Coastal Charm Meets Commuter Convenience on Connecticut’s Gold Coast

Apr 11, 2024

The Connecticut coastline is home to some of the most stunning waterfront communities, A+ schools, countless activities and amenities, and plenty to do all year long. Once a hotspot for affluent Manhattanites looking for a weekend and summertime retreat, these towns now offer the perfect balance between city access and a suburban lifestyle. As you’re exploring, be sure and check out these Connecticut coastal communities. 

Greenwich

Greenwich is the closest Connecticut town to NYC, with a quick, comfortable commute – just 45 minutes via the express trains. Greenwich is a very large town with several unique neighborhoods, and a dynamic urban-meets-suburban that appeals to many city dwellers. And like the city, Greenwich offers walkability and easy access to world-class amenities.

As you explore Greenwich, consider what’s important to you. Old Greenwich and Riverside, for example, offer a more tight-knit suburban feel, with their own downtowns and community beaches. Backcountry Greenwich provides the most land and privacy, with larger properties and further from any of the town centers—so if you’re looking to escape (but not escape too far), this is a great option.

No matter where you land, you’ll have access to a renowned arts and culture scene, with sought-after restaurants, an incredible public library, and culture gems like the Bruce Museum

Panoramic winter view along coastline of Greenwich Point, Greenwich, CT, USA with ice or slush forming at edge of coastline with Long Island in background against a clear blue sky

Given its coastal location, Greenwich residents have access to miles of shoreline at multiple beaches. For a more traditional beach experience, check out Greenwich Point, Bryam Park, Island Park, and Great Captain Island. The latter two are situated approximately two miles off Greenwich Harbor, with ferry service available from June through mid-September.

Darien

Darien is a community-focused town with a top-notch school system. The town’s Noroton Heights and Darien Metro-North train stations help commuters reach Grand Central in about an hour. For beach-goers, Weed Beach, with its 22 beachfront acres, pirate ship playground, tennis and paddle tennis, trails, and more, is a must. Another go-to is Pear Tree Point Beach, which is slightly smaller and more secluded. The Darien Boat Club is also housed here. 

Beyond the beaches, there’s always plenty to do in Darien. We’re big fans of the 64.7-acre Woodland Park Nature Preserve or eating at one of the many eateries downtown. Residents can access 30 acres of shoreline beaches with stunning views, concession stands, and picnic areas.

New Canaan

New Canaan is a classic coastal suburb known for its idyllic charm, rich history, and vibrant community spirit. This picturesque town seamlessly blends past and present – think beautifully preserved colonial architecture sitting alongside modern boutiques and award-winning restaurants.

With its lush landscapes and serene atmosphere, New Canaan attracts residents looking for a tranquil but still connected lifestyle. The town is celebrated for its top-rated schools, charming downtown, and a wide array of cultural and recreational activities, making it a desirable destination for families and professionals.

And for those craving a truly coastal life, living in New Canaan gives you access to Darien’s town beaches, Weed Beach and Pear Tree Point Beach. Locals can also swim in town at Kiwanis Park, which includes a play structure, basketball court, snack bar, and plenty of space for picnics.

Westport

Westport is a lively coastal town with arts and culture at the center. Levitt Pavilion, a riverfront performing arts venue, hosts a variety of free musical acts in the summer, and the historic Westport Country Playhouse puts on comedy shows, theater, and concerts year-round. 

Prefer to be outside? The Westport Farmers Market attracts locals and visitors, as do the local beaches – Compo Beach, Sherwood Beach, and Old Mill Beach, for starters. Other draws? The annual Fine Arts Festival, Westoberfest, and other street festivals are held downtown throughout the year. Plus, the Westport School District ranks #1 among all school districts in Connecticut. 

Commuters can use one of Westport’s two Metro-North train stations – Westport (Saugatuck) or Green’s Farm – and get to Grand Central Station 72-80 minutes.

Norwalk

Known as “Oyster Town,” Norwalk’s residents truly embrace waterfront living. There’s an Oyster Festival each year, and the scenic 35-acre Calf Pasture Beach is a favorite spot for fishing and kayaking. Locals can also take a quick ferry to Sheffield Island for beautiful harbor views and a historic lighthouse tour. Dogs can even get in on the action: Bayley Beach inside Neville Bayley Park is a dog-friendly beach open from November 1 through March 31.  

A view down the pier boardwalk on a beautiful summer day by the Long Island Sound at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut USA

Here, commuters have access to two Metro-North stations, with trains that travel to Grand Central Station in about 70 minutes. There are tons of popular restaurants near the South Norwalk station, including Washington Prime and The Spread and the gourmet seafood restaurant Harbor Lights is a short walk from the East Norwalk station. That, though, is just the beginning of the Norwalk foodie scene: check out this complete list from Connecticut Magazine for more. 

Fairfield

Fairfield is a relaxed Gold Coast town with a walkable main street and beautiful beaches on the Long Island Sound. Jennings Beach is especially popular. This sandy beach has a snack stand, a lifeguard on duty, a playground, and volleyball courts. Residents gather here on the 4th of July for prime fireworks viewing.

Fairfield’s train station is close to Post Road, the main street lined with restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries. Commuters can reach Grand Central Station in about 80 minutes during peak travel times. Another perk? Fairfield is home to Fairfield University, with several Division I sports teams. If you’re a basketball fan – who wants to settle down at the beach – this could be a great spot to call “home.”

Ready to make the move to the suburbs but not sure where to start? Schedule a free consultation today to connect with a Suburban Jungle Strategist who can help you find the town that fits your lifestyle.

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