How to Experience the Best of New England—in Connecticut Last Updated: August 2023

Did you know that it’s possible to experience all the best that the New England region has to offer right here in Connecticut? Halfway between New York and Boston, Connecticut is a great place to start your visit, offering easy-to-reach unique and memorable attractions and activities, any time of year. Here are a few of our favorite classic New England experiences.

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Discover Small Town Charm

From town greens to historic districts, Connecticut’s quaint small villages and towns capture the spirit of New England, in history, architecture and style. Try Mystic, a seaport town packed with history. Shop and dine in charming downtown Westport. The town of Goshen is home to farmer’s markets, dairies and chocolatiers, not to mention a stone’s throw from one of the state’s most scenic views, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge. And New Milford, a small town in the Litchfield Hills with a gazebo at its center, is so quintessentially New England it helped inspire the Gilmore Girls television show.

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Experience Outdoor Adventures

No matter the season, you can search by season on to find great ways to enjoy the great outdoors any time of year. In winter, try cross-country skiing or a horse-drawn sleigh ride. In warmer months, bike across a covered bridge or kayak along a quiet mountain stream. You can hike the Appalachian Trail or the Mattabessett Blue Trail any time of year. Fish the waters of Long Island Sound or the rivers of western Connecticut. Hike alongside a roaring waterfall, or zip through the tree tops at Bridgeport’s Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum.

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Savor Summer Seafood

When you think of classic New England tastes, lobster, fried clams and oysters naturally come to mind. In Connecticut, there are restaurants, diners and shacks up and down the coast and throughout the state serving up amazing seafood — such as Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London, Noank’s Abbotts Lobster in the Rough, the Sea View Snack Bar in Mystic and the one-of-a-kind Stowe’s Seafood in West Haven. In fact, did you know that lobster rolls were invented in Connecticut?  Just one more reason you don’t need to travel anywhere else in New England to savor this amazing dish.

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Enjoy New England's Most Colorful Fall

When fall arrives in Connecticut, usually in late September, the leaves turn brilliant shades almost overnight.  The color starts from the top, cooler part of the state and works its way down, peaking in mid October. Some even say Connecticut has the longest “leaf-peeping” season in New England because it starts so soon. There are so many ways to get a front row foliage seat! Here are a few unique ways to enjoy leaf-peeping.

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Sip Wine with a View

With views over the coastline or across acres of countryside, Connecticut’s many vineyards offer tours, tasting rooms and an amazing chance to stop, relax and enjoy. Connecticut Wine Country is a great place to start, with a list of vineyards statewide and information on when to visit.

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Explore a Proud Heritage

New England grew up on the sea, which is why sailing, commerce and ports are such a big part of the region’s history. Here in Connecticut, Mystic Seaport Museum brings the past to life as the nation’s leading maritime museum, and you can even take a cruise on a traditional schooner, the Argia. While you're there, the kids will love stopping in at Mystic Aquarium. And the whole family will enjoy a cruise around the Thimble Islands in Branford.