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Best things to do in Connecticut

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Where in the world: USA  /  Connecticut
The Constitution State is best known for its renowned universities, so make sure to include a campus visit to your list of things to do in Connecticut. Yale University Art Gallery enchants visitors with its collection of early Italian paintings. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy lakeside trails at Gillette Castle State Park, while military history buffs will appreciate self-guided audio tours of The Submarine Force Museum. Mark Twain House & Museum provides a look into the life and times of a great American writer and humorist. Welcoming families since 1846, Lake Compounce is an amusement park with thrilling roller coaster rides.

Connecticut is best known for its History Museums, Historic Sites, and Aquariums.

Top 15 things to do in Connecticut

1. Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic

The largest maritime museum in the world, Mystic Seaport Museum is home to a collection of historical ships and boats. Along with seacraft, a re-creation of a 19th-century fishing village is one of the attraction's most popular spots. The museum is housed in 60 historical commercial buildings where traditional crafts are still made the same way they were when the town was founded.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $28 › Learn more about Mystic Seaport Museum

2. Mystic Aquarium, Mystic

See one of the United States' largest outdoor beluga whale exhibits at Mystic Aquarium, and get close-up with sharks, sea lions, penguins, octopi, and other ocean critters. Get hands on at touch exhibits where you can feel a reptile, stingray, shark, or crustacean. For an additional fee, you can get even closer during an animal encounter program with an African penguin, beluga whale, or even feed stingrays. Children and grownups can take educational programs at the aquarium to find out more about the marine life and conservation practices. Bring your own food and dine at the outdoor picnic area or try out the on-site cafe, which offers burgers, pizzas, snacks, wraps, and so on.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Mystic Aquarium

3. Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Foxwoods Resort Casino

4. Mystic Seaport Museum Adventure

FROM $28
Get outside and enjoy a fresh sea breeze on the grounds of America's premiere maritime history museum. Guests are welcome to climb aboard tall ships, explore a preservation shipyard where shipwrights restore historic wooden vessels, stroll through heirloom gardens, engage in a sea story or two presented by friendly staff and volunteers. All indoor exhibits are opened for visitors to enjoy a deeper dive into life at sea during the golden age of sail and more. Summer weekends often include special events.
Suggested duration: 2h - 6h
Tours from $28 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. The Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about The Mark Twain House & Museum

6. Olde Mistick Village, Mystic

Step back into the 18th century at Olde Mistick Village. All the mall's shops are housed inside recreated houses typical for 1720s New England. Most offer locally produced goods that can't be found anywhere else. Peruse everything from clothes and accessories to handcrafts and food. The village has a selection of restaurants, and a theater shows movies and hosts live performances. Throughout the year, you can happen upon many events, exhibits, and festivals here. Even though this isn't a typical mall, modern facilities are available, along with plenty of parking space.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Olde Mistick Village

7. Elizabeth Park, West Hartford

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Downtown Mystic Ghost Tour

FROM $25
Our Original Ghost Walk takes travelers through the historic downtown Mystic landscape, guests will become immersed in the dark, sordid and supernatural history of New England’s famous seafaring village. From 17th century strife of colonial life amidst the Pequot Wars and the King Phillip’s war to mysterious turn of the century murders, Mystic’s history was founded in darkness. As the centuries grew, lost seafarers, creepy cryptids, and scandalous happenings took place in our quaint seaside community. Hear tales of Revolutionary heroes, industrial revolution hot spots, and Union soldiers of the Civil War still seen in their spectral form all on our Downtown Mystic tour. Our Downtown Mystic tour takes guests from the 17th through 20th centuries in old Mystic with true terrifying tales from our hidden archives and remarkable history amid legends and lore. From curses to paranormal activity, there’s no shortage of the supernatural in downtown Mystic.
Suggested duration: 2h
Tours from $25 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven

Yale University Art Gallery displays art from nearly all cultures, but it's most famous for its collection of early Italian paintings, African sculptures, and modern art. Located in several buildings on the university campus, the gallery also houses world-renowned collections of American decorative and fine arts from as far back as the 17th century. Of particular note is the small collection of rare American silver. Opened in 1832, the gallery recently underwent renovations to connect three separate galleries while maintaining their distinct architectural styles; it reopened in 2012.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Yale University Art Gallery

10. The Submarine Force Museum, Groton

The Submarine Force Museum offers self-guided tours with a chance to learn about the history of submarines and their role as part of the U.S. Navy. Climb aboard the USS Nautilus--launched in 1954, the Nautilus was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. Before it was decommissioned in 1980, it cruised under the ice of the North Pole, participated in NATO exercises, and joined in the naval quarantine of Cuba. The Nautilus offers self-guided audio tours. The museum houses a collection of smaller submarines, including a Japanese midget submarine (plus related items, such as periscopes), and a large library featuring a collection of books, documents, and photographs relating to the development of submersible crafts.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about The Submarine Force Museum

11. Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam

Perched on the hills above the Connecticut River, Gillette Castle State Park features an early 20th-century mansion and a series of lakeside walking trails. Here you'll find the crumbling former glory of actor William Gillette's medieval-looking residence, built of stone and surrounded by thick forest. You can wander the grounds, which are ideal for easy walks, thanks to pathways made from former railroad tracks. Explore the "castle" itself to see a great number of carved oak woodworks and creative features, such as built-in couches and a sliding table.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Gillette Castle State Park

12. Private sailing trips in the Thimble Islands, Branford, CT

FROM $640
PLEASE NOTE: RATES ARE BASED FOR UP TO 4 PEOPLE. Please indicate number of people and start time: 10am, 2pm or 5pm. Longer trips and larger groups are available on request. Discovering and sailing thru the Thimble Islands is a unique experience, 300 islands to look at from a sailing yacht giving you plenty of time to take pictures. The Thimble islands are one of those well kept secrets not yet well known from the crowds which gives its charm and serenity. On sailing trip is approx. 2.5-3 hour, we can anchor and swim in total safety and calm waters. If you wish to add another hour or two, please let us know.
Suggested duration: 2h 30min
Tours from $640 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Yale University, New Haven

Wander the halls and grounds of Yale University to get a feel for the institution's 300-year history and the minds that have studied here. Join a guided tour led by a current student, or pick up the Blue Trail map for a self-guided tour. You can also choose to listen to audio tracks on your own MP3 player as you explore the university. The guided tour will take you to the central campus area, several of Yale's residential colleges, the Gothic Sterling Memorial Library, and the Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. You'll learn about student life on campus, the university's architecture, and Yale's history.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $243 › Learn more about Yale University

15. BEST Boston, New Haven and Rhode Island 2-Day Tour from New York

FROM $243
Visit three top universities in the U.S. at Harvard, Yale and MIT. Official in-depth campus tours of Harvard & Yale University guided by enrolled undergraduate students. Ride on the replica of amphibious military vehicle sightseeing around the city on the Boston duck tour. Visit the Breakers – one of the grandest summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Grab a bite of authentic local gourmet: Boston lobster dinner & clam chowder. Room Details All hotel rooms are based on two Full / Double beds or one King/Queen bed depends on what hotel availiable on the day. The maximum occupancy per room is four travelers. One Room Selection If you are a party of more than four guests or desire to have separate rooms, please provide a separate booking. Avoid traveling in a different bus? If you have more than one booking, please provide all confirmation numbers once your bookings are complete.
Tours from $243 › More about this tour at viator.com ›