Connecticut is often passed over in favor of more popular New England destinations such as Vermont and Maine, but in fact, this quiet, unpretentious state has a lot to offer visitors in search of gentle nature and rich history that stretches all the way back to the original 13 American colonies.
Between its wonderfully quiet coastline and a rolling interior dotted with colonial villages that date to the origins of the nation, Connecticut has plenty of history to share with visitors. Mystic Seaport showcases the power of Connecticut’s seafaring traditions in the 18th century, while a string of little hamlets like Woodland, New Lyme, and Litchfield allow travelers to tailor a road trip to fill the memory vaults.
Once you get back into the rural Litchfield Fields or Fairfield Country, the pace of life slows to a crawl. The people embody the stubborn Yankee spirit, both welcoming and aloof at the same time. Connecticut is a great value in terms of hotel rates, dining costs, and just about everything else. But that doesn’t mean it slacks on quality things to do or accommodation.
Along the coast, there are a myriad of ways to explore the beaches and offshore islets of Long Island Sound. Apart from Americana heritage, outdoor recreation is the other star attraction in Connecticut. Inland, its mighty rivers flow easily to the sea, offering endless opportunities for boating adventures, riverboat cruises, and fishing outings. It’s easy to combine heritage with activity, staying in colonial-era inns while hitting the rivers or hiking trails by day.
Getting around Connecticut is best done by car. It’s not hard to get here, as there are airports in Hartford and New Haven, and a useful Amtrak train route that stops at several towns along the coast. But to really get out and see the historic sights, you need your own set of wheels―an expense that needs to be budgeted into any extended trip to Connecticut.
- Imagine you are back in an 18th-century whaling village in Mystic Seaport, the state’s top attraction
- Combine a historic steam train ride from Essex Town with a classic riverboat cruise along the Connecticut River to fully experience the role of rivers in the state
- Eat fresh lobster and seafood at one of the legendary seafood shacks along the coastal Boston Post Road between Madison and Guilford
- Hunt for antiques in Woodbury or other historic villages in Litchfield Fields and Fairfield Country
- Wander the campus of Yale University in New Haven and imagine the centuries of academia at America’s third-oldest university
- Fish for your pleasure on the Housatonic River, one of New England’s premier fishing rivers
- Examine how the famous writer Mark Twain lived when he wrote Huckleberry Finn at his home-museum in Hartford