New London

Fun Boat Rides for Connecticut Kids and Families

As close to a shoreline as most Connecticut families are, a fun boat ride with kids can make for a perfect day trip. Whether you’re looking for a scenic ferry cruise, an interactive sailboat adventure, or an educational marine experience, there's a boat ride to suit every kid who's looking to get out on the river or sea this summer.

We have rounded up some of the best tours and interactive sailing adventures across the state. For more fun on the water, be sure to check out our Connecticut Beaches and Water Fun Guide and the best places for canoeing and kayaking with kids in Connecticut.

Great Connecticut Beaches for Toddlers: Gentle Surf, Playgrounds, and More

Parenthood may have put an end to lazy lounging in the sun, but visiting a great Connecticut beach with a curious, playful toddler or preschooler in tow is a whole new kind of fun. What makes a good beach or lake experience with a little one? These tot- and mom-approved spots have features like bathrooms, concessions, gentle (or no) surf, tide pools, or spraygrounds that allow for more independent exploration with fewer meltdowns. Just pack some toys, sunscreen, and your patience, and your bound for a fun beach day.

10 Great Family Campgrounds in and Near Westchester

If camping is on your summer bucket list, you’re in luck: There are lots of campsites both in and around Westchester and the Hudson Valley, which means you’ll never be at a shortage for places to pitch your tent for a few nights.

Next time you’re ready to pack up your sleeping bag and s’mores provisions, consider staying at one of these area campgrounds, some of which offer even more fun activities for kids, like playgrounds and beaches.

Prefer something a little different? Check out these alternative camping ideas—and our entire summer activity guide!

Free Museum Days in Connecticut

Connecticut may be one of the nation’s smallest states, but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in culture. Connecticut boasts hundreds of art museums, historical homesteads, science museums, children’s museums, and cultural centers across the state. If you want to take advantage of everything the Nutmeg State has to offer, but don’t love the price tag that comes along with it, then this list of family-friendly cultural attractions featuring free days for visitors is for you! From the Lyman AIlyn Art Museum in New London to the Wadsworth Antheneum in Hartford, there's something for every interest and age group. Still craving more? Check out our complete Connecticut museum guide.

Below is a list of free visiting hours in various museums and cultural centers around the state. Please confirm these free days and evenings with the museums before heading out. Sometimes, especially near a national or religious holiday, schedules may change. Also, keep in mind that teachers, veterans, or seniors may also receive extra discounts. 

Our Favorite Connecticut Lighthouses to Visit

You don’t have to venture to Cape Elizabeth or Portland for classic New England lighthouse vistas because Connecticut has quite the maritime history. With the very first lighthouse museum in the nation, a half dozen lighthouse tours, and even some lighthouse hauntings, we've rounded up seven Connecticut lighthouses worth a visit with your kiddos. 

Finders Keepers: Hunting for Seaglass along the Connecticut Shoreline

If you're lucky, you might find Coke-bottle aqua or Milk-of-Magnesia Blue. Maybe once in a lifetime you'll unearth rare ruby red. Most often you'll find beer-bottle-brown and wine-bottle-green. But if you ask my kids--it's all treasure no matter what color or size. My very favorite memories of summer were made walking the beach with my kids gathering up every glittering shard of beach glass we could find like a magical treasure hunt. Ground smooth by the ocean and transformed from transparent to translucent by the sand, these tiny bits of sea glass are found scattered (scarcely) on the beaches throughout the state. Here's our roundup of the best beaches to hunt for these precious pieces of treasure washed ashore. 

Nostalgic Places to Take your Kids this Summer

School is out and summer is finally in full swing. And while Facebook and Instagram feeds are forever inspiring us to craft carwash drive-thrus out of pool noodles and homemade slime, why not give your kids a little different kind of summer? A throwback summer. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to take your kids this summer in Connecticut for a blast from the past. The nostalgia, as always, is free.

A Visit to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London

At least one Saturday morning a month, you’ll find my family perusing art galleries and museums. We find the experience equally relaxing and energizing, and my daughters get excited about finding a new favorite artwork or inspiration for a new project. Recently, we took our first trip to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and spent a lovely day in New London.

Sailfest 2013, New London, Connecticut

Every year, the weekend following the July 4th holiday, the city of New London transforms from mild mannered, seaside city, into one of the premiere festival destinations on the East Coast during Sailfest. Sailfest boasts food from all corners of the world, a two city block carnival midway, vendors, tall ships, and one of the largest fireworks displays east of the Mississippi. And, while it's almost impossible to do everything Sailfest has to offer, we've got your inside scoop on what are the must sees and dos!

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