New London, Connecticut, is a charming coastal city located in the southeastern part of the state. It is a city steeped in history, with a thriving arts and culture scene, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, New London has something for everyone. In this post, we’ll explore some of the top things to do in New London, Connecticut.
- Visit the U.S. Coast Guard Academy
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is located in New London and is the training academy for the United States Coast Guard. The academy offers tours of the campus, which includes impressive buildings and picturesque grounds. Visitors can learn about the history of the Coast Guard and its mission. The academy is also home to the Coast Guard Museum, which features exhibits on the history of the Coast Guard, its role in maritime law enforcement, and the Coast Guard’s search and rescue missions.
- Take a stroll through the historic district
New London has a rich history, and there’s no better way to experience it than by taking a walk through the city’s historic district. The district is home to a collection of well-preserved historic homes and buildings, many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of the district, which includes stops at the Hempsted Houses, the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, and the Shaw Mansion.
- Explore the art galleries and museums
New London has a thriving arts and culture scene, with a variety of art galleries and museums to explore. The Lyman Allyn Art Museum features a collection of American art, including works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The museum also hosts a variety of rotating exhibitions throughout the year. The Hygienic Art Gallery is another must-visit destination for art lovers. The gallery features a variety of contemporary art exhibitions and hosts a range of cultural events, including live music and theater performances.
- Visit Ocean Beach Park
Ocean Beach Park is a popular destination for families, with a variety of activities and attractions for all ages. The park features a half-mile of pristine beachfront, complete with lifeguards and beach volleyball courts. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of rides and attractions, including a waterslide, a carousel, and a miniature golf course. The park also features a boardwalk with restaurants and shops.
- Go fishing or take a boat tour
New London is located on the Thames River, which provides ample opportunities for fishing and boating. Visitors can charter a fishing boat and try their hand at catching striped bass, bluefish, and other local fish species. Alternatively, visitors can take a scenic boat tour of the Thames River, which offers stunning views of the city’s historic waterfront and the surrounding coastline.
- Explore the local food scene
New London has a diverse and thriving food scene, with plenty of options for every taste and budget. Seafood lovers won’t want to miss out on the city’s famous New England-style clam chowder, as well as fresh lobster rolls and other seafood dishes. For those looking for something different, New London also has a variety of ethnic restaurants, including Italian, Thai, and Indian cuisine.
- Attend a performance at the Garde Arts Center
The Garde Arts Center is a historic theater in downtown New London that hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including live theater, music, and dance performances. The theater itself is a beautiful work of art, with ornate details and stunning architecture. Visitors can check the theater’s website for a schedule of upcoming events and performances.
- Go hiking
New London is surrounded by scenic hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the city’s natural beauty. The Connecticut College Arboretum is a popular destination for hikers, with over 700 acres of natural beauty to explore. The trails wind through forests, meadows, and wetlands, with plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife along the way. Other popular hiking destinations in the area include Bluff Point State Park and Haley Farm State Park.
- Visit the Submarine Force Museum
The Submarine Force Museum is located in nearby Groton and is dedicated to the history of the United States Submarine Force. The museum features a variety of exhibits and artifacts, including a replica of the first submarine, the USS Turtle, and a collection of historic submarines, including the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the history of the Submarine Force and its important role in national defense.
- Take a day trip to Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is a historic maritime museum located just a short drive from New London. The museum features a recreated 19th-century coastal village, complete with historic homes, shops, and working tradespeople. Visitors can also explore a variety of historic vessels, including the last remaining wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. The museum also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including traditional boat-building workshops and historic sailing experiences.
In conclusion, New London, Connecticut, is a hidden gem with a rich history, thriving arts and culture scene, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s history, enjoying the beach, or taking in a live performance, there’s something for everyone in New London. So, plan a trip to this charming coastal city and discover all it has to offer!