Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Southbury, CT

  • Published 2023/03/25

Southbury is a picturesque town in New Haven County, western Connecticut.

The Native American Pootatuck people inhabited the area before the first European settlers arrived in the early 18th century.

The town was incorporated in 1787, developed into an agricultural center, and started manufacturing industries.

Its historic districts are home to clusters of structures and residences of historical and architectural significance.

Natural beauty also abounds around town, with state parks, preserves, lakes, and parks for outdoor recreation and leisure.

Here’s a guide on some of the best things to do in Southbury, Connecticut, to help get you started on planning your visit.

Go Camping at Kettletown State Park

Boardwalk at Kettletown State Park

ARENA Creative /

Get your outdoor gear ready and go camping at Kettletown State Park.

Encompassing 600 acres, this popular outdoor recreation spot features a nice campground, picnic sites, and access to the water.

Its campground offers over 50 open-setting and wooded sites.

Take a hike and enjoy the park’s exciting geology.

Fish for walleye while enjoying the fantastic views of Lake Zoar.

You can find Kettletown State Park along Georges Hill Road.

A footbridge at Kettletown State Park

LBSimms Photography /

Enjoy the Birds at the Bent of the River Audubon Center

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss out on visiting the Bent of the River Audubon Center.

This breathtaking nature sanctuary protects 700 acres of natural habitats home to birds and hundreds of other wildlife species.

Spend a day on the trails and see how many birds you can spot in the surrounding woods and meadows.

You can see essential species such as the eastern kingbird, American woodcock, blue-winged warbler, and field sparrow.

You can also enjoy the pollinator gardens, where you can see various native plants that serve as food for wildlife.

If you’d like to explore more of the sanctuary, the center offers guided tours and outdoor adventures such as private bird walks, river exploration, and other seasonal activities.

The Bent of the River Audubon Center is located along East Flat Hill Road.

Explore the Main Street Historic District

There’s no better way to see the town’s rich heritage than tour its Main Street Historic District.

Also called Historic District 1, this tree-lined stretch features well-preserved historic structures and landscapes dating from the late 18th to the mid-19th century.

You can see historic buildings such as the Bullet Hill School, the town’s oldest public building, and the David Stiles House and Barn, its oldest barn.

Admire the elegant facade of the Curtiss-Fabrique-Judson House, one of the district’s architectural landmarks.

You can also see residences built in the Greek Revival, Georgian, and Federal styles, a reminder of the town’s prosperous past.

The district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Main Street Historic District stretches from Old Waterbury Road to the Woodbury Town line.

Appreciate Local Art at the Gloria Cachion Art Gallery

If you want to glimpse the town’s creative community, stop by the Gloria Cachion Art Gallery.

Since 2011, this gallery has showcased the works of local artists both in-house and online.

Artist exhibitions are on a monthly rotation, so there’s always something new to see.

You can also view the Uncle John Ludorf photography collection, part of their permanent collection.

The Gloria Cachion Art Gallery is housed along Poverty Road at the Southbury Public Library.

Explore the Outdoors at George Waldo State Park

Spend a day outdoors at the George Waldo State Park.

The 150-acre state park spans an undeveloped and rich natural area, offering plenty of outdoor recreation.

Go on a scenic hike along the nature trails, which will take you through the beautiful forest.

The trails lead to the water’s edge, where you can admire the lovely view of Lake Lillinonah and the shore.

In the park, you can also enjoy mountain biking, fishing, and horseback riding.

George Waldo State Park is located along Purchase Brook Road.

Check Out Local Crafts at the Cottage at Main

See the town’s creative side at the Cottage at Main.

This creative space showcases the works of local artisans and crafts makers and holds various arts and crafts events.

Browse their lovely selection of locally made gift items and other products that make great travel souvenirs.

You can also book workshops such as jewelry making, upcycling, and other crafting classes.

If you bring your kids on the trip, you can also check out their family-friendly activities and events.

You can find the Cottage at Main along Main St. South.

Book Tee Time at the Gainfield Farm Golf Course

Enjoy golf with your family at the Gainfield Farm Golf Course.

This beautiful nine-hole course opened in 1994 and is excellent for beginners, including children.

Spend a couple of hours of play and enjoy the short yet challenging course.

They also have a golf simulator that you can book.

The Gainfield Farm Golf Course is located along Old Field Road.

Take a Trip to the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Area

If you want a unique outdoor experience, check out the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Area at the Housatonic River.

The power station prevents water in the area from freezing, making it attractive to wintering birds looking for food.

Enjoy a beautiful morning at the site to watch the visiting bald eagles soar in the sky and feed on the waters.

You can also spot ravens and falcons hovering around the grounds.

This observational area was opened in 1985.

Connecticut Audubon volunteers manage the activity.

The Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Area is located along River Road.

Go Boating on Lake Zoar

Spend a lovely day on Lake Zoar, one of the state’s largest lakes.

Located on the Housatonic River, this 900-acre artificial lake was created with the construction of the Stevenson Dam in 1919.

Take your boat out on the water and enjoy scenic views of the lush greenery and shoreline.

You can also go fishing and catch some bass and trout.

Public access to Lake Zoar is via the state boat launch along Scout Road.

Admire the Native Plants at Cedarland Park

Take the family on a beautiful day out at Cedarland Park.

This park along the Pomperaug River features green open spaces and picnic areas, offering opportunities for fishing, bird watching, or just enjoying the lovely surroundings.

It is also home to a riparian buffer, a learning site where you’ll learn more about the area’s plant life and other natural resources.

You can see cardinal flowers, marsh marigolds, and other colorful plants.

Explore the area and see how many native plants you can spot!

Cedarland Park is located along River Trail.

Shop for Gifts at Newbury Place

Get your travel shopping done at Newbury Place.

This quaint boutique shop opened in 2004.

It carries various gifts, jewelry, clothing, bags, and accessories.

Stop by and browse the local products section for some souvenirs.

Check out their selection of gift items, and you might find an excellent piece for your special someone.

They offer a wrapping service to make your purchased item ready for gifting.

You can find Newbury Place along Oak Tree Road.

Visit the Barnyard at Guardians Farm

Spend a day with the lovely resident animals at Guardians Farm.

Sitting on the town’s rolling hills, this family-owned farm is home to a historic 1850 barn.

Visit the farm, walk around the corral, and enjoy the incredible scenery.

You can meet their herds of goats and see the cows grazing at the picturesque pastures.

Don’t forget to stop by the farm gift shop and check out their selection of goods, such as goat milk soaps, maple syrup, coffee, and beeswax balms.

The Guardians Farm is located along Bates Rock Road.

Enjoy the Scenery at Harry & Dorothy Bassett Preserve

Spend a quiet day in nature at the Harry & Dorothy Bassett Preserve.

Also known as Paradise Hill, this 112-acre preserve features wooded trails in the lovely New England countryside.

Enjoy a relaxing hike as the trails take you through the serene oak forest, along the brooks, and to some historical ruins.

Admire the wildflowers and the preserve’s rich flora and fauna.

The Southbury Land Trust has managed the preserve since the 1980s.

Harry & Dorothy Bassett Preserve is located along Turrill Brook Drive.

Take Your Dog to Southbury Dog Park

If you’re on the road with your beloved pet, check out the fun scene at Southbury Dog Park.

This 14-acre dog park is situated on a beautiful open field and woods, with access to the Pomperaug River.

Wander with your dog and enjoy an outdoor adventure together on wooded trails.

The park also has a dedicated fenced area for small dogs.

You can find Southbury Dog Park along Roxbury Road.

Grab a Meal at Lucas Local

After a tiring day of sightseeing around Southbury, head to Lucas Local to taste the town’s dining scene.

This local oyster bar and seafood restaurant offers a menu inspired by the New England coast.

Enjoy some oysters and cocktails while you unwind in the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere.

If you’re not fond of seafood, there are also meat options on the menu.

Don’t forget also to check their draft menu to sample local brews.

You can find Lucas Local along Main St. South.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Southbury’s neighboring areas also have fun attractions and beautiful nature spots.

Here are some activities you can do nearby.

Beat the Summer Heat at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark

Saturation station at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark

AskJoanne, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a short drive and spend a summer day at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark in Middlebury, Connecticut, ten minutes from Southbury.

Established in 1908, this century-old amusement area features plenty of rides and attractions for the whole family.

Enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon by the beach.

Cool off at the fun and thrilling slides at the waterpark.

If you’d rather stay dry, watch the excellent games at the arcade and enjoy classic amusement park rides.

The Quassy Amusement & Waterpark is a seven-mile drive from Southbury.

Shop at Woodbury Antiques & Flea Market

If you want to go antiquing while on the road, head to nearby Woodbury, Connecticut, the state’s antiquing capital.

Stop by the Woodbury Antiques & Flea Market, six minutes from Southbury.

It is a small, seasonal market that focuses on antiques.

It features dealers and vendors offering a wide selection of furniture, clothing, accessories, electronics, and other antiques.

Check out the tables; you might find an interesting item to add to your collection.

The Woodbury Antiques & Flea Market is four miles from Southbury’s Main St.

Take the Kids to EverWonder Children’s Museum

If you’re traveling with your little ones, stop by the EverWonder Children’s Museum in Newtown, Connecticut, 14 minutes from Southbury.

This children’s museum features hands-on exhibits and play areas.

It also offers programs and activities to spark kids’ interest in the sciences.

Let your kids wander around and have fun, playtime, and a learning experience.

The museum also has a dedicated space for kids five years old and below.

The EverWonder Children’s Museum is a ten-mile drive from Southbury.

Visit OEC Brewing

Sample some local brews at OEC Brewing in Oxford, Connecticut, 14 minutes from Southbury.

This brewery opened in 2014.

It combines Northern German brewing traditions with modern techniques, producing ales and concoctions.

Take a tour of their brewing facility to get an inside look at how they come up with their craft brews.

Otherwise, spend an afternoon at their tasting room and have a pint or two of their unique brews.

OEC Brewing is a seven-mile drive from Southbury.

Final Thoughts

Southbury is a lovely destination with natural beauty, rich heritage, and culture.

Whether you want to lounge around or explore, this town has many natural attractions, shopping spots, and historical sites.

Explore the best things to do in Southbury, Connecticut!

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