Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Madison, CT

  • Published 2022/10/13

A land with a rich history and home to numerous well-known personalities, Madison has been settled as early as 1650.

The southern part of the city is a long stretch of warm sands right next to the waters of the Long Island Sound.

As you move inland, you’ll pass by a commercial area with great restaurants and shops.

And, if you travel further north, you’ll find vast open outdoor spaces full of recreational activities like hiking and more.

For a fun trip, make sure you check the best things to do in Madison, Connecticut.

Have Some Beach Fun in Hammonasset Beach State Park

Narrow sand dune path with colorful flowers on both the sides at Hammonasset Beach State Park

Burning Light Photography /

Hammonasset Beach State Park is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, with a two-mile beach filled with exciting activities.

Jump in and swim in its pristine waters, or have a laid-back time on its sands, enjoying a picnic or just bathing in the sun’s warmth.

Take a scenic walk along its boardwalk.

Rocks on the shores of Hammonasset Beach State Park

Ollphotograph /

If you want to stop and enjoy the gorgeous sunset, there are benches along the boardwalk, too.

For a thrill, you can go on a scuba diving trip and discover the local marine wildlife.

Or, you can also ride a boat and fish here.

Narrow path beside the rock and beach at the Hammonasset Beach State Park

Khort Esther Tatiana /

There are hiking trails, too, if you prefer to have your outdoor adventures on land.

Explore the concessions here and the restaurants around and try out their amazing food.

For an easier time going around the area, you can rent a bike for a small fee.

Learn about the Local Wildlife and Visit the Gardens at the Meigs Point Nature Center

An activity-filled recreational facility, the Meigs Point Nature Center takes tourists on a nature tour.

It has a large building, home to various species of local wildlife.

Its exhibits are divided according to where you can find the animals – in the woods, in the air, in the water, and at the beach.

Watch their educational videos to learn more about these spectacular creatures.

This is also a great place for birthday parties, and they offer an entertaining nature presentation.

A fantastic place to visit here is its gardens, with ten themed gardens.

Each of these gardens has unique features – attracting beautiful, colorful butterflies, showcasing a pond and waterfall, providing shelter for the Purple Martin, and more.

There are tons of events that happen every year, so make sure to check their website for more information.

You can go on a canoe trip along the Hammonasset River, gaze at the stars through a telescope, join the night hike and look for owls, and more.

Take a Scenic Walk along the Shoreline Greenway Trail

Take your time exploring the great outdoors on the Shoreline Greenway Trail.

It spans 25 miles and offers a long path made for walking, jogging, hiking, and biking.

It was made to provide a way to enjoy nature and so people could travel without using motorized vehicles easier.

The idea was conceptualized in 2001 by a group of residents that loved running and cycling.

And in 2005, the first section of the trail was opened.

Over the following years, other parts of the trail were made, and more and more people joined in.

The trail is managed by the Shoreline Greenway Trail non-profit organization, which works with neighboring towns to improve the trail.

It helps make the town safer for walking and biking, preserves the environment, and improves the town’s citizen’s health.

Try Out the Bourbon Tasting Dinner on the Field House Farm

The Field House Farm is home to numerous, well-raised farm animals.

Avail yourself of its fresh farm products such as beef, yarn, and eggs.

Get some honey or maple syrup, perfect for homemade pancakes.

The meat here is fresh and delicious too, and you can get beef, chicken, or Heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving.

There are also products made from their sheep’s wool, including children’s hats, scarves, and hair scrunchies.

Check out their Barn Yard Collection, which is locally made décor also crafted using their sheep’s wool.

These décors were made to look like the animals on the farm, but you can also get one specially made.

Spice up your evening by attending their Bourbon Tasting Dinners, where you can try out top-quality Kentucky bourbon while savoring farm-to-table meals.

There are other events here, too, and you can see information about these and more on their website.

Explore the Wonderful Books on Offer at RJ Julia Booksellers

A haven for booklovers, RJ Julia Booksellers, takes its visitors to a book-filled wonderland.

Check out all sorts of genres of books, from the scary to the tearjerker.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can get yourself one of the jigsaw puzzles here.

You can also be a part of their Loyalty Program for great perks and discounts.

If you want to know why the bookstore is called RJ Julia, check out their website, which has tons of other information, including their events schedule.

If you want to take a short break from looking at all the great books, you can also have yourself a snack and a fantastic cup of coffee in RJ Café and Bistro, located just behind the bookstore.

Try the award-winning cupcakes or take a sip of its organic coffee.

You can also get a gift card for your loved ones so they can enjoy the food here.

Watch the Latest Movies in Madison Art Cinemas

Perfect for family bonding or a romantic date, Madison Art Cinemas takes visitors to another world through its screens.

Before entering the theater, you can lounge in the seating area and talk about the movie you’re about to see.

You can avail yourself of snacks and beverages, including coffee, while waiting.

Watch the latest movies on comfy, luxurious chairs.

While watching, you can enjoy the smell of a bucket of hot, buttery popcorn and refresh your palate with a cold beverage.

Visit their website to see their current and upcoming movies and their movie schedule.

Have a Group Cooking Class at Chef Paul Barron

If you want to improve your cooking skills or simply want to have a fun time learning about food with your friends, head to Chef Paul Barron.

Only up to four people may stay in a class at a time, so you’re sure to get quality, hands-on teaching.

However, if you’re in a large group, you can add up to two people.

You can also have a one-on-one class if you’re really serious about polishing your skills.

The schedule is flexible as well, so consider this if you have some free time on your hands.

If all you want is to savor the delicious food with your friends in an intimate setting, then book a dinner party in The Table.

It can serve up to 14 people and has no corkage fee.

Not only that, but they can take their fabulous food right to your home or event space

If there’s a special occasion coming up, you can get your loved ones a gift certificate


Shop for a Gift at Creations

Looking for a special gift for your family or friends?

Head to Creations, featuring all kinds of giftable items.

Get your significant other a set of personal care items or a handy tool.

Pay a visit to the jewelry section for a spectacular present.

There’s stuff for kids, too, like quirky décor and even puzzles and games.

If you’re looking to spice up your kitchen, check out all the sauces, seasonings, syrup, jams, and more.

Also, you can get kitchen equipment and décor.

Check out their website for a list of the items available.

Observe the Artworks at The Sculpture Mile

The Sculpture Mile combines outdoor scenery with intricate artworks.

You’ll find thought-provoking sculptures by different artists.

It’s a project by The Hollycroft Foundation, which also has exhibits all around Connecticut.

Visit their website to see their exhibits and where they are located.

Make sure to give them a call if you want to have a guided tour of the amazing sculptures.

Observe Art Pieces and Their Frames at the Wall Street Gallery

Appreciate great art pieces at Wall Street Gallery, showcased with amazing, award-winning frames.

There’s always something new here, as the exhibits change every year.

It has been creating customized, hand-crafted frames since it was founded by Jim Reinhart in 1974.

They also make traditional ones and use all sorts of materials.

If you have something else besides an art piece to frame, make sure to give them a call, as they may be able to accommodate you.

Visit their website to see some of the art pieces and frames featured.

Pay a Visit to Surf Club Park

Spend a wonderful afternoon on the beach at Surf Club Park, encompassing 45 acres with a 1,200-f00t stretch of sand.

It’s also filled with recreational activities.

Ride the waves for a thrill or lie down and get that perfect tan.

Bond with the family over some snacks at the picnic area.

For a savory treat, you can grill meats too.

Take the kids to the playground where they can run around safely.

Challenge your friends to a game of volleyball, bocce ball, or basketball, or have a match at the athletic fields.

Launch your sailboat or kayak and enjoy a nice breeze.

Attend the Annual Fall Harvest Festival and Marketplace

If you want to have a fun experience while appreciating fabulous artworks, then you might want to attend the Annual Fall Harvest Festival and Marketplace.

It is held in Madison Beach Hotel, a luxurious Hilton hotel right next to the beach.

Shop around for some locally made products and art pieces.

If you want to replenish your energy, you can get snacks or a cold beverage.

There’s also a parking area nearby.

Enjoy the Show during the Autumn Arts Festival

Are you looking for a fun outdoor activity?

Mark your calendar for the Autumn Arts Festival, which is located in Madison Town Green.

Make sure to watch the Gallery Group Show and view the different art pieces on display, including paintings, photography, and more.

Meanwhile, the Artisans Store is full of unique pieces made from ceramic, stoneware, and more.

You can avail yourself of snacks and drinks and enjoy them while exploring.

The live music performances also add to the joyous, lively atmosphere.

If you want to see a comprehensive list of the products on offer, check out the Spectrum Anytime website.

And, you can also get your loved ones a gift card for special occasions.

Pamper Yourself with Treatments at Oasis Nails

Treat yourself to a nail spa day at the award-winning Oasis Nails, a well-designed nail salon with a relaxing ambiance.

It has other branches in Connecticut, and the first one was opened in 2004, founded by Hae Soon Koh.

Avail of their fantastic services such as manicures and pedicures, and different nail extensions.

There are other services available as well.

Beautify your skin with a facial or soothe away your muscle aches with a massage.

If you’re on your way to a party, you can get your eyelashes done too.

Clear Your Mind with a Yoga Session at Life Full Yoga

If you had a tiring, stressful day or simply want to meditate, pay a visit to Life Full Yoga, offering a peaceful setting.

It has a studio filled with large windows that let in plenty of natural light.

Stretch out with a yoga or pilates session, which you can have here or over a virtual session.

You can have a private session, a two-person session, or one with your best friends.

There are various health products you can purchase here as well, so you’ll feel well mentally and physically.

For aspiring yogis, they offer a yoga teacher training program, where you’ll learn all that you need to know.

Check out their website for more information on these and to see their available products.

Spend an Afternoon Playing at Kleins’ Golf Range

One of Connecticut’s top golf practice fields is Kleins’ Golf Range in the shoreside neighborhood of Madison.

Golfers have access to the family-run facility to improve most areas of their gameplay.

The facilities have a putting green, a chipped portion with a sand bunker, natural grassland, and artificial matting fairways.

The design also includes a playground for kids and a moveable canopy for sun shelter and weather protection.

The property’s natural environment, which includes a pond and several old trees, makes it a desirable location to practice golfing.

Families with small children and non-golfers are also welcome at Kleins’ Golf Range to enjoy striking balls for fun.

Learn History and Explore the Deacon John Graves House

See the Deacon John Graves House experience a step back in time and one of the very first houses ever constructed in Guilford’s easter communities.

The museum, built in 1685, presents a remarkable and occasionally heartbreaking narrative.

The Deacon John Grave House is unique because it tells the history of seven generations of one Madison family, including their lives and deaths, pleasures and tragedies, and ongoing struggles to survive in a society that was and is always changing.

The weathered floors of the home have been walked on by generations of farmers, transporters, soldiers, innkeepers, dressmakers, and weavers.

Enjoy an entertaining tour that provides fascinating insights into everyone who has lived in the home, from the first Grave descendent to the present.

Admire Artworks in Susan Powell Fine Art

Susan, an expert in affordable art, established her company in 1981 and has more than 40 years of expertise in developing private collections.

Fifty award-winning artists are represented by Susan Powell Fine Art, based in Madison, Connecticut’s charming downtown.

Award-winning Realism painters of fields, seascapes, people’s lives, portraits, and New York City settings are included in monthly shows.

Exhibits of oil and pastel artworks that are abstract are also available.

Explore Susan Powell Fine Art from Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sundays or at any time by personal arrangement.

Engage in Outdoor Activities at Madison Country Club

Nearby, Long Island Sound has a private 18-hole golf course called Madison Country Club.

The first golf course was built in 1900 and was created by two-time British Open champion and renowned golf field architect Willie Park, Jr.

The Club hired architect Brian Silva in 2015 to help with a substantial restoration of the course.

Silva’s makeover brought the Madison Country Club back to its links golf roots by making the most of the coastline topography, breathtaking water views, and natural environment.

The overall result is a magnificent Par 70 golf course that provides golfers of all skill levels with a wonderful experience.

They are a classic golf club where Members are not required to pay for a dining hall or extracurricular activities, including tennis or a swimming pool.

Spend a Relaxing Weekend at the Homestead Madison

The Homestead is tucked away in the peaceful coastal community of Madison, Connecticut, just on the Southern New England coast.

The Guardiano family has run it for over 30 years and through three generations.

The property was initially constructed in 1958 but has just finished a major remodeling.

There are 11 separate bedrooms in their house, each with its bathroom.

It contains a sunroom, dining room, and living space with a fireplace open to visitors.

Additionally, they have a sizable outside area with balconies, two fire pits, and a deck.

It is ideal for family reunions, individual appointments, and wedding planning.

Final Thoughts

Aside from being a spectacular beach destination with various recreational activities, Madison also boasts a plethora of amazing artworks and great attractions.

Join in on the festivities during special events, where you can see art pieces, eat delicious food, and listen to live music.

For your next trip here, check out the best things to do in Madison, Connecticut, listed above.

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