www.ctvisit.com Fan-Favorite Town: Niantic
I am absolutely, completely, 110% biased. I grew up in Niantic and thus was one of the nearly 10,000 votes that were submitted to www.ctvisit.com for their Connecticut Fan Favorite Town contest. Of course I voted for Niantic. It was a no brainer for me. Most of what I enjoy about Niantic is the outdoor activities that it has to offer.
As a child I would spend my summer days at McCook’s Beach and play on the playground up at McCook’s Point Park. We then would venture over to Hole in the Wall beach for some crabbing fun. Now there is the Niantic Bay Overlook Boardwalk where joggers and walkers can go and enjoy the views of the point and Niantic Bay. (A portion of the gravel walk was destroyed in the storms and the full walk is not reopened yet).
Now you are more likely to find me on my kayak or a paddle board cruising around Niantic Bay or the Niantic River. Boats can be launched right next to the beautiful Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, although there is only on street parking there. If you cross the bridge into Waterford there is a state boat launch with parking.
Head to the western end of Niantic and you will find yourself at Rocky Neck State Park. This is where I got my first taste of camping. A bunch of our family friends would get together for a weekend of car camping, swimming at the beach, and hiking and biking the trails. In the winter when there is enough snow Rocky Neck is also a great destination for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Rocky Neck isn’t the only nice hiking and mountain biking destination in Niantic. Another place to visit is the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve. This 420 acre preserve has been a local favorite for many years and we were overjoyed when in 2007 it was official opened through public and private acquisitions. The Friends of the OHNP is hoping to continue to expand this land up to 700 acres.
Niantic is also a popular location for hosting races. In March, right around St. Patrick’s Day, is the O’Niantic 5K which takes runners around downtown Niantic and Saunders Point. June brings about the Niantic Bay 10K, starting to McCook’s Beach and traveling into Black Point. The Niantic Bay Triathlon comes into town in August for a ½ mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.5 mile run. September sees runners taking part in the Sunshine Kids 5K. October wraps things up with the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation Walk Across Southeastern CT coming through town.
If you have never been, come give Niantic a try. Catch a movie at Niantic Cinemas, browse the book shelves at the three Book Barn locations, or get a delicious wrap at Village Bake House. Don’t forget to leave some time to take in the views of Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound while you are here.