Chart: NOAA 13214
Stonington Harbor—41˚20’10” N, 71˚54’49” W—is easily reached by boat from Long Island Sound and Fishers Island Sound. Located approximately 96 nautical miles east of the entrance to the East River in New York, roughly 120 miles south-southwest of Boston and about 18 miles north of Block Island, Stonington Harbor is well marked and deep, with a mean low water of 10′ in the middle of the harbor. (Beware: if you run east past Stonington Point into Little Narragansett Bay, the water becomes quite shallow—1′ to 5′ MLW.)
From the west via Long Island Sound, pass north of Ram Island Shoal and Ram Island, between the white day beacon “ER” on Ellis Reef and the red buoy “4” on Cormorant Reef. Head toward red buoy “2” on Red Reef and the flashing green light on the breakwater off Wamphassuc Point—the harbor’s entrance is to port just beyond the light.
From the east and south, enter between Fishers Island and Watch Hill then head for the flashing red buoy “6”. From there head toward red buoy “2” and proceed north, staying well to port of Middle Ground and the breakwater. The harbor’s entrance is straight ahead and to starboard of Wamphassuc Point and the breakwater.
- Dodson Boat Yard (860-535-1507): Located at the head of the harbor, this full-service yard and marina offers transient slips and moorings, as well as gas and diesel, repair, ice, laundry, pump-out and showers. Dodson’s also runs launch service in the harbor and has an onsite restaurant called The Dog Watch Cafe (860-415-4510).
- Stonington Harbor Yacht Club (860-535-0112; VHF 78): Offers more than 240′ of transient dock space. Discounted rates for members of reciprocating clubs.
- Stonington Marina (860) 599-4730; http://www.stoningtonmarina.com: Set on gorgeous Wequetequock Cove, this small-boat marina offers dockage, service and repair, as well as rentals of kayaks and paddle boards.
- Don’s Dock (860-535-0077): Seasonal and short-term dockage for smaller vessels on Lambert’s Cove, north of the train bridge (5′ 2″ clearance at MHT). Floating docks, launch ramp, showers, locker rental, engine service and repair.
- Pump-out service: Stonington/Westerly pump-out boat can be hailed on VHF 8.
The main anchorage is on the west side of the harbor—to port as you enter—west of GC “7” (see chart). The town dock is directly opposite, adjacent to the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. The town offers free use of its dinghy dock for boaters who prefer to anchor. Launch service also available through Dodson Boat Yard.
Trailerboaters, kayakers, windsurfers and cartoppers can launch at the Barn Island state ramp off Palmer Neck Road. This is a large and busy ramp (especially on weekends) with a ample parking and toilets. No fee.
Another access point for kayaks and canoes is at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, at 349 Elm Street (where Elm meets Rte. 1). This put-in provides access to Oxacossett Brook. Parking for 5 vehicles can be found near the start of the private road leading to the Vineyard.
Kayak and SUP rentals, sales and guided tours.
- Noah’s (860-535-3925): Casual fine dining on Water Street. Closed Mondays.
- Milagro (860-535-8178): Authentic Mexican on Water Street.
- The Water Street Café (860-535-2122): Well-known for its Sunday brunch.
- Zack’s Bar & Grille (860-535-0301): Closed Mondays.
- Yellow House Coffee and Tea Room (860-535-4986): Good spot for a quick bite on Water Street.
- Dog Watch Cafe: (860-415-4510) Casual restaurant and bar on the water at Dodson Boat Yard. Dock n’ dine.
- The 1823 Stonington Harbor Light, the first lighthouse to be commissioned and built by the federal government, is a popular attraction. Now known as the Old Lighthouse Museum (860-535-1400), the light is owned and operated by the Stonington Historical Society. Hours are 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. from Memorial Day through labor Day. Admission also allows access to the Capt. Palmer House (860-535-8445) and the R. W. Woolworth Library (860-535-1131) exhibit and research center.
- Barn Island Wildlife Management Area (860-424-3000: State’s largest coastal property for wildlife conservation. Includes salt- and freshwater wetlands where visitors can paddle, hike, fish and birdwatch.
- Dodge Paddock and Beal Preserve: Off Main Street, on the eastern side of Stonington Point. The property features a walkway that meanders through salt marshes and offers great views of Watch Hill and Sandy Point.
- DuBois Beach (860-535-2476): Small but well-protected beach on the harbor. Charges a small fee for use.
Stonington has many eclectic shops, boutiques and stores, including:
- La Grua’s (860-535-1030)
- Zia’s Jewelry & Accessories (860-535-2298)
- Cate Charles Gallery (860-245-5213)
- AK Dasher Jewerly (860-535-1774)
- Devon House Antiques & Gallery (860-535-4452)