Bridgeport might not pop up on your bucket list of day trips to take from Long Island with the kids. But with an easy ferry connection from Port Jefferson, minor-league baseball and hockey games, children’s theater, and more, Long Island families are increasingly making a day of it in Connecticut's largest city.
Here’s what you need to know when taking the 17-nautical-mile hop to Bridgeport for a day trip via the ferry. Who knows—it might inspire you to try other great summer day trips from Long Island. And while waiting for the ferry, why not check out our guide to Port Jefferson Village, including a list of our favorite things to do when visiting the village from Connecticut.
Getting to the Ferry
There are several parking lots near the Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal. The village offers information on metered parking. Arrive at least 45 minutes before departure to allow time to park your car, walk, purchase tickets, and board the ferry. Depending on where you live, you might feel it's worth taking a car service directly to the terminal drop-off point.
The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
Sailing time is an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes. Kids younger than 12 ride FREE. There might be offers for discounted adult tickets available online. Be sure to print your discount sheet and bring it with you.
More tips :
- Bring a sweater even on a sunny day so you can enjoy upper deck. It’s breezy.
- Print out and pocket the ferry schedule so you don’t “miss the boat” on the return voyage.
- Walk-on riders can’t buy tickets on the website. Web sales are for vehicle tickets only. Purchase tickets from the ferry terminal building.
- Pack snacks. Food can be carried onto the ferry, and will save you cash when the kids spot the concessions for sale on board.
There is seating inside if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Seats are first-come, first-served.
The ferry company offers a FREE shuttle van in Bridgeport that is waiting at the ramp when the ferry arrives. Just walk up and let the driver know where you want to go. The service is helpful, but limited. The shuttle stops at these locations:
- Ferry terminal
- The ferry’s free parking lot
- The Ballpark at Harbor Yard (home of the Bridgeport Bluefish)
- Bridgeport’s Amtrak/Metro-North train station
- The Greater Bridgeport Transportation station (bus station)
- Bass Pro Shop
The shuttle runs daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 203-836-9955 to let the driver know you are at one of the above locations and ready for a ride.
Near the Ferry Terminal
Take in a Bluefish ballgame within walking distance of the ferry. Photo by the author.
In the summer plan a Sunday-afternoon trip around a Bridgeport Bluefish game. Sunday Atlantic League baseball games usually start at about 1:30 p.m. Sign the kids up for the Bluefish Big Y Kids’ Club for a free ticket to every Sunday game, discounts, and invitations to special events. Other special ticket prices for families may be available online, too. Among the biggest rivals of the Bluefish are the Long Island Ducks.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are the top minor-league affiliate of the New York Islanders and play their home games October-March at the Webster Bank Arena, near the ferry terminal.
Alternatively, consider taking outdoors-minded kids to Bass Pro Shop for fun and shopping. This chain store features huge fish tanks, (real) stuffed animals everywhere you turn, a bowling alley, Uncle Buck’s Restaurant, and more.
The Brewport Brewing Co. welcomes families and is just an eight-minute walk from the Bridgeport train station. Enjoy beer, pizza, and homebrewed root beer floats in a relaxed atmosphere.
The P.T. Barnum Museum is a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal and is a tribute to the master showman and former mayor of Bridgeport. It also houses a number of Civil War-era exhibits. Note: Parts of the museum are under reconstruction.
The Bridgeport Arcade mall is a 10-minute walk from the ferry. Marvel at the restored architecture and enjoy some inexpensive shopping, including the kids' consignment shop Gumdrop Swap.
A Short Walk or Ride
Beyond the immediate downtown, other Bridgeport attractions can be reached on foot or via a short taxi ride.
A madcap 1980s-inspired version of Cinderella at The Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport.
The award-winning Downtown Cabaret Theatre offers children’s matinees during the school year. My kids LOVE these shows; they always deliver great laughs and music. Early-evening adult main stage productions are available on the weekends.
Captains’ Cove Seaport, 2 1/2 miles from the ferry, offers live music, seafood, and a host of cute shops, and is open beginning in May.
Get close to the prairie dogs and more at Beardsley Zoo. Photo courtesy of the zoo.
Four miles north of the ferry terminal is Beardsley Zoo, which is perfectly sized for a family day outing. Bring a picnic or grab lunch at the café. Be sure to visit the indoor carousel.
Near Sacred Heart University is the Discovery Museum and Planetarium, where kids can enjoy replica planes and, of course, sky shows. Note: This is not walkable from the ferry terminal.
Also near the university is Wonderland of Ice, an ideal place to teach kids how to skate. Public skating is available daily in season.
About a half-hour north of Bridgeport is New Haven, home of Yale University, whose art galleries and museums are among the regions's best. About the same distance south is Norwalk, home to the Maritime Aquarium and the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. You can visit both cities via Metro-North; just allow ample time to make your return trip the ferry.
Return Trip to Port Jefferson
Arrive back to the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure. The Bridgeport terminal has an indoor café with food, beer, and TVs that make it easy to chill while waiting to depart.
Top photo: The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry connects Suffolk County with Connecticut's largest city. Photo via Shutterstock.