The Connecticut River runs through the middle of the state of Connecticut, dividing it in half. Connecticut is a beautiful place to visit, but most tourists go to nearby New York or Boston instead. This means you can see New England without all the other tourists, and there is a lot for you to do.
As one of the original 13 colonies, it has some of the oldest towns and villages in the country. As a result, there are a lot of interesting historical tourist sites and cultural landmarks in Connecticut. Many of the best places to visit in Connecticut have to do with the area’s long history of seafaring.
How to Plan the Best One-Day Trip?
Planning a one-day trip. Here are some helpful tips:
- Choose a place in Connecticut that you can drive to.
- Take public transportation.
- Pack lightly.
- Bring some snacks and drinks.
- Plan your trip.
- Plan out your tasks.
- Wear relaxed clothes and plan your trip.
Why Should You Visit Connecticut?
Lively arts and culture. Connecticut is full of art, from nationally known art galleries and museums to award-winning theaters and cultural events, from historical sites and major music venues to local galleries and community fairs. Learn about all the different things you can do in Connecticut.
The Best Places to Visit in Connecticut
Families can go on holiday to many different places, like beaches, state parks, and forests. Communities with buildings from as far back as the 17th century will be a treat for history buffs.
You won’t have to look hard to find fun things to do in Connecticut. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of the state’s best sites.
1. The Mystic Seaport Museum
When you see how big the Mystic Seaport Museum’s grounds are, you’ll understand why it’s considered one of the best places to visit in Connecticut. This impressive place has a working shipyard, a planetarium, a children’s museum, a discovery barn, a re-created seafaring town from the 19th century, and a large collection of old boats.
The Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whale ship in the world, is the most well-known of these ships. Hop on for a trip that will teach you a lot. You’ll see the big pot where whale fat was boiled to make oil, as well as the tiny bunks where the crew slept.
2. The Museums at Yale University in New Haven
In the middle of New Haven, Yale University is a bright jewel. There are some sketchy parts of the city, so it’s best to stay nearby to the school. However, this Ivy League powerhouse brings culture to the forefront of this port town.
The Yale University Art Gallery is tucked away near the main green. Here, among the more than 250,000 items, you’ll find works by artists like Monet, Degas, and Manet.
3. The Mystic Aquarium
The best aquarium in the state of Connecticut is the Mystic Aquarium. It has amazing indoor and outdoor displays, beluga whales, a Stingray Touch Pool, a Sharks Touch Habitat, a Marsh Trek, and an Animal Rescue Center. Want to touch a starfish? In the Discover Long Island Sound display, you can do that and a lot more.
There are so many extra fun things to do here that you’ll want to give yourself even more time. Guests can book a Penguin Encounter for an extra fee and get up close and personal with one of the most interesting birds in the world.
4. East Haddam’s Gillette Castle State Park
Gillette Castle is one of the most interesting places to visit in Connecticut. This ancient Gothic building was made in the early 20th century by stage actor William Gillette, who may have been the first person to play Sherlock Holmes. It has secret passages, spying mirrors, and other interesting and funny features.
Even though the castle with 24 rooms is the main draw, the rest of the 184-acre property is also worth seeing. From the top of the tall Seven Sisters, the views are amazing, especially if you go when the fall colors are at their brightest. It has a lot of walking paths with wooden trestles and bridges with arched tops.
5. Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is one of the best places for kids to visit in Connecticut. This is the second most popular place for families to go in the state. Inside, visitors can pet, look at river otters, watch sharks eat, or pet a stingray.
The new 160,000-gallon seal display is not to be missed. It is home to five female harbor seals. People can see the seals from three sides and two levels: through floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor that look straight into the tank, by looking up from underwater, or by looking down from the second floor.
6. The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut
One of the best things to do in Bridgeport is to go to the Beardsley and for good reason. It’s small enough to walk around without getting lost, big enough to spend a couple of hours wandering, and full of animals, from spider monkeys to alligators to sloths to a giant anteater.
This is Connecticut’s only zoo, and it’s a popular place for families who want their kids to get up close and personal with some of the cutest animals in the world.
7. Lake Compounce, Bristol
Lake Compounce is the best theme park in Connecticut, and thrill-seekers won’t want to miss it. This 175-year-old place is in Bristol and is North America’s oldest entertainment park that has always been open. And boy, is it a lot of fun! This is definitely one of the best places for families to visit in Connecticut.
Boulder Dash is one of the world’s best wooden roller coasters, and the 65-mile-per-hour Phobia Phear Coaster will thrill (and probably scare) every brave rider. We recommend waiting a while after lunch to get on these exciting rides.
8. The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut
Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, and Olivia “Livy” Clemens moved into their new three-story Hartford home in 1874. It was at the height of the late Victorian style.
A tour of the house shows some of its modern innovations and some of the writer’s strange habits, like putting kittens in the pockets of the billiard table. Louis C. Tiffany was one of the people who helped create the home’s interior, which has a lot of the exotic style of the time.
9. The Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, Connecticut
Wadsworth Atheneum is the country’s oldest free public museum. Its Gothic-style building holds more than 50,000 works of art. Its collections of American art, especially works from the Hudson River School, are especially impressive.
There are more than 5,000 American works of art, including pictures by John Singleton Copley, paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andrew Wyeth, and sculptures by Alexander Calder.
10. The Glass House, New Canaan
The Glass House is a must-see in Connecticut, so make sure you visit at the right time. To get into this beautiful property, which is open to the public from mid-April to mid-November, you’ll need to buy a ticket in advance.
The main draw is the clear house. Its glass walls give people a 360-degree view of the green landscape and sparkling pond below. Philip Johnson, a famous builder known for his modern designs, built and lived in the house. It has a circular swimming pool, a brick guesthouse, a painting gallery, a pavilion in the pond, the Da Monsta building, and an interesting Sculpture Gallery.
The Connecticut River runs through the middle of the state of Connecticut, dividing it in half. Connecticut is a beautiful place to visit, but most tourists go to nearby New York or Boston instead. This means you can see real New England without all the other tourists, and there is a lot for you to do.