Car-Free Connecticut Last Updated: April 2021
Think you need a car to visit Connecticut? Think again. There are quite a few great places to explore (and great deals to be found) when you visit by public transportation, too. We’ve even got a few ideas here that will save you money. Time to leave the traffic (or the city) behind!
Save on Train Trips Out of the City
Metro-North Railroad offers deals and packages from New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Start by planning your trip on the Metro-North Railroad website. The New Haven Line goes along the shoreline, with easy changes to the Danbury and Waterbury lines. You can even bring a bike on the train ($5 permit). Here are just a few of the special excursions available from Metro-North that include your train ticket and more.
- Take a ferry from South Norwalk into Long Island Sound to explore Sheffield Island Lighthouse and wildlife refuge, plus enjoy a picnic lunch.
- See some spectacular sea life and watch an IMAX® movie when you visit the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
- Get a coupon book and shop for designer bargains at the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets.
- Kayak or paddle board Westport’s Saugatuck River which leads to Long Island Sound.
- Come to the Norwalk Oyster Festival in September to enjoy seafood, amusement rides, harbor tours and more.
- Browse the changing and permanent exhibition galleries of the renowned Bruce Museum in downtown Greenwich.
- Visit the nation's leading maritime museum and climb aboard the last wooden whaleship at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Explore More Easy Train Getaways
Enjoy the Art of New Canaan & Greenwich
The Metro-North stop at New Canaan drops you off just a short walk from the Visitor's Center for the remarkable Glass House and Sculpture Gardens (you will take a shuttle ride to the property for a tour.) In Greenwich, an easy walking distance from the Cos Cob station, learn about the vibrant history of the town at the Greenwich Historical Society. Want to linger a little longer? Make it an overnight at Greenwich’s Stanton House Inn, the perfect spot for a weekend getaway from the city.
Take a Trolley Ride in Stamford
Stamford’s charming new Harbor Point Trolley goes throughout the city, stopping in shopping and dining neighborhoods, the Stamford Town Center Mall, the theater district and more. Take the train to Stamford and take a short walk to Trolley Stop 12 to get on board.
Discover Art, Shopping and Dining in New Haven
The Union Station Shuttle travels from Union Station to the New Haven green continuously every 20 minutes, from 6:05 a.m. until 10:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Experience the best of New Haven, with museums, theater, art galleries, boutiques and top dining destinations. From the green, you may even want to take a short stroll up Church Street to Whitney Avenue and discover the challenging fun of Escape New Haven.
Go Treasure Hunting in Seymour
Take the Metro-North Waterbury Line to Seymour, where a district of antique shops and galleries are just a short stroll away from the Seymour train station.
Open a Cold One on Our Beer Trail
Local Kitchen located South Norwalk,i s just a short stroll from the South Norwalk Metro-North station, not to mention a district filled with other great drinking and dining destinations. Two Roads Brewery in Stratford provide "12 Pack" beer bus on Fridays through Sundays from the Stratford Metro North Station or the Port Jefferson Ferry in Bridgeport, or take the GBT bus right to their front door. You can also text them for a ride. And change at New Haven for Shore Line East to Branford’s Stony Creek Brewery. Insider tip: For more trains back to New Haven, take Shore Line East eastbound to Guilford, then pick up a westbound train to New Haven.
Make a Splash in Mystic
The charming seaport village of Mystic is just three hours from New York by train. Amtrak from New York or Boston stops at the station in Mystic. Walk or take a taxi to Mystic Seaport Museum or Mystic Aquarium.
Additional Rail Routes
Amtrak (leaving from Penn Station, NY and Boston’s three main stations) also offers a discount to several Connecticut destinations. And Shore Line East Trains connect New Haven with towns on the shoreline, all the way to New London.
Take a Bus or Ferry to Fun
Why take a car when you can take a bus, boat or bike? With just a little creativity, you can get to some of Connecticut’s best-known spots without giving a single thought to gas or parking. Here are a few spots that are easily enjoyed using public and private transportation:
Head for the Casino
Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus Lines and several local operators run buses to Connecticut’s world-class casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. Check the website for special deals.
Ferry Back in Time
Leave your car in Long Island and take the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient Point. Enjoy great views of the shoreline and revisit maritime history in New London’s historic waterfront district.
Board a Bus to the Litchfield Hills
Peter Pan Bus Lines travels from New York’s Port Authority to the beautiful town of Canaan in northwestern Connecticut, where you can visit Falls Village, and hike the trails, see waterfalls and more.
Learn More about Public Transportation to CT
Visiting Hartford for business or pleasure? The dash Shuttle provides free shuttle service to the Connecticut Convention Center, as well as the Riverfront, the CT Science Center, hotels, restaurants, museums, theaters and Union Station.
Many other locations throughout Connecticut can also be reached by public transportation, including the Hartford Line, now connecting New Haven to Hartford to Springfield, MA; and CTFastrak, bus, train, plane and ferry. Here is more information about transportation options. But no matter how you get here, make sure to check out just a few of the experiences you can discover in Connecticut.