Situated along the Connecticut River's west bank, Windsor Locks is New England's first English settlement in the entire state.
Established as a town in the 1700s, Windsor Locks today is home to historical museums, homesteads, and Bradley International Airport.
It's also where Connecticut's first female governor, Ella Grasso, was born.
Many people describe Windsor Locks as a vital town that serves as a stopover for travelers from Bradley International Airport.
However, this Connecticut town in Hartford County also has hidden gems worth exploring.
You'll find yourself roaming inside huge aviation museums, lush green parks, and other attractions amidst its laid-back vibes.
Here are the best things to do in Windsor Locks, Connecticut:
Discover Vintage Planes inside the New England Air Museum
The New England Air Museum is a renowned American aerospace museum and historical attraction adjacent to the Bradley International Airport.
You'll find this historical attraction along Perimeter Road.
It consists of three main hangars that display various types of vintage planes.
Its collections range from vintage planes to modern-day supersonic jets.
At the same time, this museum displays jet and airplane engines of all sizes.
Among its most significant aircraft is the Silas Brooks Balloon basket, the oldest surviving aircraft in the United States.
In addition, you'll see other rare aircraft you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Spending an hour or two at the New England Air Museum is a worthwhile experience you mustn't miss when visiting Windsor Locks.
Cross Dexter Coffin Junior Bridge
Dexter Coffin Junior Bridge connects Windsor Locks and East Windsor across the Connecticut River.
This bridge, constructed in 1959, serves as a vital thoroughfare for those crossing Interstate 91.
It conveniently takes you to various towns and cities on the Connecticut River's west and east banks.
The bridge was named after Dexter D. Coffin, the owner of the Dexter Company.
It was a manufacturer of specialty papers in Windsor Locks in the mid-1700s.
Visiting Dexter Coffin Junior Bridge will give you some historical information about how it helped motorists from various towns in Connecticut.
Step inside the Noden-Reed Museum
The Noden-Reed Museum is a town-owned local museum in an 1840 farmhouse.
You'll find this historical attraction along West Street.
This museum is a stark reminder of Windsor Lock's rich agricultural history through its well-preserved buildings and artifacts.
It includes the David Pinney House & Barn as the historical buildings you'll find there.
It's also one of the very few last-standing brick barns in New England.
This farmhouse became part of the National Register of Historic Places to preserve its historical value.
At the same time, the Windsor Locks Historical Society currently manages this museum, which displays elegant carriages, old farm tools, hand-stitched quilts, antique furniture, and beddings.
Suppose you're looking for more historical side trips while visiting Windsor Locks; the Noden-Reed Museum should be on your list.
Join guided or self-guided tours through the barn and house with your fellow history buffs to learn its past and to complete your experience.
Have Fun at Spare Time Entertainment
Spare Time Entertainment is an extensive entertainment facility featuring wholesome fun for the whole family.
This place is situated along Ella Grasso Turnpike and is an excellent place for fun.
It has multiple bowling lanes, a gaming arcade, a full-scale restaurant and bar, escape rooms, and a laser tag arena under one roof.
Spare Time Entertainment is an excellent place to visit in Windsor Locks, especially if you bring some kids.
They're guaranteed to have fun playing retro and modern arcade games or perhaps challenge them to some bowling games.
Of course, don't forget to treat them with delicious pizzas, burgers, chicken tenders, and more.
For grown-ups, there is a sports pub and brews available at this place where you can hang out.
Unwind at Luppoleto Brewing Co.
Luppoleto Brewing Co. is a local brewery, taproom, and beer garden.
This watering hole and brewery is situated along Main Street and features signature craft beers on tap and in the can.
Most of the time, its patrons are business travelers who stay in town while waiting for their next flights at the Bradley International Airport.
Of course, locals also spend their time there sipping some freshly-brewed craft beer.
With that in mind, Luppoleto Brewing Co. is an ideal location to unwind in Windsor Locks.
When you're planning to visit this local brewery, don't forget to try its signature craft beer, such as DDH Hopigarchy, Strumpet, Luppopils, Bounce Haus, Wright Dairyman, Crumpet Worthy, Limonzeen, Koppar, and Xport.
Each craft beer flavor has distinct tastes and characteristics, making it an exciting experience for beer connoisseurs.
Spot Planes at Bradley International Airport
It may sound unusual, but you can have a worthwhile time visiting the vicinity of Bradley International Airport in the heart of Windsor Locks.
This airport isn't just known as a vital transport hub in Connecticut.
It's also ideal for spotting different planes landing and departing the entire day.
If you're fascinated with airplanes, visiting this airport allows you to see them a bit closer.
So, don't forget to bring your binoculars or camera and take photos of the planes at the airport.
In addition, check out various attractions inside this airport if you're taking the plane back home from visiting Windsor Locks.
After checking in, visit Bradley International Airport's famous rocking chairs, art exhibits, and souvenir shops.
Honor the Fallen at the Connecticut Firefighter's Memorial
The Connecticut Firefighter's Memorial is a dedication to the firefighters in the state who died during duty.
The memorial is located in front of the Connecticut Fire Academy near Bradley International Airport.
At the center of the granite slab is a polished impala which depicts four firefighters putting out a blaze.
Engraved on the memorial are over 300 names of Connecticut's finest firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Visiting this memorial while in Windsor Locks allows you to learn about Connecticut's firefighting history and heritage.
The Connecticut Firefighter's Memorial is an ideal place to reflect and find peace if you're taking a break from exploring.
Try Your Luck at Winners Bradley
Winners Bradley is a popular simulcast sports betting center with various events to wager on.
This sports betting center, or what others call a sportsbook center, is situated along Schoephoester Road.
It mainly features a simulcast theater.
It's where you can watch and wager on various races from horses, harnesses, thoroughbreds, greyhounds, and even a game of jai alai.
Winners Bradley has numerous movie-sized screens, flat-screen televisions, a top-notch racebook, and a sports bar.
Whether you're there for pure entertainment or a serious wager, this place has something exciting waiting for you.
Pass the Time at Spring Park
Spring Park is one of the larger community parks in Windsor Locks.
This park along Woodland Street encompasses 44.4 acres of green open space.
At the same time, it has pavilions, picnic areas, a pond, and a volleyball court.
It's a park to consider visiting if you're looking for a fun time with your family without spending too much.
Spring Park has a small pond and is surrounded by trees.
At the same time, it has lush tree lines covering the trail to the park, making it an ideal location for outdoor activities.
Enjoy the Outdoors at Southwest Family Park
Southwest Family Park encompasses 5.5 acres of green open fields with tree lines and a picnic area.
This park is situated along Southwest Avenue.
It has a lighted basketball court, a soccer field, a softball field, a playground, a picnic area, and tree covers.
It's an ideal place you can visit with your loved ones if you're looking for a place to relax or perhaps play sports before returning home.
You'll also see locals playing sports, having picnics, or perhaps pass the time at this park.
Overall, Southwest Family Park is ideal for spending time with your loved ones.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Treat Yourself to Mouth-Watering Seafood at Maine Fish Market Restaurant
Maine Fish Market Restaurant is famous in East Windsor and Windsor Locks.
This restaurant mainly features its fresh catch from the Atlantic.
You'll find it along Bridge Street in East Windsor.
Its location is one of Connecticut's oldest commercial buildings, dating back to the 1780s.
The fish market owners started their business in the 1980s, and it grew bigger by adding a seafood restaurant.
It also boasts freshly-harvested seafood using the best ingredients available.
Maine Fish Market Restaurant has a wide array of fresh seafood from lobsters, scallops, oysters, shrimps, crabs, salmon, clams, swordfish, calamari, and many more.
With all that in mind, this restaurant and seafood market in East Windsor is a place worth visiting.
So, take a break from exploring Windsor Locks and grab your meal at this local favorite.
Have Quality Time with Your Loved Ones at the East Windsor Parks & Rec Office
The East Windsor Parks & Rec Office along South Main Street in East Windsor is a large outdoor recreation area.
It consists of numerous soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a children's playground, and other park amenities.
In addition, this park isn't just an outdoor recreation area.
It's also where most of East Windsor's events happen, such as the town fair, Halloween, Easter, and sports events.
If you're looking for a place near Windsor Locks to have fun without burning a hole in your pocket, this park in East Windsor should be your go-to place.
It has the amenities of a lovely community park that you and your loved ones can enjoy.
Hike through Northwest Park
Northwest Park is a vast municipal park in Windsor, seven miles south of Windsor Locks.
It has numerous sports fields for soccer and other sports.
At the same time, it has a nature center and recreational areas throughout its 473-acre property.
On top of that, the park has a walking trail spanning over 12 miles.
The trail takes you to diverse habitats such as forests, wetlands, fields, and meadows.
If you're looking for the natural beauty of this area in Connecticut, Northwest Park offers an excellent hiking experience.
After a worthwhile hike, you can proceed to the park's nature center and see live animals and exhibits or score nice souvenirs at its gift shop.
Get a Closer Look at Vintage Trolleys at the Connecticut Trolley Museum
The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, just across the Connecticut River, features electric railroading artifacts and memorabilia.
It's also the nation's oldest incorporated museum for electric railroading, which opened in the 1940s.
This museum primarily displays and preserves all remaining trolleys and equipment of the trolley era.
It displays over 70 trolleys and rail equipment from the 1800s.
While visiting this unique museum in East Windsor, you'll see well-preserved freight and passenger trolley cars.
More electric railroading vehicles and equipment await you inside this museum in East Windsor.
So, when visiting Windsor Locks, don't forget to include this museum in your itinerary for a unique and worthwhile experience.
Pour a Glass of Fine Wine at Brignole Vineyards
Brignole Vineyards is a locally-owned vineyard and winery in East Granby, 9.2 miles west of Windsor Locks.
This vineyard and winery spanning over 15 acres are situated in East Granby's town center.
It's also a favorite place for wine lovers to hang out.
After tasting various craft beers in Windsor Locks, you can head to this local winery in East Granby for some leisurely wine tasting.
This winery offers excellent options if you're thirsty for a glass of wine.
It has white, red, rose, barrel reserve, and owner's reserve wine varieties you can choose from.
Aside from being the first English settlement in Connecticut, Windsor Locks has more to it than meets the eye.
The museums, parks, Bradley International Airport, and various outdoor recreation make this small Connecticut town worth visiting.
Windsor Locks is an ideal destination for families, history buffs, or even lone travelers who want to explore a sleepy town with a rich history.
Bookmark this list of the best things to do in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, and use it as an itinerary for your travel adventure.