New Haven Summer Activities Help Visitors Enjoy Connecticut’s Coast

Situated on the Long Island Sound, New Haven offers four-seasons of adventure. However, summertime brings the perfect weather for staying outside all day. From beaches and parks to outdoor attractions, it’s easy to stay active and have fun. For some ideas, read about the top New Haven summer activities along Connecticut’s Coast.

7 New Haven Summer Activities to Try During Vacation

new haven outdoor fun

Visit the Parks

Greater New Haven has more than a dozens parks. Some sit in remote areas perfect for fall foliage viewing, while others offer beach locations great for sunset views.

Lighthouse Point Park features a historic lighthouse and kids attractions. They will love playing in fountains, pressing quarters for souvenirs and riding the carousel. The Lighthouse Point Park carousel has 72 figures and dates to the 1920s. In addition, the park’s beach is a must as it offers scenic views and swimming areas.

For fresh air and local history, visit New Haven Green. This area was designed in 1638 and once served as a meeting place. Today, guests can walk pathways and see historic buildings.

East Shore Park has a harbor-side location plus facilities for baseball, soccer and tennis. Those not into sports can play on the playground or enjoy the park’s walking paths. Other parks in New Haven include Edgerton Park, West Rock Ridge State Park and Long Wharf Park.

connecticut coast outdoor recreation

Tour Yale University

Ivy league gem Yale University ranks among the best free tourist attractions in Connecticut. The campus offers guided one-hour tours through the central area. Each one discusses more than 300 years of Connecticut history, student life and attractions.

Yale University has museums and galleries including Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Center for British Art, Old Art Gallery and Yale University Art Gallery, to name a few. In addition, the university has architectural buildings guests can photograph.

Relax on Beaches

Beach lovers will be happy to know New Haven County has more than 20 beaches and public swimming areas. Silver Sands offers free access and has plenty of space. Those staying in East Haven enjoy Cosey Beach, which has a younger crowd and restaurants.

Hammonasset Beach ranks among the most popular New Haven beaches. This beach does charge a fee, but groups many find it affordable. Another top option is Walnut Beach in nearby Milford. This spot gets pretty busy, but visitors find calm, deep waters, hot dog and ice cream stands, volleyball nets, and lifeguards.

Additionally, West Haven houses the longest stretch of shoreline open to the public. Among the best is Sandy Point, which opens for birding, fishing and walking. Those who enjoy bird-watching should bring binoculars and watch for shore birds and seasonal migrations.

new haven summer activities golf

Play Golf in Greater New Haven

Playing golf ranks among the top New Haven summer activities. Options range from public courses to private clubs, and many courses are located on the city’s rivers and streams.

For the best public courses, play a round at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam and Longshore Club Park in Westport. Semi-private Great River Golf Club in Milford and Tradition Golf Club at Oak Lane in Woodbridge welcome players to their award-winning greens and practice facilities.

new haven summer activities vacation

Ride the Water

With its Long Island Sound location, it’s no surprise water creation ranks among the top New Haven summer activities. The city has marinas, yacht clubs, boat tours, sailboat rentals, guided fishing and solo options, so visitors explore at their own pace.

Argia Mystic Cruises helps groups explore. Step aboard Argia, an 81-foot sailing vessel that offers two-hour daytime and sunset cruises. For fishing trips, head to Find Fall Faster and Bluefin Sportfishing, just two area options. Those who want to explore on their own should canoe, kayak and paddle. For a local experience, try Scoot and Paddle, Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, and Celebrate Connecticut.

Marsh Botanical Garden

Strolling Marsh Botanical Garden ranks among the best New Haven summer activities because it’s laid back and provides an escape.

The garden sits on 8 acres and includes six greenhouses. Visitors see four different collections from carnivorous plants to tropical favorites, desert beauties and blooming trees. Marsh Botanical Garden opens for tours Monday through Friday, and serves as a research site for Yale University.

Attend Annual Events

Special events help visitors feel like locals. Greater New Haven – and the small towns around the city – host classes, festivals, tastings and family-friendly treats. Attend Irish festivals, arts and crafts fairs, Shakespeare fests, and food-loving events. The top summer events in greater New Haven include the potato and corn festival, oyster festival, wine fests, and New Haven Grand Prix.

Ready for a new adventure? Start planning a Connecticut Coast vacation.