best Things to do in New London, CT

New London, CT, is filled with hidden treasures and offers a unique range of cultural, historical, entertainment, and educational advantages that makes it a great vacation spot. There are plenty of sights to see and landmarks to explore. There anyone can spend their vacation amazingly. New London is an over 350-year-old, small, historical, and beautiful city situated on Thames River banks. And it was the second-largest whaling port in the world in the mid-1800s.

Its enchanting historical background, beautiful waterfront view, and numerous attractions make it the ultimate vacation destination! Once you’ve experienced all the Mystic attractions of the town, you will never forget this place! If you are new here, it’s time to explore it.

Among many of them, there are few things we have listed to help you through the search. They are discussed below:

  1. Wheeling City Tours:

If you are new in the town, what can be better than starting with side seeing the city, and if it is on a unique wheel, it will make your day. This tour is known as the wheeling City tour. It is most popular among the natives and visitors. It will take you on tours of the city on Segways, Downtown tour, or the Beaches tour. You can choose any place to go or visit them all.

While learning about the architecture, history, and local tips of the new London for entertainment, the downtown Tour will take you around Downtown New London, Fort Trumbull, and the waterfront. There you can learn anything you want to know about the downtown tradition and culture. And the Beaches tour will take you to the beaches, Pequot Colony, and lighthouses. You can side see them and make a new place for another day.

This Wheeling City Tours also go to Segway Polo, a fun take on Polo’s traditional sport. There you can play it with other people. And to play the game, you do not need any experience. Anyone over 16 years old can join them. They will welcome to do so.

Address: 36 Bank St, New London, CT, 877-474-1117

  1. Ocean Beach Park:

Ocean Beach Park is the finest beach in New London city, and it is the most popular tourist attraction that includes a boardwalk and charming beaches. It is a place that is perfect for one of those timeless summer afternoons. National Geographic has appreciated ocean Beach Park as one of the best beaches in the world. You will love the fascinating view of the beach.

This beautiful golden beach is full of fun. It has an archway with retro games, amusement rides, and triple waterslides, and for kids, there is a kiddy spray park. If you want to get some laps in, there’s an Olympic size pool there are18 holes of miniature golf by the boardwalk. You can enjoy there as long as you want. It also has a café with a restaurant and picnic area.

It has everything for you and your family. You can enjoy tons of fun activities in Ocean Beach Park while basking in the sun and enjoying the water. When you are hungry, enjoying golfing, rides, slides, and other fun activates, you can also have delicious food from the cafe and the restaurant.

Ocean Beach Park is very clean, fresh, and well maintained. It makes this park a delightful place to visit. You will love this place.

Address: 98 Neptune Avenue, New London, CT, Phone: 860-447-3031

  1. Fort Trumbull State Park:

Fort Trumbull State Park is a very famous park situated near the mouth of River Thames in New London, CT. It was made in 1777 and repairs in the 19th century. Fort Trumbull State Park is an excellent place for a stroll while learning about the history of the area. It is a tranquil, calm, and peaceful place. If you love nature, this is the best place you could visit in New London.

If you want a clean and nice view, you should go to the ramparts or fort or head into the visitor’s center to get a beautiful view of the Thames River area. It will help you to learn about the area’s history, which completes with interactive exhibits.

Visitors are welcome there. They can walk along the boardwalk or go fishing on the pier. It attracts fishing lovers here. There is also a water taxi available there. If you want, you can take tours of the historic fort or take a water taxi to make the tour more thrilling. It is open to the public 24 hours a day. And it has over 500 feet of shore-based access to fishing on the Long Island Sound.

Fort Trumbull has four bastions and five sides for close-quarters fighting, which can accommodate 52 guns and howitzers. Inside the Fort Trumbull, you can tour living quarters, and an office and mock laboratory hear back the war research directed here from the WWII to 1970.

Address: 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, Phone: 860-424-3000

  1. Mystic Whaler Cruises:

If you love ships and want to go on a thrilling river adventure on a cruise, this option is just for you. Mystic Whaler Cruises is one of the most popular attractions in New London. It gives you adventures on very tall ships where you can have a lovely time. There are various kinds of cruise available with multiple sizes, colors, and shapes.

There are many packages available for visitors. It doesn’t matter whether you go for a few hours, a day, or a few day’s adventure; it will be your best cruise journey you have ever done. Although you can also go on a sailing vacation that is many days long, its specialty is their three-hour cruises.

All the ships are not the same; several ships are available to choose the one you like. You can choose from sunset cruises, lobster dinners, Sunday brunches, and luncheon dates. Select one, and you are ready to go, but according to the variety, the price also may differ.

The food served on the ship is fresh and made from fresh local ingredients and produce. All cruises do not offer meals, but every boat has some drinks such as lemonade, water, hot cocoa, coffee, and tea. You can enjoy the enchanting view of the river while heaving some of the most delicious foods.

There is only one obstacle there; the ship does not allow children under five years old. So if you have little ones under five, maybe you have to wait a little bit for the adventure.

Address: City Pier, New London, CT, 800-697-8420

  1. Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruises:

Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruises is another excellent place with historical value. It is located at Ferry St., New London, CT. This lighthouse gives you the chance to enjoy the water while learning and seeing the history of Long Island and Southern New England. Here you can learn about the history and enjoy the fascinating beauty of the area.

You can enjoy these sightseeing tours in the water with complete comfort on a high-speed climate-controlled ship. It will improve your tour pleasure. In addition to forts and more, there is the Classic Lighthouse Cruise, which shows you nine lighthouses. You will get the chance to see all of them and know about them.

You can also take a Lights and Sights cruise for some fantastic architecture in addition to the lighthouses. If you want, you can leave from Orient Point in NY for the Long Island Lights Cruise. They will welcome you and offer excellent service. And there are also free rewards memberships available for the visitors. It gives you the chance to earn points; these points help you get discounts for the tour well. They are friendly too.

Address: 2 Ferry St., New London, CT, Phone: 860-443-5281

  1. New London Waterfront District:

Another must-see place in New London is the New London Waterfront District. The lively creative community of this town resides in this 26-block National Register Historic District. This waterfront district is full of many historic buildings and structures. Some impressive rich early 19th-century buildings are enhancing the beauty of the town. Such as one-off boutiques, performing arts venues, quirky restaurants, and galleries, some of which we’ll cover below.

There are so many things to visit here; you will lose track of time. You will follow ocean-going whalers’ footprints while walking through those streets, just like historic figures playwright Eugene O’Neill and Benedict Arnold. And don’t forget to see the New London County Courthouse at 70 Huntington Street. It is a beautiful spot to visit here. It is the oldest operating courthouse in Connecticut.

Address: Main St. New London, CT 06320

  1. The Garde Arts Center:

The Garde Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts center of a professional level. This art center is open in1985 in New London. This art center’s building is from back to 1926, which makes it a historic movie palace. And you can also appreciate the restored Moroccan interior with expanded lobbies. They are middle-eastern themed and have Morrocan interiors and murals.

In this historic movie palace, you can watch both movies and live performances. So when you are visiting there, make sure to catch a film, a live musical, or any other live performance. Only then will you understand how charming this place is. It is an excellent destination for both live performances and cinema with a large space and advanced sound system.

Here you will get a chance to attend events like musical performances, theatrical performances, musicals, the World Live Cinema Series, kids’ performances, etc. And it is also rentable you can also rent the Garde Arts Center for special events or attend a special event there.

Address: 325 State St., New London, CT, Phone: 860-444-7373

  1. Lyman Allyn Art Museum:

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum was constructed from local granite built-in 1930. It includes 12 acres of gardens and lawns. It was a gift from Harriet Allyn, who wanted to honor of seafaring his father. Today, this art museum contains more than 17,000 objects worldwide; they belong to the history of past and modern times.

There is a wide range of permanent collections of American Art, representing the Hudson River School, the Aesthetic Movement, and Impressionism. It also has rotating exhibitions. You can enjoy the art museum exhibition; you can attend special programs like educational lectures, opportunities, exhibition openings, or musical events.

Or, if you want, you can also explore 12 acres of land with the Sculpture Trail and the beautiful garden. Enjoy self-exploration, or you can go with a guided tour. You can choose either of the options. There are experienced tour guides who know about it; they will describe it well while viewing it.

Address: 625 Williams Street, New London, CT, Phone: 860-443-2545

  1. Submarine Force Library & Museum:

The Submarine Force Library & Museum is one of the most exciting places to visit in New London. It is not only interesting for grown but also for kids too. Here you can see various submarine related things which are educational too. The US Navy’s main submarine base on the East Coast is located on the opposite of Thames River’s bank in Groton.

This Submarine Force Library & Museum’s main attraction is the USS Nautilus berthed out front. Naval History and Heritage Command manage this first-class museum. It was launched in 1954, this was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine, and you will get the change to tour the front part of the ship.

There are many other submarines also available there on the land. From the USS George Washington (1959) on earth, there’s a compelling line-up of midget submarines in front, simultaneously with the sail section, it is the first nuclear sub with ballistic missile capability. Here you will get a chance to explore some fantastic things about the submarine that you have never seen, and it will enhance your knowledge about the sub.

Address: 1 Crystal Lake Rd, Groton, CT 06340, Phone: (800) 343-0079

  1. The United States Coast Guard Museum:

The United States Coast Guard Museum is another must-see spot in New London. This museum operates by the National Coast Guard Museum Association who honors the Coast Guards heritage while letting the public go into the Coast Guard’s life. It tells about how the coast guard’s actual experience and jobs are.

The museum offers many activities, including education programs. The United States Coast Guard Museum features leadership training, interactive display, programs, STEM-based educational programs, and private and public partnerships. Visitors will be provided with them. It will increase their fun.

Along with the different activities, there are three diverse themes across the museum, which focuses on Safety, Security, and Stewardship. And those themes are divided into five storylines, which include Protectors of the Environment, Champions, Defenders of the Nation, of Commerce, Lifesavers around the world, and Enforcers of the ocean.

It is open to everyone, so you go there with your family and friends. The museum has something for everyone. It is divided into exhibits, renderings, and the STEM Discovery Center which make sure something for all ages.

Address: 78 Howard St, Suite A, New London, CT, Phone: 860-443-4200

  1. Custom House Maritime Museum:

The Custom House Maritime Museum is built from the granite of various shades, and the door is carved from timber that once belongs to the USS Constitution. This museum is open throughout the full year. Visitors are welcome all year long.

This maritime museum tells guests the stories of the waterfront in the city. To entertain the visitors, the museum arranges many activities such as boat trips and tours of lighthouses and hosts various special events, like an annual chowda’fest. Here you can enjoy the boat journey, watching the lighthouses, or if you want, you can attain special events.

In the Custom House Maritime Museum, you will find artifacts related to the local lighthouses plus US Customs and the Amistad. There are also rotating display as well. You can plan a tour or an architectural tour of the museum or roam on your own. There is also a museum shop for the memorial of the tour like gifts and books.

Inside the museum, you can go into depth on La Amistad, dive into New London’s whaling industry, check out model ships, and read up on the numerous lighthouses.

Address: 150 Bank Street, New London, CT, Phone: 860-447-2501

  1. The Connecticut College Arboretum:

If you love nature and want to be close to nature, this option is ideal for you. The Connecticut College Arboretum is a gorgeous space with charming natural beauty. Everyone will love the wildlife here. This Connecticut College Arboretum is open to the public every day of the week between dawn and dusk so that anyone can enjoy this fantastic spot 24/7.

The Connecticut College Arboretum lets guests connect with the natural world and provides recreation, preservation, teaching, and research. With the healing and rebuilding power of nature, you will be able to do anything. It will re-energetic you. Here we will forget to harass daily life and have a peaceful time.

If you want, you can also become a member of the Arboretum to help support. The Connecticut College Arboretum is 750 acres large area filled with different plant collections, and every trail works well for either casual walk or hiking. In the Arboretum, there are also some areas where you can go running.

There are guided available tours. They are experienced and have all the knowledge about the Arboretum. You can choose to explore the Arboretum on your own or join one of the free guided tours during the summer months.

Address: 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT, Phone: 860-447-1911

  1. Block Island Express Ferry:

Block Island Express Ferry is a beautiful place filled with natural beauty. It is located off the tip of Long Island and to the south of Rhode Island. The beautiful island, the fresh blue water around it is just enchanting. Nothing can be better than spending time on that island. But it will be best if you go there on a sunny day.

When you land at Old Harbor, you can spend the day hiking, cycling, or looking for landmarks, both natural and man-made. You could also vanish in The Long Island Sound and do as little as possible. This Block Island comes with 17 miles of beaches! One way to experience the island is on an evening return.

The returning time can be different according to the season. From the end of June, Every Thursday, the ferry departs New London around 15:00. At that time, you can rest there and stay longer. Before returning, you can take a relaxed dinner on the island to watch the sun going down over Long Island Sound.

Address: 2 Ferry St, New London, CT 06320, Phone: (860) 444-4624

  1. Connecticut College:

Connecticut College is a private college located at Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT. It is a liberal arts school and has about 1,815 students. This great college is famous around the town. The Connecticut College is founded in 1911 under the name Connecticut College for Women, which became Connecticut College and, in 1969, first began accepting men.

In this college, there are plenty of significant subjects; students can choose any which he/she like. There are 41 majors subjects to choose from as well as the option of a self-designed major. The campus also has three residential areas and two main libraries, including one that is recently renovated. The residential area is for the student’s accommodation, and in the library, you will find tons of books.

There are also multiple performance places on the campus and the college’s nursery, open to the people to connect with nature. Anyone can visit there are enjoy it. It would be best if you could go there at live performance.

Address: 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT, Phone: 860-447-1911

  1. The Thames River Heritage Park:

The Thames River Heritage Park is the very first heritage park in Connecticut. It is a beautiful park with historical value. A heritage park is a combination of contemporary and historical sites, including institutions and communities on either side of the river. It is a must-see place in New London, CT. This historical place contains plenty of beautiful waterfalls.

The Thames River Heritage Water Taxi takes you to cross the water and learn about its culture and history while watching historic spots, such as where Benedict Arnold stormed Fort Griswold in 1781. You can go to the heritage site with your family and friends. You will not forget the beauty of the place; it will leave a long-lasting effect on your mind.

Including the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, Hempsted Houses, Fort Trumbull, the Historic Waterfront District, Shaw Mansion, and Custom House Maritime Museum, there are many great spots in and by the heritage park. You can enjoy them all day long. But you have to remember that the water taxi is seasonal and does not operate in the winter.

Address: PO. Box 851, New London, CT

  1. Hempsted Houses:

The Joshua Hempsted House is one of the oldest surviving houses in the state of Connecticut. It is a historic house museum located at 11 Hempstead Street in New London, Connecticut. This house is built about 1678 and change many times during the 18th century. Hempsted House offers a virtual catalog of early house construction methods due to its state of conservation.

It is the birthplace of Joshua Hempsted the second. His diary is considered one of the most reliable documents for life in colonial New England. It is proven now. In his diary, he gives detailed information about the life of his slave Adam Jackson, who lived on the property for over 30 years.

The stone-built Nathanial Hempsted House from 1759 is situated just Beside the Joshua Hempsted House. Both buildings survived the extensive destruction of the Battle of Groton Heights in 1780. These house museums are the living proof of the history, culture, and superb structure of the past. Here you will explore a whole new world, a world of ancient, and you will learn how they used to build houses and lead their life.

This pace is open for the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from May to October. You can come here for a tour then and explore it.

Address: 11 Hempstead St, New London, CT 06320, Phone: (860) 443-7949

  1. The New London Harbor Light:

The New London Harbor Light is one of the oldest lighthouses in New London, CT. And it is also the fifth oldest light station in the whole country and the seventh oldest lighthouse. Your tour here will give you the opportunities to see and explore them physically. It is open to the public. You can go there with your family and friends.

The New London Harbor Light is a great place to tour. It is the tallest and oldest lighthouse, Connecticut, and sitting on long Island Sound. This lighthouse is 90 feet high to see it 15 miles away on a clear day. Since 1990, it has been part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Some renovations took place in 2014, which reapers it and gives it the shape of now. Unfortunately, this lighthouse is not like others mentioned above; the general public cannot enter the ground without previous arrangement. If you want to visit there, you will have to take advance permission. You can do so by contacting the New London Maritime Society.

Address: 810 Pequot Ave, New London, CT

  1. Pequot Chapel:

If you are interested in religion, this option is especially for you. Pequot Chapel is a religious and peaceful place in the city. It has been here for almost 150 years, providing peach and beauty in a pastoral setting. During part of the year, it is open for Sunday services and also hosts special events. You can also visit the chapel to praise its exterior or plan a chapel tour to see the inside and place.

The chapel is also available for reservation. If you want, you can reserve the chapel for religious events, such as weddings and baptisms, but there is no need to plan an event there to go on a tour of the building and grounds. You can go there without reservation and watch it closely. It dates back to the Victorian area and is non-sectarian.

There is no denying that The Chapel is a great place to visit, but you should avoid it if you don’t like religious things.

Address: 857 Montauk Avenue, New London, CT, Phone: 860-442-0812

  1. Hygienic Art Gallery:

Hygienic Art Gallery is an essential part of New London’s entertainment, economy, tourism, and arts. It highlights the history and culture of New London. This place is the ideal spot for you to know the area’s culture and history if you are new here. The gallery hosts plenty of cultural and musical events to inspire and display the local community’s talent and artists. It would be best if you visited the Hygienic Art Gallery to support fantastic local artists’ works.

In just the past year, the Hygienic Art Gallery hosted over 100 cultural and musical events, 70 exhibits, assistance in the City of New London, and the Artist Academy Jr. program. The gallery is a non-profit whose mission is to inspire, instill a sense of community, and enrich, with a free and public art forum. You will love it.

When you visit the gallery, you will find the Hygienic Ark, two public galleries, and residential artist studios. And outside the gallery, there is an outdoor garden where you will find the Frank Palmer Loomis Amphitheater. If you love art and music, it is the perfect place you could go and enjoy your time.

Address: 79 Bank Street, New London, CT, Phone: 860-443-8001

  1. Old Town Mill:

Old Town Mill is a historic landmark of the town situated on Mill Street, New London, CT. It is also known as Winthrop Mill, which is a grist mill that sits by Briggs Brook. This mill was founded in 1650, and surprisingly there are still has some elements of the original structure of the mill. This mill house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This Old Town Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places. It enhances its historical value and attracts tourists. The city still owns this historical Old Town Mill, and you can visit the grounds any day you want. You are welcome there. They will welcome you, but you will need to make a special appointment if you’re going to see the real mill. This Old Town Mill is one and a half stories and 36 feet by 30, facing southward and 24×30-foot yard with cobblestones.

Address: 8 Mill Street, New London, CT

  1. New London Ledge Light:

The New London Ledge Lighthouse is excellent. This 100 years old lighthouse takes care of the New London Ledge Light, one of the last lighthouses to be built in New England when it was completed in 1909. The Ledge Lighthouse Foundation is a non-profit, all-volunteer institution that works to publicize the New London Ledge Lighthouse history and help it remain a tourist attraction.

This lighthouse looks like a mansion and has French Second Empire architecture and mansard roof; it reflects the wealthy native residents. This lighthouse’s construction took place between 1906 and 1909, and it is three stories tall with eleven rooms. While visiting the Ledge Lighthouse, you can see Envirolab II, the Project Oceanology vessel, departing the UConn campus at Avery Point in Groton.

The New London Ledge Lighthouse is still active and provides a tour to the tourist. Once you watched an orientation video in an air-conditioned theatre, you can explore the lighthouse’s interior on your own time. You can go to explore it on your own. Don’t forget to check out the keepers’ room and savoring the light tower’s view at the top.

This organization also offers seasonal tours of the lighthouse, both individual and public tours. You can join a group tour, or you can g there on your own.

Address: New London, CT

  1. Whaling Wall:

The Whaling Wall is a fascinating mural along Eugene O’Neill Drive. New London city is a prominent spot for one of Wyland’s “Whaling Walls” to raise environmental awareness; 100 Whaling Wall is painted worldwide. This mural was completed by a world-famous whale artist Wyland. It takes one week to complete it. He was from California and painted life-size whale murals on building walls in all 15 states lining the United States’ east coast.

Since it was known as a “Whaling City,” New London was the logical choice for Connecticut’s mural. In the 19th century, this town was one of the three busy whaling ports globally, and second only to New Bedford in America. The mural is 170 feet long and 40 feet tall; it features a Sperm Whale and. It is beautiful spices; roam around the big blue ocean.

After understanding its importance, the Connecticut Governor dedicated the mural, and it officially became a city landmark. And it got its deserving place. This primary species hunted was the sperm whale, and this was the species chosen by Wyland for his monumental painting.

Address: 23 Eugene O’Neill Drive, New London, CT

  1. Monte Cristo Cottage:

Monte Cristo Cottage is another excellent National Historic Landmarks of New London city. This beautiful cottage is the Summer House of Eugene O’Neill. You maybe already know this; it was the summer home of Eugene O’Neill and his father, the American actor James O’Neill. Here you will get the chance to explore it on your own.

The Monte Cristo Cottage was built during the 1840s, and later it was expanded. But it is still as charming as before. Now, the cottage is a two-story home that sits three bays wide. There is a vivid corridor wrapping around the north side in the front. There is also a tower which is featuring a pyramidal roof. As soon as you entire into the building, you will realize why it was the summer house of the Eugene O’Neill. It is where O’Neill wrote the first two of his plays since it is set there.

Address: Monte Cristo Cottage, 325 Pequot Avenue, New London, CT

  1. Ye Antientist Burial Ground:

Ye Antientist Burial Ground is the first graveyards of New England and the oldest colonial cemetery of New London County. It is also the oldest graveyards of the New London city. Ye Antientist Burial Ground sits on a hillside and holds 1.5 acres of line, neighboring the first meeting house in the settlement. It is open to the public; anyone can visit this place and know about its first graveyard.

This Ye Antientist Burial Ground is located beside the Groton and Thames River. So tourist of the cemetery gets wide views of Groton and the Thames River. With the first decedent interred in 1652, the burial ground was legally set apart in 1653. From then, this place is buried many great people in its chest.

Some of the great people buried in this graveyard include Sarah Kemble Knight, Lucretia Harris Shaw, Thomas Short, and Gurdon Saltonstall. It also has a beautiful weeping European beech tree, which enhances the beauty of the place. It is one of the must-see spots of New London. You can go there with your family and friends too.

Address: New London, CT

  1. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock:

There’s enough of roaming, let’s have something delicious in Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock. It serves some mouth-watering seafood, and it is very popular among the natives and visitors. They are known for serving the freshest seafood prepared perfectly. If you love seafood, this place is a paradise for you. You will get some best seafood dishes here.

Although the foods are delicious, they are not expensive. You can have them without worry; it will not make a dent in your pocket. By the Yankee’s Editor’s Pick, this eatery named the best seafood shack in the town. You will know why when you go there. And when you are there, do not forget to try the butter-splashed lobster roll and flaky fried fish. It is my favorite dish. I love it. I am sure you will love it too.

Address: 80 Hamilton St, New London, CT 06320

  1. Muddy Waters Café:

What can be better than a fresh cup of coffee with a fresh-made sandwich? Muddy Waters Café is the best café in the city, situated in the Downtown area of New London. This coffee house is most popular to the customers.

It serves fresh and tasty baked goods and its hearty sandwiches, coffee, wraps, soups, salads, etc. Among all, Love Salad is their best dish; it is the best seller in the café. If you go there, don’t forget to try it.

Final Words:

New London is an extraordinary city with tons of rich culture, history, and nature. It is full of many historical places, museums, parks, and the natural beauty of this place. It makes it the best vacation spot for visitors.

The beautiful golden beach in New London will surely impress you. They are the best beaches in the world. You can spend the whole vacation lying on that beautiful beach. And its historical places and delicious foods add extra charm to the place. You should visit there and spend the best memorable days of your life.

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