East Lyme Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and local customs of East Lyme, Connecticut, in North America.

Introduction to East Lyme

Nestled in the heart of Mystic-Eastern in Connecticut, East Lyme is the perfect destination for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and food lovers. Explore charming museums, take a hike to scenic spots, feast on local cuisine, and experience the warmth of New England hospitality. Here’s everything you need to know about East Lyme before you plan your trip.

List of Places to Visit in East Lyme

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

East Lyme is steeped in history, and you can explore its rich culture and heritage by visiting the following museums and historical places:

  • Thomas Lee House: Visit this 1660 saltbox house that showcases colonial history and architecture.
  • Smith-Harris House Museum: Discover the life of an 18th-century farmer, and explore the house’s fascinating collection of artifacts.
  • Niantic Bay Boardwalk: Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk and soak in the beautiful views of Niantic Bay.
  • Holmes-Morgan House: A prime example of Federal architecture, this 18th-century house is a must-visit for its historical significance and exhibits on local history.

Natural Attractions in East Lyme: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

If you are looking for outdoor adventures and scenic spots, East Lyme will not disappoint. From hiking and biking to beaches and fishing, here’s what you can explore:

  • Rocky Neck State Park: With its sandy beaches, salt marshes, and scenic trails, this park is a popular destination for beachgoers, hikers, and anglers.
  • Hole in the Wall Beach: An off-the-beaten-path beach that offers stunning views of Long Island Sound and is perfect for a family picnic or a romantic evening walk.
  • Osprey Marsh Trail: Hike through this beautiful wetland area that’s home to wildlife species like ospreys, egrets, and herons.
  • Niantic Bay Bicycling and Jogging Trail: A 3.7-mile trail that offers stunning views of Niantic Bay and the Long Island Sound.

Hiking/Biking Routes of East Lyme

One of East Lyme’s biggest draws is its scenic hiking and biking trails. Here are some of the best routes that you can explore:

  • Nehantic State Forest: Explore this picturesque 3,096-acre forest through its hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails.
  • Rocky Neck Connector Trail: A 1.2-mile trail that connects the Rocky Neck State Park to the Nehantic State Forest.
  • East Lyme Bike Path: A scenic, paved trail that runs for 2.5 miles from the Niantic Bay Boardwalk to Cini Memorial Park.
  • Attawan Beach Loop: A 2.9-mile trail that goes through Attawan Beach and Niantic Bay State Park.

Best Things to Do in East Lyme: Activities and Tours

East Lyme has a lot to offer when it comes to activities and tours. Here are some must-try experiences you cannot miss:

  • Charter Fishing: Take a fishing charter and be prepared to catch some of the best seafood around.
  • Kayaking and Paddle-boarding: Rent a kayak or a paddle-board and explore the Niantic River and the Long Island Sound.
  • Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm Tour: Take a tour of the Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm and learn about oyster farming and the aquaculture industry.
  • Leffingwell House Museum Tour: Visit this museum that showcases the 18th-century architecture and lifestyle of the times. The beautiful gardens surrounding the house are worth a visit too.

Week-Long Itinerary for East Lyme

Here’s a suggested itinerary for those planning a week-long trip to East Lyme:

Day 1: Visit the Thomas Lee House and the Smith-Harris House Museum, and take a leisurely stroll along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk.

Day 2: Explore the scenic trails and beaches of Rocky Neck State Park.

Day 3: Take a tour of the charming Leffingwell House Museum and its beautiful gardens. Then, grab a bite to eat at one of the many seafood restaurants in town.

Day 4: Rent a bike or kayak and take in the stunning sights of the Niantic River and the Long Island Sound.

Day 5: Visit the Holmes-Morgan House and learn about its fascinating history. Then, take a stroll through the East Lyme Historic District.

Day 6: Go on a charter fishing trip or take a tour of the Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm.

Day 7: Enjoy a day of rest and relaxation at Attawan Beach or Hole in the Wall Beach.

Food and Drink Scene of East Lyme

East Lyme has a rich food and drink scene that’s rooted in fresh seafood and homemade specialties. Here’s what you need to try:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Lobster Roll: A New England classic, the lobster roll can be found at most seafood restaurants in East Lyme.
  • Clam Chowder: Another New England staple, the clam chowder in East Lyme is creamy, hearty, and full of flavor.
  • Oysters: East Lyme is famous for its oysters, so be sure to grab some on the half-shell or cooked up in a variety of dishes.
  • Pizza: East Lyme’s proximity to New York City means that great pizza is never too far away.

Local Beverages

  • Beer: East Lyme has several breweries that serve up delicious craft beer, including the Steady Habit Brewing Company and Grey Sail Brewing.
  • Wine: Take a trip to the Bishop’s Orchards Winery and sample some of the finest local wine made with apples, pears, and berries.

Where to Stay in East Lyme: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

East Lyme has several options for accommodation, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. Here are some highly recommended options:

  • Inn at Harbor Hill Marina: A charming guesthouse that offers stunning views of Niantic Bay and is known for its cozy rooms and homemade breakfasts.
  • Mansion at Bald Hill: A 19th-century mansion that’s been turned into a luxury hotel. The mansion features beautiful gardens, an excellent restaurant, and luxurious amenities.
  • Niantic Motel: A budget-friendly option that’s clean, comfortable, and conveniently located.

What to Buy in East Lyme: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

When in East Lyme, don’t forget to buy souvenirs and local products to bring back home as a reminder of your trip. Here are some ideas:

  • Oysters: Bring back some of East Lyme’s famous oysters to share with friends and family.
  • Wine: Get a bottle of local wine from Bishop’s Orchards Winery.
  • Handmade Crafts: Check out the local boutiques and buy some handmade crafts, such as pottery, jewelry, and art.

Local Culture and Customs of East Lyme

East Lyme is a quaint New England town with a friendly and welcoming community. Here’s what you need to know about its local culture and customs:

  • Small-Town Charm: East Lyme is a small town that prides itself on its charm, hospitality, and community spirit.
  • Laid-Back Atmosphere: Life in East Lyme is slow-paced and relaxed, so leave your stress behind and enjoy the local lifestyle.
  • Love of Nature: East Lyme residents love their natural surroundings and are proud of their efforts to protect the environment for future generations.

Best Time to Visit East Lyme

The best time to visit East Lyme is from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches and parklands are open for outdoor activities. The peak season is from June to August, so book your accommodation in advance.

Do’s and Don’ts of East Lyme


  • Do Use the Local Jargon: East Lyme has certain terms that are unique to the area, such as chowda and lobsta. Use them to get the full local experience.


  • Don’t Litter: Respect the natural beauty of East Lyme and pick up after yourself when hiking, biking, or picnicking in the parks.

Safety and Health

Safety in East Lyme

East Lyme is a safe destination, and visitors can enjoy its attractions with peace of mind. However, it’s important to take precautions such as securing valuables and being aware of your surroundings.

Health in East Lyme

East Lyme has several medical facilities, including a hospital and clinics, in case of emergencies. Visitors should also take care of themselves by staying hydrated, using sunscreen, and following safety guidelines while engaging in outdoor activities.

Getting to East Lyme: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near East Lyme

The closest airport to East Lyme is Bradley International Airport, located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, about an hour and a half away by car.

Bus Stations Near East Lyme

The closest bus station to East Lyme is the Greyhound Station in New London, Connecticut, which is about a 15-minute drive away.

Other Options

Visitors can also get to East Lyme by train, with the closest station being the New London Train Station, which is about a 20-minute drive away.

How to Get Around in East Lyme

The best way to get around East Lyme is by car, as many attractions and trails are spread out. Visitors can rent cars, or use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.

Where to Go Next from East Lyme: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

East Lyme is situated in the heart of Mystic-Eastern Connecticut, and there are plenty of nearby destinations to explore. Here are some ideas:

  • Mystic: Mystic is famous for its maritime heritage and features attractions such as Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium.
  • New London: A historic town located on the Thames River, New London features attractions such as the Garde Arts Center and the Ocean Beach Park.
  • Hartford: The capital of Connecticut, Hartford features attractions such as the Mark Twain House and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.


East Lyme is a charming and historic New England town that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a food lover, East Lyme has something to offer. So pack your bags and head over to East Lyme for an unforgettable getaway.