5 Top-Rated Things to Do in New London (2023)
Connecticut is home to many beautiful towns. One such pretty seaside town in New London that comes to life every summer. Visitors from all over the state make their way to this beautiful and quiet downtown area. During the summers, New London comes alive with fountains splashing, musicians performing on the streets, boats cruising to nearby lighthouses, and restaurant patios spilling out in the open to offer some of the finest cuisines of Connecticut.
New London is also a very popular weekend getaway, especially for those who want to soak up a bit of the sun and spend some time looking at the many attractions in the town. This town is a great getaway for anyone who wants to relax and rejuvenate. For history buffs as well, New London is a rich historical town to visit as it is home to many glorious buildings like the Hempsted Houses and Nathan Hale Schoolhouse. No matter what your interest is, there is something fun to do in New London for everyone.
5 Top-Rated Things to Do in New London
Here are some of the places to visit in in New London:
1. Head over to the Ocean Beach Park
The Ocean Beach Park has been regularly voted as one of the best beaches in Connecticut. This is a family friendly destination that you would not want to miss in New London. This pristine beach stretches to the majestic Atlantic Ocean with soft, golden sand welcoming you. In fact, you are likely to soon start feeling like you are in the Caribbean instead of in Connecticut.
The beach is flanked by a wide, half a mile long boardwalk that was made to honor Tony Pero, who was a beloved local who spent almost 50 decades working at this beach. There are many benches that cover the beach, offering you a break from the heat and sun. All you have to do is set up your beach chair, open up your umbrella and get ready to relax for hours enjoying the beautiful view. You don’t need to pack any food along as there are many concession stands, a restaurant, and a seasonal cafe also nearby. There is also a Nature Walk and Bird Watching Observation Deck for those who want to indulge in some other activities.
2. Get Up Close To a Cannon at Fort Trumbull State Park
Visiting the Fort Trumbull State Park is one of the most fun things to do in New London, especially if you get a sunny day. Located on top of a hill, this is a historical stronghold that provides some of the most stunning views of the Thames River. The place is steeped in history, with the first Fort Trumbull being constructed in the 18th century to keep the harbor safe from attacks by the British. The fort you can see today is the third one, which was built in the mid-1800s.
There are multiple signs posted all around the forest and its ramparts, making it easy for those who want to undertake a self-guided tour. There are two Rodman cannons located in the South Battery, which was built in 1840, just behind a low parapet made of granite and earth. It surprises many to learn that this once held eight cannons and many smaller siege guns.
If you want to indulge in a more in-depth experience at the fort, you can book a guided tour. You will then be able to see the living quarters as they looked in the 19th century. There are many interactive exhibits also to be found at the visitor center of the state park.
3. Enjoy a Cruise From New London’s Harbor
As mentioned above, New London is a very popular summer destination, and travelers from all over the state flock to this gem of a town to enjoy the waterfront, which is the main draw. And one of the best ways to explore and appreciate the beauty of the waterfront is to head out to sea.
One of the most popular excursions for locals and tourists alike in New London is the Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruise. Your journey starts on a high-speed sea jet, and you get to visit nine lighthouses and two Revolutionary-era forts that stretch from New London to Long Island. However, these cruise trips only run from April to November.
The charming town of Mystic is also located just 15 minutes east of here, and the popular Mystic Whaler Cruises can be availed from the New London Harbor.
4. Explore Nature at the Connecticut College Arboretum
One of the best places to visit for nature lovers is the beautiful Connecticut College Arboretum. Spread over 750 acres of lush green landscape, including the beautifully manicured college campus, this is a natural utopia that opened its gates in 1931. The Connecticut College Arboretum provides a much-needed relief in the heart of New London.
The arboretum is maintained with the purpose of teaching the next generation about sustainability and to also spreading the knowledge of the environment and ecology. It won’t be wrong to say that this is essentially a living laboratory, and it is frequently used by students to conduct research.
There are many trails that make their way through the grounds of this arboretum, including a 120-acre Campus Landscape, which is home to shrubs and trees from all over the world. There is also the 30-acre Native Plant Collection, which contains North American plants and wildflowers, as well as the three-acre Caroline Black Garden, which is home to a wide variety of woody plants.
During the summer months, you can take part in many free guided tours.
5. Visit the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum opened in New London in 1932. Right from the neoclassical building, it sits inside to its vast collection, there is much to see and explore here. There are over 17,000 objects on display at the museum that range all the way from the ancient times to today. These works are sources from all across the world, thus offering visitors a look at a wide range of genres.
There is also a sculpture trail here that passes through 12 acres of lush green grounds that surround the building. The giant creations you see here are only a small glimpse of what magnificence awaits you inside.