20 Best Things to Do in New London, Connecticut

20 Best Things to Do in New London, Connecticut

Perched at the mouth of the lovely Thames River, New London is a seaport city in the state of Connecticut in the United States of America. It is also the port of entry to the country's northeast coast.

This lovely city is very picturesque and attracts travelers from all around the world. Being a seaport city, New London has terrific beaches and gorgeous seaside parks for you to enjoy perfect sunny days.

The city is full of history, nature, and culture. You will find various museums, art centers, arboretums, chapels, and much more. The architecture of the city is also delightful and will win over your heart.

The food scene of New London is absolutely delightful, and you will find the freshest and delicious seafood in the waterfront restaurants offering sweeping views of the city and the splendid Thames River.

New London has it all, whether you want to enjoy the beauty of nature or the rich and vibrant culture of the city or you want to see the rich maritime history of the town or you want to enjoy the magnificent architecture of the city; this city will not disappoint you.

This city is an absolute delight to travel to. Here are some of the best things to do and places to see in New London.

Relax at the Ocean Beach Park

Ocean Beach Park
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Ocean Beach Park is the city's most popular attraction with boardwalk attractions and the finest beaches.

The park is very beautiful and features water slides, mini-golf course, kiddy spray park, rides, a cafe with a restaurant, picnic area, along with an Olympic-size pool with freshwater among my other amenities and activities.

It covers an area of 18 acres and offers sweeping views of the beach and the freshwater pool. You can enjoy tonnes of activities in the park while basking in the sun and enjoying the water.

After enjoying golfing, rides, slides, and other amenities, you can grab delicious bites from the cafe and the restaurant. Ocean Beach Park is very well maintained and a delight to visit.

Eat Mouth-Watering Lobsters at Mystic Whaler Cruises

Mystic Whaler Cruises offer sailing adventures for few days or few hours to bask in the sun and appreciate the River Thames. You can also choose from brunch, lunch, lobster dinner cruise, or an extended multiday adventure.

The food served on the cruise is delectable and is made from the freshest of the local ingredients and produce. The half-century-old Mystic Whaler will impress you with its old-world charm and the breathtakingly amazing views of the water and the city.

This cruise was even picked as the "Best Coastal Cruise" in 2018 by the Yankee's Editor Pick. Aboard the Mystic Whaler Cruise to eat mouth-watering lobsters while appreciating the stunning views around you and enjoying the beauty of the city.

Learn About the Coast Guard at The United States Coast Guard Museum

The United States Coast Guard Museum
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Operated and run by the National Coast Guard Museum Association, the United States Coast Guard Museum is located on the Mohegan Avenue in New London. The museum honors the history and heritage of the Coast Guard through exhibits and displays.

The shows and displays feature cannon, figureheads, models, paintings, medals, uniforms, rescue equipment, ceremonial swords, and much more artifacts and memorabilia that showcases the history of Coast Gaurd. The museum also offers interactive exhibits, educational programs, and other programs to educate the visitors.

Visit the United States Coast Guard Museum to learn about the significance and history of Coast Guard fascinatingly with well-done displays.

Splendid Views from Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruise

Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruise offers sightseeing tours of the waters in comfortable climate-controlled ferries. The ferry rides provide incredible views of the everlasting waters while learning about the rich history of Southern New England and Long Island.

You can enjoy different cruises such as the Lighthouse Cruise in which you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and see nine lighthouses along your way plus some forts, the Lights & Sights Cruise in which you will get to see incredible architecture and few other lighthouses.

The knowledgeable and enthusiastic narrator Ted Webb will tell you all about the lighthouses, forts, and buildings and the stories about ghosts, historical events, tales of pirates, and other exciting stuff.

You are also most likely to spot the lovely nesting common terns and sunbathing gray seals. The cruise ferry was also named the best coastal cruise in 2016 by the Yankee's Editor Pick. Make to cruise the waters with Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruise to witness splendid views and learn about the area's history and culture.

Stroll Around the Fort Trumbull State Park

Fort Trumbull State Park
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Fort Trumbull State Park is a very popular park located near the mouth of River Thames in New London. Fort Trumball was built in 1777, and the fortification was built in 1852 as a line of defense on the eastern seaboard.

In 2000, the fort and the park were opened for the public to visit and explore for themselves. You can view the cannons and artillery of the fortification from the grounds.

The estate also has a visitor center where the visitors can learn more about the history of the fort and the area of New London. The environment of the park and its surroundings are very peaceful with the view of the River Thames.

The best way to enjoy it is simply by taking a stroll and appreciating the park's history and beauty.

See Historical Sites at Thames River Heritage Park

Located along the Thames River, Thames River Heritage Park is a heritage park and consists of almost 20 historical and contemporary sites that are all linked by the seasonal water taxi. This park was Connecticut's first heritage park without any boundaries.

You can tour the area on the water taxi and see and experience everything yourself. You will get to know all about the historical spots of the heritage park and its significance.

Some great sites to see in the park are- Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, Shaw Mansion, Fort Trumbull, the Historic Waterfront District, Custom House Maritime Museum, Hempsted Houses, and more.

The water taxi is seasonal, so make sure to visit the town in summer to see all the splendid historical places and history while appreciating the impressive views of the sparkling water.

Catch a Show at Garde Arts Center

Garde Arts Center was opened in 1985 and is a non-profit professional performing arts center. The building of the center dates back to 1926 with restored interior and lobbies with an old vintage look.

The building is middle-eastern themed and has Morrocan interiors and murals. You can watch both movies and live performances in this historic movie palace. Make sure to catch a movie or a live musical or any other live performance.

Enjoy the Beauty of Nature at Connecticut College Arboretum

Connecticut College Arboretum
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Found in 1932, Connecticut College Arboretum is a 750-acre arboretum and botanical garden in the campus of Connecticut College situated in New London. The arboretum and botanical gardens feature several types of different trees, plants, flowers, bedrocks, etc.

It is open every day of the week from dawn till dusk for the visitors to enjoy the stunning plant life and the serene environment. You can also take a guided tour to know more about the arboretum and the plant life flourishing in it.

Visit the Connecticut College Arboretum to enjoy the beauty of nature and sweeping views.

Learn Fascinatingly at Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Founded in 1926, Lyman Allyn Art Museum was created by  Harriet Allyn, the daughter of Lyman Allyn, to honor her seafaring father. The unique neoclassical building of the museum is itself very beautiful to look at and is located near the Coast Guard Museum and the Connecticut College.

The museum was opened for the public in 1932, and it has more than 170,000 artifacts and memorabilia. The two-floor museum contains permanent and changing exhibitions that are very well-curated with lots of information about the piece.

A visit to this museum is surely going to fascinate you and teach you a good lesson in history.

Gaze at the New London Harbor Light

New London Harbor Light
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New London Harbor Light is a lighthouse in New London. This antiquated lighthouse is the seventh oldest lighthouse in the United States. This 90 feet lighthouse sits on the Long Island Sound and is Connecticut's tallest and oldest lighthouse.

It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, Direct access to the lighthouse is not allowed, but you can see the lighthouse in all its glory from the Pequot Avenue.

Learn About Local Maritime History at The Custom House Maritime Museum

Located at 150 Bank Street in Downtown New London, the Custom House Maritime Museum is a historic custom house designed by the country's first formally trained architect, Robert Mills, in 1840.

The house is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Now the custom house is a museum and contains various artifacts showcasing the local maritime history.

There is a souvenir shop on the premises where you can buy gifts and books to remember this historic house and town by.

See the New London Ledge Lighthouse

New London Ledge Lighthouse
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New London Ledge Lighthouse is another lighthouse sitting at the mouth of New London Harbour. It is a part of the National Historic Lighthouse and is maintained by the New London Maritime Society to ensure its upkeep and to preserve it.

The lighthouse is still active, and you can take a tour of the lighthouse but only in the summers.

See the Historic Old Town Mill

Located on Mill Street, Old Town Mill is a historic landmark of the city. This mill house is often dubbed as the Winthrop Mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can visit the grounds of this grist mill any day of the week. However, you need to make an appointment to see the actual mill.

Take a Guided Tour of the Monte Cristo Cottage

Located at 325 Pequot Avenue in New London, Monte Cristo Cottage is the former summer home of the American playwright and Nobel laureate  Eugene O'Neill.

It is one of the most historical landmarks of the city, and it is where the legendary playwright wrote his first two plays. You can take private tours of the cottage to know more about the 19th-century cottage and the life of Eugene O'Neil.

Hygienic Art Gallery is the highlight and the most famous year-round art gallery in New London. The gallery hosts several cultural and musical events to inspire and showcase the local community's talent and artists.

Visit the Hygienic Art Gallery to support the works of terrific local artists.

Stop by The Hempsted Houses

The Hempsted Houses are located on Hempstead Street in New London. Both houses are stunning, and their architecture is splendid as well. They document the history of the area and are one of New England's best-documented dwellings.

One of the houses has a museum inside of it with various artifacts and exhibitions. You can take guided tours of the house to explore them with an experienced guide and know more about their history and significance,

Stay at Red Aloof Inn

Red Aloof Inn provides comfortable amenities to make your stay worthwhile. The hotel rooms are cozy and clean, and the staff is accommodating and friendly.

It is also pet friendly so you can bring your pooch along with you on the adventure.

Mouth-Watering Seafood at Captain Scott's Lobster Dock

Captain Scott's Lobster Dock serves mouth-watering seafood and is very popular among the locals for serving the freshest seafood prepared perfectly. The food here will not make a dent in your pocket.

This eatery was named the best seafood shack in the town by the Yankee's Editor's Pick. Do not forget to try the butter-splashed lobster roll and flaky fried fish.

Delectable Food at Muddy Waters Café

Muddy Waters Café is located in the Downtown area of the city and is a coffee house. It serves fresh and delicious baked goods along with its hearty sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, coffee, and much more. Make sure to eat their famous Love Salad and their various delectable sandwiches.

New London is an incredibly wonderful city with tonnes of rich culture, history, and nature. What are you waiting for? Visit New London in Connecticut, and do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this terrific city.

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