Nestled along the scenic coastline of Connecticut, Stonington is a quaint and picturesque town that invites visitors to step back in time while enjoying modern amenities. With its historic architecture, charming streets, and stunning waterfront views, Stonington offers a unique blend of relaxation and exploration. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or foodie, this coastal gem has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Stonington, Connecticut.
- Explore Stonington Borough: Start your journey by wandering through Stonington Borough, the heart of the town. This historic district is a treasure trove of beautifully preserved 18th and 19th-century homes, boutique shops, and local eateries. The narrow, cobblestone streets add to the area’s charm, providing the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll.
- Visit the Old Lighthouse Museum: Head to the Old Lighthouse Museum, perched on Stonington Point, to delve into the town’s maritime history. The lighthouse, dating back to 1840, offers panoramic views of Fisher’s Island Sound and beyond. Inside, you’ll find exhibits detailing Stonington’s seafaring past, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
- Take a Sail on the Argia Mystic Cruises: Experience the beauty of the Connecticut coastline by embarking on a sailing adventure with Argia Mystic Cruises. Aboard the traditional sailing ship, Argia, you can enjoy a relaxing cruise, taking in breathtaking views of the Mystic River and Long Island Sound. Sunset sails are particularly popular for a romantic and unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy DuBois Beach: For a day of sun and sand, DuBois Beach is the perfect spot. This family-friendly beach offers a tranquil escape with its soft sands and gentle waves. Pack a picnic, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing swim in the Long Island Sound. The beach is also a fantastic spot for capturing stunning sunset vistas.
- Discover Mystic Seaport Museum: A short drive away is the renowned Mystic Seaport Museum, where maritime history comes to life. Explore historic ships, stroll through a recreated 19th-century coastal village, and learn about the area’s seafaring heritage through engaging exhibits. The Mystic Seaport Museum is an immersive experience for visitors of all ages.
- Indulge in Local Cuisine: Stonington boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering everything from seafood shacks to upscale dining. Don’t miss the chance to savor fresh seafood at local establishments like The Dog Watch Cafe or the Water Street Cafe. For a sweet treat, visit Stonington Borough’s popular Zest Fresh Pastry.
- Visit the Stonington Vineyards: Wine enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to Stonington Vineyards, where you can sample a selection of locally produced wines. The vineyard’s scenic setting, complete with rolling hills and charming architecture, provides a relaxing atmosphere for wine tasting and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
- Visit the Velvet Mill: Explore the creative side of Stonington by visiting the Velvet Mill, a historic textile mill turned arts and cultural center. The mill is home to artists’ studios, galleries, and unique shops. You can discover one-of-a-kind handmade crafts, artworks, and perhaps even catch a live performance or workshop.
- Kayak or Paddleboard on Quiambaug Cove: Experience the serene waters of Quiambaug Cove by renting a kayak or paddleboard. Several local outfitters offer rentals, allowing you to paddle at your own pace and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and picturesque views along the coastline.
- Hike the Stonington Land Trust Trails: Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the hiking trails maintained by the Stonington Land Trust. Trails like the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area offer a chance to explore diverse ecosystems, including salt marshes and woodlands. Pack a picnic and spend a day immersed in the natural beauty of the area.
- Attend the Stonington Vineyards Sunset Music Series: If you’re in town during the summer months, don’t miss the Stonington Vineyards Sunset Music Series. Held in the vineyard, this event combines live music with the scenic backdrop of the vineyard, creating a perfect evening of relaxation and entertainment.
- Discover the Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House: History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House. This historic home, built in 1852, provides insight into the life of the famous Antarctic explorer. Guided tours offer a glimpse into the Victorian era and the adventures of Captain Palmer.
- Take a Day Trip to Watch Hill, Rhode Island: Just a short drive away, Watch Hill, Rhode Island, offers a charming escape. Visit the iconic Watch Hill Lighthouse, stroll along the picturesque village streets, and relax on the beautiful beaches. The Flying Horse Carousel, one of the oldest in the United States, is a delightful stop for families.
- Participate in the Stonington Village Fair: If your visit coincides with the annual Stonington Village Fair, immerse yourself in this lively event. The fair features local vendors, artisans, live music, and a festive atmosphere, providing a taste of the community spirit in Stonington.
- Explore Wilcox Park and Westerly, Rhode Island: Enjoy a leisurely day at nearby Wilcox Park in Westerly, Rhode Island. This expansive park offers manicured gardens, walking paths, and a serene pond. Afterward, explore the charming downtown area of Westerly, known for its boutique shops and excellent dining options.
Stonington, Connecticut, with its rich history, coastal beauty, and vibrant community, offers a delightful escape for visitors seeking a unique and charming experience. From historic landmarks to waterfront adventures, this coastal town is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Whether you’re interested in maritime history, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying the local cuisine, Stonington has something to offer every type of traveler. Plan your visit and immerse yourself in the timeless allure of Stonington, Connecticut.