15 Best Things to Do in Branford, CT

Branford, CT
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Situated on the Long Island Sound coastline, the town of Branford in Connecticut boasts pristine beaches and well-known breweries.

Food and open spaces like parks are also abundant and famous in this historic town, home to more than 28,000 residents.

Numerous attractions and activities like museum visits, brewing tours, and cruises are also sought-after in Branford.

The town has been gaining attention for the variety of things tourists can do and see here.

Here are the best things to do in Branford, Connecticut:

Cruise the Thimble Islands

Bridge over the waters of Thimble Islands
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There’s no better way to explore the Thimble Islands than to hop on a boat and take a sightseeing tour of the archipelago composed of 365 islands.

The first mention of the Thimble Islands was found on records dating back to the 1700s, its name originating from native raspberries called “thimbleberries.”

Located in the Stony Creek Harbor, the islands can be toured and explored in a 45-minute tour that will take you to the main island attractions.

A boat on the waters of Thimble Islands
phucTechnology / Shutterstock.com

Old and historical houses will greet you during the tour.

If you are lucky, you may even spot seals along the way.

Cruises are available at the Thimble Islands during select times of the year.

You can also choose private charters complete with meals and beverages.

View of a house at Thimble Islands
phucTechnology / Shutterstock.com

Discover Branford’s History at the Stony Creek Museum

Looking into Branford’s rich history is one activity to try during your visit to this Connecticut town.

The Stony Creek Museum showcases exhibits on the olden days of Branford, when it used to house quarries that attracted workers who later became residents of the place.

A visit to the museum along Thimble Islands Road will let you discover an old apothecary shop complete with old medicines on display, centuries-old equipment for firefighting and fishing, and other historical artifacts found in old Stony Creek and the Thimble Islands.

The Stony Creek Museum’s highlight is an exhibit on the pink granite that played a big part in the history of Branford.

It was found in the town’s soil and was utilized to build notable landmarks in the United States, including the Statue of Liberty.

Take a Dip at Branford Point Beach

If you’re longing for the feel of sand and the heat of the sun during the summer, make your way to Branford Point Beach.

The tourist destination’s serene ambiance will let you enjoy the view of Long Island Sound.

There’s also a park nearby where you can eat out and enjoy the company of family or friends.

Events like dance classes and fitness training are scheduled during weekends for fitness enthusiasts.

Head to Harbor Street to visit Branford Point Beach.

Get Creative at Fired Up!

Visitors wanting to squeeze their creative juices can do so at Fired Up!

At this pottery studio, you can choose from the available pottery like plates, mugs, bowls, and lanterns; select a design, then paint your heart away.

You can take your kids here to enjoy painting their favorite animals or cartoon characters.

The venue can also be booked for private events like birthday parties and other celebrations.

This is your sign to start your creativity or bring back your interest in the arts during your visit to Branford.

Finished products are displayed at the studio and posted on the official Fired Up! website and social media channels.

Go Fishing at Branford Supply Pond Park

Fishing with a view of tall pine and oak trees is unique to Branford Supply Pond Park, situated along Short Rocks Road.

Fishing enthusiasts will love the catch at the pond, which is home to species like Bluegill and largemouth bass.

Covering 350 acres, Branford Supply Pond Park previously housed the Branford Electric Company beginning in 1969.

It was later developed for hiking and fishing activities.

Aside from fishing, you can also spot hundreds of bird species thriving in the park’s green forests and clean streams.

Grab your binoculars for the best sightings of the beautiful birds that call this park home.

Stroll the Branford Trolley Trail

Tuss bridge at Branford Trolley Trail
Pedro Xing, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

It will only take around 25 minutes to walk and complete the Branford Trolley Trail extending from Tilcon Road to Thimble Island Road.

The trail is an Instagram-worthy footbridge that runs along an abandoned 20th-century trolley track.

While strolling through this route, you can take photos of marshes, wetlands, and preserves.

Pathway at Branford Trolley Trail
Pedro Xing, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The trolley rails are also iconic because they represent the mode of transport in Branford in the 1970s.

Do not forget your cameras or cellphones to capture the breathtaking views along the Branford Trolley Trail.

Witness Inspiring Performances at the Legacy Theatre

Year-round performances can be enjoyed in Branford’s very own Legacy Theatre on Thimble Island Road.

With a history dating back to the 1860s, the theater has witnessed performances by churchgoers, group artists, and, eventually, celebrities.

From its early roots, the Legacy Theatre has evolved into a professional performance arena for various artists.

You can watch concerts, family series, film series, radio plays, and dramatic series.

Apart from witnessing performances, the Legacy Theatre also offers dance and acting lessons for kids and teenagers.

Bring the entire family or your group of friends for a memorable theater viewing experience.

Learn How to Brew at Thimble Island Brewing Company

Established in 2010, Thimble Island Brewing Company offers great beer selections for beer lovers and those wanting to try local beverages in Branford.

Seven beer varieties are always available for customers, with other beer series released on schedule throughout the year.

Dubbed American Ale, the amber-colored beer with a refreshing taste is the most popular drink brewed at Thimble Island Brewing Company.

If you want to learn how these drinks are concocted, guided tours are also offered on weekends at the brewery along Business Park Drive.

There are also tasting rooms available for customers to try various beer flavors.

Enjoy a Scenic Drive along Route 146

Stretching for about 13 miles, Route 146 provides scenic forest, sea, and river views for travelers taking the state road.

It connects the towns of Branford and Guilford.

Route 146 also goes through historic homes and buildings in Branford, some of which were built as early as the 1940s.

Salt marshes and rural streams are also additional attractions along the road.

When you have time to kill during your trip, driving along Route 146 will be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

Drive safely and enjoy every scenery you will pass through as you travel.

Check Out the Historical Exhibits at the Harrison House Museum

Exterior of the Harrison House Museum
Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to the Branford Historical Society, the Harrison House Museum was originally built as an 18th-century barn with a big chimney.

Its flashing red color easily catches the eyes of tourists and passersby alike.

The museum, which can be found along Main Street, showcases exhibits of archives, artifacts, and other memorabilia dating back as early as the 1700s.

A guided tour of the museum is available for the public every weekend.

Festivals, annual dinners, and other events are also hosted at the Harrison House Museum.

Pick Your Own Fruits at the Rose Orchards Farm

Enjoy fruit-picking?

Head to the Rose Orchards Farm in North Branford and harvest your own fruits, such as peaches, strawberries, apples, raspberries, and pears.

Owned and operated by the Rose family, the farm started as a settlement not only for the family but also for pilgrims in the 1630s.

It was later developed into a business with orchards and animals by the following generations of the Rose family.

Pick-your-own-fruits activities are available only during seasons when these fruits can be harvested.

Apples and peaches are plentiful from September to October, while berries begin their season in July and last until September.

The Rose Orchards Farm sells pies and other products like cheese, dairy, vegetables, and garden equipment.

Pies come in different flavors, including pumpkin, coconut custard, cherry, caramel apple walnut, and many others.

Savor the Outdoors at Foote Memorial Park

Whether you’d like to have a picnic by the river, play baseball, or golf, Foote Memorial Park is a destination you have to check out.

Sitting along Melrose Avenue, this vast property is equipped with various sports facilities.

It has a basketball court, softball fields, a multi-function field, and tennis courts for sports enthusiasts.

Tournaments and fitness training are also scheduled at Foote Memorial Park.

Campers also frequent the area, especially during summer, for sightseeing, special events like group walks and potlucks, and sports tournaments.

Join the Revelry at the Annual Branford Festival

During Father’s Day weekend every June, it has become a tradition for the people of Branford Town Green to gather for the annual Branford Festival.

Here, the community enjoys music, arts and crafts, food, and other activities.

The festival was conceptualized in the early 1980s when people in the Historic Town Green came up with the idea of an event to bring people together and enjoy celebrations as a community.

Volunteers and donors have since helped to keep the Branford Festival alive and contributed to the evolution of the community gathering.

Concerts, food stalls, kiddie rides, fairs, races, and car shows await visitors to the festival.

Go on an Early Morning Jog along Lake Saltonstall

The waters of Lake Saltonstall
Morrowlong, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The four-kilometer running trail in the Lake Saltonstall area is something not to be missed when you visit Branford.

A jog or a simple walk along the lakeshore will show you wildlife and plants that can only be found in the town.

The area is rich in flowers and green trees during the summer, and when winter comes, the snow-covered trail is famous for cross-country skiing.

Named after a Connecticut governor in the 1700s, Lake Saltonstall is a vital part of Branford as it is the main water supply of the town and other neighboring areas.

You can also go fishing at the lake, but make sure to follow the rules and regulations for boating and fishing.

Carps, trouts, and bass fish species are abundant in this lake.

Get Pampered at Aura Day Spa

After taking various adventures in Branford, you can end your day with a relaxing massage or body treatment at Aura Day Spa on East Main Street.

Housed in an old but well-maintained home, the spa offers facials, massages, nail care, and waxing services.

Spend an hour or two here for pampering and body care after an adventure-filled day.

Massages for couples and hot stone therapy are among Aura Day Spa’s most famous services.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Branford would mean adventure, learning, and sightseeing for every traveler.

Tourists are in for a treat with the town’s unique landscape and rich culture and history.

If you want to explore new places with your loved ones, you won’t regret trying all the best things to do in Branford, Connecticut.