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Experience Connecticut Attractions, Travel Destinations

Mystic CT
Mystic, Connecticut. Photo by Joan Hurwitz

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/07/16

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Connecticut has so much to offer -- for starters, quaint small towns, interesting cities, scenic rolling hills, sandy beaches, waterfront restaurants serving seafood and great places to stay.

If you are looking to visit small, unspoiled New England towns with tall white steeples, village greens, quaint inns and interesting little shops, Connecticut answers your wishes. Although Connecticut has some major urban areas like Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, the majority of the state is largely untouched from the beautiful northwestern Litchfield Hills to the northeast's trip back in time "Quiet Corner" where old-fashioned Putnam offers some of the best antique shopping in New England and surrounding towns have unparalelled pastoral beauty with scenic rolling hills, farmland and a fresh air aura that will force you to relax. Connecticut also has some wonderful coastal towns (or nearby coastal towns) like Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Guilford, Mystic (with great shopping, an aquarium and a wonderful New England seaside flavor) Madison and Westport that are ripe for enjoying and exploring -- they are the quintessential New England towns with oceanside personality and some great nearby beaches and state parks. Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison offers two miles of sandy beaches, a pleasant boardwalk and great ocean swimming overlooking Long Island Sound.

Without a doubt, the most charming town in Connecticut is Stonington, on the coast near the Rhode Island border. Stonington, Conn., is a classic New England seaside community with an impossibly beautiful, picturesque harbor, interesting little shops, crooked, narrow streets, great seafood restaurants and a solitude that makes you feel like your miles away from everything --especially from the back of the center overlooking the harbor. Late in the day, the streets are virtually empty which allows residents and visitors to feel totally at peace. It's just you, the fresh ocean air and a few birds chirping.

Essex is another great vacation destination, although there's no blatant tourist feel to the town. This harborside town is so pleasant with a tree lined downtown, great little shops, and a beautiful park with gazebo and picnic benches leading to the Connecticut River. Once you visit, you'll never want to leave this special little place that is so much at peace with the world. Staying overnight is not a bad idea as the old, creaky and quintessentially New England Griswold Inn offers well-known top notch accomodations and dining. What a special place --Essex has to be experienced by anyone visiting New England.

Hartford, the state capitol, is worth visiting for lovely 41 acre Bushnell Park, a great several acre nicely landscaped area in the heart of the city featuring 600 trees, some over 100 years old and 125 varieties. The park also contains several buildings, statues and monuments. . Hartford is making a nice comeback with lots of nice places to eat, retail returning in bunches, a growing nightlife and a safer feel than in previous years. It feels more like a complete city, instead of a smattering of big city amenities here and there. Hartford also features some of the lushest, green suburban communities in the northeast as evidenced in West Hartford, Farmington and Avon.

We encourage you to make your Connecticut trip planning through our Connecticut vacation and travel ideas. At Visiting New England.com, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacation planning and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips on things to do and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Connecticut vacation and travel ideas library and hope to see you travel New England soon.

Find a hotel in Connecticut

Connecticut Travel and Vacation Articles from VisitingNewEngland and The Thrifty New England Traveler

Discover great Connecticut destinations in the Best New England towns and cities article

Experience Connecticut family fun things to do in the Best New England Attractions article

Read about off-the-beaten-path Connecticut spots in the 6 Great Hidden New England Travel Gems article

Find classic diners in Connecticut through the Best Diners in New England book

Connecticut seafood shack mentioned in The Best and Biggest Lobster Rolls in New England article

A true New England travel getaway at The Inn at Woodstock Hill, Woodstock

Gillette Castle reigns as a unique Connecticut travel attraction

Downtown Mystic features a coastal Main Street USA look

Putnam reinvents itself as a major New England antiques shopping center

Why you should tour the Roseland Cottage in Woodstock

Visiting Saybrook Point in Old Saybrook on a Sunny Summer Weekend Afternoon

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Noank is the ultimate New England lobster shack

Stonington Borough is a authentic hidden New England travel gem

Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, offers cozy dining setting, made-from scratch foods

Vernon Diner in Vernon takes the cake when it comes to chocolate cake

Follow the Connecticut Wine Trail

Pez Visitor Center in Orange offers sweet self-guided tours

Mystic Drawbridge in Mystic makes true homemade ice cream

The Mystic Drawbridge never fails to amaze

Book a Room in Connecticut


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Old-fashioned New England work ethic: All articles, photos by Eric Hurwitz unless otherwise noted. Eric also manages the site's layout and design, social media, and public affairs.

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