Monday, September 27, 2010

There's Still Time: Compo Beach, Westport, CT

Jack, digging up some sand for lunch. The kid loves to eat sand.

I know, I know—it’s not really summer anymore. But because I seem to have about three month’s lag time between when I intend to do something and when I actually do it (a month per child?)—my (non-real-time) blog included--and because we have been experiencing such a glorious Indian summer on the East Coast, I thought I could sneak in a post about the beach even though the autumnal equinox has already come and gone and I really should be waxing poetic about apple picking and the back-to-school blues.

I love the beach. Or rather, I used to love the beach. Now I just love the idea of the beach. The actual beach with three young children always seems to disintegrate into something much hotter, much sandier, much schleppier, and much whinier than even my lowest expectations.

The Coppertone girl's got nothing on Vivi

Still, summer just doesn’t quite feel like summer without a proper trip to the beach and since we didn’t do our usual Delaware shore summer beach vacation this year, I thought we needed to squeeze in a little sun, sand, and surf before September drew to a close.

We go nowhere without being fully provisioned

This is how, on a recent, beautiful September weekend, I braced myself for the heat, the sand, the schlep, and the whining and drove up to Compo Beach in Westport, Connecticut, for the day.

Charlie shows off one of the treasures he discovered at low tide

Parking on the weekends is $40, which sounds kind of steep until you consider that just about anything for a family of five is, in fact, kind of steep (do not even get me started on 3D movies. Anyway, Jack is too little to take to a feature-length film yet, but if Steve, Charlie, Vivi, and I had gone to see, say, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”, at our local theater instead of coughing up 40 big ones in Westport, our movie tab—popcorn and candy and drinks not included—would have run us a whopping $69).

Once you pony up for parking, there are ample spots very close to Compo Beach’s thin strip of sand on the Long Island Sound and the schlep factor is blessedly minimal. The beach itself is probably one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to with little kids. It has a New England-y feel (minus the crashing surf), with gentle, lapping waves and an endless sand bar where, at low tide, we could walk out for what seemed like miles trying to catch crabs, hermit crabs, and minnows.

I am a big fan of the Ergo Carrier, but if any of my readers have it, would you mind divulging how you've mastered getting it and the kid on by yourself? Even Jack looks skeptical

Facilities at Compo Beach included bathhouses with restrooms, showers, and lockers; concessions; multiple ball fields; sand volleyball courts; lighted basketball courts; a skate park and open skate area; picnic areas and grills; and a wooden playground.

So, if you didn’t get a chance to scratch your beach itch this summer, there is still time this fall to do it.

Compo Beach, Compo Beach Road, Westport, Connecticut 06880;; Hours: Open May 1 to October 1, 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM (although I don’t know what happens come 10/1—if the beach actually closes or if you just don’t have to pay for parking anymore); Westport parking emblem or daily parking fee ($20 on weekdays/$40 on weekends or holidays) required.


  1. Isn't Compo fun? You must be near us because this is where we go to the beach too!

  2. We're in NYC, which we love, but I always enjoying daytrips out of the city. Any other CT beaches you'd recommend?

    By the way, your blog is fabulous and I've added you to my blog roll. I just had a chance to glance at it in-between school pick-ups, but am hoping to tackle some of your awesome projects someday soon (three month time lag notwithstanding...)

  3. Love the pic of Vivi! That suit is darling plus.