Connecticut is in southwestern New England. It has a big city, fancy suburbs of New York City, a pretty coastline, and rural farmland. I did my residency in Hartford and lived just north of that area for about 5 years. Since Connecticut borders Rhode Island, I still visit often for day trips. Below are a few of my favorite Connecticut day trips.
The historic boating town of Mystic has an aquarium, cool balancing bridge, colonial seaport, and quaint downtown.
Read on for more things to do in Mystic, Ct.
Hike to Hublein Tower, Simsbury
A 1.25-mile hike through Talcott Mountain’s woods brings you to this tower with sweeping views of Connecticut, including Hartford.
Talcott Mountain is one of my top ten New England family hikes.
West Hartford Center
If you are in the mood to spend a day shopping and eating, West Hartford is the place to be. Here you can find almost any store you can think of. My favorite Connecticut restaurant, Restaurant Bricco, is on LaSalle Road.
New Haven is the Ivy League school’s home, Yale, and the home of some delicious wood-fired pizza. There is some controversy about who has the best, but the original is at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. There are often long lines, so it is good to show up right when they open. One of their most popular pizza is the white clam. While in town, visit the museums of Yale, such as the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
If you want to explore Connecticut’s rural side, try a road trip around the southwest corner of the state where you can drive past farms, go antiquing, visit wineries, and hike to waterfalls.
Read more about spending a day in rural southwestern Connecticut.
Connecticut Wine Trail
You can see the whole state, as well as have an amazing day visiting Connecticut’s 40 wineries, but of course, you would need a designated driver and drink safely.
You can read about my day with the girls at Jonathan Edwards Vineyards.
A Day at Lavender Pond Farm, Killingworth
If you are in Connecticut in June or July, spend a peaceful day among the blooming, fragrant stems. The farm has chairs and games to play as well. This farm is on my list of the best flower fields around New England.
Clyde’s Cider Mill, Old Mystic
If you are visiting in the fall, be sure to join the party at Clyde’s Cider Mill, where you can see cider being pressed by a room-sized antique press and eat apple cider donuts. Right up the road, visit Whitehall Cemetery with graves dating back to the 1600s.
Sharpe Hill Winery, Pomfret
Start your day at the Lavender Hill Alpaca Farm in Voluntown. After getting your fill of these frilly-headed animals. Then take a hike around the Connecticut Audobon Society Bafflin Sanctuary. End your day with a wine tasting and dinner in Sharpe Hill’s beautiful old barn.
Read more about spending a day at Lake Compounce, the oldest continually running amusement park in the United States.
Devil’s Hopyard is one of my favorite picnic spots in New England. On the two-mile hike, you can see a waterfall, covered bridge, and sweeping green views.
Explore the Connecticut River Valley
Take a boat ride on the river, explore Gillette Castle, take a train ride, or shop and eat in the charming town of Essex.
Read on for how to spend a day in this area.
Visit Old Saybrook
Get a spa treatment at the Saybrook Point Resort and Spa. Walk through the Monument Park. Enjoy lunch on Main Street. A few of my favorite restaurants are the Penny Lane Pub or Liv’s Oyster Bar. Finish your day with a walk by the ocean or a peek at the Lynde Point Lighthouse.
Spend a Day at the Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Florence Griswold was running a boarding house on the Lieutenant River banks drawing painters to the area. This was the Lyme Artist Colony, the beginning and hub of American Impressionism. The house is open for touring, as well as a garden and a museum housing a large collection of impressionist paintings. Be sure to leave time for lunch on the veranda overlooking the river.
Mark Twain House
This gothic-style house in Hartford is where Samuel Clements raised his family. There are three buildings to tour, including the house.
I hope you enjoyed this list of day trips in Connecticut. I will continue to add to it as I think of more.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Please let me know in the comments.