Close your eyes and imagine New England in the summer.
You’re likely picturing:
- Enjoying ice cream with friends and family on a Main Street
- Eating lobster on the water with a sunset
- Visiting small island towns accessible by ferry
- Hiking through verdant woods
The list of the best things to do in CT in August includes that—plus way more. And we’ve included plenty of family-friendly picks!
Read on to learn about our tips for getting the most out of a weekend getaway for an August visit to Connecticut.
Top Day Trips for Enjoying the Best Things to Do in CT in August
Top summer activities in Connecticut include outdoor adventures like hiking and swimming. Some of the best indoor entertainment consists of shopping and dining.
Various activities exist between Greenwich and Stonington, Connecticut, which are only 100 miles apart. In different parts of Connecticut, you can:
- Get a taste of the lifestyles of the rich and famous
- Experience the quaint rural lifestyle of inland New England
- Get in on the dark academia trend that social media’s been fawning over lately
- Scramble through historical attractions of one of the oldest states in the Union
It all depends on which direction you head on your next CT day trips.
Connecticut’s Gold Coast
Stretching along Long Island Sound, the Gold Coast of Connecticut is the center of wealth in the state.
It’s also arguably one of the wealthiest places in America.
No, seriously. Even the Guardian writes about it.
The Gold Coast became the home of extreme wealth by being the playground for the rich and famous! You have to consider that it’s just 50 miles outside of NYC, so once the investment bankers get tired of city living, they migrate to this region.
But don’t let the money scare you! It has great places to visit for a day trip.
You basically can live like luxury for the day without having to go broke!
Some of the top attractions to visit from Greenwich to Fairfield include the following.
Browse Shops, Grab A Bite & Get Cultured in Greenwich
Greenwich, Connecticut is a coastal town full of history and culture. August is the perfect time to visit, with plenty of outdoor activities complementing its charming downtown.
You can enjoy:
- Taking a stroll through Greenwich Point Park
- Exploring the many restaurants and shops on Greenwich Avenue
- Checking out museums and historical sites, including the Greenwich Historical Society and Bruce Museum
There’s something for everyone to enjoy here during the summer months.
You can enjoy views of the neighborhood mansions and the shoreline on the two-hour Long Island Sound tour “Cruise to Nowhere.” The cruises leave from the Greenwich harbor docks on Wednesdays and Saturdays in July and August. If you arrive early enough, you can watch the ferry arrive from Roger Sherman Baldwin Park nearby.
The Philip Johnson Glass House
The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, is a unique attraction to visit in August. It’s an iconic modernist structure designed by renowned American architect Philip Johnson. It has been open for public tours since 2006. The house consists of 14 structures set on 47 acres of land. This historic landmark is educational and stunning with its glass walls, lush gardens, outdoor sculptures, and breathtaking views!
A day at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, in August is a fantastic idea. The aquarium on Long Island Sound offers visitors the opportunity to view more than 50 exhibits showcasing marine life from around the world. A staggering variety of marine life, including jellyfish, sharks, sea turtles, and seals, can be seen up close and personal. There are also numerous interactive activities for both adults and children.
Explore an Avant-Garde Beach Town: Westport
Visiting Westport, Connecticut, in August is a great way to experience this beach town’s unique culture and attractions. Start your day by exploring Sherwood Island State Park, one of the best Connecticut beaches on Long Island Sound. Here you can sunbathe on the beach or dip in the cool water while admiring stunning views of New York City and Connecticut’s coastline.
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art
Summer is an excellent time to visit the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut. This museum is nestled in one of New England’s most beautiful towns. It allows visitors to view some of the most avant-garde and cutting-edge contemporary works of art. Several of the artists featured in the museum’s ongoing exhibitions go on to become well-known figures in the art world.
Historic Downtown Mystic
August is an excellent month to visit Mystic, Connecticut, to immerse yourself in old New England’s charming rural way of life. This charming town on the Mystic River provides a variety of summertime events and attractions for visitors to enjoy. There is plenty to do during the long summer days, from outdoor activities like kayaking or fishing on the river to historical sites like Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Seaport Museum.
But be warned: The busiest months of the year at Mystic are July and August.
The Mystic Aquarium offers visitors a chance to explore over 50 exhibits featuring marine animals worldwide. From penguins to beluga whales, you can experience a fantastic variety of sea life up close.
Litchfield County in northwest Connecticut is a wonderful way to experience the splendor of New England in August.
This area is well-known for:
- Rolling hills
- Picturesque farms
- And charming small towns
It’s an ideal place to relax and enjoy some outdoor activities.
If you enjoy hiking, numerous trails wind through this area, ranging from leisurely strolls along riverside paths to more challenging mountain hikes. There are also nearby state parks where you can go camping or enjoy a picnic with friends and family.
Other activities include:
- Canoeing on lakes or streams
- Biking around the county
- Fishing at one of the many stocked ponds or riverside spots
- Golfing on gorgeous greens
- Horseback riding through scenic trails
Take your pick!
And if you’re still up for a little nostalgia at the end of the day, the last remaining drive-in movie theaters in Connecticut are all up here.
Hike the Trails in Kent
Hiking in Kent, Connecticut, is a great way to experience the beauty of New England during the summer months. This small town offers plenty of trails for hikers of all levels. One popular destination is Kent Falls State Park, which features a stunning waterfall that cascades down from over 200 feet high! The park also has several hiking trails ranging from leisurely strolls along streamside paths to more challenging hikes up the hills. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing walk or something more strenuous, there’s something here for everyone.
In addition to exploring nature on foot, visitors can take advantage of the park’s fishing spots and picnic areas. There are also some great views of surrounding valleys and hillsides—perfect for taking pictures!
Photograph the Covered Bridge in West Cornwall
Speaking of pictures, any time of year is fantastic for photographing the covered bridge that crosses the Housatonic River in West Cornwall.
This writer tries to get a picture of this bridge with each change in the season. And the summer months are next on the list!
New Haven, Connecticut is a great destination for visitors in August. With fewer Yale students around, it’s much less packed and more easygoing.
Not only does the city offer plenty of attractions, but it also boasts some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the state.
Bike Along the Farmington River Trail
Biking along the Farmington River Trail in the summer is a fantastic way to explore New England’s natural beauty. Miles of breathtaking scenery can be found along the trail that connects New Haven and Farmington, Connecticut. You’ll pass through charming towns, undulating hills, and lush forests along the way.
And, admittedly, some not-so-nice parts of New Haven and Hamden. But you’ll zip right through them on a bike.
Or park your car in one of the other parking lots along the trail to experience a different chunk.
Yale University Art Gallery
Visitors in August should make a point of visiting the Yale University Art Gallery located on the Yale campus. It houses an extensive collection of artwork from around the world and throughout history. Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Italian artifacts are on display, as well as masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, modern and contemporary art, and special exhibitions featuring works by well-known artists. This gallery will be a memorable experience for people of all ages.
Besides the Art Gallery, Yale’s many attractions include:
- The Yale Center for British Art
- The Peabody Museum of Natural History
- The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Whether it’s discovering rare species or learning new cultures, the Yale University Museum system has something unique for every August visit.
Shore Line Trolley Museum
Anyone visiting East Haven, Connecticut, should stop by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in August. The museum, located along a historic trolley route, allows visitors to peruse its collection of vintage trolleys worldwide. You can also ride in one of their still-operational streetcars and get a glimpse into the past of transportation!
The collection on display includes vehicles ranging from some of the first electric railway systems in the United States to modern trolleys. This incredible museum has something for every rail enthusiast, from wooden streetcar bodies and arched rooftops to sleek, modern streetcars built for speed.
In addition to its incredible collection, the Shore Line Trolley Museum provides visitors with interactive and educational experiences throughout their visit. Take a guided tour to learn about the first electric railway systems or travel back in time by boarding a vintage streetcar. The museum also hosts various special events throughout the summer, such as family days where kids can have fun while learning about trolleys!
Stroll Connecticut’s Longest Stretch of Beach: Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut, is ideal for an exciting August summer. This state park near New Haven has the largest shoreline beach in Connecticut, with two miles of sandy shoreline dotted with picnic tables, pavilions, and plenty of space for outdoor recreation.
Visitors can soak up the sun on the beach or enjoy other activities at Hammonasset Beach State Park. There are nature trails where you can explore the park’s diverse wildlife and vegetation and enjoy the views of Long Island Sound. Visitors can also go fishing, paddle boating, or kayaking along the park’s shores.
And be sure to include a ferry around the Thimble Islands in nearby Guilford, Connecticut. This is, without question, one of the most unique things to do in CT, and the summer months are the only time to see them.
Connecticut River Valley
The Connecticut River Valley is a great August destination for lovers of art, architecture, and the beach. Just to the east of New Haven, the river valley offers visitors beautiful views and plenty of opportunities to explore its rich history.
Climb Aboard the Essex Steam Train
The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut, is a great place to visit during August. Built in 1865, the train takes ride-goers on a journey up the Connecticut River Valley Line and back through time.
The two-hour round-trip adventure includes:
- A leisurely steam locomotive ride
- A narrated river cruise aboard the Becky Thatcher Riverboat
Along the way, you’ll learn about the area’s history and culture while taking in some of its most beautiful sights.
The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat also offers a range of special events throughout the summer, including BBQ trains and evening dinner excursions with live entertainment. The train is fun for adults and children, who will love the vintage locomotive and riverboat rides.
Take the Ferry to Gillette Castle
The Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Connecticut, is a must-visit destination during August. Located atop the Connecticut River Valley hills, this historic castle sits on 184 acres of beautiful grounds. Here, you’ll score stunning views of the river valley.
Riding the ferry across the Connecticut River is the grandest way to arrive at this historic site.
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
This art museum houses a collection of more than 17,000 works of art, including:
- Decorative arts from around the world
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is a must-see destination for art lovers. Its New London location doesn’t put it within the official parameters of the Connecticut River Valley (it’s actually on the Thames). That said, it’s an easy drive.
With its vibrant culture and rich history, Hartford, CT provides a feel for how Victorians enjoyed the summer months—minus the oppressively hot wool clothes.
Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s art galleries or take a bike ride through parks like Bushnell Park, there’s plenty to enjoy in Hartford.
Lake Compounce: The Oldest Operating Amusement Park in the US
The oldest operating amusement park in the US sits in Southington, Connecticut. Lake Compounce is an excellent destination for summertime adventures. Open since 1846, the park boasts over 30 rides and attractions for all ages, including a waterpark and classic amusement-park rides like roller coasters, a carousel, and a Ferris wheel.
The Mark Twain House
The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, is a must-visit destination during August. Located in the heart of downtown Hartford, the museum offers visitors a glimpse into the life of one of America’s most beloved authors. Tour the house, explore its collections of Mark Twain artifacts, and visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe house next door.
Delight in Nature at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy
Established in 1894, the Elizabeth Park Conservancy is one of the oldest public parks in the country. It showcases acres of lush gardens and open green spaces.
Visitors to Elizabeth Park can explore its formal rose garden, stroll along its meandering paths, or sit and enjoy the views.
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Home to the first public art museum in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art offers visitors a chance to explore more than 50,000 works of art spanning over 5,000 years of history. It’s a perfect spot to escape the summer heat in downtown Hartford and enjoy some creative inspiration through the centuries.
New England Air Museum
With more than 80 aircraft on display and interactive exhibits, the New England Air Museum offers visitors an up-close look at some of the most historical and advanced aircrafts ever built.
From vintage biplanes to modern fighters, the museum houses a wide range of aircraft and artifacts that provide insight into the history of aviation. This Windsor Locks Museum also offers visitors educational programs and activities, such as lectures and guided tours, allowing them to better understand aviation science and technology.
For those interested in experiencing flight first-hand, the New England Air Museum offers a variety of flight simulators that allow guests to take control of different aircraft and explore the world from above.
The Best Foods to Enjoy in Connecticut in August
You don’t need to travel to Maine to experience a classic coastal New England meal.
One of the most famous summer dishes in New England came from Connecticut: The Lobster Roll.
Eat it, Maine.
Eat A Lobster Roll (Where It Was Invented)
In 1927, Harry Perry invented the lobster roll in Milford, Connecticut. It is a very special sandwich that includes chunks of lobster and hot butter.
Skip the cold mayonnaise in Maine lobster rolls—because that’s gross.
You can try the original warm and delicious rendition at some Connecticut restaurants:
- LobsterCraft in Fairfield
- Lobster Shack in East Haven
- Guilford Lobster Pound in Guilford
- Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale in Westbrook & Madison
- Lobster Landing in Clinton
- Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London
- Dog Watch Cafe in Stonington
- Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank
Ice cream Across Connecticut
To beat the heat, nothing beats a delicious ice cream scoop. Connecticut has some of the best ice cream shops in the country, with flavors and toppings to suit every palate.
The locals’ favorite ice cream shops across the state include:
- Milkcraft | Fairfield, New Haven, West Hartford, Bridgeport
- Arethusa Dairy | Bantam, New Haven
- Sunny Daes | Stamford, Westport, Trumbull, Fairfield
- Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream | Mystic
- Ferris Acres Creamery | Newtown
- Goody Bassett’s Ice Cream | Stratford
- Mr. Frosty’s Ice Cream Shop | Norwalk
Sip Local Hooch at CT’s Craft Breweries & Wineries
August is ideal for sitting on an outdoor patio to enjoy a drink or two.
Don’t Miss Out on Apple Picking
Despite popular opinion, apple picking in Connecticut starts in August. The first half of the month may be too hot for it, but you never know.
And you’ll get the first pick before the crowds storm the orchards in September and October.
At the end of August, the apples are so crisp and juicy. You can take them home and eat them as-is, or you can turn them into delicious baked goods or sweet drinks. Who says apples can only be enjoyed during the fall?
Fun Events Across CT In August
From food truck festivals to fairs celebrating the arts, there’s plenty to keep you entertained each weekend in August.
Some top CT summer festivals to look forward to in August include:
- SoNo Arts Fest | South Norwalk
- Norfolk Midsummer Farmers Market | Norfolk
Keeping Exploring the Most Unique Things to Do in CT in the Summer
Are you ready to come for an August visit?
Great, we’ll see you then!
If not, check out one of the other summer months in Connecticut:
You can also start planning your fall visit to Connecticut.
Be sure to read our full guide to the most unique attractions in Connecticut, perfect for August!