MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) – Many people headed to Connecticut’s shoreline on Memorial Day to kick off the unofficial start to summer.

At least 15 state parks reached capacity early in the day Monday.

It did not take long to fill up Hammonasset Beach State Park, with the beach reaching capacity just after noontime. Cody Eckstrom came from Middletown to unwind and spend time with friends.

“We just went to the car, got some games for the beach and we’re just going to play some games and have a good time,” Eckstrom said.

Other beachgoers came by bike, like Vic Weltig of Niantic. At 77 years old, he rides a 35-mile loop with friends, which includes a stop here.

“We come out here, look at the water, get a little sun, and then we start riding again. Try to avoid the cars… hopefully, everyone will be nice and safe with us today, you know three feet is not a suggestion, it’s the law,” Weltig said.

While the water looks inviting, the temperature is only about 58 degrees.

“Nice to look at, nice to see the waves… dip toes in, but that’s about all.”

But that doesn’t stop others.

“I have to go in the water every time I come to the beach. It was a little bit chilly last week, but I don’t think it will be too bad today,” Eckstrom said.

For Renee Geiger of Wallingford, there’s just something about this magical place.

“I can lay out in my yard… but I don’t get that… I don’t know, I just love it,” she said.

She comes here every week and affectionately calls Hammonasett her heaven.

“I’m from Dayton, Ohio… we have no ocean, we have man-made lakes… and this is like heaven.”