There’s a lot to explore in Connecticut. Our lush state is overflowing with natural wonder, as well as some awesome downtown scenes and charming historical towns. So take a staycation this summer and uncover the magic of Connecticut at these cool places! Whether you choose to stay indoors, or opt for the 15-mile hike, there is plenty to explore in Connecticut. The best part is, you won’t have to drop big bucks to do it! So save that travel money and get ready for a local adventure.
1. Explore the land off the shore of Stony Creek as you tour the Thimble Islands.
Said to have once served as the hideout for Captain Kidd, these islands were first discovered by the Europeans in 1614. You'll feel as though you're cruising the Caribbean as you pass by each island, unique in appearance, size, and name! And since it's a boat cruise you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
2. Explore the town of Old Lyme for a weekend at the historical Old Lyme Inn.
Built in 1856, this former estate in a small New England town now offers charming outdoor seating for meals and 14 rooms for those looking to enjoy a bed and breakfast stay or spa services. Plus you're right across from the Florence Griswold Museum, which means Connecticut's past is literally at your fingertips.
3. Explore the sprawling land and delicious dairy flavors of Buttonwood Farm in Griswold.
Famous for planting thousands of sunflowers on the land, this place is more than just draw dropping flower views. Hay mazes, farm animals, and their generous support of Make-A-Wish is just the beginning. They also make their own ice cream and put it in their own daily made waffle cones!
4. Explore the incredible craftsmanship of the structures in New Haven's Lighthouse Point Park.
That's right! This seafront destination is more than its view of the shoreline. Its lighthouse features a spiral granite staircase you can follow to an incredible sight. But the park is also home to a hand crafted carousel built in 1916, complete with original oil paintings.
5. Explore the life and times of a famous author at Mark Twain's House in Hartford.
You can tour this quirky house, including a look at his personal library and the billards room where he wrote he Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. So this exploration comes with a little inspiration as well!
6. Explore the world under the sea in Mystic at the beloved Mystic Aquarium.
While you're never too old to visit your fishy friends, kids will especially love spending time here. The aquarium features exhibits both inside and outside, including a huge frog collection and the chance to touch a stingray!
7. Explore your love of reading at the independent RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison.
Nobody celebrates literature like this place! Since its opening over two decades ago, it has remained dedicated to educating and entertaining. Not only does it have a huge selection, but it's also host to 200 literature events every year, making it the dream spot for book lovers.
8. Explore the fiction and fantasy of your favorite shows at the Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum in Cheshire.
Think you know everything about a fictional character? This place is determined to prove you wrong! With over 80,000 antique toys, this place immortalizes animated icons and gives you the opportunity to walk down memory lane.
9. Explore impressive statue work at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.
The first chartered burial ground in the United States, this cemetery easily doubles as a sculpture garden, attracting art lovers who are interested in seeing the ancient work of stone carvers' past. The first burial was in 1797, so you'll be exploring more than 200 years of work.
10. Explore the Comstock Covered Bridge in East Hampton as you travel through the Salmon River State Forest.
One of Connecticut’s last remaining covered bridges, folks love coming to visit it, but the forest surrounding it is not to be forgotten. The 6,000 acres touch Hebron, Colchester, East Hampton, and Marlborough, offering ease of access to the maximum number of people. Plus the Airline Trail is a hike you'll never forget!