Boat Ramps & Canoe Landings
The following is a brief listing of Lower Housatonic River boat ramps & canoe landings. The river is broken down into "neighborhoods" for easier searches. Refer to the Parks & Attractions Page for longer descriptions. Also check the Marinas & Boatyards Page for information on commercial boating facilities.
Some of the town-owned boat ramps have one fee for residents and another for out-of-towners so contact the local parks and recreation department for details. Most towns will let you drop off a canoe or kayak for free. The boat ramp symbol marks the larger ramps with more parking and manuevering room.
Safety & Navigation: A couple was killed on Lake Housatonic last year when they lost power in the dark and were rammed by another boat. A reasonable amount of planning and courtesy can make boating on the Housatonic River a safe and pleasant experience for everyone. The Town of Westbrook and Hickory Hill LLC prepared a great web site called the Connecticut Boater's Guide (link missing). The Guide contains information on boating regulations, navigation rules, how to read bouys, etc. that will be useful to anyone. Their site also has links to towns and attractions on the Connecticut River.
The Lake Zoar Authority publishes a handy boating guide, contact them at (203) 264-0006. There are other public access points on the lake that listed there but are not listed in this guide.
Lake Zoar Boat Ramp - Southbury The boat ramp has parking for 60 cars with trailers. Portalets are provided during boating season. Contact the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for information. Access: I-84 to Exit 14 (east side of the river), south on Lakeside Road, right on Scout Road at VFW Hall to ramp at end of road.
Kettletown State Park - Southbury\Oxford
Jackson Cove Park - Oxford Boat ramp onto Lake Zoar, picnicing, loop trail and access to Pomperaug Trail. Contact the Oxford Parks and Recreation Department for information. Access: Jackson Cove Road.
Zoar Beach Boat Ramp - Monroe Boat ramp just upstream of Stevenson Dam. Contact the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department for fees and information at (203) 452-5416. Access: North side of Rt 34 just west of the dam, parking is on both the north side of the road and on the south side opposite the snack hut.
-Lake Housatonic: Stevenson Dam to Derby Dam
Indian Well State
Park - Shelton
Derby Dam - Derby There is a small canoe landing at the fishing access point on the eastern toe of the dam. Access: Roosevelt Ave. (Rt. 34) to B Street, cross canal at electric substation on open metal grate bridge, park in the small lot overlooking dam.
Hull Bridge (Rt. 8) - Shelton This is an un-improved location to launch a canoe or go fishing under the bridge. There is no ramp, but there is room to park on adjacent streets. It is the furthest upstream location within the coastal zone to launch a small boat. Access: River Road to Wharf Street, under the Route 8 bridge.
O'Sullivan Island - Derby An unimproved floodplain forest (51 acres) at the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers. This is a little-known area that is used by fishermen and offers a spot to slip a canoe or cartop boat in the river. Access: Main Street (Rt. 34) to Factory Street, past the Derby Feed and Grain store, under the railroad tracks, past the sewage treatment plant, over the flood control dyke, under Rt. 8, and past the Fire Training Center.
Sunnyside Park - Shelton A boat ramp and picnic areas along a quiet flatwater stretch of the river. Parking is limited at the foot of the hill so it may be necessary to park up by the ballfields after putting in your boat. Contact the Shelton Parks and Recreation Department at (203) 925-8422 for information and ramp fees. Access: River Road (Rt. 110) behind Sunnyside Elementary School. Take the access drive that runs along the Little League ballfields.
Southbank Open Space - Shelton A canoe landing at a pocket park that has a dozen parking spaces. The park also contains benches and a former garage that has been was refurbished as a pavilion. Access: 610 River Road (Rt. 110) near Moulthrop Lane; about 1 mile north of Murphy Lane, and 1/2 mile south of Constitution Boulevard. Look carefully for the turn off because there is no sign up yet.
Caswell Street - Milford A sandy spit that wraps around the outside of Caswell Cove and runs along the river for several hundred feet. There is a small parking lot and ample area for fishing or to launch a canoe. Access: Schoolhouse Road/Bic Drive (Exit 35 off I-95), cross Naugatuck Avenue to Caswell Street, over railroad tracks and take left between entrances for Caswell Cove Condominium and Sewage Treatment Plant.
Naugatuck Avenue (I-95) Boat Ramp - Milford (Devon) This is the state ramp nearest to Long Island Sound that is free to everyone. There is parking for 80 cars & trailers. Portalets are available during the boating season. The ramp is shielded from the current by the railroad bridge. Contact the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for information. Access: Bridgeport Avenue (Rt. 1) to Naugatuck Avenue, left under I-95 bridge.
Bond's Dock - Stratford A small boat ramp, fishing pier, and postage-stamp park tucked in between Brown's Boatyard and the Housatonic Boat Club. Parking and manuevering room are limited. Contact the Stratford Parks and Recreation Department for information and fees (203) 385-4085. Access: Ferry Boulevard to Lockwood Avenue at Uberti's Seafood.
Birdseye Boat Ramp - Stratford Recently upgraded, very nice boat ramp and fingers for access to Nells Island and Long Island Sound. Ample parking and a snack hut (if hut is closed you can always take a left on Elm St., go about a mile, and get a chillidog at The Cricket, opposite the Avco plant). Contact the Stratford Parks and Recreation Department for information and ramp fees (203) 385-4085. Access: Ferry Boulevard to Elm Street, take a left on Birdseye Street past the sewage treatment plant.
Court Street Boat Ramp - Milford Boat ramp at the bottom of Nells Island that is only useable at high and mid-tides so plan your trip carefully unless you enjoy getting stuck at low tide. Access: Naugatuck Avenue to Milford Point Road, turn right at the tennis courts onto Court Street. There is chain across the drive at times, but you can always walk in. Contact the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for information at (860) 485-0226.
Send comments to Terrance Gallagher