Improving Access To Hammonasset Campgrounds

Here is how Sen. Ed Meyer proposes to do it. What do you think? Good idea? Or do you have a better idea? Let us know ...


Sen. Ed Meyer has introduced a bill in the state legislature that he says would imporove access to the extremely popular Hammonasset Campgrounds for families. He says the legislation will allow families to camp for three weeks, take five days off, then return for three more weeks. The bill has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House for consideration.

The proposed legislation also would apply to Rocky Neck State Park, the state's other campground on Long Island Sound.

Here is how it currently works, according to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, which runs the state parks:

At Hammonasset Beach and Rocky Neck State Parks, the maximum length of stay is twenty-one consecutive days.  Additionally, pursuant to state law (CGS 23-16a), in any single calendar year, the total length of all stays at each of these two parks cannot exceed twenty-one days.   (For example, three visits of five days each for a total of 15 days is allowed;  two visits of 14 days each for a total of 28 days exceeds the allowable limit.)

What do you think? Are you a Hammo camper? Good idea? Are you in favor? Let us know in our poll and in the comment section.

The full release from Sen. Meyer's Office is included below.

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Here is information on the camping season at Hammonasset from the state website:

The Hammonasset Beach Campground is open for the 2012 season from May 18 through October 9 (daily). Reservations are available for periods of stay from Memorial Day weekend May 24 through October 9. Walkins only from May 18-May 24.

  • 1288 Boston Post Road (Route 1), Madison
  • William F. Miller Campground. 558 open sites. Concession, dumping station, bathrooms, showers. Salt water swimming and fishing. Individual fireplaces not provided. No pets.
  • $20/night/campsite for CT residents plus a Processing Fee
  • $35/night/campsite w/electric & water hook-up for CT residents plus a Processing Fee
  • $30/night/campsite for non-CT residents plus a Processing Fee
  • $45/night/campsite w/electric & water hook-up for non-CT residents plus a Processing Fee
  • $70/night/rustic cabins plus a Processing Fee
  • Campsite Reservations
  • Campground Office (203) 245-1817
  • Park Office (203) 245-2785
  • Campground Map (PDF)



Full press release from Sen. Ed Meyer on the proposed legislation:

Sen. Meyer Leads Passage of Bill That Will Improve Access to Hammonasset Campgrounds

Legislation would allow families to camp for three weeks, take five days off and return for three more weeks

HARTFORD – Responding to requests from outdoor enthusiasts around Connecticut, state Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford) led passage in the Senate of a bill that will let families spend more time camping under the stars in state parks along the shoreline. The bill now goes for a final vote in the House.

Senate Bill 85 would allow families to camp for an extended period in two shoreline state parks if they leave the campground for five days after every three weeks and if the sites are vacant on a first come, first served basis. The bill would also allow for five percent of the available campsites to be leased continuously for the entire summer without limitations. The only parks affected are Hammonasset State Park and Rocky Neck State Park, the state’s only shoreline parks with camping.

“For families who make it a summer tradition to pack up and head for the beachside campgrounds at Hammonasset and Rocky Neck, this bill lets them maximize that experience,” Sen. Meyer said. “In the past, rules for camping at these state parks were not always followed and it caused confusion for campers looking to schedule their summer. Now anyone who wants to enjoy sleeping out under the stars with waves crashing in the distance can have more access to that lifestyle.”

The bill requires the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to establish a pilot program for the 2013 camping season that allows five percent of shore park camping sites to be leased to the same family without a limit on the number of nights. Anyone wishing to lease a site for the entire summer would be charged a $30 nightly fee.

If the legislation passes in the House and is signed into law, the DEEP commissioner must report back to the Legislature by February 2014 on the program’s impact on camping site availability, reaction of families using camp sites and recommendations for changes.

CP May 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I guess I don't understand how this bill "improves" access to these already impossible to book camping areas....if you let one person stay on one campsite for 3 weeks, and let yet another 5% of people occupy a campsite for the entire summer, isn't that limiting access to the other people just trying to camp there for long weekends?
Laurie Humphries May 09, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Why is it a good thing to let a small number of families monopolize the campground? I believe that a continual turnover is healthy for campers and the communities around the campground. The campground was never meant to be someone's summer home. It was created for the enjoyment of a wider range of populace and that intent should be honored.
J wagner May 10, 2012 at 01:24 AM
There are a few of us that LOVE the camp ground and respect it as I do and would spend the summer there and keep the camp ground well kept I have seen over the years the in and out campers do not respect our camp ground and it shows
D Duch May 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM
I agree with J Wagner i have seen many weekend campers come in and leave the site a mess. Dumping their campfire coals along the marsh when there is a dump site around the corner. I also know for a fact that during the height of the season (July and Aguust) at least 20% of the campground is empty during the week. If not for the campers willing to pay to be there 3 weeks and leave for 5 days and come back for another 3 weeks or seasonal campers the campground would most likely be 40-50% empty during the week. It is the repeat campers who support the campground financially as well as the surrounding towns. These are the campers who go to the supermarket in the area, go out to eat a few times a week, go to the movies, grab an ice cream, use Hammonasset Camp Store which is a great asset to all camping community.
Ed Petrie May 10, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Why not just privatize the campsite all together. Then we can leave public access out completely. Then the seasonals can run the campground just like every other privately owned campground. This state is an embarrassment to the camping community. Take a look at the surrounding states as examples. Pet bans, exorbitant in-state fees and now making the max 3 weeks and 5% seasonal! Government for the people...or at least the people who think Hammonasset belongs to them...
JGreen May 12, 2012 at 03:52 AM
I don't think it's a great idea to let 5% of the sites be booked for the summer. It's hard enough to get on beach road since they went and added electric, which I think ruins the whole camping at a state park experience. Camping at Hammonasset was always about roughing it a bit and enjoying the great outdoors. Yes there are other sites without electric but beach road is my home away from home.
C Jackson May 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I disagree with charging the same nightly fee for out of state residents as in state residents. A Connecticut resident should be able to pay less than an out of state resident to use the campgrounds, as it is their tax dollars supporting the campgrounds. Also the same fee for a site with electric and water as one without is unfair to the campers without amenities. You always pay more to have the hookups. If you increase sites with no hookups to $31 per night i think you will loose campers. Neighboring states charge more for non residents than residents and they also charge less for sites without hookups then those with hookups. I think the fees need to be looke at again and not make it the same across the board as the park will lose out. The state at this point isn't even sure if the parks can remain open so why would we want bring less money into the park or not charge the out of state campers more?
Joe A May 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I am seriously considering going to out of state campgrounds instead of Hamo. I can get W/E sites and take my beagle for significantly less that what you are charging. I can go to Fisherman's Memorial in RI for $25 a nite with w/e. Something is wrong with this. It is becoming one more reason to leave this state as soon as I can.
Jay May 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
First - few people actually "camp" at Ham.. At least 50% bring in trailers and buses that must range from $20,000 to $100,000 + in cost.. This is a $$ deal for them to get some use out of these luxury home away from home - literally a cheap vacation for people with real assets. Ham. was created and run for families with little and provides a place to pitch a tent and spend a few days in a semi rural woodsie beach area for a few dollars.. No more for that - the "bring everything" crowd has litterally crowded out those who just want to get back to basics.. Now if the good Senator wishes to alleviate the problem - and affect only a small portion of the campers - he should write a new bill that limits these camping monstrosities to one two week period a summer. They obviously can afford the price of gas to travel elsewhere..
Cris Saunders June 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I have been camping at hammonasset for 15 years. I'm a tent camper who never camps over the weekend. I can tell you from experience that it's getting harder to get a site there. More people have decided to go camping. Im not in favor of the new laws Someone could spend just about the entire season there? How does this help??? I feel this law would limit access not improve it Written by Cris as she sits in her camping chair at hammonasset!!


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