changing animation osprey platforms and wild vegetation on long beach

PLEASURE BEACH LIVES IS NOW OPEN FOR 2014! Pleasure Beach Lives is a grassroots all-volunteer effort which, for the past two years, has been hosting seasonal walks from Stratford's Long Beach to Bridgeport's Pleasure Beach. We tour the burned bridge, what remains of the assorted architectural ruins (by June 2014, now recently removed by the City of Bridgeport), and of course, the wildly spectacular beach. This walk is about 4 miles, takes about 2.75 hours, and much of it is over loose sand, rubble, and uneven terrain. All walks are free and open to the public.

Have you been to Pleasure Beach recently? The City of Bridgeport has been incredibly busy cleaning it up, and has restored access via FREE water taxi this summer. The park is looking gorgeous. The carousel debris and the old dilapidated dance hall are both gone. Come see for yourself!

Our upcoming 2014 walks include two historical tours of Pleasure Beach:

Sunday June 29 at 4:30pm with Rich Deecken : Rich Deecken is a social studies teacher, land use commissioner, and Bridgeport history buff.  He loves exploring Pleasure Beach, the park of which his mother and grandmother have so many beautiful memories, and has a few interesting memories of his own, including witnessing the 2008 Long Beach West cottage fire.

Sunday July 20 at 4:30pm with Eric Lehman: Eric D. Lehman is a travel and history writer, and director of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He writes fiction, travel stories, reviews, history shorts, and essays, which have been published in a wide variety of journals and magazines, from the International Henry Miller Journal to Antiques Trader. He's the author of Bridgeport: Tales From the Park City (the History Press) and Becoming Tom Thumb (Wesleyan University Press) among five other books. He is interested in exploring the relationship between people and places, something he focuses on in his travel writing, histories, and fiction.

Plan on attending one of these walks? Excellent! Kindly RSVP to info(at) so we know to expect you. To keep up with the latest news from Pleasure Beach Lives, please sign up for our mailing list and find us on Facebook.

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walking through a field on Pleasure beach

ABOUT PLEASURE BEACH   Pleasure Beach, a large terminus of a narrow barrier beach peninsula in Stratford, has belonged to Bridgeport for nearly a century. The bridge that connected it to the Bridgeport mainland burned in 1996. Since then, it has grown wild with piping plovers, osprey, cacti, turtles, deer, rabbits and foxes, while the existing structures left from its amusement park / public beach days have deteriorated into a living ruins. Today's Pleasure Beach is spectacular, and it is accessible by foot at all tides via Stratford's ruggedly beautiful Long Beach.

the demolished carousel on Pleasure beach

Whether you've been to Pleasure Beach just once recently or went every summer as a child, it will come as no surprise that lots of folks have deep attachments to it, and many have found it inspirational.

2011 History of Pleasure Beach Bridgeport History Center's account
2010 Report from Pleasure Beach Connecticut Magazine article provides overview
2005 Dino's Photos photos of LBW Cottages & carousel on Pleasure Beach (now both demolished)
1996 Bridge Burns New York Times article about the bridge destruction

2012 Conservation plans article in Audubon magazine chronicles recent conservation attempts
2011 Pleasure Beach Community Meeting reporting from the community meeting
2011 Pleasure Beach Master Plan slide presentation & transcript from the community meeting

2010 Overtaking the LBW Cottages Brooklyn artists create in/on cottages prior to demolition
2010 Photography by Rob Dobi Photographer Rob Dobi documents the ruins of New England
2010 Photography by Michelle Beaulieu LBW cottages and beach

Save Pleasure Beach website with historical timeline, video, photos, letters, newspaper articles
Friends of Pleasure Beach Facebook page, with many archival clippings and contributed photos
Pleasure Beach Lives our Facebook page

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VISIT PLEASURE BEACH   From 1996-2014, the only way to get to Pleasure Beach was by private boat, or by foot from Stratford's Long Beach. This has changed now that the City of Bridgeport has inaugurated a free water taxi as of June 28, 2014. You can find out more about the water taxi here. But: you can also walk to Pleasure Beach along the lovely two miles of Stratford's Long Beach (directions & info) on your own, or join us on one of our guided walks. However, be sure to leave any four-legged friends at home. In order to protect endangered shorebirds, dogs are not allowed on the beach from April through November. And, while walking on Long Beach, be sure to avoid the fenced-off nesting areas of the piping plovers. Between Memorial and Labor Day LB has a permit parking lot ($20 fee for non-Stratford residents), so if you're looking to save money, some folks park outside of the gate and walk from there. Be sure to follow all posted parking regulations. After Labor Day, parking in the Long Beach lot is free.

Don't have a car to drive to Long Beach? Take the bus to Lordship Blvd (route 113) and ride your bike on 113 North through the marsh to Lordship; turn right on Oak Bluff Ave, which dead-ends into the Long Beach parking lot.

Prefer to travel by sea? We've noticed folks arrive at Pleasure Beach by kayak, boat or jet ski. If you're paddling you can row right up to shore, but if your boat is larger there's a dock on the west side of the island.

Is this legal, you're wondering? Long Beach is a public park, open to all: just mind the roped-off nesting habitats. (When the LBWest cottages were still up, it WAS illegal to go near them, although the park itself remained open. This has caused some lasting confusion.) For many years, Pleasure Beach was technically a closed park, but remember that coastal-access is guaranteed by state law, so if you stay below the high tide mark you are on open land. Now that the City has restored access via water taxi, part of the park is officially open. Much of the park is still a "no access" zone with a $99 fine attached.

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The creation of the above poster and this website were supported in part by a 2012 Mayor's Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grant, offered by the Mayor's Office and the Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council (BACC).

ABOUT THIS PROJECT   Pleasure Beach has become unique and astonishing through its isolation. In an already stunning urban seaside setting, 16 years of inaccessibility has allowed nature to reclaim its rather grand architectural ruins. Its current state of decay, so emblematic of Bridgeport, has transformed Pleasure Beach into Park City's meta-park. We think Pleasure Beach is one of the most amazing places we've ever seen, and we want to share it with others. In order to connect people to Pleasure Beach when it was otherwise inaccessible, we began organizing guided walks in July 2012.

Please sign up for our mailing list in order to hear about future events. Also, find us on Facebook.

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History Tour of Pleasure Beach Sunday June 29, 4:30pm: Guided by Rich Deecken
History Tour of Pleasure Beach Sunday July 20, 4:30pm: Guided by Eric Lehman

Please RSVP to info(at) if you plan to attend an upcoming walk so we know to look out for you; all walks are free and open to the public. Here's directions to the Long Beach parking lot. Remember that there is a $20 parking fee for non-residents of Stratford, but that many folks park outside the gate and avoid the fee. We meet at the far western end of the parking lot, right by the concrete wall, where the lot ends and the beach begins. Look for an old black bike with a Pleasure Beach Lives poster clipped to its spokes. Due to uneven terrain, be sure to wear sturdy shoes. The schedule is subject to change due to unpredictable New England weather... if weather is poor please check this site on the day of the walk for an update!

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Flora Pleasure Beach September 15, 3pm: UB Bio professor Dr. Kitty Engelmann leads a tour of plant life.
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday August 25, 5:30pm: we'll be joined by a former Pleasure Beach vacationer, last there '53!
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday July 28, 5:30pm
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday June 23, 5:30pm: Master Wildlife Conservationist David Wright guides the tour.
Flora Pleasure Beach Sunday May 12, 1pm: UB Bio professor Dr. Kitty Engelmann leads a tour of plant life.
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday April 21, 1pm

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Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday November 25
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday October 21
Walk Pleasure Beach + return trip clean-up Sunday September 23
Clean-up Pleasure Beach Sunday August 12
Walk Pleasure Beach Sunday July 22

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CONTACT US   Want to guide a walk, or otherwise get involved? We'd love to hear from you. Write to us at info(at)

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