New London Travel Guide

Plan your trip and explore the culturally rich and natural attractions of New London, Connecticut. Learn about the best things to do, where to stay, what to eat, and how to get around in this comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to New London

Located in Mystic-Eastern, Connecticut, New London is a lively coastal city that boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage. It is home to several museums and historical landmarks, beautiful natural attractions, and exciting outdoor activities. With its perfect blend of urban and natural attractions, New London attracts numerous travelers every year.

List of Places to Visit in New London

There are several must-visit attractions in New London that cater to all types of travelers. Here is a list of the top places to visit in New London:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Lyman Allyn Art Museum – an art museum with works by American artists and international decorative arts
  • The Hempsted Houses – a historic home and museum showcasing the life of early African Americans in Connecticut
  • Custom House Maritime Museum – a maritime history museum with exhibits on the city’s role in maritime commerce and its contributions to naval history
  • Fort Trumbull State Park – a historic fort with military and maritime history exhibits

Natural Attractions of New London: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Ocean Beach Park – a scenic park with a boardwalk, sandy beach, swimming areas, picnic spots, and a small amusement park
  • Harkness Memorial State Park – a state park with a beach, formal gardens, picnic spots, and tours of the mansion
  • Connecticut Arboretum – an arboretum with walking trails and gardens featuring native plants
  • Bluff Point State Park – a nature reserve with hiking trails and scenic views of the shoreline and estuary

Hiking/Biking Routes of New London

New London offers several hiking and biking trails that offer stunning scenic views and wildlife spotting opportunities. Here’s a list of some of the best trails:

  • Fort Trumbull State Park Loop – a 0.7-mile loop that offers fantastic views of the Thames River and the Long Island Sound
  • Ocean Beach Park Trails – several trails at the park offering scenic views of the shorelines, maritime forest, and wildlife spotting opportunities
  • Bluff Point State Park Trail – a 4-mile trail that offers scenic views of the shoreline, estuary, and forested areas
  • Harkness Memorial State Park Trail – several trails at the park offering views of the gardens, mansion, and the Long Island Sound

Best Things to Do in New London: Activities and Tours

New London is a hub for outdoor activities and tours that cater to all types of travelers. Here’s a list of some of the best activities to do in New London:

  • Explore the Maritime History – take a tour of the Custom House Maritime Museum, the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum, and the Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Visit the State Parks – visit the Ocean Beach Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Fort Trumbull State Park, and Bluff Point State Park for scenic views and outdoor activities
  • Take a Scenic Tour – take a scenic boat tour of the Long Island Sound and Thames River, take a bike tour of the city, or explore the city’s historic district on foot
  • Watch a Performance - catch a show at the Garde Arts Center, a historic theater with a diverse line-up of performing arts events

Week-Long Itinerary for New London

Here’s a suggested week-long itinerary for New London:

  • Day 1: Visit the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and the Custom House Maritime Museum. Take a scenic tour of the Thames River.
  • Day 2: Visit the Harkness Memorial State Park and the Ocean Beach Park. Enjoy the beach and picnic spots.
  • Day 3: Visit the Fort Trumbull State Park, the Hempsted Houses, and the nearby Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum.
  • Day 4: Take a scenic bike tour of the city and visit the Connecticut Arboretum.
  • Day 5: Visit the Bluff Point State Park and enjoy hiking trails and scenic views.
  • Day 6: Watch a performance at the Garde Arts Center and enjoy local food scene.
  • Day 7: Take a scenic boat tour of the Long Island Sound and enjoy the sunset.

Food and Drink Scene of New London

New London offers a diverse and thriving food and drink scene with several local specialties and global cuisine options. Here are some of the must-try dishes and local beverages in New London:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Pepperoni Bread – a local specialty of New London that features pizza dough stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese
  • Lobster Roll – a classic seafood dish that is a staple in Connecticut with chunks of fresh lobster meat served on a hot dog bun
  • New England Clam Chowder – a creamy soup made with fresh clams, potatoes, and vegetables
  • Pizza – New London has several top-notch pizzerias that offer delicious handmade pizzas

Local Beverages

  • Beer – New London has a thriving beer scene with several breweries that offer local brews.
  • Wine – the city has several vineyards and wineries in the nearby areas that offer tasting tours and events.

Where to Stay in New London: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

New London offers several options for accommodation, including budget-friendly hostels, charming guesthouses, and luxury hotels. Here are some of the best options for accommodation in New London:

  • The Whaler’s Inn – a boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown New London with cozy rooms and excellent amenities
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott – a modern hotel with spacious suites and amenities like free breakfast and a fitness center
  • Niantic / East Lyme KOA Holiday – a budget-friendly camping option with RV and tent sites, cabins, and amenities like a pool and mini-golf course
  • The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina – a charming bed and breakfast located in a historic mansion with comfortable rooms and stunning views of the marina

What to Buy in New London: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

New London offers several local products and souvenirs that make great gifts and reminders of your trip. Here are some of the best things to buy in New London:

  • Artisanal Products - New London has several local artisans and craft shops that offer one-of-a-kind handmade products like jewelry, pottery, and glassware.
  • Local Charcuterie - several local shops and markets in New London offer high-quality cured meats and cheese products.
  • Seafood – fresh seafood products like lobster and clam chowder are readily available in the city and make great souvenirs.

Local Culture and Customs of New London

New London has a rich cultural heritage associated with its maritime and military history. The city also celebrates several festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing its unique customs and traditions.

Best Time to Visit New London

The best time to visit New London is from May to October when the weather is warm and outdoor activities and events are in full swing. The fall season, from September to November, is particularly beautiful, thanks to the changing colors of the foliage.

Do’s and Don’ts of New London


  • Do explore the city’s rich maritime heritage by visiting its museums and historical landmarks.
  • Do try the local specialty pepperoni bread and other seafood delicacies.
  • Do pack comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city’s parks and beaches.
  • Do bring a camera to capture the scenic views and outdoor adventures.


  • Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Mystic Seaport Museum and Aquarium.
  • Don’t forget to carry some cash as not all shops and restaurants accept cards.
  • Don’t litter or harm the flora and fauna while exploring the natural attractions.

Safety and Health

Safety in New London

New London is generally safe for travelers, but like any other city, visitors should take necessary precautions to avoid any mishap. It is advisable to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid unfamiliar areas at night.

Health in New London

New London has several medical facilities and hospitals, and most restaurants and food vendors maintain strict hygiene standards. It is always advisable to carry a first aid kit and inform your doctor about your trip.

Getting to New London: Transportation Options and Logistics

New London is well-connected with several transportation options, making it easy to reach the city from other parts of Connecticut and the neighboring states.

Airports Near New London

The closest airport to New London is T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, which is about 54 miles away. Other airports near New London include Bradley International Airport in Hartford and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Bus Stations Near New London

Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines operate buses to New London from several cities in the northeastern United States, including Providence, Boston, and New York City. The city also has a local bus service that runs on several routes.

Other Options

New London is also accessible by car via Interstate 95, which runs through the city, and by train via the Amtrak station.

How to Get Around in New London

New London offers several transportation options for getting around the city, including local buses, taxis, ride-hail services, and bike rentals. The city is also easy to explore on foot, with several attractions located in the downtown area.

Where to Go Next from New London: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

New London is an excellent base for exploring other destinations in the surrounding area, including the coastal towns of Mystic, Stonington, and Old Saybrook. These towns boast several historical landmarks, museums, shops, and restaurants.


New London is a vibrant coastal city that offers several cultural and natural attractions, making it an ideal destination for travelers of all kinds. With this comprehensive guide, you can plan your trip to New London and experience all that this beautiful city has to offer.