Boaters on the Connecticut River owe themselves a visit to 607-acre Selden Neck State Park in Lyme, just opposite the town of Chester. The wooded island—still called Selden Neck—was separated from the mainland in the 1850s, while still under the ownership of the Selden family, whose patriarch John Selden purchased the land in 1695. In the late 1800s, the island’s red granite was quarried for paving stones, many of which were used to line the streets of New York City.
While there is no official landing site on the island, boaters can anchor just offshore or beach their craft on the bank. Be aware that there are rocks along some parts of the shore that lie hidden at high tide, so approach cautiously. Trails wind through the lushly wooded island, some leading to the 230’ summit and past an old farm building and quarry causeway. Lookout points from the trails provide excellent views of the Connecticut River. Be aware that some parts of the island are still privately held, so respect the boundary markers.
Selden Creek, which flows between the mainland and the island’s eastern shore, is a wonderful spot for birdwatching, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, although larger boats can navigate the peaceful, reed-lined waterway as well.
Daytrippers are free to visit the island and frolic in its shallow, warm waters or explore the trails. You can even pitch a tent in one of the 4 “primitive” campsites, but you’ll need to make reservations first by mail. You can get more info at CT.gov by CLICKING HERE. Camping is allowed on Selden from May 1 to October 1. There is no ranger on-site, although the park service patrols the area.
Nearby boat ramps for trailerboaters include:
- Salmon River Boat Launch (East Haddam)
- Haddam Meadows State Park (Haddam)
- Baldwin Bridge State Ramp (Old Saybrook; at base of I-95)
- Paddle Craft and Cartop Skiffs can launch at the Hadlyme Ferry access site in Lyme
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