Top things to do in Connecticut

Student walking and smiling with backpack on

If you’re looking to study abroad in the US, Connecticut is a great choice. Based in the state’s capital city, the University of Hartford offers a full college campus experience while providing easy access to vibrant cities such as New York and Boston.

Despite its relatively small size, Connecticut is bursting with New England charm. The state offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy its natural beauty, as well as entertaining residents and visitors alike with museums, performing arts and cultural attractions. To learn about the fun you could have in Connecticut, read on for the highlights.

What to do in Connecticut?

1. A day in Mystic

Mystic is a quaint coastal town along the Mystic River. It’s a perfect place to absorb seafarer history, take a boat ride along the harbor, and enjoy some local delicacies. While you’re there, drop into Mystic Seaport, one of Connecticut’s best museums. The Mystic Aquarium is also worth a visit and don't miss out on the Olde Mistick Village. Get a taste of Hollywood in this small Connecticut town when you order a pizza from the original Mystic Pizza location in downtown Mystic. This restaurant earned worldwide fame as the setting for the 1988 Julia Roberts film, "Mystic Pizza."

2. Ferry to Gillette Castle

For a varied day out, hop on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and sail across the Connecticut River to Hadlyme, where you will find the medieval gothic Gillette Castle. The 184-acre estate is a perfect spot to enjoy stunning views of the river below. Once you’re at the early 20th century castle, you can explore secret passageways and marvel at intricate locking mechanisms, and other quirks that make it famous.

3. Rollercoasters at Lake Compounce

If you’re a thrill-seeker, you’ll love the adrenaline-pulsing rollercoasters and rides at Lake Compounce. Don’t miss Boulder Dash, an award-winning wooden coaster, while the Phobia Phear Coaster, which gets up to 65 miles per hour, will cause you to tighten your grip. For the fainter-hearted, there are plenty of gentle rides and activities, including an on-site water park.

4. Hammonasset Beach State Park

Along the coast of the Long Island Sound in Madison, this park is home to the state’s largest shoreline. With over two miles of soft sand, it also tops the list of best beaches in Connecticut. Here you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and many other activities.

5. Kent Falls State Park

A day in this park will work wonders for your relaxation. Set in the Litchfield Hills, the beautiful Kent Falls State Park has forests, bridges and its stunning waterfall cascades more than 250 feet.

6. Thimble Islands

Thimble Islands is an archipelago (a small group of islands) in Branford, and it truly is a taste of paradise. Along the Long Island Sound, you’ll see a range of beautiful houses, including millionaires’ mansions and quaint cottages, all spread over 23 of the 100+ islands. The exact number of islands is not widely agreed – some claim there are 365, but they vary widely in size.

7. Covered Bridge in West Cornwall

Covered bridges are beautiful structures and this example in West Cornwall can’t be missed. Its pitched roof and red wooden walls make for stunning photographs. Among the final remaining covered bridges in Connecticut, this 172-foot masterpiece attracts enthusiasts from around the world.

Things to do in Hartford


When you’re in Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city, be sure to check out the many museums. The Mark Twain House & Museum is a hot favorite, as is the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.


Hartford contains several enviable parks, perfect for relaxing or soaking up the greenery. Elizabeth Park, Bushnell Park and Great River Park are all unmissable.


Hartford boasts many attractions that bring guests to the capital in the thousands. Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts offers a bursting schedule for live music from many genres, comedy, opera, musicals, dance, and family shows. Connecticut Science Center is also based in Hartford and offers a great day out.


Hartford has a rich history, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to learn about the area and American culture. Take a tour around Connecticut State Capitol and visit the Old State House. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center provides an insight into the author’s life and works, and contains displays around abolition, African-American history and changing racial attitudes in the United States.

Study abroad in Connecticut

The University of Hartford International Pathway Program (IPP) is a route to a well ranked university for international students. If you don’t yet meet the academic entry requirements for the University, or you’d like extra support as you settle into your new life and US culture, a pathway program is your perfect choice. You will learn study skills and complete subject specific modules as well as improve your English language proficiency. You will live and work with other international students in the same position.

If you do meet the English and academic requirements for the university, you may apply for direct admission to your chosen undergraduate or graduate degree program.

The IPP will allow you to develop the skills to continue to the undergraduate or postgraduate degree of your choice at the University of Hartford – without adding on extra time before graduation. You can choose between our International Year for undergraduate students, and our Master’s International Year for graduate students, so you can progress to your dream degree upon completion.

To start your study abroad journey in the US, apply to The University of Hartford International Pathway Program today.