New London, CT is a beautiful town filled with art and history. There are many fun things to do here.
1. Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruises
There are many things to do in New London Connecticut, but if you’re looking for something that will be memorable and fun for everyone, then you have to take a ferry ride. The Cross Sound Ferry runs from New London to Orient Point on the Long Island Sound and offers many different tours of the area, including guided history tours and wildlife cruises where you can see seals, birds, and other wildlife. With several trips per day year-round (weather permitting), this is an excellent way to spend an afternoon or evening out with friends or family!
2. Fort Trumbull State Park
Fort Trumbull State Park is a state park in New London, Connecticut. The land was originally a fort that was built in 1808 during the War of 1812. The fort was named after Governor Jonathan Trumbull and it was built on top of an old Native American settlement.
The park offers many things to do such as:
- Hiking trails (3 miles)
- Picnic areas with grills and tables
- Disc Golf Course (18 holes)
3. Ocean Beach Park
- What to do:
- A park is a popular place for residents to get away from the city, relax and enjoy nature. The park also has a playground, basketball court, and picnic tables.
- When to visit:
You can visit anytime you like!
4. Thames River Heritage Park
Thames River Heritage Park is a public park in New London, Connecticut. It is located on the banks of the Thames River and features a playground, picnic area, and walking trails. There’s also a paved trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.
5. Garde Arts Center
Take the day to explore New London. There are lots of fun things to do in New London, but the most important thing to do is simply spend time exploring this beautiful waterfront town. You can start at Fort Trumbull State Park for a picnic lunch and then head down Thames Street towards downtown where you’ll find many shops, restaurants, and pubs.
Visit Garde Arts Center: The Garde Arts Center is located on Bank Street at Fort Trumbull State Park, just south of I-95 exit 74A. It offers year-round programming of dance, music performances, theatre arts, and visual arts exhibitions as well as educational opportunities throughout southeastern Connecticut.* Go sailing on a schooner: Sailboats have been plying these waters since 1614 when explorer Henry Hudson sailed up here from Massachusetts Bay Colony with his ship Discovery (aka Half Moon). Today’s vessels are much smaller than those bygone galleons but equally majestic—and still used for trips along Long Island Sound that last anywhere from three hours up to half a day or more depending on what you want out of your experience.* Take a historic trolley ride around town: If you want to see some history while exploring New London take advantage of one of their free trolleys during business hours Monday-Friday 8 am – 5 pm; Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm for free rides around downtown!
6. Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Established in 1847, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is named after a New London resident who was one of the founders of Yale University’s School of Fine Arts and an early supporter of American art.
The museum offers a wide range of art exhibits and programs that include many traveling exhibitions, special events, educational workshops, and lectures. Their goal is to foster an appreciation for all types of visual arts through their exhibitions and education programs.
The museum has been recognized as one of America’s top 10 small museums by the readers’ poll published by USA Today newspaper since 2001. It also received three awards from TripAdvisor: Certificate Of Excellence (2012), Travelers’ Choice Award (2013), and World’s Best Award (2014).
7. United States Coast Guard Museum
The United States Coast Guard Museum is a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the history of the US Coast Guard. The museum has exhibits on everything from shipwrecks, to rescue operations and even military conflicts. The hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day except for Christmas Day when they’re closed. Admission is $12 per person and includes access to all areas of both floors (the first floor houses temporary exhibits). Bring your camera because there are some really interesting things to photograph! Wear comfortable shoes because there’s a lot of walking involved in touring this museum. Don’t forget sunscreen either; it’s easy to get burned out here as well as wonder why everything looks so old! If you’re visiting with kids then plan because they might need something new at some point during your time here while others may require something else entirely depending on their age range or interests themselves – just remember everyone has different needs so plan accordingly before going out into public spaces with young ones around town!
8. New London Ledge Light
The New London Ledge Light is a lighthouse on the west side of New London, Connecticut. It was built in 1820, and it’s one of the oldest lighthouses still standing in America. The lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s open for tours during the summer months (June-August).
9. Block Island Express Ferry
Why should you go? Block Island is a unique place—a beautiful island that’s only accessible by boat or plane. There are a lot of great things to do on Block Island, so it’s worth paying the $30 round-trip ferry fare. The trip takes about three hours, but once you arrive at the island there are plenty of activities to keep you busy all day: hiking, biking, and kayaking are just some of the ways to explore this small landmass that’s part of Rhode Island. You can also visit one of their famous restaurants for lunch or dinner (highly recommended). There are also several beaches where you can sunbathe or surf off-season when water temperatures allow (December through April).
10. Pequot Chapel
The church, built in 1855, still stands today. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and is located at the intersection of Pequot Avenue and Court Streets.
11. Connecticut College
Connecticut College is a small liberal arts college in New London, Connecticut. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, it offers more than 50 majors and minors and is home to Global Fellows—a program that allows students the opportunity to study abroad for academic credit. The school’s campus features more than 100 buildings on its 660 acres (including its golf course).
12. Hygienic Art gallery
If you are interested in the art and culture of New London, then the Hygienic Art gallery at The Connecticut Historical Society is the place to be. The gallery features paintings, sculptures, and prints by artists who lived in or visited New London. Hygienic Art is open to the public and free of charge to visit!
13. The Hempsted Houses
The Hempsted Houses are a collection of 14 historic homes in New London, Connecticut. They were built between 1845 and 1872 by the Hempstead family, who left their mark on the city by building some of its finest architecture. The houses were designed by architect Richard Upjohn and were built by the Hempstead family.
The houses feature Greek Revival and Italianate styles that you can see throughout New London along with an extraordinary collection of original furnishings that have been preserved throughout their history.
14. Connecticut College Arboretum
You’ll find Connecticut College Arboretum on the grounds of Connecticut College, just off Interstate 95 and exit 71. The arboretum contains over 50 acres of woodlands, meadows, and gardens. It offers several trails for visitors to explore to get up close and personal with more than 1,000 plant species that grow there year-round.
The arboretum is open daily during daylight hours except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day; admission is free! If you’re looking for additional fun things to do near New London CT this summer season then check out our list below:
Museum at Old Mystic Village – located just two miles away from the arboretum, this museum showcases life in colonial times through interactive exhibits and demonstrations (like rope making!) You’ll also find some great activities for kids here too!
15. Whaling Wall
One of the best things to do in New London is visiting the Whaling Wall. This memorial honors the history of whaling in New London and was built to commemorate the bicentennial of America’s first school for sailors, which opened in this area in 1785. The Whaling Wall is located at the eastern end of the central green, where it can be easily seen by most people visiting downtown. It was designed by Henry W. Bragdon and built-in 1941 with funds raised by local citizens for its construction.
16. Nathan Hale Schoolhouse
There are a lot of places to visit in New London, but the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse is one of the most popular. The building was constructed in 1825 and it’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s not only the oldest one-room schoolhouse in Connecticut, but it also has some fun things to do and see while you’re there.
17. Monte Cristo Cottage
Monte Cristo Cottage is a historic house museum, located on the grounds of Connecticut College. Built-in 1835, it was the home of several prominent New London families over its 200+ year history. The cottage has been meticulously restored to its original state and contains many period furnishings that were purchased when it was occupied by these families.
The Monte Cristo Association will give you a tour of this beautiful historic home where each room has been carefully restored with period details and furniture.
18. The Custom House Maritime Museum
The Custom House Maritime Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of New London, Connecticut. Located at the historic Custom House, this museum offers a fun, interactive way to learn about local history with plenty of artifacts on display.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm (last entry 3:30 pm)
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children 6-16 years old, free for ages 5 and under, and NH residents with proof of residency.
Address: 65 State Street New London CT 06320
19. New London Harbor Light
If you like lighthouses, New London Harbor Light is for you. This lighthouse was built in 1801 and it’s the oldest lighthouse in Connecticut. It was also the first lighthouse to be built in New London and one of the first eight lighthouses in America!
The light itself has an interesting history as well. At first, it used a fixed lens with a system of reflectors to direct its beams across Long Island Sound, but when that system proved ineffective they switched it up with a revolving lens instead. The light was also one of the first screw-pile lighthouses—meaning that instead of being built on piles driven into sand or rock like other lights at the time were, this one was constructed out of wood planks fastened together atop posts driven into the seabed below. It’s still standing today and is considered by many to be “the most romantic spot on earth.”
20. Old Town Mill
The Old Town Mill is located in the Thames River Heritage Park. This working mill has a shop and museum and is open to the public. There are guided tours that you can take of the mill, which can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour.
The Old Town Mill was built in 1857 by Joseph Smith, who was known for building quality mills for his townsfolk. The mill was originally used to grind grains into flour for New London’s citizens until it stopped operating in 1910 due to changes in farming practices that no longer required local mills like this one
21. Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument
The Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument is a memorial to the men and women of Connecticut who served in the Civil War. The monument can be found at Fort Trumbull Park, an old military base where you can also enjoy views of Long Island Sound and New London Harbor. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset; admission is free.
If you’re visiting during the summer months, take advantage of the nearby beaches and bike trails of East Beach State Park or Lighthouse Point Park (just across Water Street). You can also see some interesting architecture on your way there: head over to Admiral’s Row for some 19th-century homes which were once occupied by high-ranking Navy officers; it’s only about five minutes away walking distance from Fort Trumbull Park.
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to spend your time in New London, be sure to check out the new attractions and events! Tate Museum and Library is excited to welcome visitors from all over the world who want an experience they won’t forget. Come visit soon!
New London is a great place to explore and learn about the area. The city has so much to offer in terms of culture and history. We hope you enjoy your trip!