From aquariums and submarines to lighthouses and everything in between, Connecticut is rich with maritime history. To help you plan your trip, we’ve provided this handy guide showing the best places to explore all things maritime in Connecticut.
Stop #1: Explore the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk that is solely devoted to the Long Island Sound. This attraction has something for everyone with an 110,000 gallon Open Ocean exhibit, a harbor seal pool, a river otter habitat, colorful and unusual frogs from around the world, a Jellyfish Encounter, a Marine Lab and a 15,000 gallon habitat with loggerhead sea turtles. The Ray Touch Pool with three types of stingray species and the Rocky Intertidal Zone Touch Tank offers you a unique hands-on experience.
Lunch: Match is one of the state’s most beloved restaurants by dining critics and diners alike, who appreciate our consistency, culinary creativity, and fun atmosphere.
Stop #2: View the Sheffield Island Lighthouse in Norwalk and board the Seaport ferry for a trip out to the island where you can tour the Sheffield Island lighthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tour showcases period furniture and offers you a chance to see what life was like for the families of 19th-century light keepers.
Dinner: Downtown New Haven. Explore New Haven’s many excellent restaurants representing cuisine from around the world. Then take in a show at the Shubert or Long Wharf Theatre for an evening of live entertainment from plays to musical theater and more.
Check in to a New Haven area hotel.
Stop #1: Ride back in time on Thimble Island Cruises in Branford with old stories as well as beautiful views of the 365 small islands aboard one of the cruises.
Lunch: Enjoy a seafood lunch in a seaside town.
Stop #2: Explore the USS Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum in Groton, located on the Thames River that maintains the world’s finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy and is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history.
Stop #1: Take a tour of the Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic. Discover maritime history first hand throughout the re-created seafaring village that is bustling with the sights and sounds of 19th-century life. Climb aboard historic vessels, including the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan.
Lunch: enjoy lunch and shopping in Downtown Mystic.
Stop #2: Explore the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington. Enjoy many exhibits and artifacts that reflect Stonington’s maritime and agricultural history — sailors, farmers, sea captains, explorers and entrepreneurs. Climb the 29 circular steps and a short ladder to reach the top of the tower, which overlooks three states. Join the Stonington Historical Society’s walking tours of Stonington Borough led by knowledgeable guides, offered several times a week in the summer.
Stop #3: The Argia located in Mystic, which operates from June through October. Choose a half-day or sunset cruise aboard ARGIA. Discover islands, lighthouses and traditional windjammer sailing, right from downtown Mystic. ARGIA accommodates up to 49 guests, for public or private half-day or evening sails, down the historic Mystic River to Fishers’ Island Sound.