15 Best Things to Do in Milford, CT

Milford, CT
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Just a mere glance at the map of south-central Connecticut can convince you to gear up to explore the wonderful places to see and things to do in Milford.

This city in New Haven County at once stands out with its superb location wedged on the eastern bank of the Housatonic River and bordered westward by Long Island Sound.

Checking out Milford from its shoreline and forested areas to commercial districts promises a diverse mix of offerings.

Milford’s areas to explore multiply even more, with the Wepawaug River cutting across the city.

This river, which also flows to the town of Orange, is notably pivotal to the early development of Milford that started in 1639.

The English colonists who pioneered in the Milford area tapped the river to power their grist mill, helping drive the growth of many local settlements beginning the 1600s.

Milford, which now also includes the borough of Woodmont and the village of Devon, thus features many historic districts, as well as nature parks and walkable communities.

Factor in the city’s quaint coastal location, and you can easily be lured by these 15 things to do in Milford.

Take a Stroll at Walnut Beach

Sand dunes at Walnut Beach
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This beach is one of the reasons why even from the late 19th century, Milford has been known as a resort town, especially for the residents of Bridgeport and New Haven.

The sandy stretch of Walnut Beach is ideal for strolls to enjoy the scenic waters of Long Island Sound.

The facilities in Walnut Beach include a picnic area, food concession, and an extensive fishing pier.

Beautiful twilight scenery at Walnut Beach with pier in the background
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Here, you can hook between April and December catches like blackfish, black sea bass, bluefish, cod, flounder, fluke, striped bass, and weakfish.

The non-profit Walnut Beach Association hosts various events throughout the year on this beach, such as musical concerts and cornhole tournaments.

Two other Milford attractions—the 14-acre Charles Island and the Silver Sands State Park—are easily accessible from Walton Beach.

Join the Fun at Milford Yacht Club

This yacht club, founded in 1903, is located on Trumbull Drive and exudes charm in its ambiance of an old-fashioned boating club.

Be that as it may, the Milford Yacht Club also provides modern amenities in its marina, including a full-service restaurant and swimming pool.

Weekends are the best time to visit this yacht club which holds regattas during those days, also spiced up by drinks and live music at its restaurant.

A visit to the Milford Yacht Club can also easily extend to a romp at the nearby Fort Trumbull Beach.

Adjacent west of the yacht club, this beach offers great views on its perch on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Eisenhower Park

This recreational park covers 200 acres and is the largest among Milford’s eight parks.

The acreage of Eisenhower Park encompasses forested areas, shrublands, grass fields, wetlands, vernal pools, a community garden, and a stretch of the Wepawaug River.

Nesting and migrating birds, as well as butterflies and other creatures, frequent these areas.

The park maintains an extensive trail network connecting almost all these outdoor delights for visitors.

Hiking along these trails will let you see excavated areas and stone walls that are reminders of past land uses.

Many community events that the city of Milford organizes throughout the year are held in Eisenhower Park.

Explore Milford Harbor

Milford Harbor at Milford, CT
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There are many sights to see and things to do at Milford Harbor near the city’s downtown district.

There are two parks in this harbor area, and one of them is the 12-acre Wilcox Park sitting on a bluff overlooking the harbor.

The facilities of Wilcox Park include a boat ramp, nature trails, benches, and a platform ideal for birdwatching.

Sunset at Milford Harbor
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At Milford Harbor, you can also enjoy the facilities of Fowler Park, including basketball and tennis courts, baseball fields, a playground, and a community pavilion.

The Fowler Park area is also home to the Milford Public Library and host to the annual Milford Oyster Festival traditionally held every April.

Visit the Milford Historical Society Museum

This museum on High Street is noted for its collection of over 4,000 prehistoric Indian artifacts.

The Milford Historical Society is likewise the custodian of three historic houses in Milford.

One is the 1700s Eells-Stow House, regarded as the oldest house in Milford.

The society also maintains on the museum’s grounds the five-bay, circa 1780 Clark-Stockdale House and the 1785 Bryan-Downs House.

The green thumbs among the visitors of this museum will be likewise delighted in a rendition of a 17th-century herb garden at the Milford Historical Society’s grounds.

Capture Milford’s Arts at the MAC

Check what’s on the schedule board of Milford Arts Council (MAC), the premier nonprofit art organization in the city.

Founded in 1972, this nonprofit runs two art venues on Railroad Avenue—the MAC stage and the Firehouse Gallery—within a repurposed Civil War-era train station.

In its historic site, the MAC has turned out theatre, dance, and musical performances, as well as art and photo exhibits, lectures, and classes.

The MAC has chalked up more than 250 events per year, engaging over 800 artists and performers who combined in drawing some 12,000 patrons, audience, and visitors.

The MAC’s beautiful theater has superior acoustics and provides intimate seating for up to 110 in cabaret or theater-style configuration.

Explore Broad Street’s Milford Green

The town green in Milford is extensive at about 3.5 acres, stretching in a narrow parcel between North Broad Street and South Broad Street in the city's center.

Milford Green’s well-manicured lawn is lined with five long rows of trees, including mature maples and oaks.

The outer rows are the most impressive with their flowering dogwood and crabapple trees.

The stretch of Milford Green also flaunts several remarkable monuments, including those honoring the American heroes of the Civil War and veterans of World War II and the conflicts in Vietnam and Korea.

Milford Green, thus, comes alive with events during Memorial Day, as well as in the pre-Yule Christmas tree lighting of the city.

Hunt for Charles Island’s Treasure at Silver Sands State Park

Stony shore at Silver Sands State Park
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At low tide, visitors of Walnut Beach can reach Charles Island on foot via a half-mile sandbar from the Silver Sands State Park.

Before his execution, the legendary English pirate Captain Kidd claimed that he buried some of his treasure in Charles Island.

Boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park
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Captain Kidd’s tale remains unproven and is one of the charms that help draw visitors to the island and the 300-acre state park.

The park's main attraction is its three-fourths mile all-weather boardwalk along the beach fronting picturesque Long Island Sound.

Silver Sands State Park at Milford, Connecticut
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Seamlessly linked west to Walnut Beach Boardwalk, this park feature is ideal for birdwatching in a shoreline frequented by various shorebirds and raptors.

Avid paddlers, on the other hand, take to kayaking or canoeing around the park’s Charles Island, with pirates’ treasures in mind or not.

Tee Off at the Great River Golf Club

This high-end country club on Coram Lane boasts an 18-hole championship course rated among the top five in Connecticut.

The course at the Great River Golf Club is semi-private and plays at par 72 over 7,060 yards from its longest tee placements.

This golf club runs a golf academy and offers private lessons to help golfers improve their game, particularly the junior players.

The Great River Golf Club welcomes guests in its upscale, 32,000-square-foot clubhouse off the east banks of the Housatonic River.

The clubhouse is home to Monty’s River Grille, offering choices on American-International cuisine that diners can enjoy from its outdoor patio with picturesque views.

Hike the Solomon Trail

This 2.37-mile trail meanders within the 100-acre, city-owned Solomon Woods property located west of Eisenhower Park on West River Street.

Hikers of the Solomon Trail traverse through a unique wetland forest with several abandoned wells and rock walls along the route, providing a glimpse of farms in Milford’s past.

Stream crossings can also be encountered in some sections of this trail also superb for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during winter.

There are some spots too along the Solomon Trail for interesting side trips.

These include the Milford Community Gardens on the flanks of the nature preserve Milford Land Conservation Trust and the airfield of the local chapter of the American Model Aeronautics.

Go for a Quick Game at the Orchards Golf Course

This is a nine-hole executive golf course with a sporty layout over 1,625 yards on Kozlowski Road.

The Orchards Golf Course is a public facility built in 1997 and managed in top condition by the Northeast Golf Company.

In under two hours, you can easily complete a round in this course, with a 36.1 rating and a 113 slope rating.

The green fees at the Orchards Golf Course are very reasonable, and thus, it is perfect for those who want to focus on their short game.

This course is a popular venue for local tournaments during summer, which you can also enjoy watching before your round.

Explore the Coastal Center at Milford Point

Creek running through Coastal Center at Milford Point
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The Connecticut Audubon Society has run this nature center and bird sanctuary in Milford since 1995.

The Coastal Center at Milford Point takes pride in having recorded sightings of more than 300 bird species in its area.

Educational exhibits and live animal specimens are also kept in the nature center.

This nature center is on a barrier beach, providing easy access to bird habitats.

It is located within the 8.4-acre site of the Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge & Bird Sanctuary.

Also next to the nature center is the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area, spreading over 840 acres at the mouth of the Housatonic River.

Skate at the Milford Ice Arena

This ice skating pavilion is located on Sub Way, tucked between the Subway Conference Center and the JF Kennedy Elementary School.

Besides public skating, the Milford Ice Arena also offers learn-to-skate programs and similar training for aspiring hockey players.

This facility also hosts skate learning programs geared for adults and children with special needs.

Milford’s Southern Stars travel hockey program, as well as the Staples and Milford High Schools and other city groups, call the Milford Ice Arena their home.

Casualor Elegant, Dine at Stonebridge Restaurant

This downtown restaurant on Daniel Street invites diners to celebrate a New England tradition in dining either in a casual or formal setting.

For an elegant atmosphere, you can choose a newly renovated main dining room with a cozy fireplace and a new bar.

Stonebridge Restaurant offers a less formal alternative in its garden, where you can have a casual meal al fresco.

An even more relaxed atmosphere awaits you in the restaurant’s pub room with casual furnishings.

The restaurant’s menu lists American fare, including fresh seafood such as lobsters, clams, and oysters.

Succulent steaks, tender, moist poultry, pasta specialties, homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches are also among the tempting offerings at Stonebridge Restaurant.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Boothe Memorial Park & Museum

The white building of Boothe Homestead
Jerry Dougherty, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn more about the history of Milford’s New Haven region by visiting this museum on Main Street in Stratford.

Located just 5 miles north of Milford, the Boothe Memorial Park & Museum spreads on a rustic 32-acre site near the Housatonic River.

This acreage holds the foundation of the Boothe Homestead dating back to 1663 and was home to several generations of the Boothe family.

Benches and gazebo at Boothe Memorial Park & Museum
Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1949, the family’s heirs bequeathed their property to Stratford, which led to the establishment of the Boothe Memorial Park & Museum.

This park and museum, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, features 20 historic buildings.

Visitors flock to this Stratford attraction not only to view its architecturally unique vintage buildings.

Besides artifacts, the Boothe Memorial Park & Museum also offers a genealogy library, prize-winning rose gardens, and a handicapped-accessible playground.

Grey building at Boothe Memorial Park & Museum
Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Milford brings to the table a slew of life and leisure possibilities for its visitors, thanks largely to its splendid coastal location and well-preserved natural setting.

This city’s charming New England roots, moreover, have been nurtured so well that Milford can easily rank among the top travel destinations in Connecticut.

A lineup of the places to visit and things to do in Milford, therefore, is an irresistible itinerary even for the most demanding tourist.