If you like stunningly beautiful scenery, quaint seaside villages, picturesque coastal views, old-world charm, and attractions to suit everyone’s taste, you can find all that and more along the Connecticut Coast. With more than 250 miles of shoreline blanketing its southern border, Connecticut boasts a diverse mix of coastal regions that absorb the beauty of Long Island Sound and reflect the rich historical influences of the state’s seaside towns. The four major regions that form the backbone of the Connecticut coast are:
- Coastal Fairfield County – The “Connecticut Gold Coast” bordering New York and making up the southwest part of the state
- Greater New Haven Region – The historical area surrounding the coastal city that Yale University calls its home
- Middlesex County Shoreline – The coastal district where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound
- Mystic-New London Area – The popular tourist destination in Southeastern Connecticut bordering the Rhode Island coast and home to the Mystic Seaport
Among the most celebrated and beloved attractions you will see in these coastal regions are the following:
- Beaches galore! Some of the more prominent include Sherwood Island Beach in Westport, Silver Sands Beach in Milford, Hammonasset Beach in Madison, Rocky Neck Beach in Niantic, and Ocean Beach in New London.
- Numerous state parks, including Gillette Castle State Park (East Haddam), Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth), Fort Trumbull State Park (New London), Silver Sands State Park (Milford), Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison), and Rocky Neck State Park (Niantic).
- The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride (Essex), taking visitors on a journey in authentic 1920s coaches pulled by a real steam locomotive. The train ride is followed by a relaxing riverboat ride up the Connecticut River.
- The Mystic Aquarium (Mystic), a premier regional attraction which features one of the largest Beluga Whale exhibits in the U.S.
- Two of the country’s largest gaming resorts: Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket) and Mohegan Sun (Uncasville).
- The U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London), home to the official Coast Guard tall ship Eagle.
- Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center (Milford).
- Yale University (New Haven).
- Museums of all types, including maritime museums such as the Submarine Force Library and Museum (Groton) and the Connecticut River Museum (Essex); art/science museums such as the Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme) and the Bruce Museum (Greenwich); architectural museums such as the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum (Norwalk); and historical attractions like the Mashantucket Pequot Museum (Mashantucket), the world’s largest Native American museum, the Old Lighthouse Museum (Stonington), housed in a once-active lighthouse, and the Barnum Museum (Bridgeport), celebrating the storied history of P.T. Barnum.
Replete with quaint little seaside villages and the historical influences behind them, the Connecticut coastline provides visitors with arresting beauty at every stop. And the elegant scenery is just the backdrop for the wide variety of options that attract outdoor and indoor enthusiasts alike. From fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking to dining, gaming, shopping, and just plain relaxing, the coast of Connecticut has something for everyone.
Photo credits: The picture of Silver Sand Beach is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. The picture of New London is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license.