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5 Top Things To Do In Connecticut (2023)

Even though Connecticut is the third smallest state in the United States, the state has tons of wonderful attractions and incredible things to do for visitors. With its verdant landscapes, white picket fences, sandy beaches, sparkling lakes, and cascading waterfalls, get ready to be wowed by this beautiful state. Popularly known as The Nutmeg State, the cities of Connecticut offer visitors with many opportunities to visit some fantastic museums, theaters, monuments and indulge in fine dining they will remember for a long time.

The stunning natural backdrop of the state will ensure that you never want to leave. From a sprawling park nestled between the towering high rises to the soft waves that caress the shoreline, or the trails that crisscross their way through the lush green forests, there is something to do for everybody in Connecticut.

5 Top Things To Do In Connecticut

Here are some of the top things to do in Connecticut.

1. Spend a day in the stunning town of Mystic

If you want to visit a picturesque spot to enjoy some history, sail along a beautiful and peaceful harbor, and also enjoy some of the tastiest treats, you will find it all in the quaint little town of Mystic. This is an absolutely charming coastal town located along the Mystic River. This beautiful retreat is the perfect destination for those looking to get away for the weekend.

The town is famous for its nautical history, as is apparent in the many gleaming sailboats that line the harbor. Mystic used to be a major port for whaling vessels in the past, and the famous Mystic Seaport is today one of the best museums in Connecticut. From a planetarium to a working shipyard to many historical wooden ships and a complete 19th-century seafaring village, you will be able to enjoy everything from the town’s history in one place. There is also a restaurant on-site to help you relish some delicious treats after your visit.

While here, don’t forget to check out the Mystic Aquarium, which is known to be one of the best attractions in the state of Connecticut. People come here from all over the New England region to check out the beluga whales, and they remain hooked as they see the many other impressive creatures and exhibits the aquarium boasts of. Also on your bucket list should be a visit to the Olde Mistick Village, and bring your appetite along when you arrive here. This is an outdoor mall designed to look like a 19th-century New England Village. This charming place is full of many themed stores, most of which offer visitors free samples of their delicious foods. There are multiple eateries located here, making it one of the most popular places in Connecticut to grab a meal.

2. Board A Ferry To See The Gillette Castle

If you want to truly experience the sights and sounds of Connecticut, one of the top-rated things to do is to take the ferry and visit the famous Gillette Castle. The famed Chester-Hadlyme Ferry takes visitors and their cars from the charming small town of Chester to cross the mesmerizing Connecticut River to reach Hadlyme, which is home to the unique attraction known as Gillette Castle.

This is a super popular route, especially during the warm summer months, but it is during the fall season that you get to see this route at its best. During fall, you get to take in the spectacular red, orange, and yellow hues that reflect in the sparkling waters of the Connecticut River as the trees that surround the hilly shores known as the Seven Sisters are colored in a rainbow of colors.

Once you reach Hadlyme, visit the castle, which is located in East Haddam. The Gillette Castle was constructed in the early 20th century by William Gillette, a stage actor. Sprawled over 184 acres, the estate offers some stunning views of the river flowing below. This is a medieval Gothic castle that is home to many secret passageways, numerous whimsical treasures designed by Gillette himself, and various intricate locking mechanisms.

3. Ride The Fun Roller Coasters At Lake Compounce

There is nothing quite like the thrill of riding a roller coaster while on vacation. And there are many heart-pounding adventures to be had at Lake Compounce. The Boulder Dash, an award-winning wooden coaster, is a must-see, while the Phobia Phear Coaster, which shoots up to 65 miles an hour, will make you scream for dear life as you tighten your grip and hold on. Riding these coasters is one of the top-rated things to do in Connecticut for all those who want to experience a thrilling vacation.

However, if coasters are not your thing and your stomach churns around just at the thought of having to ride one, then there are many other low-key fun options to keep you entertained at Lake Compounce. You can opt to ride the classic carousel, which is an all-time favorite, or take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel and the Flying Elephants.

If you visit the place in the hot summer months, you can head to the on-site water park known as Bayou Bay, which offers a well-deserved break from the scorching heat. While here, take a ride on Croc-O-Nile, the lazy river ride that is the perfect way to relax. Or you can just hop into a tube to plunge down a waterfall at the Mammoth Falls.

4. Destress in the Beautiful Town of Chester

Although a small town, but Chester is sure to win your heart with its incredible beauty and calming effect on the stressed-out traveler. Located in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley, the beautiful town of Chester is a must-visit when you are in Connecticut and looking for things to do. Whether you just drive into town through the dense forest region or you are cruising into town on the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry, you will be surprised and charmed the moment you lay eyes on the city.

This historic town was first settled in 1692, and there are many historic buildings that have been well preserved and give you the feel of exactly how an old city in New England would look like from that era. The peaceful atmosphere here and friendly locals make it a very relaxing place to visit.

There is much to do in the town, including exploring the history and culture of the town to indulging in some delicious local food. You will find many buildings to explore that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Old Town Hall of Chester. Private residences also showcase some of the most stunning architecture you will find in Connecticut.

As you wander around Main Street, you will find many quaint boutique shops, or you can dine at several award-winning restaurants. Many of the businesses here are running out of preserved 19th-century buildings.

The small town of Chester is popular for the arts. There are many art galleries around town that showcase numerous local talents. If you are lucky, you can even attend a live performance showing at the famous Norma Terris Theater.

5. Climb Aboard the Essex Steam Train

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Connecticut, it is best to climb aboard the Essex Steam Train and make your way through the stunning Connecticut River Valley as you soak up all the history in the vintage coaches of this antique steam train. The Valley Railroad Company operates the Essex Steam Train, and tours leave from the Essex Station starting in early May to late October. You can also combine a river cruise package on the Connecticut River on the equally remarkable Becky Thatcher riverboat to see some breathtaking sights along the way.

There are many more enjoyable things to do in Connecticut, from hiking the trails that take you to the magnificent Kent Falls to fishing in Madison. You will never have a dull moment in this state.

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