While there’s so much to cross off the Bronx Summer bucket lists, it’s also fun to explore the world outside of our city. Being the only borough connected to the mainland, the Bronx has access to so many destinations simply by jumping in the car- or even the train. Sometimes my bucket list items are things that people do all of the time, and others are finding places that I’ve never heard anyone talk about. We recently experienced both just an hour away in Bridgeport Connecticut: Pleasure Beach Island the Port Jefferson Ferry.
To Long Islanders and those who reside in Connecticut, the Port Jefferson Ferry is like the Staten Island Ferry to New Yorkers- a way to get around. But for folks like me, it’s a chance to get an amazing view and explore two towns in one day. After spending a week in Long Island with family, we decided to turn the way home into a fun journey and take the ferry from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport. So, our journey will be backwards, but the experience will be the same.
As walk-ons, we purchased our tickets right before our ferry was set to arrive. At $17 for adults and free for children 12 and under, I was happy to be traveling alone this time and that my oldest was only 10. As the cars began to board the vessel, we walked down the dock and onto the ferry. Since we had pretty heavy bags, we opted for the elevator and went straight to the top.
Even docked, the view of Port Jefferson was amazing from the ferry. The landscape combined with the town’s style made me forget for a moment where we were. As the ferry took off and the shoreline disappeared, every part of the ride was a beautiful site to see.
It was a beautiful sunny day so we were able to stay the whole hour on the top deck and enjoy the view- letting the breeze blow our hair when we stood on the side to peek at the sailboats. At one point I whipped out my phone and pulled up Google Maps so I could show the girls exactly where in the Long Island Sound we were. We had just crossed over the line from Long Island to Connecticut and the girls had just finished up their french fries we had purchased from the floor below.
As we pulled in closer to Bridgeport, we ran to the other side of the boat to peek at Pleasure Beach Island, where we had just spend the day a week before.
Pleasure Beach was once an island of homes and even a Coney Island-like amusement park. After a fire in 96, the island became essentially a ghost town until last year when the city of Bridgeport made it possible for residents to once again visit the island. Now, visitors can now take a free water taxi to the island, and then jump on a golf cart ride right to the beach area.
The beach was pretty empty and we felt like we had the island to ourselves. The sand is quite shelly, so watershoes help with that- but once in the water, the sand is pretty smooth. Since it’s the Long Island Sound just like Orchard Beach, there are no worries of huge waves crashing down on little swimmers. Late afternoon the tide moves back and it’s a great time to explore and find crabs, mussels, and more.
A cute playground is located just before the bathhouses and boardwalk to the beach- a great way to dry off before headed back to the ferry. The concession stand was small, but the prices were great.
The last ferry leaves the island around 6- the day we went beach goers were asked to start catching the golf carts a bit before that so that the park staff could get on the 6pm ferry. After a full day of swimming and relaxing, we boarded the ferry and back to our cars.
There you have it. A day spent at Pleasure Beach at no cost- free parking, free ferry, and even a complimentary golf cart shuttle to the beach. No grilling, so bring plenty to eat and drink- and enjoy an afternoon exploring. There are also free walking tours of the island and lots of history to learn.
Another fun tip thanks to a fellow traveling buddy is to visit Captains Cove Seaport. Just a few minutes away, families can enjoy restaurants, shops, and more. The perfect way to end the day.
You might not fit all activities into one day, but there’s always a reason to return. Brideport is only an hour away from the Bronx, but between the ferry and the island, you’ll feel like you’ve gone a lot farther.