During the summer months, visitors are welcome to the island after a brief ferry ride from Greenwich. Upon arrival, you are sure to find plenty of exploration opportunities, beaches to lounge on, a historic lighthouse, and much more. Discover why Great Captain Island is worth a spot on your Greenwich vacation itinerary!
Looking for more summertime activities? Find Great Captain Island and other local attractions in our free Greenwich Vacation Guide! Download yours for free and get instant access to a full list of things to do in Greenwich.
The history of Great Captain Island stretches back into the 18th-century. The island was given its name according to a local legend. Rumor has it that a man named Captain Kidd buried a treasure of gold and silver somewhere on the island. If the legend is true, the treasure has yet to be found. In 1763, King George III of England granted the island to John Anderson. Not much is known about the time the island stood in Anderson’s possession.
In 1868, a lighthouse was constructed on the eastern point of the island. The lighthouse keeper, his assistants, and their families lived a nearly self-sufficient existence on the island as they kept their own chickens, cows, and gardens. The rest of the island was open to the public for camping, fishing, swimming, and hunting. In 1926, the island was sold to a developer who opened an exclusive seaside playground with a members-only clubhouse. After the market crash of 1929, the club was unable to attract more members and was forced to shut down.
Misfortune continued with several other developers who attempted to open beach clubs on the island, two of which ended in terrible fires. Finally, the town of Greenwich purchased the island in 1966. Today, it is still owned by the city and is open for public enjoyment.
The picturesque, crescent-shaped island is only accessible by ferry or private boat! Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. Here are the most popular visitor activities on the island that we’re sure you’ll love!
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If you haven’t already, be sure to download your free copy of our handy Greenwich Vacation Guide! You’ll find all of the best local recommendations for activities, dining, shopping, and more on each page.