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15 Best Things to Do in Connecticut



Connecticut was ranked the 20th best state to live in America. But more than that, it also makes for a perfect vacation destination! Here are the 15 best things to do in Connecticut:

1. Visit the Farmington River

This place is where Steven Spielberg filmed the pivotal and horrifying scene for his 2005 movie, War of the Worlds, When not depicted as a place where bodies are floating, this spot is frequented by visitors for a rushing rapids adventure or sightseeing.

2. Check out the Wadsworth Atheneum

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Source: Wadsworth Atheneum Musem of Art

The first public art museum in the United States has over 50,000 world-class pieces and is noted for its collections of Ancient Egypt, Classical bronzes, modernist masterpieces, and European Baroque art. It also features decorative arts and contemporary works of other famous artists. The rooms “Matrix Exhibition” and “The Great Morgan Hall” are both a public favorite.

Note: The castle-like Wadsworth Atheneum offers free admission to all Hartford residents. Visiting guests need not worry as well since they offer other ways for free entry such as the Happy Hour.

3. Play at the Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun
Source: Mohegan Sun

Indulge in the gaming excitement and live entertainment offered by Mohegan Sun – a premier destination for anyone looking to have a good time. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Connecticut! There are a lot of things to check out at every turn. For instance, there are many dining and shopping options available. They also have a planetarium ceiling in Casino of the Sky, a 55-foot indoor waterfall (which frames Todd English’s Tuscany), and a Native-American mural by the entrance.

4. Spend the Day at Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce Venus Vortez
Source: Venus Vortex Rendering in Lake Compounce | YouthJournalism

How does access to 402 acres of fun for a low price sound to you? The oldest operating amusement park in North America, Lake Compounce, still excites kids and adults of all ages with its thrilling rides and attractions. It’s not as grand compared to Disneyworld or Six Flags, but it has a “small-town” feel that is rather warm and enjoyable. There’s also no waiting in line, so you get to enjoy more rides than you ever will in other amusement parks!

5. Revel in the Scenery of Stamford Museum & Nature Center

What was originally a private estate is now home to a Tudor-style museum that features art, history, and exhibitions. You can have a picnic with your lover, and see farm animals from a close distance while admiring the picturesque view in front of you. Feel free to explore several outdoor trails to get a bigger appreciation of nature!

6. Go on a Date at Elizabeth Park Conservancy

Elizabeth Park Conservancy Pond House Cafe
Source: Pond House | Elizabeth Park 

There’s just an inexplicable romantic touch to gardens that make it a beautiful place for your next date.

The Elizabeth Park Conservancy is America’s oldest public rose garden, set just outside the city of Hartford. Dine with your significant other at the Pond House Cafe and explore the roses in full bloom! If you get tired, just sit on the benches and watch the ducks or get under the massive oaks for a quick nap.

7. Read a Book at East Rock Park

East Rock Park Connecticut
Source: East Rock Park | Flickr/Kenneth Casper

East Rock Park features a grassy spot with playgrounds, challenging climbs to the top, picnic areas, wooded riverside and a glorious view of the whole city. You can just read a book or take in the landscape for relaxation. Now, doesn’t that sound splendid with a refreshing drink in hand?

8. Pick Your Fruit at the Lyman Orchards

Lyman Orchards
Source: Lyman Orchards

The Lyman Orchards is where you can get locally sourced foods and pick your favorites from nearly 100 types of season fruits!

What you should know:

  • Look for recipe sheets at every Pick-Your-Own station.
  • You can only use the containers provided, or the containers you have brought and pre-weighed by their staff.
  • Any kid under 14 must always be accompanied by an adult.

9. Relive Circus History at Barnum Museum

Barnum Museum
Source: Barnum Museum | Flickr/Sean

Does this ring a bell? Barnum Museum is featured in the American musical biographical drama film, The Greatest Showman, starred by Hugh Jackman. The museum depicts the far more fascinating history of circus, as well as the life of P.T. Barnum, a showman, and businessman who inspired curiosity, creativity, and confidence by hosting “the greatest shows” on Earth.

10. Go on a Picnic at Hubbard Park

Castle Craig at Hubbard Park, Meriden CT
Source: Hubbard Park, Castle Craig | Youtube/Jim Freeman

If you’re looking to de-stress, this is where you can just sit and watch ducks, geese and other birds at play in nature while finishing your picnic. There are also many fountains, walkways, and trails for you to explore. One such trail is the one to Castle Craig where you can appreciate the commanding an excellent view of the place.

Be sure to check the park’s site regularly if you want to visit during their special events!

11. Discover Love for Science at the Discovery Museum

Any parent advocating for science and learning would always come to the Discovery Museum with their children. It is a technologically-driven destination that continuously inspires and imparts science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy. Explore 3 levels of exhibits and hands-on activities, including an adventure park!

12. Try out Activities at the Squantz Pond State Park

Squantz Pond State Park
Source: Squantz Pond State Park | Scenes From the Trail

One of the best things to do in Connecticut is to visit this precious gem! Who said only lakes are worth visiting? You’ll love the mountain-like setting of this park because of the wooded slopes that embrace the cool, blue pond. If you hike from the Squantz Pond State Park, you’ll eventually get access to the Pootatuck State Forest just adjacent to it. You can also try other activities such as canoeing or kayaking, grilling, and picnic, as well as scuba diving.

13. Fish at the Calf Pasture Beach

Calf Pasture Beach Fishing Pier
Source: Calf Pasture Fishing Pier | New England Boating

Bored with the usual beach activities such as volleyball, tanning, and swimming? Then you might as well go fishing at Calf Pasture Beach, just 1.3 miles from East Norwalk in Fairfield County! There are a nice pier and sidewalk along the beach where you can fish to your heart’s content. Or you can also just grab a book and enjoy the hot summer afternoon.

14. See Scenic Rail Trips at the Railroad Museum of New England

Railroad Museum of New England
Source: Summer Scenic Train Ride | Railroad Museum of New England

The region’s railroad history is, in fact, more interesting than it sounds! See the educational exhibits and operation of the Naugatuck Railroad the Railroad Museum of New England! And if you’re traveling to the place during summer, you just might get the opportunity to go on a scenic train ride, passing old factories, the state forest and up to the famous Thomaston dam.

15. Visit Six Flags New England

Six Flags
Source: Six Flags

Forget simple family rides! In Six Flags, you’ll experience some of the wildest, fastest, and most gut-wretching (no exaggeration) rides in the country. Fearless adventurers, assemble! Do you have other destinations in mind that should be part of the best things to do in Connecticut? Share it with us in the comments below!

A writer big on nature, travel, and dogs. If you can't find Suny with her furry pal, then she's probably out exploring, doing ninja training or Calisthenics.