Just when you thought you have traveled enough to explore the best of what America can offer, there are always new and more exciting attractions that open in different parts of the country. One of the best places to visit is the elegant state of Connecticut.
Here you will surely find something enjoyable to do no matter how old you are or what your interests are. If you are planning on making Connecticut your next travel destination, here are some of the top 10 attractions that you should not miss.
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As the largest maritime museum in the United States, the Mystic Seaport is an essential Connecticut stop! Its full name is actually the Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea in Mystic.
It features a wide variety of water vessels from many different eras of maritime adventure. It is specifically popular for its extensive 19th century recreation of a seafaring village. However, that’s just one of the many incredible exhibits. There is so much to see at Mystic Seaport!
You can climb aboard historic vessels, take a cruise down the Mystic River aboard a wooden coal-fired steamboat, and explore highly interactive displays and exhibits that include a working preservation shipyard in action.
General admission tickets vary by age. For adults, the price is $28.95. Seniors (65+) are $26.95, youths (13-17) are $24.95, children (3-12) are $18.95, and anyone younger than 2 is free. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding national holidays.
There is also free parking just across the street, and a magnificent aquarium just next door. If you’re interested in the aquarium, look into some of the bundle passes like the Mystic Pass Card so that you can really see it all in Mystic, Connecticut.
Address: 75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355
Located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, the Submarine Force Museum houses the world's finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is operated by the United States Navy and is the main source of documents, photographs and artifacts related to the U.S Submarine Force.
Go onboard the Nautilus to give you a thrilling first-hand experience of being a submariner. Watch movies of the USS Nautilus and explore the Medal of Honor gallery to learn more about the brave heroes of the US Marines.
Address: 1 Crystal Lake Rd, Groton, CT 06340
Lake Compounce is known as the oldest and longest operating amusement park in America. In fact, it has been operating for 156 years now. Over the recent years the park has invested millions of dollars to continue making it the best place to visit in Connecticut.
Here you can enjoy breathtaking rides like the Boulder Dash, Down Time, the Enterprise and the Pirate Ship among others. You can also enjoy their water rides, kiddie and family rides, as well as some highly entertaining musical shows.
Address: 186 Enterprise Dr, Bristol, CT 06010
Walk amongst the wildlife in Connecticut’s famed Beardsley Zoo. Currently, it is the only AZA-accredited Connecticut zoo. It is also an extensive testament to all things nature!
It has several exhibits, shows, attractions--- and even one of the state’s only carousels. There is so much to explore from reserves, to games, to some good ole fashioned zoo food that makes the trip a family favorite.
Animals here are well protected and cared for, and the experience is truly something you’ll never forget. Watch a tiger prowl, a giraffe feed, or a gorilla interact with friends all within one incredible zoo.
Rates vary by age, but generally adult tickets are $15. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday. However, if you want to make the most out of your trip, it is recommended you get started early.
Most animals are early risers, and you’ll be able to see a lot more if you give yourself an extra hour or so in the park. The Beardsley Zoo is large enough that you will need the full day to embrace all of its wonderful attractions.
Address: 1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06610
Spend the day soaking in the sunshine! Hammonasset Beach State Park is two long, golden miles of prime beachfront property. It is one of the most popular attractions as visitors can play in the waves, lay out a nice towel, or play a couple of fun beach games.
This is one of the best spots in the state to go for a little serenity. There are parts where the crowds congregate, and sections entirely undisturbed. It’s all about finding what suits you, and then enjoying your slice of paradise.
As a state park, this beach is well-maintained by the state. It also operates on set hours and includes a few fees. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to sunset, with the campground open (mid-May to Labor Day) and only monitored after sunset.
To park by Hammonasset Beach State Park you must pay the $13.83 fee on weekends, and $9.57 on weekdays for residents. Any visitors pay $23.40 on weekends, and $15.95. But a stay here is well worth any cost as you will remember this sun kissed dream for many months to come.
Address: 1288 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443
Explore the marine world right here at the Mystic Aquarium. Founded in 1973 to serve as a living laboratory and as a major public exhibit, this is currently one of the most visited attractions in Connecticut.
Take your children here to touch and feel the reptiles at the Scales and Tails exhibit, visit the Titanic exhibit to journey to new depths of discovery and visit the Nautilus Live Theater to learn more about the underwater world.
Address: 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355
Also Read: 25 Best Aquariums in the United States
Have you always been fascinated by dinosaurs? Visit the Dinosaur State Park which is known as one of the country's largest dinosaur track sites. Underneath the park's geodesic dome, you will find an impressive display of Jurassic fossil tracks made over 200 million years ago.
Go on a hike to explore more than 2 miles of nature trails as well as the Dinosaur State Park Arboretum to discover some unique flora and plant families that appeared during the age of the dinosaurs.
Address: 400 West St, Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Built in 1914, Connecticut is the proud owner of its very own castle! The Gillette Castle State Park is a beloved staple mark of the state and draws hundreds of tourists to its historic doors.
This is a great site to walk the entire grounds, and really see all that décor and grandeur can do. It is a medieval-style building that was once owned by actor William Gillette. The Gillette Castle is a massive building with some of the most beautiful architecture in all of Connecticut.
Visitors can really see all the influences of the ages in every nook and cranny of this attraction. Be sure to opt for a tour and get a closer look at all that makes this place spectacular!
The Gillette Castle interior tour fees are as follows: $6 for adults, $2 for those aged 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. The park grounds by the castle are open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day. The castle itself is open seven days a week from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.
Tours are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As this is a very popular attraction, it is recommended to visit this site somewhere close to the opening hours. Not only will there be less people, but you’ll have more room to free roam and have all the time needed to truly see it all.
Address: 67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423
Also Read: 10 Best State Parks in the United States
Learn about the legacy, the talent and the genius of the man behind the infamous book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In 2003, the Mark Twain Museum opened to the public and offered visitors the opportunity to learn, discover, and appreciate Twain's fascinating personal and professional life.
At the Aetna Gallery you will see a permanent exhibition of Twain's life and works. Watch an interesting film documentary on Mark Twain at the Hartford Financial Services Theater then drop by the museum's gift shop for a souvenir or two before heading home.
Address: 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105
When you pay a visit to the Yale University Art Gallery in Connecticut you can look forward to inspirational exhibits and a wide range of art collections that are designed to fascinate and educate.
You can enjoy taking in both permanent and travelling exhibitions at this gallery and some of the collections include Asian Art, African Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and photography amongst many others.
The museum is also free to visit so you can enjoy all of these collections and displays at no cost. There are also educational programs available catering for both adults and children.
Address: 1111 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510