Westport’s Gooseberry Island Has Rich History and Great Sunsets


Westport’s Gooseberry Island, also known as Gooseberry Neck, has a fascinating history but is also the bomb for surfside strolls and watching the sunset.

Gooseberry Island is a great place to hang out during the day if you want to hike or chill out on the beach. The scenery is fantastic, with east and west facing shorelines. This allows you to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or an even more gorgeous sunset. I prefer the latter.

Westport’s Gooseberry Island: Rich History And Great Sunsets

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

The Westport Historical Society says, “The construction of a stone causeway in 1924 connected Gooseberry Island to Horseneck Beach and in the 1930s, the Army constructed an Artillery Fire Control base on the peninsula as part of a coastal defense system.”

The Historical Society says, “remnants of the military occupation remain today in this conservation area, including portions of the observation towers, barracks, and supply sheds.”

Westport’s Gooseberry Island: Rich History And Great Sunsets

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Westport’s Gooseberry Island: Rich History And Great Sunsets

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

After World War II, Gooseberry Island was, for a brief time, home to a campground complete with a casino. The island is now part of the Horseneck Beach State Reservation.

By the way, senior citizens are eligible for free parking at the Hoseneck Beach State Reservation.

Westport’s Gooseberry Island: Rich History And Great Sunsets

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

No records indicate whether the island was occupied before European settlers arrived. The Historical Society says, “Gooseberry Island remained relatively undeveloped throughout the historical period and could have been occupied by Native American residents over the Contact Period (1500 – 1620).”

Westport’s Gooseberry Island: Rich History And Great Sunsets

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

“In 1602, Englishman Bartholomew Gosnold reportedly landed at Gooseberry Neck in Westport and Round Hill in Dartmouth, where he encountered natives bearing gifts of skins of wild beasts, tobacco, sassafras root, turtles, hemp, artificial strings colored (wampum) and such like things.”

If you’ve never visited Gooseneck Island, it’s worth your time, and it’s not hard to get to.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares US beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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