Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Stratford, CT

  • Published 2023/03/25

Nestled on the coast of Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, Connecticut, is the charming town of Stratford.

With a rich history dating back to the 16th century, Stratford is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.

Stratford is surrounded by the towns of Trumbull, Shelton, Bridgeport, and Milton and is part of the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA.

It is home to numerous attractive parks, museums, and institutions.

Due to its rich cultural past, stunning scenery, and laid-back environment, it became a well-liked tourist destination in Connecticut.

If you want to visit, here are the best things to do in Stratford, Connecticut!

Splash in the Waters of Long Beach

Gorgeous sunset at Long Beach

LBSimms Photography /

Long Beach is a one-and-a-half-mile undeveloped beach and one of the gems in Stratford that you can visit for free.

The beach is situated on Oak Bluff Drive and is easily accessible by car.

The area’s lack of amenities and concessions accentuates the beach’s unspoiled charm.

Canoes at Long Beach

LBSimms Photography /

At the beach’s eastern end, you can swim, go fishing, and even go sailboarding, while the middle part is designated as a shorebird nesting area.

Long Beach is a popular spot because it is the perfect place to watch the sun go down with your special someone, family, or friends.

Long Beach is an excellent spot to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day without spending a single dime.

Barbecue at Long Beach

LBSimms Photography /

Spend a Relaxing Time in Roosevelt Forest

Stratford is one of the lucky towns with its sanctuary where you can find peace and relaxation.

At the end of Peters Lane, Roosevelt Forest offers many activities and attractions to keep you busy all day.

Hiking, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are just some recreational activities in this 401-acre park.

There are playgrounds, walking paths, picnic tables, and cooking pits around the forest that you can enjoy.

Roosevelt Forest is home to small mammals, deer, amphibians, and reptiles you can observe when roaming the forest.

Whenever you need to take some time away from the busy world, a trip to Roosevelt Forest is always a good idea.

Explore the Stratford Center Historic District

The Housatonic River’s west bank is home to the 300-acre historic area known as the Stratford Center Historic District.

It comprised the remains of an early settlement from 1639 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Among the structures in the Historic District are the homes of Captain David Judson, William A. Booth, Lieutenant William Thompson, the First Congregational Church, and the Old Episcopal Burial Ground.

The Stratford Center Historic District is noteworthy in Stratford’s history since it is a fantastic model for architecture and educational reasons.

Take a step back in time and stroll through the streets of the Stratford Center Historic District to discover the beauty of old Stratford.

Catch Fish at Peck’s Mill Pond

Situated along the intersection of Main Street-Putney and North Main Street, Peck’s Mill Pond is a natural and historical site that continues to attract visitors.

Peck’s Mill Pond is approximately one acre and has long been a favorite fishing spot for locals.

It was once a grist mill and sawmill, and the pond was also used in the “ice-block” industry in the early 19th century.

Besides fishing, you can also go on a peaceful nature walk around the pond, which passes through a rep maple swamp wetland area.

While you’re there, don’t miss your chance to meet some of the local inhabitants of Peck’s Mill Pond, including woodland birds, fish, and other unique vegetation types.

Observe Wildlife in the Great Meadows Marsh

The Great Meadows Marsh is one of the hidden gems in Stratford that you can visit for free!

Located at the back of Long Beach, the Great Meadows Marsh is a wonderland for birdwatchers, adventurers, and fishermen.

The Great Meadows Marsh was originally five square miles, making it ideal for bird life to thrive.

Although it is reduced in size, the Great Meadows Marsh is still one of the top spots for bird watching since it gives tourists plenty of opportunities to witness different types of birds in one place.

It’s also a great place to go if you’re looking for wildlife viewing opportunities; there are many birds and other creatures.

The Great Meadows Marsh allows visitors to enjoy the outdoors and relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Hunt for Bargains at the Stratford Antique Center

Housed in a big, blue building along Honeyspot Road, the Stratford Antique Center is a local favorite for antique lovers.

Its 16,500 square feet of space are filled with beautiful antiques, terrific for anyone interested in collecting or simply looking for a unique place to shop.

The center is home to 200 antique dealerships where you can find everything from furniture, decorative arts, and antiques to vintage clothing and collectibles.

The store has plenty of space to display its incredible collection of antiques, including everything from furniture to jewelry.

You can find everything here, from old records and books to antique cars and clocks.

If you’re looking for decorative antiques for your office or home, visit the Stratford Antique Center!

Learn Local History at the Stratford Veterans Museum

Located in Boothe Memorial Park, the Stratford Veterans Museum is a beautiful place to visit if you want to learn about the history of Stratford, Connecticut.

The Stratford Veterans Museum is dedicated to honoring the men and women who served the country during wartime.

It has a collection of artifacts from that era and other items that tell stories about the town’s past.

As you roam the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the town’s history and the stories of Stratford veterans.

The museum also offers guided tours and interactive activities to make your visit more enjoyable.

If you’re looking for something unique to do while visiting Stratford, Connecticut, this museum is worth checking out.

Discover Helicopter History at the National Helicopter Museum Inc.

The National Helicopter Museum Inc. is a unique place to learn about helicopters and local aviation history.

The museum is situated at the Connecticut Eastbound Railroad Station on Main Street and is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

Established in 1983 by Dr. Raymond Jankowich and Robert Mcloud, the National Helicopter Museum Inc. features the development and history of helicopters from the 19th century to the present.

Inside the museum, you’ll find different kinds of exhibits, including a photo essay of helicopter evolution from dragonflies to developments in modern times.

You can also find a model of the first helicopter flight from 1939 and an actual Sikorsky S-76 cockpit.

If you want something new, try the flight simulator for an educational and entertaining experience.

You will undoubtedly enjoy your visit to the National Helicopter Museum, Inc.!

Relive the Past in Boothe Memorial Park and Museum

The grounds of Boothe Memorial Park and Museum

Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Boothe Memorial Park and Museum are in a vast 32-acre area with remarkable structures and distinctive features, perched high above the Housatonic River.

It was previously the Boothe family’s home, which they donated to the town in 1949 so that the residents of Stratford may enjoy it.

The Boothe Memorial Park and Museum have several historic buildings, including a miniature lighthouse and windmill, a trolley station, an Americana museum, and much more.

A building at Boothe Memorial Park and Museum

Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also visit the park’s gardens with beautiful flowers, ponds, and even a working planetarium from the local planetarium society.

The original Sikorsky Bridge toll booth is on the Boothe Memorial Park and Museum grounds.

The Boothe Memorial Park and Museum is a wonderland full of quirky creations, so see it yourself!

A house at Boothe Memorial Park and Museum

Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See Interesting Exhibits in Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum

Since it opened in 2021, the Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum has been packed with curious visitors.

It is located along East Broadway and is the first in Connecticut.

The Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing history through black experiences.

You can immerse yourself in African American history through several exhibits, collections, and hundreds of artifacts featured inside the museum.

The museum aims to highlight the lives of notable African Americans throughout history and explore different topics, like slavery.

Some exhibits include Plantation Life, Pullman Porter, and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

To learn more about the museum’s displays, visit the Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum when you have time.

Play Golf at Short Beach Golf Course

Short Beach is a great place to spend time with your family and friends and is full of recreational activities.

It is adjacent to the mouth of the Housatonic River, with beautiful beach views and plenty of activities.

There are several ways to enjoy Short Beach: swimming, fishing, or relaxing on the sand with a good book.

If you visit the southern part of the beach, you will find playgrounds, picnic areas, calisthenics courses, and Stratford’s giant sandbox.

Some recreational areas around the site include softball fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts, paddleball courts, and tennis courts.

The northernmost part is home to the largest least tern and piping plover populations in the United States, a great spot to see both birds nearby.

Short Beach is excellent for children and families of all ages and offers something for everyone.

Stop by the Captain David Judson House

The historic Captain David Judson House was built around 1750 by Captain David Judson on his great-grandfather’s 1639 stone house.

It is located on Academy Hill and is a perfect example of what life was like during the 17th century.

This small museum features various collections and period pieces representing Stratford’s origins.

Inside the museum, you’ll find an early piano belonging to William Samuel Johnson, a Stratford resident and the first president of Columbia University.

A massive collection of Chinese porcelain and an excellent crown chair is also displayed in the dining room.

Every room still has the original pieces of furniture that will give you an authentic experience, as if you’ve traveled back in time.

The Captain David Judson House is just one of the must-visit places if you want to explore the history of Stratford.

Check Out the Displays in Connecticut Air and Space Center

The Connecticut Air and Space Center is a not-for-profit institution that exhibits antique planes, artifacts, and memorabilia associated with Connecticut’s history.

George Gunther established the museum in 1998 following the closure of the Stratford Army Engine Plant.

It is on Main Street and is currently housed in the “Blue Building” of the Curtiss Hangar in the historic Stratford Army Engine Plant site.

You can expect to find more than 16 vintage aircraft displayed or restored inside the aircraft museum.

You can also go on a self-guided tour and watch the ongoing restoration of the original Sikorsky helicopter.

Spending the entire day at the Connecticut Air and Space Center is easy.

Join the Activities of Sterling House

The Sterling House is not just a historic house on the Main Street of Stratford but also a community center that serves the town of Stratford.

Sterling House is a mansion built in 1886 by John William Sterling that features Romanesque, Georgian, and Federal architecture.

It was once the home of the Sterling family, one of the wealthiest and oldest families in town.

The Sterling House has served Stratford and the surrounding towns with various activities and services since 1932.

Today, the Sterling House is a community center that aims to provide services to everyone in Stratford.

Some of the programs and services offered by the center include preschool, yoga, summer camp, art opportunities, and teen volunteer clubs.

If you want something to do in Stratford, drop by and join the activities in Sterling House.

Reel in Fish from Bond’s Dock and Fishing Pier

Bond’s Dock and Fishing Pier is just one of the must-visit places in Stratford, especially if you love fishing.

The Bond’s Dock and Fishing Pier are conveniently situated on Shore Road, on the northern part of Mac’s Harbor.

It was the initial settlement of the Puritan settlers of the town.

The dock was named after John Bond, the owner of a famous boxer’s training facility where renowned fighters competed.

Aside from the dock’s scenic opportunities, you can also do recreational activities such as fishing and boating or enjoy coffee while gazing at the picturesque harbor view.

Fish of various species are available all year, so you can go fishing anytime.

Bond’s Dock and Fishing Pier are just one of many hidden gems scattered across the lovely town of Stratford, so don’t miss out on this one!

Final Thoughts

Stratford may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of things to do in the state.

But if you’re looking for a quiet getaway not too far from home, a trip to Stratford may be the relaxing trip you need!

Explore the best things to do in Stratford, Connecticut!

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