It is a busy strip of land. The narrow sand barrier that separates the Niantic River from Niantic Bay is only a few hundred feet wide, and most of it is consumed by Route 156 and railroad tracks. The Millstone Nuclear Power Station is in full view to the southeast. Despite the less than ideal surroundings, East Lyme and the village of Niantic have been very creative in making this stretch of shoreline attractive and accessible.
The Niantic Boardwalk is a recent addition that extends about a mile along Railroad Beach (or Amtrak Beach). The boardwalk, combined with a walkway, links Hole In The Wall Beach with Cini Park. There are benches along the way, as well as ramps that lead down to the beach.
The beach appears to be popular with fishermen. Restrictions at nearby beaches, along with the strong currents here, are most likely the reason. I couldn't help but laugh though when I looked at one of my pictures of a fisherman with the nuclear plant in the background.
I visited recently on a late afternoon. I started in Cini Park and reached the boardwalk by proceeding on a path under the railroad bridge. There are interpretive signs along the way that address the ecology of the area and the efforts taken to create this park. The East Lyme Public Land Trust has raised funds through a sponsorship program. The rails and benches along the boardwalk are decorated with nameplates of those who have contributed to the cause. It is nice to see such enthusiastic support from so many people.
A nice feature about the boardwalk is that combined with the neighboring parks, one can walk the shoreline from McCook Park all the way to Cini Park. It is an extensive stretch of public shoreline.
I walked the full length of the boardwalk before turning around and working my way back. I thought it was odd that I had not seen any trains pass while I was there. Sure enough, as I was looking out at Plum Island, an Amtrak train came roaring by. A few minutes later, there was another, and then a third just minutes after that. Like so many things in our lives, it is always feast or famine.