The Silver Sand beach in Milford is about 20 – 30 minutes drive from New Haven. It is completely free, with free parking. It is beautiful and massive. The only catch is that you need to walk 15 minutes from the parking lot to the beach, giving you plenty of time to admire the massive marsh land and the numerous crabs under the bridge.
Besides the beach, you can also walk on the long trail near the beach that connects to the Walnut beach in milford. The beach is also connected to Charles Island. When the tide is low, you can even walk to it. But it is a bird preservative place, so you can’t go to the inner parts of the island except for on the offseason.