20 Best Things to Do in Stonington, CT

Stonington, CT
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Stonington is charming, homey, and a gem for visitors looking for a place to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of big cities.

The small-town charm of Stonington combines the eclectic community with diverse culture, history, outdoor recreation, and more.

This charming seaside village will welcome you with its mile-long beaches, museums, historic coastal homes, and a serene nature respite.

Are you planning a trip to this charming town soon?

Read on for the 20 best things to do in Stonington, Connecticut!

Visit the Historic Stonington Lighthouse Museum

Exterior of the Stonington Lighthouse Museum.
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The Stonington Lighthouse Museum, a historic gem nestled on the east side of Stonington Harbor, is a must-visit to learn about local history and see picturesque ocean vistas.

The Stonington Lighthouse Museum was built in the 1840s that served as a guide for sailors and explorers.

The museum features a collection of historical memorabilia and artifacts that showcase the maritime and agricultural history of the town.

The top half of the Stonington Lighthouse Museum.
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Climb up the 29 circular steps to reach the top of the tower, where the overlooking view of three states will welcome you.

This charming destination is also a great picnic spot where you can lay down a blanket in the grassy lighthouse grounds to enjoy a serene picnic by the harbor.

Sip and Swirl Your Wine Glass at Stonington Vineyards

Name sign of the Stonington Vineyards.
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When you find yourself in the mood for a day of live music, festival food and wine, and general merriment, Stonington Vineyards is the place to go!

This vineyard has been the go-to destination since the late 1980s for wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts.

Located along Taugwonk Road, Stonington Vineyards is where you can enjoy a tour of the vineyards, wine tasting, and enjoy winery events.

Exterior of the Stonington Vineyards house.
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Sip and swirl wine and pair it with delectable cheese, and you'll surely enjoy wine tasting in this winery because they offer a range of wine flavors to delight any palate.

Don't miss out on the adventure, romance, and great drinks on your trip to Stonington, so make sure to visit the Stonington Vineyards!

Cast Your Lines at Stonington Town Dock and Memorial

Located on the Connecticut coast is Stonington Town Dock, a place where you can cast your lines and reel in the fresh catch of the day.

The dock is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts looking to spend a peaceful time by the sea and spend a relaxing afternoon surrounded by the calm waters.

The Stonington Town Dock is also an excellent place to marvel at the scenic views of the ocean, watch boats sailing, and enjoy a quiet time.

There are plenty of benches where you can sit and rest after a long day of fishing and strolling through the dock.

Make sure to visit this charming spot if you're looking for a cheap way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the town.

Go on a Quick Nature Trip at Fennerswood West Tract

Do you want to go out in the woods and cut yourself off from the world for a while?

If so, the Fennerswood West Tract makes for an idyllic nature escapade if you have a little time to spare.

This charming nature preserve is conveniently located near Main Street, making it the perfect stop for a quick relaxing break.

Stroll through the towering trees, see picturesque rock formations, and take a breather as you listen to the calming sounds of the water flowing from a small stream.

This hidden gem in town is a must-visit if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of busy town life.

Get a Glimpse of History at Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House

Entry way of Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House
Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're a history buff, there's no better place for you to spend the day than at Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House located at Palmer Street.

This 18th century home is a national landmark, originally built in 1852 by Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer, whose family has called this house home for generations.

You can tour the inside the Greek revival and Victorian Italianate-style house and see all three floors showcasing the history and family life of Captain Palmer—one of the few surviving examples of its kind.

Side view of Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House
Parker Higgins, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to exploring the house itself, you can also attend special events held on-site throughout the year that offer more insight into this fascinating piece of history.

Make sure to visit this historic, charming house for a glimpse of history and walk through time as you explore Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer House.

Tee Off at Pequot Golf Club

If your weekend getaway isn’t complete without hitting the links, then you should book a tee time at Pequot Golf Club located in Wheeler Road.

Pequot Golf Club offers the most enjoyable golfing experience combined with the scenic view of gently rolling terrain and tree-lined fairways.

The course features a par 70, 18-hole unique layout perfect for all skill levels without leaving a space for a bit of challenge.

You can shop for golfing essentials in their pro shop, grab a bite before your gamer in their grill, and end your day with a cold drink for an idyllic golfing day.

Don’t forget to book your tee time at Pequot Golf Club for a unique golfing experience on your trip to Stonington.

Shop for Fresh Produce and Tasty Goodies at Stonington Village Farmers’ Market

Nothing compares to the freshness and tastiness of the products that you can get from the farmers' market.

If you want to spend a day shopping for some healthy options and tasty delight, then head over to Stonington Village Farmers Market!

Shop for the freshest local produce and best-tasting homemade treats!

Saturday is market day for Stonington, where locals and visitors alike gather at The Velvet Mill to buy delicious locally-grown goods and enjoy the community's vibrant atmosphere.

From vegetables and fruits to cooking essentials and spices, there's no shortage of tasty deals you can get.

If you're looking for more than just food, you can find plenty of other unique, handcrafted items that you can take home as a souvenir from your trip to Stonington.

The Stonington Farmers Market provides the perfect opportunity to pick up some fresh produce and pick up some tasty treats.

Wade the Waters at DuBois Beach

People on a boat at DuBois Beach waters.
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Do you picture yourself spending a day basking under the sun while listening to the relaxing sound of waves crashing to the shore?

If so, pack your beach essentials and hit Dubois Beach on a perfect sunny day.

This quaint small town boasts the soft, tan sand with gentle waves crashing to the shore.

People sitting on the sand of DuBois Beach.
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This beach is conveniently close to Main Street, so you won't have to worry about finding this beach spot.

Dubois Beach doesn't see tons of tourists, but if you want to get away from the crowds of bigger beaches or just want to spend some time getting to know a smaller community, this spot is perfect.

Hike the Trails of Knox Preserve

If you want to add some outdoor adventure on your trip to Stonington, this expansive nature preserve is a must-visit when you're in town.

Set along Wilcox Road is a charming nature respite among the suburbia where you can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.

Knox Preserve boasts a link to scenic trails that will take you through woodlands, grassy meadows, and shorelines.

As you hike through the trails of Knox Preserve, you'll get to meet plenty of native wildlife and see picturesque spots.

Aside from hiking or biking, this nature preserve also features access to the shore where you can head out to paddle your kayaks or canoes.

Knox Preserve is a must-visit whether you want to have a serene picnic with the family or if you want to enjoy the adventures that this place offers.

Spend a Fun-Filled Day at Admiral Fife Recreation Area

If you're on a weekend getaway with the entire family, don't leave out the fun things you can do with the youngsters.

The Admiral Fife Recreation Area is a must-stop for families with young kids where you can enjoy some games and have a picnic.

The park is accessible via Stonington Road, a perfect place to gather with friends and family.

Admiral Fife Recreation Area features a unique and thoughtful setup that the kids will surely love.

There is a huge pavilion in the park with grill stations to have a BBQ picnic with the family.

Get active in the sports recreation area, enjoy catch and release fishing by the pond, and have a casual stroll through the paved walking trails.

This expansive park has everything to offer for everyone, so make sure to spend an afternoon at Admiral Fife Recreation Area.

Shop and Dine at the Stonington Borough

Shops at Stonington Borough
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Stonington Borough perfectly captures the tight-knit community and small-town charm of the area.

This waterfront town center boasts a stretch of shops and restaurants by the seaside.

It's small enough to explore on foot but still big enough to have plenty of shopping and dining options.

Buildings at Stonington Borough
Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You'll find some great shops that carry everything from unique crafts to trendy pieces.

After your shopping spree, you can get a bite to eat at one of the many cafes or diners to take in the cozy vibe of this charming village hub.

Embrace the small-town charm of Stonington by strolling through the Borough, where you'll see the eclectic offerings of the town.

Book Your Stay at The Inn at Stonington

Do you want a cozy place to crash where you can rest your weary feet after all the explorations?

If so, book your stay in this upscale B&B clapboard house located in the heart of Stonington Borough.

The Inn at Stonington has everything you're looking for—cozy, elegant rooms, continental breakfast, and a fitness center.

The inn is conveniently located at the town center and a 5-minute walk from the Stonington Old Lighthouse Museum.

It's the perfect location to end your day, relax, and enjoy the harbor views of the town.

Teach Your Kids the Value of Farming at Stone Acres Farm

Located in the picturesque seaside town of Stonington, Connecticut, Stone Acres Farm spans an impressive 63 acres and serves as a functioning farm.

The property welcomes guests to explore its open fields, gardens, and hectares of vegetable cultivation.

In addition to applauding efforts to protect natural habitats and historic buildings, it also values culinary training and open space.

Stone Acres Farm also houses Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, which aims to conserve and promote culinary, agricultural, and cultural legacy via educational programming.

Children and adults can participate in culinary lessons and workshops, and school groups can take advantage of activities like seminars and field trips.

Catch Cultural Performances at La Grua Center

There is a small cultural facility in Stonington called the La Grua Center or the Maurice C. La Grua Center.

It hosts a broad array of events, from art shows and concerts to lectures, concerts, symposiums, and musical performances.

The venue opened in 2007 to unite the local community through arts and culture in a small, historic setting.

The theater is perfect for plays and concerts because of its compact size, acoustically unique location, abundant natural light, and high ceilings.

Stunning in appearance, La Grua Center serves as the site for a wide variety of community events, including parties, workshops, and meetings.

Try Your Hands at Pottery at Glaze Handmade

Glaze Handmade is a pottery workshop and a retail company in Stonington.

Stonington native Lyndsay Meiklem Dean, also known as The Vegan Potter, owns the shop.

Handmade stoneware pottery in a rainbow of colors and designs is available at Glaze Handmade.

Lyndsay's work revolves around experimental design and glazes. Her one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces are works of art that elevate the mundane.

While shopping in the retail area, customers may often observe the pottery created.

Custom orders, wholesale orders, gift registries, and in-store pickup are all options for customers.

Sip Local Beer at Beer'd Brewing Company

Beer'd Brewing Company is an independently owned and run microbrewery known for its handcrafted, innovative beers.

The American Velvet Mill on Bayview Avenue is home to a 217-gallon, seven-barrel brewhouse.

It pumps out several seasonal brews like New England Style IPA, Imperial Stouts, India Pale Ales, Trappist Ales, Double IPA, and a few notable releases.

Tastings of all of the brewery's brands are free, and it fills growlers of 64 and 32-ounce sizes for take-home.

Visitors are welcome to bring their food and beverages to enjoy in the spacious tasting room and the options provided by the venue.

Buy Souvenirs from Grand & Water Antiques

The lovely Grand & Water Antiques is an antique store in Stonington.

The shop owner has been collecting and selling antiques and objet d'art for almost twenty years.

Deborah Norman, who holds a degree in American history, started the business in 1994.

She followed in her great-grandma's and grandma's footsteps, who acquired and sold antiques for decades at her shop in Norwich.

Antiques, artworks, furniture, decorative items, and jewelry are all on offer at this charming shop.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Depths of Ocean Life at Mystic Aquarium

Shark hanging display at Mystic Aquarium.
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If you're looking for some amazing new experiences, look no further than Mystic Aquarium!

Located 10 minutes outside of Stonington is where you can explore and learn about ocean life.

Mystic Aquarium features indoor and outdoor exhibits that allow visitors to get up close to thousands of creatures from all over the world.

A whale on the waters of Mystic Aquarium.
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Here you get the opportunity for an up-close encounter with belugas, sea lions, penguins, and more.

There are plenty of kid-friendly attractions to keep the whole family entertained on your visit to Mystic Aquarium.

It's a great opportunity to learn more about the oceans, water life, and the environment, so book a trip today!

A small sea lion swimming on the Mystic Aquarium.
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Take a Trip Back in Time at the Mystic Seaport Museum

An anchor display in front of Mystic Seaport Museum.
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A 10-minute drive from Stonington to Mystic Seaport Museum is worth it once you get to explore this expansive museum.

The museum features a reimagined waterfront settlement, complete with a 19th-century village, historic ships, artifacts, and memorabilia packed in one place!

Boats display inside Mystic Seaport Museum.
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With more than 50 attractions consisting of historic buildings and old ships, you'll feel like you're stepping back in time, with the bonus of a stunning view of the Mystic River.

If you love nautical history and uncovering interesting stories, there are plenty of opportunities to learn all about it in this expansive museum.

A boat on the dock at Mystic Seaport Museum.
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

From hands-on activities for kids to lectures for adults, don't leave without learning something new!

The Mystic Seaport Museum makes for a perfect side trip if you want to experience something new and educational, so don’t forget to include this destination on your itinerary list.

Display inside the Mystic Seaport Museum.
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Learn about the Local Wildlife at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Landscape of Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
Msact, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What better way to spend a weekend than hiking through a nature preserve to meet native wildlife?

The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is located in Mystic, a 10-minute drive from Stonington.

This quaint nature preserve allows visitors to experience nature and explore natural history exhibits.

The whole family will surely enjoy getting an up-close encounter with the lovely animals.

Get lost in nature and spend a serene time at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.

Final Thoughts

Stonington is the perfect getaway place if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities to enjoy scenic natural offerings and embrace the small-town warmth.

If you’re planning a trip to Stonington soon, make sure to reference this list for a vacation brimming with exciting activities!

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