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Bookended by beaches and offering gorgeous vistas of Niantic Bay, the Niantic Bay Boardwalk is a must-do excursion in the small Connecticut village of Niantic, part of the larger Town of East Lyme. The boardwalk begins in the east in Cini Memorial Park at the mouth of the Niantic River, where you can start off with a picnic and enjoy fishing or taking in the views at the pier.
From the park, the trail heads west, crossing over sandy dunes, with the waterfront to your left and a stone wall to your right. On the other side of the wall is Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line; this configuration of paralleling trail and active railroad tracks is known as rail-with-trail.
Your mile-long journey ends at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach, part of McCook Point Park, where you'll have lots of recreational opportunities, including swimming, of course. The "hole-in-the-wall" name comes from the tunnel under the railroad tracks, built at the turn of the 20th century to provide access to the beach. This western end of the trail looses its boardwalk surface, but you can continue your explorations on a gravel pathway.
From the beach, you're just steps from Niantic's Main Street, where you can shop or grab a bite to eat in this friendly seaside community.
Parking and seasonally available restrooms can be found at either end of the trail: on the west end at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach (off Baptist Lane), and on the east end at Cini Memorial Park (located at the Niantic River bridge for Route 156/Main Street).
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