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July 12, 2018 4 min read 1 Comment

It's such a great feeling when you travel somewhere and get that sense of small town charm. Whether you crave that feeling for anywhere you travel or you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, small towns are a great place to kick back, relax and even explore a lot of mom and pop shops. What makes a small town vacation even better? When it's a small town on the beach! Looking for a place that has both? Take a trip to Niantic, Connecticut! 

Niantic may be small (you can literally walk the distance of the town), but there is SO much to do, especially in the summer months. Nestled along the coast line of Connecticut, you can visit any of their many soft sand beaches, shop in the charming downtown area lined with (almost) all small businesses/mom and pop shops, and eat some amazing food. 

We've compiled a list of some of the best things to do in Niantic, CT, including beaches, shops, and food for you to check out!


Kerry Cook Edwards - Hole in the Wall Beach

1. Hole in the Wall 

Located in the heart of Niantic, Hole in the Wall is a great beach to hit. Here you can access the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, which is a mile long stretch right on the water connecting you from Hole in the Wall beach to Cini Park beach. The sunsets are amazing from the boardwalk, and Hole in the Wall is a great spot to walk after you grab an ice cream from Gumdrops and Lollipops. 

Amanda Leslie - Rocky Neck

2. Rocky Neck State Park

Rocky Neck is a great mixture between hiking and beach. Here you can hike the trails through the woods leading you to the Pavilion, which really looks like a beautiful stone castle. To even get to this beach you have to drive on a road surrounded by beach houses and woods, which is a beautiful drive. Don't feel like hiking? Hit the beach and grab a hot dog or burger from the hot dog stand. 

Debbe Schwab Delaney - McCooks

3. McCooks Beach

McCooks is one of the more popular beaches in Niantic. There is also a hill here with a playground, a pavilion, and a large grassy open space overlooking Long Island Sound. Come here for a cookout, swim to the raft, or climb on the rocks!

Black Point Beach

4. Black Point Beach

Looking for a smaller, more secluded area of beaches? Head over to Black Point Beach. This residential area is lined with beaches but it's more secluded as they are private beaches. Still, check them out and enjoy a gorgeous sunset or 4th of July fireworks show in New London from these smaller beaches!


1. Grace

One of the higher-end stores in Niantic, Grace is a small, beautiful, beachy boutique that sells women's clothing and accessories. Open year-round, Grace has the perfect items if you're looking for a cute summer dress to wear to the beach, or some of the most comfortable pairs of jeans if you're searching for something for the cooler nights. Also get your dose of Niantic gear here with necklaces, bracelets, and hoodies! (As long as their in stock)

Tumbleweeds Store Sign

2. Tumbleweeds 

Looking for some great records or funky apparel? Tumbleweeds is your spot. They have a whole back room dedicated to new and old records, as well as CD's AND tapes! They are hands-down one of the most unique places to shop in Niantic.

Book Barn Goat

3. The Book Barn

The Book Barn is such a great place! Head to the one near Park Place because here you can feed goats and pet the barn cats. They sell used/donated books and the way they are set up is amazing. It's an experience in itself to visit The Book Barn!


1. East Coast Taco

My mouth is watering as I write about East Coast Taco. One of THE best restaurants in Niantic when it comes to Mexican food. Try out their buffalo chicken quesedilla, their tacos, or if you want something on the lighter side try their taco salads. Honestly, try everything from ETC. It's delicious!

2. Village Pizza

This is a great pizza and sandwich spot with GREAT prices. Head here to pick up some grinders before heading to the beach!

3. Lillian's Cafe

This is a great spot if you're looking for a higher-end meal! They have a beautiful outdoor seating area (as well as a beautiful indoor seating area) nestled right in the heart of downtown Niantic. 

4.Cafe Sol

Cafe Sol is the place to go if you're looking for a healthier alternative meal. They specialize in organic & locally sourced food  for breakfast & lunch, they even have vegetarian and vegan options! It's seriously delicious. 

Cynthia Fuhrmann Ericson - The Dock Restaurant

5. The Dock Restaurant 

Gosh, The Dock. Looking for waterfront seating, low prices, and mouth-watering food? This is your place. Here you can watch the bridge raise when large sailboats come through the sound, catch the pink and orange sunsets over the water, and have some GREAT seafood and beer.


As much as I want to write about how great all the places in Niantic are, I only can highlight a few here. If you're looking for more great places to eat here are a few more of my favorites - Sunset Ribs, Giuliano's Donut and Bake Shop, Deke's Bagels, Family Pizza, The Black Sheep, Skippers, and more!

So head to Niantic, CT for some great small town charm, good eats, great beaches, and great shopping. Upon your return, you can map your travels on our stunning Earth Toned Canvas Map. I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Zoe Capozza
Zoe Capozza

1 Response

Paula Arcarese
Paula Arcarese

July 18, 2018

We love Niantic! It is a great town, so scenic and just the right size. Rockyneck and McCook’s beach are my “Go To” spots and the boardwalk is awesome in all seasons. Family Pizza, Cafe Sol and The Spice Club are my favorite restaurants and having the Niantic Cinema so close is great too.

If only the cost of living/taxes weren’t so high in CT, we would never leave spectacular Niantic and our beautiful home In Whiting Farms.

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