New Haven, on the coast of Long Island Sound, is a place of lots of interesting cultural activities, partly due to the presence of Yale University, as well as theaters and museums. There is plenty of outdoor fun, too, a beaches and amusement parks. And the city is close to other fun shoreline towns brimming with good restaurants and galleries and community events, like Guilford, Branford and Madison.
Art and architecture are not the only pleasures offered by the New Haven region on the south-central coast of Connecticut, but if those are your interests, get to Yale University, where visitors can find art and architecture on an Ivy League scale. The Yale University Art Gallery presents works by van Gogh, Manet, and Picasso, while the Yale Center for British Art offers the largest collection of this kind in the United States. Yale offers tours of its campus, with an emphasis on its classic architecture. For performance art, the Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven is a center of lively theater. The classic New Haven Green is cheek-to-cheek with many Yale properties, and encircled by lots of fun places to dine and shop.
Bishop’s Orchards in the shoreline town of Guilford offers fresh food and family fun throughout the year. Kids and parents can pick strawberries to pumpkins from spring through fall, or buy them at the retail store. The kids will love the llamas, alpacas and goats and the G-Scale train. The orchards hosts lots of seasonal festivities. For rainy day activities, New Haven has the Connecticut Children’s Museum and an indoor adventure ropes course. In the sunny seasons, the whole family can enjoy a day at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, which has the state’s longest saltwater beach, on Long Island Sound. Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury has all the rides (wild and tame) for a classic summer jaunt.
Lighthouse Point Park, on the water in New Haven, offers a big range of entertainments: swimming, fishing, boating (from a public boat launch); bird watching; tours of the lighthouse; ranger-led programs about marine ecology and sailing history. For kids, there is a carousel and a splashpad. Birdwatchers can enjoy themselves any time of the year at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center in Milford. Moving indoors, kids will find themselves goggle-eyed at the 67-foot brontosaurus at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.
Or for peaceful beauty on Long Island Sound, it is hard to improve on a cruise around the Thimble Islands off of Branford. If you live to shop, or just like to shop, the town of Clinton is home to the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets, where shoppers can find a large variety of brand-name merchandise. Surely, the New Haven region is a place of variety, indoors or out.