New Haven, Mystic, and the Coast

We’ve compiled the best of the best in New Haven, Mystic, and the Coast - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Florence Griswold Museum

    Central to Old Lyme's artistic reputation is this grand late-Georgian-style mansion, which served as a boardinghouse for members of the Lyme Art Colony in the...

    Central to Old Lyme's artistic reputation is this grand late-Georgian-style mansion, which served as a boardinghouse for members of the Lyme Art Colony in the first decades of the 20th century. When artists such as Willard Metcalf, Clark Voorhees, Childe Hassam, and Henry Ward Ranger flocked to the area to paint its varied landscape, Miss Florence Griswold offered both housing and artistic encouragement. The house has been restored to its 1910 appearance, when the colony was in full flower (clues to the house's layout and décor were gleaned from members' paintings). The museum's 10,000-square-foot Krieble Gallery, on the riverfront, hosts changing exhibitions of American art. Café Flo, on-site, serves lunch on the veranda or have a picnic on the lawn.

    96 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Connecticut, 06371, USA
    860-434–5542

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Closed Mon.
  • 2. Hammonasset Beach State Park

    The largest of the state's public beach parks, Hammonasset Beach State Park has 2 miles of white-sand beach, a top-notch nature center, excellent birding, and...

    The largest of the state's public beach parks, Hammonasset Beach State Park has 2 miles of white-sand beach, a top-notch nature center, excellent birding, and a hugely popular campground with more than 550 open sites. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.

    1288 Boston Post Rd. (U.S. 1), Madison, Connecticut, 06443, USA
    203-245–2785-for park

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: CT residents free; nonresidents parking fee from $15
  • 3. IT Adventure Ropes Course

    Oddly enough, you'll find the world's largest indoor adventure ropes course within Jordan's Furniture Store. The 60-foot-high courses have more than 100 activities, like walking...

    Oddly enough, you'll find the world's largest indoor adventure ropes course within Jordan's Furniture Store. The 60-foot-high courses have more than 100 activities, like walking across zigzag swinging beams rope ladders, bridges, moving planks, a 50-foot free-fall jump, four 200-foot-long ziplines, and more. At Little IT, toddlers and little kids can zip along, too.

    40 Sargent Dr., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-812--9981

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $30
  • 4. Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

    Housed in a large complex 1 mile from Foxwoods, this museum brings to life in exquisite detail the history and culture of the Northeastern Woodland...

    Housed in a large complex 1 mile from Foxwoods, this museum brings to life in exquisite detail the history and culture of the Northeastern Woodland tribes in general and the Mashantucket Pequots in particular. Highlights include views of an 18,000-year-old glacial crevasse, a caribou hunt from 11,000 years ago, and a 17th-century fort. Perhaps most remarkable is a sprawling "immersion environment": a 16th-century village with more than 50 life-size figures and real smells and sounds. Audio devices provide detailed information about the sights. A full-service restaurant offers both Native and traditional American cuisine. A 185-foot stone-and-glass tower provides sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

    110 Pequot Tr., Ledyard, Connecticut, 06338, USA
    860-396--6910

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $22, Closed Sun.–Tues.
  • 5. Mystic Aquarium

    The famous Arctic Coast exhibit—which holds 750,000 gallons of water, measures 165 feet at its longest point by 85 feet at its widest point, and...

    The famous Arctic Coast exhibit—which holds 750,000 gallons of water, measures 165 feet at its longest point by 85 feet at its widest point, and ranges from just inches to 16½ feet deep—is just a small part of this revered establishment and home to three graceful beluga whales and several species of seals and sea lions. You can also see African penguins, fascinating sea horses, Pacific octopuses, and sand tiger sharks. Don't miss feeding time at the Ray Touch Pool, where rays suction sand eels right out of your hand. The animals here go through 1,000 pounds of herring, capelin, and squid each day—Juno, a male beluga whale, is responsible for consuming 85 pounds of that himself.

    55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, Connecticut, 06355, USA
    860-572–5955

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: from $29
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  • 6. Mystic Seaport Museum

    Mystic Seaport, the nation's leading maritime museum, encompasses 19 acres stretched along the Mystic River. The indoor and outdoor exhibits include a re-created New England...

    Mystic Seaport, the nation's leading maritime museum, encompasses 19 acres stretched along the Mystic River. The indoor and outdoor exhibits include a re-created New England coastal village, a working shipyard, and formal museum buildings with more than 1 million artifacts, including figureheads, models, tools, ship plans, scrimshaw, paintings, photos, and recordings. Along the narrow village streets and in some of the historic buildings, craftspeople demonstrate skills such as open-hearth cooking and weaving, interpreters bring the past to life, musicians sing sea chanteys, and special squads with maritime skills show how to properly set sails on a square-rigged ship. The museum's more than 500 vessels include the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaling ship afloat, and the 1882 training ship Joseph Conrad; you can climb aboard both for a look around or for sail-setting demonstrations and reenactments of whale hunts. Children under three are admitted free.

    75 Greenmanville Ave. (Rte. 27), Mystic, Connecticut, 06355, USA
    860-572–0711

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $27
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  • 7. Ocean Beach Park

    Possibly the state's finest beach, the 50-acre park has a broad white-sand beach, an Olympic-size outdoor pool with a triple waterslide, an 18-hole miniature-golf course,...

    Possibly the state's finest beach, the 50-acre park has a broad white-sand beach, an Olympic-size outdoor pool with a triple waterslide, an 18-hole miniature-golf course, an arcade, a half-mile-long boardwalk, kiddie rides, food concessions, a nature trail, and a picnic area. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: partiers; swimming; walking.

    98 Neptune Ave., New London, Connecticut, 06320, USA
    860-447–3031

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Walk-in $8, parking and admission $25
  • 8. Submarine Force Museum

    The world's first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN-571)—and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole (in 1958)—was launched and commissioned...

    The world's first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN-571)—and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole (in 1958)—was launched and commissioned in Groton in 1954. The Nautilus spent 25 active years as a showpiece of U.S. technological know-how and is now permanently docked at the Submarine Force Museum, a couple of miles upriver from where the sub was built. Visitors are welcome to climb aboard and explore. The museum, just outside the entrance to Naval Submarine Base New London, is a repository of thousands of artifacts, documents, and photographs detailing the history of the U.S. Submarine Force component of the U.S. Navy, along with educational and interactive exhibits.

    1 Crystal Lake Rd., Groton, Connecticut, 06340, USA
    800-343--0079

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Tues.
  • 9. The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

    The Kate, as the Center is generally known, is an intimate, 250-seat theater in the Old Saybrook Town Hall building on the historic town green....

    The Kate, as the Center is generally known, is an intimate, 250-seat theater in the Old Saybrook Town Hall building on the historic town green. The Kate presents a full calendar of concerts, dance, drama, opera, comedy, films (including some classic Hepburn films), and children's theater. (Some performances are broadcast on PBS TV in the national series, "The Kate.") In addition to the performances and presentations, a small museum displays memorabilia and reminiscences about Katharine Hepburn's life and career. She was a resident of Old Saybrook from 1912 (age five) until her death in 2003.

    300 Main St., Old Saybrook, Connecticut, 06475, USA
    860-510–0453-box office

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Museum free, Museum closed Sat.–Mon.
  • 10. Yale Center for British Art

    Featuring the largest collection of British art outside Britain, the center surveys the development of English art, life, and thought from the Elizabethan period to...

    Featuring the largest collection of British art outside Britain, the center surveys the development of English art, life, and thought from the Elizabethan period to the present. The skylighted galleries, one of architect Louis I. Kahn's final works, contain artwork by John Constable, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and J. M. W. Turner, to name but a few. You'll also find rare books and paintings documenting English history. Explore on your own or take a free guided tour, offered Thursday and Saturday at 11 am and weekends at 2 pm.

    1080 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA
    203-432–2800

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 11. Yale University

    New Haven's manufacturing history dates to the 19th century, but the city owes its fame to merchant Elihu Yale. In 1718, his contributions enabled the...

    New Haven's manufacturing history dates to the 19th century, but the city owes its fame to merchant Elihu Yale. In 1718, his contributions enabled the Collegiate School, founded in 1701 at Saybrook, to settle in New Haven and change its name to Yale College. In 1887, all of its schools were consolidated into Yale University. This is one of the nation's great institutions of higher learning, and its campus holds some handsome neo-Gothic buildings and noteworthy museums. Student guides conduct hour-long walking tours that include Connecticut Hall in the Old Campus, one of the oldest buildings in the state, which housed a number of illustrious students—including Nathan Hale, Noah Webster, and Eli Whitney. Tours start from the visitor center.

    149 Elm St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-432–2300

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Reservations required
  • 12. Yale University Art Gallery

    Since its founding in 1832, this art gallery has amassed more than 200,000 works from around the world, dating from ancient Egypt to the present...

    Since its founding in 1832, this art gallery has amassed more than 200,000 works from around the world, dating from ancient Egypt to the present day. Highlights include works by Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins, as well as Etruscan and Greek vases, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, early Italian paintings, and a collection of American decorative arts that is considered one of the world's finest. The gallery's landmark main building is also of note: Opened in 1953, it was renowned architect Louis I. Kahn's first major commission and the first modernist building on the neo-Gothic Yale campus.

    1111 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-432–0600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 13. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

    The library's collection of literary papers, early manuscripts, and rare books include a Gutenberg Bible and original Audubon bird prints; the exhibition spaces on the...

    The library's collection of literary papers, early manuscripts, and rare books include a Gutenberg Bible and original Audubon bird prints; the exhibition spaces on the ground floor and mezzanine are open to the public. The building that houses them is an attraction in its own right: the walls are made of marble cut so thin that the light shines through, making the interior a breathtaking sight on sunny days. Introductory tours for individuals are offered on Saturday afternoons; group tours are Yale-led and require advance registration at the Yale Visitor Information Center

    121 Wall St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-432–2977

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed weekend mornings
  • 14. Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

    It was here (legend has it), on the Groton side of the Thames River, that the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold stood watching the important port...

    It was here (legend has it), on the Groton side of the Thames River, that the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold stood watching the important port of New London (a supply center for the Continental Army and friendly port for Connecticut privateers) burn in 1781 during the Revolutionary War. Whether Arnold actually stood there is open to question; but the American defenders of Ft. Griswold were massacred by Arnold's British troops during the Battle of Groton Heights—and New London did burn according to his orders. The 134-foot-high Groton Monument, which you can climb for a sweeping view of the river and New London, is a memorial to the fallen. The adjacent Monument House Museum has historic displays; the Ebenezer Avery House, on the grounds and recently restored, is where the wounded were sheltered in 1781.

    Park Ave. at Monument St., Groton, Connecticut, 06340, USA
    860-449–6877-seasonal

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 15. Fort Trumbull State Park

    Once the location of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and later the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory, the fort was originally built to defend New...

    Once the location of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and later the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory, the fort was originally built to defend New London Harbor from British attack. You'll now find a 19th-century stonework-and-masonry fort, an extensive visitor center focusing on military history, a top-rate fishing pier, a waterfront boardwalk with fantastic views, and a picnic area when you want to relax.

    90 Walbach St., New London, Connecticut, 06320, USA
    860-444–7591

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Grounds and parking free, visitor center $6
  • 16. Foxwoods Resort Casino

    Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation on reservation lands near Ledyard, Foxwoods is the largest resort casino in North America. The enormous...

    Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation on reservation lands near Ledyard, Foxwoods is the largest resort casino in North America. The enormous compound, which opened in 1992, draws 40,000-plus visitors daily to its seven casinos with more than 3,400 slot machines, 300 gaming tables, and a 3,600-seat bingo parlor. This 9-million-square-foot complex includes four luxury hotels, a 5,500-square-foot pool "sanctuary," two full-service spas, a retail concourse, numerous dining options, several theaters and other venues that attract national performers, a video arcade, extreme sports facilities, a bowling alley, children's activities, an 18-hole championship golf course, and—as counterpoint to all that action—marked trails through the surrounding woods.

    350 Trolley Line Blvd., Ledyard, Connecticut, 06338, USA
    800-369–9663
  • 17. Ft. Griswold Battlefield State Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    At this site are the remnants of a Revolutionary War fort whose American defenders were massacred in 1781 by British troops under the command...

    At this site are the remnants of a Revolutionary War fort whose American defenders were massacred in 1781 by British troops under the command of the American traitor Benedict Arnold. The 134-foot-tall Groton Monument is a memorial to the fallen; you can climb it for a sweeping view of the shoreline. The adjacent Monument House Museum has historic displays.

    Monument St. and Park Ave., Groton, Connecticut, USA
    860-445–1729

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Park daily 8–dusk. Museum and monument: Memorial Day–Labor Day, Wed.–Sun. 9–5
  • 18. Leffingwell House Museum

    What began as a two-room home around 1675 evolved into a pre-Revolutionary War tavern; by 1776, it was the elegant home of a local patriot...

    What began as a two-room home around 1675 evolved into a pre-Revolutionary War tavern; by 1776, it was the elegant home of a local patriot that has since been lovingly restored by the Society of the Founders of Norwich. The house is furnished with Early American artifacts, and interpreters explain the architecture of the house and the lifestyle of those who lived or frequented the home over the centuries.

    348 Washington St., Norwich, Connecticut, 06360, USA
    860-889–9440

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8, Closed Mon.–Fri. and Nov.–Mar.
  • 19. Lyman Allyn Art Museum

    Housed in a neoclassical granite building that overlooks the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Long Island Sound, this museum was founded in 1932 with funds...

    Housed in a neoclassical granite building that overlooks the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Long Island Sound, this museum was founded in 1932 with funds bequeathed by Harriet Upson Allyn in memory of her whaling merchant father, Captain Lyman Allyn (1797–1874). Inside is an impressive collection of more than 15,000 objects covering a span of 5,000 years. Works also include contemporary, modern, and Early American fine arts; American Impressionist paintings; Connecticut decorative arts; and European works from the 16th through 19th centuries. The 12 acres of surrounding grounds includes a sculpture trail.

    625 Williams St., New London, Connecticut, 06320, USA
    860-443–2545

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Closed Mon.
  • 20. Mohegan Sun

    The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, known as Wolf People, opened this casino just south of Norwich in 1996; today, it has more than 300,000 square...

    The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, known as Wolf People, opened this casino just south of Norwich in 1996; today, it has more than 300,000 square feet of gaming space in three casino areas, totaling nearly 5,000 slot machines and more than 300 gaming tables. Also part of the complex: the Kids Quest/Cyber Quest family entertainment center, a shopping mall with 32 retail stores, 43 dining options, 19 bars and lounges, and two high-rise luxury hotels—each with a pool and a full-service spa. The 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, home to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, draws major performances; bands play in the Wolf Den nearly every night; Comix Roadhouse presents comedy acts, as the name implies, and country music; and the 175,000-square-foot Earth Expo & Convention Center holds events.

    1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, Connecticut, 06382, USA
    888-226–7711

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