Connecticut might be a small state, but it really packs a punch when it comes to things to do in Connecticut with kids! The western side of the state is where you will find many people who commute back and forth to New York City, while the eastern side is slightly quieter and more rural. There are quite a few places to visit in Connecticut and it can be very difficult to narrow it down to the top things to do in Connecticut. However, we have done our research and checked attractions out on our own, so we are confident that we have the twenty-five best places to visit in Connecticut.
25 Things to Do in Connecticut with Kids
1. Visit Mystic Seaport
One of the best things to do in Mystic, Connecticut is visiting Mystic Seaport. You can spend hours exploring the Seaport Village, Shipyard, and the ships that are being restored on the water. Add in a stop at the museum and gift shop and you will have the perfect seaport experience.
2. Drink Some Cider at BF Clyde’s Cider Mill
Not too far down the road from historic Mystic, you will find BF Clyde’s Cider Mill. You must visit this Connecticut attraction during the fall, because it is only open from September through November. If you go during the month of October, you can see the cider mill in operation. In addition to cider, they sell apple pies, gourds, candy apples, apple cider donuts, and apple wine.
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3. See the Animals at the Mystic Aquarium
Another fabulous thing to do in Mystic, Connecticut is seeing the animals at Mystic Aquarium. This aquarium may look small, but there are so many different marine life animals to see inside. Your favorites will be the penguins, seals, sea lions, and beluga whales.
4. Eat Pizza at Mystic Pizza
You cannot spend time in Mystic, CT and not eat a slice of pizza at Mystic Pizza. This pizzeria was made famous by the movie of the same name. It is usually crowded, so you may want to grab a few slices to go and then eat them as you watch the bascule bridge over the Mystic River go up to let the boats through.
5. Explore the USS Nautilus and the Submarine Museum
If you have always wanted to walk through a submarine, then you are going to think that the USS Nautilus is one of the top things to do in Connecticut. This is also one of the fun things to do with kids in CT, because they can see how everyone lives and works on a submarine. Everyone will wonder how sleep is possible on the small bunks that are on this submarine! After you explore the USS Nautilus, you can walk through the submarine museum to see how the submarines have changed over the years.
6. Visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
This museum contains eighty-five thousand square feet of space. As soon as you walk in, you will be greeted by a life-size diorama. As you wander through the museum, you will see exhibits that share information about the Arrival of People, Life on the Reservation, the Pequot War, and Life in a Pequot Village.
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7. Wander Through Gillette Castle
One of the cool things to do in Connecticut is wandering through Gillette Castle. This is an excellent option when you are looking for things to do this weekend in Connecticut, because it doesn’t take too long. You will be taken through the two floors of this museum, as your tour guide points out the little intricate details that Gillette had included when this castle was built. One thing you will notice is the mirrors that were placed strategically around the castle, so Gillette could see visitors from wherever he was standing. Another unique feature is the hidden lock on the liquor cabinet. You will learn how Gillette tricked his guests every time they were over with that lock!
8. Wander Through the Elizabeth Gardens
One of the top things to do in Hartford, Connecticut is wandering through the Elizabeth Gardens. There are more than one hundred acres of formal gardens and walking trails. There are many tours you can take during your visit, so you should be able to find one that your entire family can tolerate. And if they balk too much, you can always get them to agree with a promise of ice cream from the Pond House Café at the end.
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9. Relax on Hammonasset Beach
Hammonasset Beach can be found within Hammonasset Beach State Park and it is the largest beach in the state. This is one of the most popular places to visit in Connecticut during the summer months, so you may want to plan your trip for another time if you do not like crowds.
10. Shop at the Danbury Fair Mall
The best thing to do in Danbury, Connecticut is shop at the Danbury Fair Mall. This is the best place to shop in the entire state and if you have teenagers, you could possibly be here for hours! All the popular stores are in this mall and you can always sit in the food court and look at all the fair memorabilia, as you wait for your shopaholics to finish up.
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11. Hike to the Waterfall in Kent Falls State Park
As you are sightseeing in CT, you might want to take the time to hike to the waterfall inside Kent Falls State Park. It is best to see this two hundred fifty-foot waterfall in the spring, because that is when the most water is rushing over the top. By the time fall arrives, the waterfall is practically non-existent.
12. Shop at the Westport Farmers Market
Shopping is one of the best things to do in Connecticut with family, especially if it means hanging out at the Westport Farmers Market. This market is known for its artisanal products, as well as fresh fish and organic produce. You can easily grab something to eat right then during your visit, but we urge you to grab a few extra items for the rest of your CT vacation.
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13. Take a Tour of Yale
Your kids may have no idea where they want to go to college, but it wouldn’t hurt to dream big and explore Yale’s campus. Guided tours are one of the best things to do in New Haven, Connecticut. They are offered seven days a week, but you must book one in advance. As you walk around campus, you will learn about the three hundred years of history before seeing the Gothic Sterling Memorial Library and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
14. Visit the Glass House
You must make a reservation for a tour of the Glass House if you want to experience one of the best things to do in Connecticut. This entire house is made out of glass and during your tour, you will see the sculptures and artwork up close. You will even get to see the other buildings the owner designed before his death.
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15. Visit the Mark Twain House
The Mark Twain House is another one of the top things to do in Hartford, Connecticut. Samuel Clemens, who used the pen name Mark Twain, lived in this home in Hartford for many years. This house is now a museum and inside, you can see where Twain slept, wrote, and ate his meals.
16. Grab a Drink at Two Roads Brewing
Breweries are popular nowadays and they are fun places to visit in Connecticut with kids. Two Roads Brewing is one of the best in CT. It is inside what was once a machine factory and they hold many special events throughout the year. Their most popular event is Oktoberfest, but you will also love the outdoor movies.
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17. Take a Ride on the Essex Steam Train
There are so many things to do in Connecticut with family, but a ride on the Essex Steam Train is a must. You will board a historic steam locomotive and ride it through the Connecticut River Valley.
18. Stomp on Some Divots at the Greenwich Polo Club
Looking for fun things to do in Connecticut is easy to do, because there are so many options. Down in Greenwich, you can watch the polo matches at the Greenwich Polo Club and then join the locals as they stomp down on the hundreds of divots in the ground. We recommend you take a picnic lunch with you, so you have something to eat as you are watching the match.
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19. Soar to New Heights at the New England Air Museum
If you happen to fly to Connecticut, you must take the time to check out the New England Air Museum. Not many people realize this is one of the top things to do in Connecticut. There are three hangars filled with more than sixty-five types of aircrafts. During your visit, you can test your skills on a flight simulator, sit in a cockpit, and watch as they restore an airplane.
20. Spend the Day at Ocean Beach
If you are searching for fun things to do with kids in CT, you must decide to venture over to Ocean Beach for the day. This beach area is in New London and it has really expanded over the years. The half mile beach now has a boardwalk you can walk along. There are also amusement rides, arcade, miniature golf, a swimming pool, and three waterslides. The concession stands and the Sandbar Café will have all you need when you get hungry and thirsty.
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21. Ride the Rides at Lake Compounce
One of the oldest Connecticut attractions is Lake Compounce. This amusement park has been open since 1846 and is currently the oldest amusement park in the country. There are more than fifty different rides at this amusement park, as well as a huge waterpark called Crocodile Cove. While you will love all the rides at this park, you may want to make sure you leave enough time to go on Boulder Dash a few times. After all, it is the best wooden roller coaster in the US!
22. Learn About Dairy at Arethusa Farm
Saturdays are the best days to visit the Arethusa Farm, because that is when you can meet the farm cows, learn how they are milked, and then learn how the milk is bottled. Once you know all that, you can purchase some of their fresh yogurt, cheese, and butter. Don’t forget to grab some of their homemade ice cream too, although you won’t be able to eat any other ice cream in the future because it is so good!
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23. Visit Rocky Neck State Park
If you are looking for a quieter beach setting, as you are looking for things to do in Connecticut, you do not need to look any further than Rocky Neck State Park. This park has it all including sand dunes and salt marshes. This is the perfect beach for swimming, and it is not as crowded as some of the other beaches in the state. The best part is there is a boardwalk along the beach, as well as trails that lead to viewing platforms for even better views.
24. Explore Studio 80 and Sculpture Grounds
Over in Old Lyme, you will discover a few of the cultural things to do in Connecticut. Studio 80 and Sculpture Grounds contains four and a half acres of land right on the banks of the Lieutenant River. There are more than one hundred different sculptures on the grounds, and you can go see them at any time of the year.
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25. Visit the Shore Line Trolley Museum
Out of all the fascinating Connecticut attractions, the Shore Line Trolley Museum is the one that railroad enthusiasts will fall in love with the most. This is the oldest trolley line in the country, and it is known for the more than one hundred vintage vehicles that are on display there. In addition to all the vehicles, you will find many photographs, artifacts, and documents. After you are finished looking around, you can ride on a vintage trolley through the surrounding salt marshes.
These are the twenty-five things to do in Connecticut with kids. There are more than enough things to do in Connecticut this weekend, but if you want to check off everything on this list of Connecticut attractions, you will want to spend at least a week there. Only then will you see all the cool things to do in Connecticut.