By Amy Suski
When you think beach vacation, Connecticut may not be one of the first places to come mind, but it is for us. From the time our kids were little we've enjoyed visiting family at the stretch of Connecticut shore between the Connecticut and Mystic Rivers. Here are some reasons we think you'd fall in love with its New England coastal charm too:
Family Friendly Beaches: The sandy beaches along the Long Island Sound offer a gentle surf which is perfect for kids. On a nice day, the waves are gentle enough for preschoolers to play in and for tweens to try out their S.U.P. skills. Our favorite beach communities are in Old Lyme and Groton Long Point. Although there are points of public access to both, its most convenient if you can rent a house at the beach.
Lobsters: Throughout New England, summer is the season for eating lobsters in the rough by the water. Our favorite place in Connecticut is Abbott's in Noank, located right on the Mystic River. After piling your tray high with lobsters, steamers, and corn you can sit under a striped tent or by the dock and enjoy the river-view. Afterwards, kids will love the outrageously sized desserts and playing on the grass. If you'd like wine or a brew with your feast, BYO cooler.
Mystic Aquarium: Meeting the Beluga Whales at the Mystic Aquarium is an unforgettable experience. When they are not gliding gracefully by, they often engage with visitors through the 20-foot long underwater window. Children are so mesmerized by them that its easy to forget there is much more to see at the aquarium, including playful African Penguins, Shark and Ray Touch Pools, hands-on shallow pool Discovery Lab, coral reef fish, Loggerhead Turtles, and much more. Check the schedule in advance for scheduled shark feedings and sea lion show times.
Mystic Seaport: Long before Mystic was made famous by Julia Roberts in Mystic Pizza (which by the way, is a real pizza joint), Mystic was a bustling maritime village. You can learn about this historic past by visiting Mystic Seaport to see (or ride on) some of oldest surviving fishing vessels in the country. The seaport is also home to historic maritime buildings that have been moved from all over New England to recreate a 19th-century seafaring village. In the village you can see shipsmiths at work, ride a horse-drawn carriage, and hear stories and music about the seafaring life.
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat Ride: The whole family will enjoy the picturesque round-trip journey along the Connecticut River that starts on the historic 1892 Essex Steam Train and returns on the Becky Thatcher riverboat. If you don't have time for the full round trip adventure (2.5 hours), a 1 hour steam train ride is also available. Excursion options include first class (plush seating with beverage service), open car (wooden bench seats with open car sides), caboose rides, dinner trains, and a hiking trip to Gillette Castle.
Submarine Museum: The U.S. Navy's Submarine Force Museum houses the world's best collection of submarine artifacts, documents, photographs, and torpedoes dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Inside the museum kids can take hold of the wheel in a control room, spy passing boats through a periscope, and examine replicas of Bushnell's Turtle and the USS Gato. Outside you can walk around mini-subs and board the historic submarine Nautilus to view torpedo rooms, the crew's living quarters, the galley, officer staterooms, control rooms and more. We were also lucky to be enough to be topside just as a brand new Virginia class submarine was cruising in under escort by naval security boats. That doesn't happen every day, but it sure was a thrill!
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect those of the businesses and organizations mentioned. We did not receive any special discounts or benefits on this trip. All rights are reserved by KidTrips © 2015.
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