Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in West Haven, CT

  • Published 2023/03/13

West Haven is a city in Connecticut known for its beaches and boardwalks.

The city is on the shore of Long Island Sound, making it a popular destination for those who love to swim and sunbathe.

Visitors can enjoy several activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the city’s historical sites.

For example, check out the West Haven Green and the First Church of Christ.

Originally known as West Farms, the city is one of the oldest settlements in Connecticut, founded in 1648.

West Haven is also home to several colleges and universities, perfect for people who want to know Connecticut’s history and culture.

The city is also great for enjoying the outdoors, with several parks and recreation areas.

West Haven offers some of the best things to do in Connecticut, which should fill a day or a weekend.

Here are the best things to do in West Haven, CT:

Explore the West Haven Green Historic District

Congregational church at West Haven Green Historic District

The original uploader was Polaron at English Wikipedia., CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The West Haven Green Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s also the town green of New England in West Haven.

The green is home to several historical buildings and sites.

Its two famous structures are the 1859 Congregational Church, with a Romanesque Revival style; and the traprock Christ Episcopal Church, in Gothic Revival.

The grounds of West Haven Green Historic District

Pedro Xing, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The district features commercial, religious, and residential functions.

The houses in the West Haven Green Historic District are attractions on their own, with architectural designs ranging from Queen Anne, Dutch Colonial Revival, and Four Square.

The West Haven Green Historic District is a beautiful place to take a walk, boasting several businesses like restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Discover the Treasures of West Haven at the West Haven Historical Society

The West Haven Historical Society aims to preserve the city’s history and ensure that future generations are grounded in their culture.

West Haven Historical Society is in Savin Rock Museum & Learning Center, one of the city’s oldest buildings.

The museum chronicles the history of West Haven, from its establishment in 1648 to the present day, encompassing three centuries of the city’s rich culture.

It has permanent and rotating exhibits that feature items from the city’s past, including Silver’s Pharmaceutical Collections, clothes and quilts from 1851, and books from the first West Haven Library as far back as 1794.

The West Haven Historical Society also organizes tours and events throughout the year, making it a great place to learn more about the city’s history.

Roam around Old Grove Park

Old Grove Park is one of the oldest parks in West Haven and allows visitors to take a leisure walk or run.

The park offers various amenities, including a playground and a picnic area.

Old Grove Park is part of the Long Island Sound, perfect for people who love the outdoors.

The park has several historic features, including a pavilion and a bandstand for concerts.

Concerts happen in the park occasionally.

It’s also a great place to watch the Fourth of July fireworks.

Old Grove Park is terrific for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors while walking alone or with your furry friends.

Enjoy the Quiet in Sea Bluff Beach

Charlotte Bacon Playground at Sea Bluff Beach

Brianegge, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest beaches in West Haven, Sea Bluff Beach is a great place to enjoy the sun and the water.

The beach is on Long Island Sound, near Charlotte Bacon Playground, a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.

The sand of Sea Bluff Beach is smooth and clean, making it a perfect place to relax.

Family and friends can bond over a volleyball game or wave running because its waters are calm and shallow.

Jet skis are also available in Sea Bluff Beach so visitors can further explore the surrounding areas.

The beach also offers a spectacular view of the Long Island Sound and is a great place to watch the sunset.

Visit the West Haven Public Library

The West Haven Public Library is one of the oldest libraries in Connecticut.

The library has more than 100,000 books and movies, serving as the cultural center of West Haven.

It organizes programs and events for its patrons, including computer classes, art exhibits, and movie nights.

The programs offered by the library include story time, scavenger hunts, beach painting, a book club, and various educational and cultural programs.

The West Haven Public Library has two other locations, one in Ora Mason and another in Hill Rose.

It’s also a member of the Connecticut Library Consortium.

Explore the City with West Haven Parks & Recreation

West Haven Parks & Recreation is a great place to explore the outdoors, offering various activities for its visitors.

The parks are in different parts of the city and offer various amenities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball courts, and hiking trails.

Several parks are on the waterfront, offering stunning views of the Long Island Sound.

West Haven Parks & Recreation also offers swimming lessons, yoga classes, a Youth STEM program, guitar lessons, and volleyball and basketball leagues.

Taste Local Flavors at the Tony Inzero Farmers Market

The Tony Inzero Farmers Market was initially in West Haven Green but was later transferred to Oak Street Beach.

Established in July 2000, the market was later dedicated to Anthony F. “Tony” Inzero, a local businessman and philanthropist.

The Tony Inzero Farmers Market features vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, honey, artisanal cheese, and other local products.

The market opens from July to October, a great place to sample local flavors.

The market also has a food truck where visitors can buy lunch or snacks.

The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is a great place to support local businesses; visitors will likely find unique gifts for giveaways or souvenirs.

Spend a Chill Day at the Bradley Point Park

While away your stress and worry by visiting the calm shoreline of the West Haven coastline at Bradley Point Park.

The Park is a West Haven gem.

It’s a great place to unwind as you admire the statues and historical information around the area.

Appreciate the stunning views of the Long Island Sound as you stroll down the promenade or have a picnic under the pavilion.

The ocean is part of its attraction as the waters change colors with the different seasons.

The best time to visit the Bradley Point Park is during the summer, as the weather is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and kayaking.

However, the park is still a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery, even during winter.

Admire the Shorebirds at the Sandy Point Beach and Bird Sanctuary

The Sandy Point Beach and Bird Sanctuary is an excellent spot to observe the various shorebirds that flock to the area.

More than 200 bird species consider the sanctuary their home, which the Audubon Society has declared an Important Bird Area.

See the birds when they migrate from their nesting grounds in the Arctic during the fall.

During this time, migratory birds flock to the sanctuary, such as sandpipers, plovers, and dowitchers.

The sanctuary also features a variety of other animals, such as squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits.

Marvel at the bird-friendly plants indigenous to the sanctuary’s salt-water marsh.

The Sandy Point Beach and Bird Sanctuary is a great place to unwind and enjoy nature at its best.

Soak up the Sun at the Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach is one of the most popular beaches in West Haven to enjoy the sun, sand, and water.

The sandy beach also features a pier ideal for fishing, as there are usually no waves.

Oak Street Beach is also an excellent place for a picnic, as several picnic tables are around the area.

Cobblestone walls and a paved and lighted walkway make Oak Street Beach an excellent place to stroll.

The beach is open year-round and is a great place to relax and unwind while gazing at the exquisite sunset.

Explore the Unique PEZ Visitor Center

Exterior of the PEZ Visitor Center

Sean Wandzilak /

Established in 1973, the PEZ Visitor Center is open throughout the year.

The PEZ Visitor Center features various exhibits that showcase the company’s history, making the PEZ candy and its famous dispenser.

Invented in Austria, the PEZ candy was intended as an alternative to cigarettes.

Still, it has become popular in the US, along with the candy dispensers that feature different characters’ heads, such as Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, and Frozen’s Elsa and Anna.

Building sign of PEZ Visitor Center

Sean Wandzilak /

Tourists might want to start with the History Wall once they enter the PEZ Visitor Center.

Grab the Welcome Map to help you navigate the place.

Walk down memory lane as you see PEZ memorabilia, the world’s largest PEZ candy dispenser, and the PEZ motorcycle made in 1999.

The Center features a Game of the Month, and you need to finish them to fill up your game cards so you can claim your prize.

Take a break and have tons of fun at PEZ Visitor Center.

Taste the Farm Life at the B&B Flower Farm

The family-owned B&B Flower Farm is a great place to experience farm life.

The farm offers a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs that are all grown locally, with a wide selection of jams, jellies, and honey made from scratch.

Located off Jones Hills, the B&B Flower Farm also features a homemade ice cream stand serving various flavors.

The farms also have children-friendly animals such as horses, goats, donkeys, and dogs.

The owner, Farmer Bob, is approachable and loves talking to children and giving them a farm tour.

The B&B Flower Farm is great to learn about farming and buy fresh local produce.

The farm is open year-round, allowing fresh air and communing with nature.

Enjoy the Old Vibe of Painter Park

Opened in the 1920s, the Painter Park is one of the oldest parks in West Haven.

The park has different trees and a pond where ducks and geese roam.

The park is home to Founders Field, a great place to play baseball or softball.

Older children can enjoy the basketball or tennis courts in the park.

The park also has a playground perfect for young children, especially those who love the slides and swings.

The Painter Park is a great place to take a stroll and a picnic.

Spend a Day with Nature at the Long Wharf Nature Preserve

The Long Wharf Nature Preserve is located in New Haven, CT, and is a great place to spend a day with nature.

The urban oasis has various ecosystems, including salt marshes, tidal flats, coastal forests, and dunes.

The Long Wharf Nature Preserve trail is short, but it is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the views.

The 15-acre urban oasis is an excellent place for birdwatching, with over 100 bird species spotted in the preserve.

Whether you want to take a walk, enjoy the views, or go birdwatching, the Long Wharf Nature Preserve is a great place to visit.

The Long Wharf Nature Preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Visit the Lighthouse Point Park

The Lighthouse Point Park is a historical attraction located in New Haven.

The park’s main attraction is the lighthouse built in 1847, which visitors can tour during special events.

The Lighthouse Point Park is also a great place to take a walk, with its many trails and scenic views.

The 82-acre park is open to the public and offers a great view of the city and the harbor.

The Lighthouse Point Park is also home to the Light House Point Carousel, which was built in 1911, and features two chariots, 69 horses, and one of the only three wooden camels in the world.

Located in the Atlantic Flyway, a major bird migration route, the park is also perfect for birdwatching.

Have a Feast at Stowe’s Seafood

Stowe’s Seafood is a culinary institution in West Haven, famous for serving the freshest and most scrumptious seafood to locals for several decades now.

Located along Beach Street, both the restaurant and the food will complete your beach experience in West Haven thanks to its scenic spot.

However, it’s the food here that truly shines, as Stowe’s Seafood is visited by hundreds and thousands every year because of signature items like its lobster roll and lobster bisque.

There are a lot of other options available, such as their deep fried shellfish along with an abundance of sandwiches to choose from.

With a quirky aesthetic and lively atmosphere, Stowe’s Seafood is also a welcoming place to enjoy some drinks with a large group of people.

Go Trekking at Maltby Lakes

Maltby Lakes isn’t as easy to access compared to other more common destinations in West Haven, as it’s found way up north from the city proper, along Derby Turnpike.

To make things more complicated, you’d need to process and gain a permit first to enter Maltby Lakes, but it should be no sweat if you’re staying in West Haven for a prolonged period of time, or you’re simply a big lover of the outdoors.

Maltby Lakes is a scenic spot that any outdoor adventurer should see in West Haven, brimming with beautiful woods that’s home to a lot of wildlife.

Fishing is also permitted if you have a license, and that’s another fun way to experience the rich biodiversity of Maltby Lakes.

If you’re raring to go, one of the best times to visit is during fall—when the place transforms into a serene spot because of its foliage.

Check Out Yale University Athletic Fields

Yale University is technically part of the neighboring city of New Haven, but its sprawling athletic fields are actually part of West Haven, a couple miles from the main campus.

Whether you’re attending the game, going sightseeing, or simply driving through—Yale University Athletic Fields is a can’t miss spot because of the university’s prestige.

You’ll see a ton of attractions here, most prominently the Yale Bowl that’s home to the university’s football team.

The athletic fields also feature other attractions such as tennis centers, soccer fields, and the Westville Music Bowl.

It’s not everyday that you’ll see a university as prestigious as Yale, so go check its Yale University Athletic Fields along Central Avenue.

Take a Scenic Stroll Along Savin Rock Park

Sunny day at Savin Rock Park

Staib, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just beside Bradley Point Park lies Savin Rock Park, another scenic spot to enjoy the waters of West Haven.

Because of its proximity to Bradley Point Park, this is a convenient way to add on to your itinerary, especially if you want the full coastal experience in the city.

Savin Rock Park is famous for its boardwalk; the place is actually a former resort that dates back to the late 19th Century, giving it historic heritage as well.

It’s a serene spot thanks to it not being as crowded as in other areas, making it an ideal place for intimate dates or gatherings.

Savin Rock Park can be accessed along Captain Thomas Boulevard.

Eat Healthy at Georgie’s Diner

Another renowned culinary destination in West Haven is Georgie’s Diner, found along Elm Street.

It’s famous for two things: its retro aesthetic that makes it popular for photos, and its healthy food.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’d be ecstatic to know that Georgie’s Diner has a lot of options for you.

They serve a lot of classics with a healthy twist, and they even take note if you have certain food allergies to keep their service top-notch.

If you’re in the mood for something light, organic, or even vegan, you can’t go wrong checking out Georgie’s Diner.

Final Thoughts

West Haven is known for its sandy shoreline and its beaches.

The city is also home to various parks and is a great place to learn about farm life.

There are plenty of things to do in the city, and there is something for everyone.

Start planning your West Haven trip today!

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