Immersive Travel in Connecticut Last Updated 12/19
Ever heard the expression, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? Today, travelers are adapting this mentality more and more. They consciously look to visit destinations where they can immerse themselves in local cultures and ways of life. Immersive travel experiences offer a range of possibilities for the traveler—focusing less on fitting specific places and attractions into an itinerary, and more on experiencing the special traits that make a destination unique.
Connecticut has lots of unique characteristics and authentic experiences for visitors to immerse in. From attending staple events to meeting local artisans to working and learning on farms—here are a few ideas to inspire your immersive travel trip to Connecticut!
Spirit of Innovation
One of Connecticut’s tried-and-true attributes is its innovation. Countless inventions and firsts have been made by skilled artisans, inventors and tradespeople from the nutmeg state. The American English Dictionary, the submarine, the sewing machine and the world’s first hamburger are all just a few of Connecticut’s famous creations. In this spirit, take a class from a local to learn a new skill or hobby. Here are some additional classes to add to your list: Fun Classes & Workshops in Connecticut.
Explore Like a Local
Connecticut is brimming with charming towns and cities—169 to be exact—which means there are plenty of opportunities to explore different communities. Take a deeper look at any of these towns by going on a walking tour or visiting a historical society.
Milford Walking Tour, Milford
Discover Milford’s colorful history with stops at several historical sites.
Wall to Wall Mural Walk, New London
Scenic walking tour of historic downtown New London, highlighting 16 murals, drawings and other large-scale installations.
Fitstyle Walking Tours, New Haven
Explore downtown New Haven and Yale with this guided walking tour by Yale alumna and fitness expert, Shana Schneider.
Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich
Featuring a boldly reimagined campus including new museum galleries, library and archives, café, store and restored Impressionist-era gardens.
Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford
With tours, interactive and educational exhibits, family and youth programs, special events, a significant library and research center.
At the heart of many Connecticut towns are small shops and marketplaces filled with character and eclectic goods. Most of these shops focus on important and sustainable practices—from supporting the work of local artisans to carrying eco-friendly products. Want to discover more hidden gems in town? Ask around at any of these shops to get recommendations from locals who work there.
Celebrate With Locals
Connecticut features lots of events throughout the year including New England staples that visitors travel from out of state to attend. Although these trips may require a little more planning upfront, they are well worth the wait to join in on any of these fun celebrations.
Greenwich Film Festival, Greenwich
Renowned film festival that features more than 70 events including film premieres, advance screenings, panel discussions and start-studded parties. Past festival honorees include Eva Longoria, Ashley Judd, Renee Zellweger and more. Save the date: April 30 - May 3, 2020.
Memorial Day Classic, Lakeville
The Trans Am Series by Pirelli along with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) and International GT will once again headline Lime Rock Park's traditional Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Enjoy mixing modern and vintage race cars, activities and lots more throughout the weekend: May 22 - 25, 2020.
International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven
A 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures, and conversations that celebrate the greatest artists and thinkers around the world. Save the date: June 13 - 27, 2020.
Sailfest, New London
Southeastern Connecticut’s premiere summertime event, complete with a major fireworks display, amusement rides, free entertainment, boats, and over 200 vendors lining the streets. Save the date: July 10 - 12, 2020.
Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Mystic
Showcases over 230 artists from around the United States, with more than two miles of arts and crafts. Save the date: August 8 - 9, 2020.
Small State Great Beer, Hartford
A celebration of Connecticut's thriving craft culture. Sip on unlimited tastings from the state's top breweries, vibe out to live music and stuff your face in the food truck district. The event transforms a craft beer showcase into an immersive live-event experience in downtown Hartford. Save the date: September 2020.
Southington Apple Harvest Festival
Award-winning festival that attracts nearly 100,000 visitors annually. Admission is free to the six-day event, which features several apple themed competitions and activities. Save the date: October 2 - 4, 9 - 11, 2020.
Enjoy unlimited sampling from over 30 award-winning chefs and restaurants from all over New England. Save the date: October 4, 2020.
Santa Arrives by Tugboat & Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, Mystic
Thousands gather in Historic Downtown Mystic to watch Santa arrive on a 60’ tugboat, the John Paul, to open his ears to the wishes of children waiting anxiously in line to see him. Save the date: November 28, 2020.
Cheer On Local Pros
Join in on the excitement of local sports fans cheering on their favorite team by attending one of Connecticut’s pro sports games. From Basketball and Baseball to Soccer and Lacrosse—feel what it’s like to be a part of any of these team’s fandoms.
If you’re looking for something really different from your day to day, try staying on a Connecticut farm.
Or, check out any of these other unique and historic accommodations that you’ll only find in Connecticut.
Silas W. Robbins House, Wethersfield
Recently featured in beloved Hallmark holiday movies, this charming Victorian property features five guest rooms, two acres of gardens, a tearoom and parlor.
Griswold Inn, Essex
One of the oldest continuously operating inns in the country, offering 34 charming accommodations and three different dining options.
Bashan Lake Mansion, East Haddam
Seven-bedroom waterfront Victorian mansion located on scenic Bashan Lake. A perfect setting for family vacations and reunions.
Winvian Farm, Morris
Set in scenic Litchfield Hills, this luxurious property features 18 unique resort cottages that include a treehouse, helicopter, greenhouse, music-themed and more.
The Blake Hotel, New Haven
A new modern boutique hotel that features an onsite New England bistro, Hamilton Park, and a new rooftop restaurant.
Suggestions From a Local
For more immersive ideas straight from Connecticut locals themselves check out our “Locals Love” series.
Locals Love: Stamford
There’s nothing like discovering something unexpected. From cocktails with a view, to a carousel ride in the park, to a treasure hunt through an antiques wonderland, Stamford locals gave us great recommendations.
Locals Love: Norwalk
We've gathered lots of inspiring ideas from local "insiders" of things to do in Norwalk—the best of the town from those who know it best. These recommendations came from millennials and boomers, singles and couples, young families and empty nesters—all living in Norwalk for anywhere from 5 to 45 years.
Locals Love: Hartford
Connecticut’s capital city is located in the center of the state, where I-84 and I-91 meet. But it’s certainly not a city you’ll want to drive by. It’s home to America’s oldest continuously operating art museum and America’s #1 favorite minor league ballpark (two years in a row!).
Locals Love: New Haven
Home of Yale University and America’s best pizza, New Haven is a rarity these days—a modern, vibrant city with a passionate connection to its historic past. Whether they’re students or longtime locals, city residents are proud of its pedigree—both as an internationally recognized educational center and a hub for art, science and history museums. And its energetic, inclusive vibe has created a lively culture of international cuisines and communities.