Eagle Landing State Park is a state park in the town of East Lyme, Connecticut. The park offers scenic views on Long Island Sound. It is managed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as part of its Green Acres program.
The park has since grown to 35 sites. A separate picnic area accommodates up to 50 people, some of whom can enjoy the saltwater beach across the street. Bicycles are allowed in certain parts of the park, and there is a 5km bike trail leading out of the park. There is a boat launch at the park for non-motorized watercraft. Hiking trails lead to scenic vistas points throughout the park. Cross-country skiing is available during winter months. Fishing licenses are required to fish at Eagle Landing, and possession of a valid license allows you to fish at any time year round. Hunting is permitted in season in an adjacent 250 acre conservation area. Access to this area is restricted to those with permits issued through the Division of Parks and Recreation.
There are two playgrounds located within the park, one being a half court basketball courts. This particular court is surrounded by a netting structure and is therefore enclosed. The other court is open, without the surrounding netting. Both courts are suitable for children aged 7 through 14. There is a third playground, consisting of slides, swings, seesaws, teeter totters, and a merry go round. This particular court is not enclosed.
Parking fees are in effect at Eagle Landing State Park from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Permits may be purchased at the park office for $6 per vehicle per day, however these permit purchases are not accepted at the park on weekends or holidays. Permits are good for three days or a week depending on the type of permit purchased. Annual passes are also offered at the park office.
Additional information regarding hunting, fishing, and environmental issues can be obtained at the park offices. Facilities – Campsites consist of a central grassy area with several wooden platforms nearby. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table and grill, and a sanitary dumping station. Water and electric sites are 30amp hookups, while sewer sites require a 60amp hookup. Half of the campsites are occupied by their owners each summer, with the remainder left unoccupied. The campground opens on Memorial Day weekend and closes Labor Day weekend.
Reservations are taken for the entire camping season. Walk-ins are always welcome, though. Camping Cottages – Two camping cottages are available to rent. They sleep six people in single and double bunks. Single and triple decker cottages have wood stoves, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, countertop, table, chairs, and porch. Double cottage has an outside shower room. The campground opens on Memorial Day weekend and closes Labor Day weekend. Reservations are taken for the entire camping season. Walk-ins are always welcome, though. Cabins – Located off of Bradley Avenue, near the main parking lot, four cabins are available to rent. Each cabin sleeps five people in bunk beds.
The cabins feature modern amenities, including electricity, heat, air conditioning, a kitchen/dining area, and a bathroom. Outside of the cabins are a front porch, back porch, yard, fire pit, and picnic table. No pets are allowed in the cabins. The campground opens on Memorial Day weekend and closes Labor Day weekend. Reservations are taken for the entire camping season. Walk-ins are always welcome, though. Concessions stand – Operated by concessionaire Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the park features a food stand, ice cream shop, gift shop, bait and tackle shop, and snack bar. Boats may be launched into the waters of Buzzards Bay.
The park includes a boardwalk where visitors may walk to reach the beach across the street. The park also contains the Peabody Museum, which houses numerous historical artifacts collected by Frederic Goudon, curator of the museum from 1891 to 1920. His collection focused on American history, art, and literature, and his personal library of approximately 15,000 volumes was among the largest private collections in America. Many of the items in the collection are rare or one-of-a-kind books, periodicals, newspapers, broadsides, scrapbooks, letters, and photographs. The museum is home to the Frederick Goudon Research Library, which provides research materials and services to scholars, teachers, and students.
The park is operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, under contract with the State of Connecticut. On January 1, 2010, the park closed down briefly due to budget cuts, along with 69 other state parks and historic sites. However, Eagle Landing reopened on June 3, following passage of an agreement in the state senate.”Eagle Landing State Park will remain open and staffed by full-time employees,” said state Senator Daniel Squadron. “This means that there will be lifeguards present seven days a week, 365 days a year. Additionally, maintenance workers will be present to keep the grounds clean and the buildings safe.”
The park’s picnic area has been expanded to handle larger crowds. An accessible playground area has been added, and handicap-accessible restrooms have been installed. A new waterfront restaurant called “Buzzard’s Roost”, featuring local seafood, steaks, and pastas, is scheduled to open sometime in 2011. The park’s campground has undergone extensive renovations. Previously, sites were equipped with 40 amp electrical service, but now all sites receive 20 amp service. To compensate, tent campers will need to bring their own generators. Modern restroom facilities, including hot showers, have been built in the campground. A dump station has been constructed near the campground, providing residents with a place to dispose of garbage and recycling receptacles have been placed in strategic locations around the park.
In May 1942, during World War II, plans were made to create an area set aside for national defense that would also provide outdoor recreation opportunities. As a result, large areas of land around the city of New London were designated as “National Defense Areas” (NDAs). One such NDA was established east of the city between the towns of Groton and New London, including what is now Eagle Landing State Park. Another NDA was created south of the city, which included most of Old Lyme.
These NDAs were originally planned to be temporary, but have become permanent when no longer needed for war purposes. With the end of WWII, interest grew in creating additional areas set aside for public use, and in 1953, the state legislature authorized the creation of three new state parks, one of which was named after former Governor John W. Martin. At first, only staff members could live in the park, but soon campers from all over the state began using the park’s campsites. In 1957, the campground officially opened with eight sites
- cross-country skiing
Other activities include:
- sand volleyball
- tether ball
- softball fields
- soccer fields
- miniature golf course
- bumper boats
Shellfish species are common along the shoreline, and include:
Common game fish found in this region of the Atlantic Ocean include:
- striped bass