You can take your food and eat it in the nearby picnic areas or on the beach.
In Pictures: Greenwich, CT in All Seasons
Picnic Area and Charcoal Grills
If you choose to bring your own food, that’s not a problem. Throughout the park you’ll find plenty of picnic tables, grass areas for picnic blankets and Frisbee games, and charcoal grills so you can barbecue while having a few beers. If you can’t find a spot close to the Greenwich beach, venture inland and you’ll find plenty of more green space.
Fun Event: Kite Flying Festival
Every April, Greenwich Point hosts the annual Kite Flying Festival. You can bring any kite you’d like during this time and ribbons are awarded to winners.
Walk, Run, or Hike Tod’s Point
Tod’s Point is a 2.6 mile hiking loop trail. The terrain is pretty flat, but it’s a great form of exercise. The walk involves circling the perimeter of Greenwich Point Beach, crossing several bridges, stumbling upon a family of raccoons or birds, seeing the majestic New York skyline (on a clear day), passing by numerous historic buildings from the former estate of John Kennedy Tod, strolling through the Old Greenwich Yacht Club’s private marina, and more.
Old Greenwich Yacht Club
The Old Greenwich Yacht Club is one of the most inclusive yacht clubs in Greenwich open to all residents. Unlike other Greenwich yacht clubs, the club is very modest and down to earth. It is a non profit funded by over 350 families. The small brown shingle house is a meeting point for this community to hang out together. As part of the Old Greenwich Yacht Club you get perks such as sailboat races, cruises, kayak tours, family fishing days, and the opportunity to participate in social events. Since they host many outings, it is not required that you own a boat to join this yacht club!
Right next to the Old Greenwich Yacht Club is a strip of land covered in sea shells. My favorite time of day to visit this beach is during sunset. The sun hits the sea shells turning them a light pink and purple color as the sun turns blood orange and red.
Greenwich Avenue, CT: What to Expect and Find
Take Up Sailing Lessons With Greenwich Community Sailing
Sailing lessons are open to both residents and the public during the summer months thanks to Greenwich Community Sailing! You can sign your kids up for sailing children’s sail lessons or learn the ropes (or sheets) yourself in Adult Sailing. There are 2 courses offered: Beginners and Intermediate. Patrick and I tried out the Beginners class this year and absolutely loved it. The staff was young, very informed, hands on, and most importantly great communicators. They turned the sport of Sailing into something that is easy to understand and navigate. And that’s no easy feat! Classes aren’t that expensive either, it’s just $250 for 2 weekends of 3 hour classes every day–for a total of 12 hours. If you’re not a resident, you can partake in the classes, but will need to pay for a beach day pass as well to attend.
Rent a Catamaran, Kayak, or SUP
Greenwich Community Sailing offers rentals during the summer for catamarans (for those with permits), kayaks, and stand up paddle boards. Prices vary anywhere from $25 to $60 per hour depending on what you are renting. Greenwich Community Sailing also offers children and adult sailing classes during the summer. So should you want to learn how to sail and receive your permit, just sign up for classes.
Watch the Sunrise or Set
Fun fact, because Greenwich Point Park is a peninsula, you can view both sunsets and sunrises from here. The park opens at 6AM and closes at sundown.
>> Next: 30 Amazing Places to Eat in Greenwich, CT Right Now
Follow SVADORE on:
- Instagram: @SVADORE and @SVADORE_eats
- Twitter: @SvadoreTravels
- Pinterest SVADORE
- Facebook SVADORE