- 1 In-State Day Trips From New Haven
- 2 Out-of-State Day Trips From New Haven
- 3 Day Trips From New Haven: FAQs
- 4 Day Trips from New Haven: Wrap-Up
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Are you looking for the perfect day trip from New Haven?
Located in southwestern Connecticut, New Haven is a charming town with a beautiful arts and culture scene, world-famous pizza, and a stunning location near the Long Island Sound.
But if you’re looking to explore more of Connecticut and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of exciting day trips from New Haven.
Whether you’re interested in exploring historic coastal towns, hitting the beach, or taking a scenic drive through the countryside, there are so many interesting options within easy reach of the city.
When I was growing up in New Haven county, my family and I enjoyed all of these excellent day trips from New Haven.
In-State Day Trips From New Haven
1. Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic is a charming coastal town known for its historic seaport, which features a recreated 19th-century village, tall ships, and a maritime museum.
You can also explore the Mystic Aquarium, which displays various marine life.
One of the state’s largest living history museums, the Mystic Seaport, showcases maritime history for all those history buffs.
Since it’s one of my favorite Connecticut day trips with my mother, I have several resources to help you plan a day in Mystic, including recommendations on things to do, my favorite beaches nearby if you’re going in the summer, and my favorite autumn activities if you’re going in the fall.
2. Branford, Connecticut
Branford is a small town located just east of New Haven, and it is an excellent place to visit for a day trip.
You can take a stroll along Branford Green, a beautiful park surrounded by historic homes and buildings.
In the summer, you can enjoy one of the town’s several beautiful beaches that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
You can also take a tour of the Thimble Islands.
This small Connecticut archipelago is a collection of granite islands that sailors once used.
Now, you can enjoy a boat tour to admire the luxury homes that dot the islands.
3. Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport is a city home to several museums, including the Barnum Museum, which is dedicated to the life and work of P.T. Barnum.
You can also visit the Beardsley Zoo, which is home to many different kinds of wild animals.
4. Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk is another coastal city located along the Long Island Sound.
The major landmark here is the Maritime Aquarium, which has a wide variety of marine life.
More than 7,000 animals call the aquarium home, and it’s the only one of its kind focused on the aquatic life of the Long Island Sound.
You can also explore the Norwalk Islands, a group of islands located just off the city’s coast.
Kayaking, bird watching, and camping are just a few activities you can enjoy on these islands.
5. Essex, Connecticut
Famous for its historic district, which features several 18th and 19th-century homes and buildings, Essex is an easy day trip from New Haven.
When you go, you must ride on the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, which will take you through the beautiful Connecticut River Valley.
Step back as you board the train at the historic 1892 station.
The 12-mile narrated ride takes you through the charming towns of Deep River and Chester, offering glimpses of the hidden gem, Selden Neck State Park, accessible only by boat.
6. Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Old Saybrook is a small beach town along the Connecticut coastline.
The town has several nature areas to explore, like The Preserve, the Plum Bank Marsh Wildlife Area, Ragged Rock Creek Marsh Wildlife Area, Harvey’s Beach, and Town Beach.
You can also walk through the historic district.
7. East Haddam, Connecticut
East Haddam is one of my favorite towns for a day trip from New Haven!
It’s home to the Tony Award-winning regional theater, the Goodspeed Opera House. This historic theater features a wide variety of performances throughout the year.
You can also explore Gillette Castle State Park, a beautiful castle built in the early 20th century by actor William Gillette.
8. Stamford, Connecticut
Stamford is one of the state’s major cities near New York City.
Several museums here, including the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, are housed in a 1920s mansion, which hosts various nature and cultural exhibits.
You can also visit the Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary, a beautiful park and beach area home to several species of birds and other wildlife.
9. Hartford, Connecticut
You’ll find a nice mix of colonial history and modern architecture in the state capital, Hartford.
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art showcases over 50,000 works of art, including paintings and textiles.
There’s also The Mark Twain House & Museum. The famous author lived here in the late 1800s and wrote several of his masterworks here, like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee.
Along with the art and history, you can find the XL Center and Xfinity Theatre; they host conventions, concerts, and sporting events.
10. Uncasville & Ledyard, Connecticut
If you’re looking for exciting day trips from New Haven, Connecticut, you’re in luck, as there are two outstanding world-class casinos just a short 15-minute drive apart.
Over on the east side of the state, you can find the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville and Foxwoods in Ledyard.
These destinations offer many activities, including great dining, sports events, live performances, and traditional casino games, all while surrounded by the region’s scenic beauty.
In Ledyard, you’ll discover Foxwoods Resort Casino, one of the largest casinos in the area.
Located on Mashantucket Pequot tribal lands, this casino pays homage to its Native American heritage with the fascinating Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.
The casino at Foxwoods boasts sprawling gaming floors, top-notch performance venues, and a diverse range of dining experiences.
If you’re a shopaholic, you’re in for a treat, as Foxwoods houses an entire Tanger Outlets mall right inside the casino.
Just next door in Uncasville, you’ll find Mohegan Sun, another impressive casino constructed on Mohegan Native American lands.
While slightly more intimate than Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun is far from small.
It offers a variety of family entertainment areas, multiple concert halls, and a selection of fantastic restaurants.
Don’t forget to visit the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana location inside Mohegan Sun, a beloved New Haven, Connecticut apizza destination.
Both of these casinos make for a great inside destination during wintertime in this region.
Out-of-State Day Trips From New Haven
11. New York City, New York
New York City is the best choice if you’re looking for a day trip from New Haven out of Connecticut.
It takes just under 2 hours to take a train from New Haven to New York City.
Once you arrive, you can explore everything the city offers, from its most iconic landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, and Times Square, to small boutiques and neighborhoods.
You can also visit some of the city’s world-renowned museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.
As a licensed New York City tour guide, I have so many resources on how to get around the city and the best things to do once you’re there.
12. Poughkeepsie, New York
Up in New York State’s Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie is a charming town.
You can explore the town’s historic architecture, such as the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, now a pedestrian bridge called Waalkway Over the Hudson River.
Also, did you know the 32nd President of the United States was from Poughkeepsie?
Visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, and the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center.
Take a look at my guide on the best things to do in the area for more ideas.
13. Boston, Massachusetts
Are you interested in more beautiful New England towns?
Boston, Massachusetts, is a historic city that still shows its Colonial past.
You can explore the city’s historic landmarks, such as the Freedom Trail, the USS Constitution Museum, and the Paul Revere House.
Alongside its colonial landmarks, the city has several world-renowned universities, such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
14. Newport, Rhode Island
The seaside city of Newport, Rhode Island, is another exciting choice for spending a day away from New Haven.
You can explore the city’s historic mansions, such as The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff, built during the Gilded Age.
Take an opportunity to walk along the Newport Cliff Walk, a scenic trail that runs along the coast and offers stunning ocean views.
In the center of town, you’ll find many cute boutiques, artisan shops, and restaurants serving local New England fare–especially in the summer.
15. Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island and another fantastic city to spend a day away from New Haven.
You can explore the city’s Roger Williams Park Zoo, the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, and the WaterFire Providence, a popular art installation that lights up the city’s rivers.
Or, visit landmarks like the Rhode Island State House and the Providence Athenaeum.
One of my favorite things to do in Providence, though, is go shopping at Providence Place, the largest mall in the state.
Day Trips From New Haven: FAQs
How to spend a day in New Haven?
If you have a day to spare in New Haven, plenty of activities fill your time.
Start your day by exploring the beautiful campus of Yale University, which boasts impressive architecture and a rich history.
Stroll through East Rock Park or Lighthouse Point Park in the afternoon for stunning views and fresh air.
End your day with a classic New Haven experience at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which serves some of the most delicious pizzas in the United States.
You can check out my list of activities in New Haven if you’re trying to develop more ideas!
Is New Haven worth a visit?
Absolutely! New Haven is a must-visit destination in the state of Connecticut.
It’s home to the prestigious Yale University, which is worth exploring for its impressive architecture and rich history.
The city is also known for its delicious and authentic pizza, making it a foodie’s paradise.
And with its location on the Connecticut coast, offering beautiful views and plenty of outdoor activities.
What is New Haven best known for?
New Haven is best known for being the home of Yale University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, as well as its delicious and authentic apizza, which attracts foodies from all over the country.
Day Trips from New Haven: Wrap-Up
Connecticut’s treasures offer a slice of history, the beauty of nature, and vibrant cultural experiences, all within a stone’s throw from New Haven.
And when you’re ready to spread your wings a bit further, neighboring states beckon with their unique charms, adding new dimensions to your day trips.
But day trips aren’t just about the places you visit; they are about the memories you create, the connections you forge, and the personal growth that comes from stepping outside your comfort zone.
Whether you stay within the Nutmeg State or venture just beyond its borders, one thing is sure: the world is full of remarkable places waiting to be discovered, and adventure is just a day trip away.
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