Connecticut is one of the most iconic and historic states in the United States, and is one of six New England states. The state has done incredibly well to preserve its heritage and culture in museums and historical landmarks.
Home to some of the best historical landmarks and aquatic museums in the world, there are many stunning state parks and aquariums in the state as well. With so many amazing tourist attractions available in the state, it is hard to decide which ones to visit.
So, these are the top tourist attractions in Connecticut.
1. Mystic Aquarium
Located in Stonington, Connecticut, Mystic Aquarium is the most well-known tourist destination, which showcases a diverse range of aquatic animals.
Being a coastal city, maritime museums and aquariums are massive tourist attractions in the state, and among them Mystic Aquarium is the more popular one. Alongside the amazing indoor and outdoor aquatic animals on display in this aquarium, visitors can also see Penguin and Sea Lion shows as well.
2. Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce is the best theme park in Connecticut, full of exciting thrill rides. However, it is not just a theme park, but also a historical site as well. Because this 175-year-old amusement park is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. The popular attractions in this park include the Flying Elephant, a massive Ferris Wheel and carousel.
3. The Maritime Aquarium
Located in Norwalk, the Maritime Aquarium is the second-most visited family attraction in Connecticut. This place is full of unique exhibits that include a stingray, ogle river otters, sharks, jelly fish and much more. Moreover, the Maritime Aquarium features a stunning 4D theater to watch stunning aquatic scenes and an educational boat cruise.
You might also enjoy visiting the most beautiful places in Connecticut.
4. Mystic Seaport Museum
Connecticut is a beautiful coastal state, and no other tourist attraction in the state highlights that better than Mystic Seaport Museum. This incredible museum has historic boats, a re-created seafaring village, wooden ships, a planetarium and much more.
Additionally, there are on-site restaurants which serve delicious dishes. All in all, Mystic Seaport Museum, located in Stonington, is one of the best tourist attractions in Connecticut.
5. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
If you are an animal lover in Connecticut or visiting this state, then Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a must-visit destination for you. Situated in Bridgeport, this zoo is full of a wide range of animals that include spider monkeys, alligators, sloths and much more. Moreover, you can visit its “Walk-Through Aviary” to see beautiful birds or catch a glimpse of alligators at “Alligator Alley”.
6. Yale University Museums
Yale University is Connecticut’s most well-known university, and is home to some stunning museums and art galleries. Situated at the center of Connecticut’s historic city, New Haven, Yale University is home to the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art, two museums that are a must-visit for art lovers in the state. There is also Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which is one of the best dinosaur museums in the United States.
Learn more about the most popular museums in Connecticut.
7. Gillette Castle State Park
Gillette Castle State Park was designed by William Gillette, the first man to portray Sherlock Holmes, and is one of Connecticut’s rare historical landmarks. It is a medieval Gothic castle that consists of secret pathways, spying mirrors and many other intriguing things. Additionally, the castle has 24 rooms and is built in a 184-acre state park.
8. The Mark Twain House & Museum
Located in the capital of Connecticut, Hartford, the Mark Twain House & Museum is the house where the famous Mark Twain and his wife lived in. They moved into this three-story house in 1874, and now the house has been turned into a museum. The house features some incredible unique exhibits that used to belong to Mark Twain.
9. Wadsworth Atheneum
Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public museum in the United States and one of the oldest historical sites in Connecticut. Located in Hartford, this museum is a Gothic-style building featuring more than 50,000 pieces of artifacts.
Wadsworth Atheneum consists of both American and European arts, and its Cabinet of Art and Curiosity was influenced by Victorian Collectors and is displayed without labels.
10. Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park offers tourists in Connecticut a unique tourist destination. It is suitable for a relaxing afternoon, while enjoying scenic views in tranquil surroundings.
Although it is a year-round beach, summer is really the optimal time to visit this beach. Even though it gets really busy during the summer, Connecticut’s largest beach can still provide a tranquil and relaxing environment.
11. New England Air Museum
The New England Air Museum is located in Windsor Locks, and is a very popular aircraft museum in Connecticut. It features over 100 aircraft that are on display, along with aircraft engines.
Helicopters, jets and World War 2 aircraft are the most popular attractions in this museum. Also, it hosts various WWII-based aircraft exhibitions as well.
12. Submarine Force Museum and the USS Nautilus
The official submarine museum of the United States Navy, Submarine Force Museum and the USS Nautilus are on the Thames River in Groton. This museum features stunning Submarine artworks and exhibits. Moreover, there are also many intriguing real-time photos on display and a museum theater.
13. The Glass House
The Glass House is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Connecticut, situated in New Canaan. It is open to the public from April to November, and you usually have to buy tickets in advance to enter. The transparent glass house is surrounded by beautiful green lands and offers an incredible 360-view to the guests inside.
14. Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
If you are a fan of Native American and Southern New England history, then Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center is the ideal place for you to spend an afternoon. It features many exhibits, dioramas, and interactive computer programs that teach you a lot about the history of Mashantucket Pequot life.
15. Roseland Cottage
Want a relaxing afternoon in a beautiful location surrounded by flower gardens and a stunning Gothic-Revival styled house? Then Roseland Cottage located in Woodstock is the perfect tourist destination for you in Connecticut. It is a national designated historical landmark that features a house with distinctive colors and 600 yards of stunning flower gardens.
16. Silver Sands State Park
Located in Milford, Silver Sands State Park is one of the most beautiful places in Connecticut. Situated near the famous Charles Island bird sanctuary, this state park is a must-visit destination in Connecticut.
Moreover, this 297-acre state park also offers some stunning amenities that include walking on the beach, swimming, camping, beautiful trails and many more.
17. Gillette Castle State Park
Located in Lyme, Gillette Castle State Park is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Connecticut. Previously called the “Seventh Sister”, this state park is built like a medieval fortress.
The Gillette Castle State Park is famous for its 47 doors, many of which are secret doors, and its grand wooden staircase.
Connecticut is home to some of the best maritime museums and aquariums in the United States, as highlighted by the above list. It also has some of the oldest and most stunning museums and arts galleries in the United States, which showcase the incredible history of this iconic New England state.