Road Trip in Connecticut

Connecticut is among the earliest states added to the United States. It has a rich history, dating back to a time when America was a completely different country.

In addition to its historical sites, Connecticut has a multitude of attractions for you to enjoy, regardless of whether you're taking a road trip with your friends, your family, or on your own.

CT Rules of the Road

Before you begin to explore Connecticut, you should be familiar with the state traffic laws. Knowing the rules of the road will help to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Connecticut Traffic Laws

The following are a general set of Connecticut traffic laws:

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Never text and drive.
  • Obey the speed limits, making sure that you don't exceed them.

For more information on specific Connecticut laws, visit the state's Driver Handbook.

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Attractions & Sightseeing in CT

From its rich American history to its vast natural expanses, Connecticut has a variety of unique destinations for you to explore. There are attractions in state that are sure to satisfy, whether you're traveling alone, with friends, or the whole family.

Below you will find lists of just a few suggested places to visit and things to do during your time in Connecticut.

Natural Attractions

Bring out your inner nature lover and adventurer by visiting the following:

  • Gillette Castle State Park—East Haddam, CT.
    • Explore the castle that was once home to William Gillette, the actor who originally played Sherlock Holmes.
    • Hiking trails, picnic area, plus camping along the river.
  • Sleeping Giant State Park—Hamden, CT.
    • The park's mountain range literally looks like a sleeping giant.
    • Fishing, camping, and hiking trails that lead to observation towers.
  • Appalachian Trail—Runs through Kent and Cornwall, CT.
    • Hike along one of America's largest and most well-known mountain ranges along the Housatonic River.
    • Beginner and advanced level hiking trails.
    • Designated campsites along the trial (for multi-day hikers).
  • New England Trail—Runs from the Connecticut coastline up to Massachusetts.
    • Numerous hiking trails for all skill levels.
    • Campgrounds along the hiking trails.
    • Rotating art projects and learning programs for you and your family to enjoy.
  • West Rock Ridge State Park—New Haven, CT.
    • Enjoy a peaceful and scenic hike just minutes away from the busyness of the city.
    • Fishing and boating, plus hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.

Historic Attractions

As one of America's earliest states, Connecticut rich with historical sites to experience. Some include:

  • Mystic Seaport—Mystic, CT.
    • Historic seaport dating back to when the U.S. was still under British reign.
    • Shops, restaurants, and museums for the whole family to enjoy.
    • Go on board an historic ship.
  • Weir Farm National Historic Site—Wilton, CT.
    • The summer home for famous American impressionist painter Julien Alden Weir.
    • Guided tours of the house and studios.
    • Hiking trials and gardens.
    • Walk around the property and get creative with art supplies that are provided by the Visitor Center.
  • Roseland Cottage—Woodstock, CT.
    • A colorful Gothic Revival-style mansion surrounded by lush gardens and greenery owned by Lucy and Henry Bowen during the Victorian era.
    • Home to the country's oldest indoor bowling alley.
    • Visited by multiple U.S. presidents.
  • Mark Twain House and Museum—Hartford, CT.
    • Home to the quintessential American author, where he wrote some of his most influential books.
    • Guided tours plus special events and benefits.
    • Exhibits on Mark Twain's life and works.
  • Essex Steam Train—Essex, CT.
    • Take a trip on the only steam train and riverboat connection in the country, beginning at the historic Essex Station and running through the Connecticut River Valley.
    • Dining options available.
  • Elizabeth Park—West Hartford, CT.
    • America's oldest public rose garden.
    • Tennis courts, basketball courts, and baseball field on site.
    • Tour the historic farmhouses, residences, and greenhouses.
  • Connecticut State Capitol tours—Hartford, CT.
    • Take a tour of the State Capitol and Legislative Office Buildings.
    • Self-guided and docent-led tours available.

CT Museums

In Connecticut, there's a museum for everyone. Whether you're into fine arts or airplanes, history or science, you'll have plenty of opportunities to observe and learn.

  • Peabody Museum of Natural History—Yale University, New Haven, CT.
    • Exhibits on dinosaurs complete with fossils, skeletons, murals, and replicas of these prehistoric beasts.
    • Exhibits on human history, dating back to our earliest origins.
    • “Discovery Room" with hands-on exhibits that feature live animals and educational activities.
  • Mashantucket Pequot Museum—Mashantucket, CT.
    • Exhibits focused on early Native American life and the effects of the first US settlers on it.
    • Attached research department specializing in the artifacts and history of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
  • Connecticut Science Center—Hartford, CT.
    • Hands-on exhibits for kids and adults for both kids and adults.
    • Exhibits on a range of sciences, from the earth's natural history to the human body.
  • New England Air Museum—Windsor Locks, CT.
    • Displays on airplanes and engines, spanning the earliest attempts at building aircrafts, a wide variety of war planes, helicopters, blimps, and more.
    • Cockpit tours and hands-on activities for the kids.
  • Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum—Ridgefield, CT.
    • Rotating contemporary art exhibits.
    • Guided tours, tailored to your group's age and preferences.
    • Special weekly events including cocktail parties, painting classes, and educational programs.
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art—Hartford, CT.
    • America's oldest public art museum.
    • Art exhibitions on everything from Baroque European art to contemporary American pieces.
    • Hands-on creative activities for families.

For the Kids

If you've decided to take a road trip with the family, or just want to get in touch with your inner child, check out these Connecticut attractions.

  • Mystic Aquarium—Mystic, CT.
    • Get hands on experience with your favorite animals.
    • Educational exhibits on creating a cleaner world.
    • Special feeding viewings and shows everyday.
  • Beardsley Zoo—Bridgeport, CT.
    • Home to a selection of reptiles, mammals, birds, and more.
    • See some of the world's most endangered animals.
  • Dinosaur State Park—Rocky Hill, CT.
    • Exhibits where you can see archaeological specimens never before released to the public.
    • Make your very own cast of a dinosaur footprint.
    • Cool down in the shade of the Arboretum, which contains a diverse collection of tree species.
  • Stepping Stones Museum for Children—Norwalk, CT.
    • Hands-on exhibits and activities tailored to all children, ranging in age from infant to pre-teen.
    • Community garden with interactive music makers.
  • Lake Compounce—Bristol, CT.
    • The oldest operating theme park in the United States with a wide variety of rollercoasters and rides, plus a water park with slides, a lazy river, and more.

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