Connecticut is many times labeled as a “drive-through” state en route to more exciting destinations like Boston and New York City. But with a rich history, beautiful landscapes, picturesque beaches and world-class cuisine, there are plenty of things to explore within our borders.
Here’s our guide to the can’t-miss places to visit in Connecticut this summer.
Remember to bring cash for parking fees, which are charged at nearly all of these beaches and collected at the gate upon entrance.
The trial winds through Hartford and New Haven counties and includes 58 miles of paved trail for families. The paved pathway follows the Farmington Canal, which was once the longest canal in New England.
The NRVT is planning to build 38 miles of trail that will run from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury. But currently, you and your family can take a leisurely stroll on the 3.7 mile Wilton loop that features a river. Dogs are also welcome as long as they’re kept on a leash!
Spanning over 13 miles, the trail runs from Bridgeport through Trumbull and Monroe along the Pequonnock River Valley. The trail features a river and is great for hiking, running, and mountain biking as well. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Coming in at just under three miles, the fairly short asphalt trail runs parallel to Winsted Road along the Still River. This scenic, family-friendly trail is frequently used by bikers, walkers, and joggers alike.
The historic Appalachian Trail winds through the state. The portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs along the Housatonic River was the first built to be handicap accessible. Campfires are prohibited and camping is permitted only at designated sites.
Founded in 1902, this is the first museum in the U.S. dedicated to American Art. The museum hosts 10,000 American works of art from 1740 to the present, and is located just a quick drive from Delamar West Hartford.
The Mark Twain House was once home to legendary writer Samuel L. Clemens, who wrote under the name Mark Twain. This 25-room Victorian home-turned museum is where he lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his famous novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
The house has been named “one of the ten best historic homes in the world” by National Geographic and is a must-see for anyone exploring the rich history of Connecticut.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an abolitionist and the author of over 30 books, but she is best remembered for her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is home to Stowe’s home, as well as Victorian grounds and gardens.
The museum explores her life and works but also holds regular programs that help visitors connect the social issues of the past — such as slavery and the role of women — to the present.
Built atop one of a series of hills known as the Seven Sisters, this castle was once home to William Gillette, an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor.
The outside of the castle looks like a medieval fortress. It went through extensive restoration in the early 2000s, and now includes a visitors’ center, museum, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Your family will be in awe of the stunning views, hidden tunnels, the abandoned railroad trails that feel like you’re in a storybook.
Located in the woods of North Stamford, Connecticut, the 118-acre museum property is home to the 10-acre animal farm, a Tudor-style museum and gallery, 80 acres of outdoor trails, as well as a planetarium & observatory. The museum is located just 20 minutes from Delamar Greenwich Harbor. Click here to learn more and plan your visit.
Home to over 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species, the Beardsley Zoo has been one of Connecticut’s top family attractions for over 90 years. Some of the animals include the Amur (Siberian) tiger, Andean condor, Red wolf, Maned wolf, Giant Anteater and Golden lion tamarin.
The zoo is currently open 7 days a week from 9am-4pm. You can also grab a bite at the Peacock Café and take a ride on their colorful carousel.
The Maritime Aquarium provides a fun, entertaining and educational experience for people of all ages. Take a journey into the sea life of Long Island Sound, from freshwater rivers and the shallow waters of the salt marsh, to the deeper habitats out in the Atlantic.
The aquarium has 75 live exhibits featuring more than 2,700 marine animals of 300 species.
Take a journey through an Icelandic Fishing Village, the Great Wall of China, to the Amazon River & beyond. At SeaQuest Trumbull, guests have the chance to connect with animals & learn about their ecosystems through various hands-on activities. Some of the animals featured include asian otters, sloths and stingrays.
Mystic Aquarium is home to thousands of species of marine mammals, fish, invertebrates and reptiles and features both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Some of the sea animals include beluga whales, sea lions and seals, African penguins, sharks, and more.
They even have an indoor dinosaur exhibit featuring 12 giant animatronic dinosaurs, including favorites like stegosaurus, triceratops and the infamous tyrannosaurus rex!
This 184 acre park is situated on a hill overlooking the Connecticut River. Site of Gillette Castle, the park features scenic views of the Connecticut river, hiking trails, and picnicking spots. The grounds are open year-round from 8am to sunset. A trail also leads down to the river where you can catch the historic Chester-Hadlyme ferry from April through November.
located at the Eightmile River’s Chapman Falls in the town of East Haddam, the park is home to hiking trails, campgrounds and beautiful waterfalls. The main feature of the park, Chapman Falls, drops more than 60 feet over a series of stone formations.
Located on the Coginchaug River, the park offers 285 acres of hiking and fishing and scenic views. Two natural waterfalls lie within easy reach by park trails: the Big Falls on the Coginchaug River, and the Little Falls, on Wadsworth Brook. Swimming and picnicking are prohibited at the Big Falls – it is an area intended for short visits to view the scenic falls.
This new national park unit is currently open with limited services, with additional services being added in the coming years. The park is the site of Samuel Colt’s firearms factory that played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution. The site was abandoned in 1994 and approved as a National Historical Park in 2014.
Visitors can explore this industrial city on a self-guided walking tour, visiting the eleven different sites, including the Blue Onion Dome, all while learning about Samuel Colt and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt.
Located on Talcott Mountain just a short drive from Hartford, Penwood State Park offers 800 acres of year-round fun. The park has an extensive trail system, as well as picnic areas, and paved roads accessible by bike. The Metacomet Trail runs the entire length of the park.
Also located on Talcott Mountain and touching Penwood State Park, this 574-acre park offers picnic areas, hiking trails and is the location of the 165-foot Heublein Tower. The tower was a former summer home of a prominent Hartford family. You can access the tower, its museum and the amazing views via a 1.25-mile-long trail that takes 30 to 40 minutes to walk.
Located in Fairfield County, the park covers over 1,017 acres of land and is most known for Anna Hyatt Huntington’s sculptures of bears and wolves that welcome visitors at the park entrance. The park includes trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, as well as ponds for canoeing and fishing. Pets are permitted as long as they’re on a leash.
Located south-east of Hartford, this state park is the perfect place to enjoy a day of hiking, hunting and picnicking along the Salmon River. The park is also home to Comstock’s Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in eastern Connecticut.
This was once home to Julian Alden Weir, one of the leading figures in American Impressionist art movement. The 60-acre park is home to beautiful woods, fields, ponds and waterways, as well as Weir’s home and studio. It is only one of two sites in the National Park Service devoted to the American paintings and visual art.
Surrounded by beautiful rural scenes and nature, Weir created numerous works here including: Idle Hours, Upland Pasture, the Truants, and The Laundry, Branchville.
Located off of the Long Island Sound, the state park consists of 297 acres of beach, restored salt marsh, open areas and woods as well as a 14-acre bird sanctuary on Charles Island. It is the perfect place for swimming, picnicking, hiking, and bird-watching.
This 160-acre park is steeped in history and lore. Hike the trails to the scenic views of Housatonic River at Lover’s Leap gorge and walk across the restored 1895 Berlin Iron Bridge to the rock formation that gives the park its name. According to legend, this is the site where Pootatuck Indian Chief Waramaug’s daughter, Princess Lillinonah, and her lover plunged to their deaths.
Located along the Long Island Sound, Rocky Neck State Park has everything from a sandy beach to varied hiking and mountain biking trails, and salt marshes. It is also a great spot for summer camping in CT with some 160 campsites.
Location is key when visiting Connecticut. Delamar has three distinct locations throughout the state in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford, giving you an opportunity to explore and venture around, while enjoying the utmost level of excellence and luxury in hospitality. When you choose to stay at Delamar, you can unwind, relax and rejuvenate with our great amenities and attention to detail at every turn. Book your stay with us today and enjoy the New England charm in all its glory.