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Enjoy the Heat (Both You and Your Feet) at a Greater New Haven Beach!

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With the summer heat on the verge of returning to Connecticut full-time, we’ve got one thing on our mind—the beach!

Whether you like to go for a dip, soak up some rays, or play a little volleyball in the sand, a visit to one of the many great public beaches along Long Island Sound is a summertime staple that the whole family can enjoy.

But beyond finding the best spot to park your blanket, there are also a few additional considerations you should keep in mind before heading out. You want to make sure your feet stay safe and healthy, right?

silver sands state park

Top Beaches Near Milford and New Haven

Of course, we could never hope to cover them all in a short blog like this, but here are a few of our favorite local spots:

  • Silver Sands State Park. Silver Sands has a lot going for it. The beach and boardwalk are beautiful and spacious, stretching more than half a mile across the coast. It’s well positioned to catch the sunrise over the water, for those early birds. At low tide you can walk the sandbar out to Charles Island. And it’s completely free, including parking. A few potential downsides: the only public toilets are portable, and when the tide is out, the beach moves a long ways away.
  • Walnut Beach. This beach is just southwest of Silver Sands—the boardwalk will actually take you right there. The white sand at Walnut Beach is of generally high quality, and waters are less affected by the tide when compared to neighboring Silver Sands. Other pluses: volleyball courts and nearby hot dogs and ice cream. Parking is free for Milford residents, though out-of-towners can usually find spots nearby on the street. Still no pets, though.
  • Lighthouse Point Park. The good news: It’s free if you’re a New Haven resident. The bad news? It’s $25 per day or $100 per season per car. Still, for those who live in the city (or are willing to either fork over the fee or walk half a mile down the road), this park is tremendous—great beaches for swimming, classic restored 1916 carousel, lighthouse tours, large picnic area, nature trails, bird sanctuary … you get the idea.
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park. One of the most popular beaches in all of Connecticut, Hammonasset might get a little crowded at the height of tourist season. Still, there’s a lot to recommend, especially thanks to some recent updates and upgrades. Plentiful parking ($13 per day), good restroom facilities, picnic areas, a camp store, and well-maintained pathways are positive features.

lighthouse point

Beach Safety Tips

Okay, so once you have your beach picked out, it’s time to go out and enjoy the sun! Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your day, while still keeping your feet healthy and happy.

Protect your skin from the sun. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you plan to go out into the sun—not once you’re already at the beach. Then, you need to reapply every two hours to make sure it retains full strength.

A couple of extra things to keep in mind about sunscreen. First, make sure you hit all areas that are exposed to the sun. Unfortunately, the tops of feet often get missed, which can lead to burning and increased risk of skin cancer. Second, you can’t always count on your clothes to block UV rays. A thin white T-shirt may have an SPF rating as low as 3-5, so you should apply sunscreen underneath as well.

Hats and sunglasses (with full UV-A and UV-B protection) are also recommended.

water shoes

Protect your feet from the ground. Definitely bring along a pair of sandals or water shoes and wear them as you navigate the beach and facilities. Even flip flops (which are not generally recommended for any other purpose) are better than barefoot!

For one, even the cleanest and purest Connecticut beach is going to have its fair share of rocks and shells. It’s just the way it is here. Cutting your feet is no fun for anyone, especially if your circulation is poor—for example due to diabetes.

And second, a little bit of foot protection gives you a better chance to avoid picking up a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection from a boardwalk, bathroom, shower facility, etc. Conditions like athlete’s foot, fungal toenails, and even foot warts can be spread through indirect contact, so it’s best to limit your exposure.

Have fun! Okay, that’s not a safety tip. But it’s our sincere wish for you as you enjoy the beach this summer!

As always, if pain or illness in your feet or ankles is keeping you from enjoying your summer as much as you’d like, you can always stop by and see us in Milford or Hamden. Schedule an appointment today at (203) 876-7736.
Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
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Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.
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