Things To Do In Southington, CT: Top 23 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn

Top of a roller coaster

Southington, Connecticut, is a quaint town in Hartford County. Its natural beauty is breathtaking, in a valley between two mountains. Though it was once a hub for heavy industry, Southington has evolved back into a more bucolic setting. A charming town teeming with village life and family-friendly activities have replaced the factories.

 

The town’s top attractions include an amusement park, Lake Compounce, the oldest theme park in America, and old orchards. These orchards earned the town the nickname “Apple Valley”. They offer free tours and farm-related activities that add a charming touch. The town is a prime spot for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and a relaxing getaway. Southington has a story to tell and it’s waiting for you to listen.

 

Ready to explore the best things to do in Southington, CT? Let’s get into it:

 

Quick hits

  • Explore Southington’s rich history and admire gorgeous natural scenery
  • Experience the rush of skiing at Mount Southington Ski Area, enjoy the serenity of Crescent Lake, and join in the fun at the Apple Harvest Festival.
  • Indulge in a pint of craft beer at Kinsmen Brewing Company or Witchdoctor Brewing Co.
  • Go for a challenging hike at Ragged Mountain Preserve or enjoy a peaceful walk along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.

A Brief History of Southington, Connecticut

Postcard of Main St in Southington, Connecticut, with an old trolley car

Samuel Woodruff, a settler from nearby Farmington, CT, moved to the area known as “Panthorne” in 1698. He saw the settlement prosper and evolve from “South Farmington” to Southington. In its early days, the town had a notable guest, General George Washington, who visited in 1770. The town of Southington, CT, wasn’t officially a town until 1779, though.

 

Revolutionary War

The Marion section of Southington holds a significant piece of history. The renowned French General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, along with his troops, made camp here during the tumultuous times of the American Revolutionary War. This encampment, now known as French Hill, marked a pivotal moment in the town’s history. The Asa Barnes Tavern, now a private residence, was the site of a ball during this time.

 

Industrial Era

Initially, Southington was a simple farming community. However, as the 1900s began, it transformed into a manufacturing hub. The town gave birth to several inventions, including:

  • The first cement that could harden underwater
  • The first carriage bolt cutting machine
  • The break-neck rat trap
  • A unique process for tinware

 

1900s

With the decline of industry in New England and the construction of Interstate 84 in the mid-1960s, Southington experienced a population boom and now boasts over 42,000 residents. Today, 28% of Southington’s workforce is still employed in manufacturing, primarily in the production of fabricated metals and aircraft.

 

During World War II, Southington caught the War Department’s attention. The town was chosen to be featured in a defense booklet titled ‘Southington, CT—Microcosm of America’. This publication showcased typical American citizens and their values. The period from 1934 to 1943 saw the creation of murals through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, which later became known as the Section of Fine Arts, a division of the Treasury Department.

 

The Best Things to do in Southington, CT

Entrance to Lake Compounce

Southington, Connecticut, is a historical treasure and natural beauty. It makes an ideal destination for a day trip in CT or even weekend getaways in Connecticut. It’s within easy reach of Connecticut’s major cities like Hartford, CT and New Haven, CT, providing a balance to city life. Southington’s highlights include historical landmarks, amusement parks, ski slopes, and beautiful lakes. Get ready to explore the best things to do in Southington, Connecticut, with your camera and boots ready.

 

Lake Compounce

Nighttime at Lake Compounce

This amusemen park has been a beloved family destination since 1846. Lake Compounce holds the title of the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the U.S, in fact. Lake Compounce is a historic park, home to some historic rides. These gems have been carefully restored and updated for safety and enjoyment.

 

The Wild Cat, for instance, is the 14th oldest rollercoaster in the world, dating from 1927. The Boulder Dash, built in 2000, is a crowd favorite and has won accolades from the Golden Ticket Awards. The park’s carousel, featuring 16 hand-crafted horses, a chariot, and a goat, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Phobia Phear Coaster, with its thrilling twists and loops, is a recent addition.

 

The park also caters to younger visitors with a variety of fun rides and attractions. It even houses Crocodile Cove, considered the best water park in the state.

 

Explore the Historic Barnes Museum

The Barnes Museum is a Greek Revival home on West Main Street in Southington. The house is a trove of original furnishings and artifacts, offering a glimpse into New England’s past. Guided tours allow you to explore rooms adorned with period furniture. The Barnes Museum also hosts a collection of documents, including Civil War letters and land records dating back to 1740.

 

The Barnes Museum showcases a range of items from decorative arts and costumes to rooms preserved in their original state. Whether you’re a history buff or just someone curious about the past, the Barnes Museum is a must-visit.

 

Experience Mount Southington Ski Area

Skiiers of varying skill levels walking to the Mount Southington Ski Area

Are you a fan of snow and fun winter activities in CT? If so, the Mount Southington Ski Area is the perfect destination for you. It offers fourteen unique trails, each one providing a different challenge for beginner to pro skill levels.

 

At a central location in Hartford County, Mount Southington features seven ski lifts and a terrain park. Ski lessons are available, as well as weekly children’s programs, afterschool programs, and even night skiing for the more adventurous. If you’re more interested in entertainment, there are events every weekend. Think of it as a winter wonderland.

 

So why wait? Gather your gear, summon your courage, and hit the slopes of one of the best ski resorts near NYC. Mount Southington Ski Area is waiting for you.

 

Crescent Lake

New England lake

Nestled between Southington and Plainville, this 56-acre water body provides a serene escape. Crescent Lake is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, and sailing.

 

Just a stone’s throw away is Sunset Rock State Park. This place offers stunning views of the Metacomet Ridge and bluffs overlooking the lake. It’s abundant with trails, peaceful ponds, and diverse wildlife. Whether you’re up for a hike, a bike ride, a picnic, or a fishing trip, this place has you covered.

 

Southington Community Cultural Arts

At the corner of Berlin Avenue and Main Street, the Southington Community Cultural Arts center is a haven for creativity. It offers a variety of classes, including pottery, painting, or sculpture.

 

The gallery at Southington Community Cultural Arts is a marvel to explore. It houses over a hundred pieces of art, each one crafted by talented locals.

 

The Apple Harvest Festival

Harvested apples at the Harvest Festival

Every year during fall in CT, Southington hosts the Apple Harvest Festival. This event is a highlight, especially for good food, the craft fair, and a strong sense of community. The festival takes place on the Southington Town Green, where stalls sell everything from the state’s finest produce to handmade trinkets made in CT.

 

The Apple Harvest Festival celebrates the town’s farming roots and gathers locals. It offers live music and a great atmosphere. It provides a glimpse into the life in Southington, complete with a side of apple pie.

 

Make sure to mark it on your calendar. This top pick among the best fall festivals in CT is one you won’t want to miss.

 

Farms in Southington, Connecticut

Chicken on a Connecticut farm

Southington is one of those lucky towns near Long Island Sound, Hartford, and New Haven, that’s been able to preserve its agricultural community. But the only way to keep them going is to support them, so be sure to do so while you’re here:

 

Rogers Orchards

This fruit orchard is a haven of nature’s bounty. Rogers Orchards is home to rows and rows of apple trees, boasting 20 different varieties, along with an abundance of other fruits and vegetables. Here, you can pick your own right from the tree at some of the best apple picking in CT.

 

But Rogers Orchards isn’t just about fruit. Its hard cider bar makes it one of the best cider mills in CT. They also offer flowers, honey, cheeses, firewood, and even charming Christmas decorations. And their pies? They have 15 different kinds of delicious home baked pies, each more delicious than the last. But the real star of the show might just be their apple cider donuts.

 

Bradley Mountain Farm

A two-century-old dairy farm in the National Historic Places, Bradley Mountain Farm offers a blend of relaxation and fun activities for visitors. The farm is located at the foot of Bradley Mountain and is home to around 50 dairy goats. Here, you can interact with goats, participate in goat yoga sessions, and try their hand at painting or soap making. Other activities beyond Goat Yoga at Bradley Mountain Farm include Goat Cuddling Therapy and Full Moon Goat Walks. The farm is also perfect for birthday parties and bachelorette celebrations, with group activities like a goat soap making party.

 

Karabin Farms

Karabin Farms is a Southington-based working farm that produces award-winning fruit and seasonal vegetables. Other produce here includes:

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Jams
  • Pickles
  • Gourmet treats like milk, cheese, and yogurt

 

The farm has four greenhouses, over 10 acres of Christmas trees at one of the best Christmas tree farms in CT, and a charming country store. Karabin Farms showcases the simple rural life of Southington’s locals and hosts a two-and-a-half-month-long apple-picking activity every harvest season. Visitors can pick as many apples as they want, including Honey Crisp, Fuji, Macoun, Yellow Delicious, and Red Delicious varieties. You can also pick pumpkins from one of the best pumpkin patches in CT from Labor Day weekend, and special programs are provided for school groups during the fall harvest.

 

The farm also offers vegetables, fruits, farm-raised meats, and freshly picked flowers for sale.

 

Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve

The Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve is a popular destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. It offers breathtaking trails and stunning vistas. Located 4.3 miles east of Southington, it is part of the 52-mile Metacomet Trail. A Blue-Blazed trail, the Metacomet Trail follows the ridge to the Massachusetts border.

 

The 200-million-year-old basalt ridge, which stretches from Long Island Sound to the Massachusetts-Vermont border, forms peaks and high bluffs along its trek. And Ragged Mountain, 232 meters tall, is situated above the Wassel Reservoir. The preserve offers multiple trails and some steep ascents to reach the summit, offering panoramic views of Southington, Berlin, and parts of New Britain.

 

A personal favorite spot to explore the ridge is Hubbard Park and Castle Craig in next door Meriden, Connecticut.

 

The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

Let’s turn our attention to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. This trail stretches over 84 miles, connecting Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut. The southern trailhead is just a 12.4-mile drive south of Southington. It’s a delightful stretch of trail, with breweries along the way.

 

Southington Memorial Park

Memorial Park is a gem in town. It sprawls across 20 acres and is equipped with sports facilities, a duck pond, and a playground for children.

 

The pool is exclusive to residents. That said, the rest of the park is open to all. It boasts three tennis courts, a floodlit football field, and baseball diamonds. There’s also a basketball court and a lovely picnic grove.

 

In winter, the pond becomes an ice-skating rink. In summer, the tall trees provide ample shade. It’s a relaxing spot for every season.

 

Southington Public Library

Southington’s public library is a grand old dame, built in 1902, in the Classical Revival style. The Children’s Department is a nurturing space where kids can play, learn, and explore. Their events calendar is always packed with fun stuff. Story time, movie screenings, and a roaming railroad in the summer tours the library parking lot. But it’s not all about the kids. Adults have their place too. They’ve got art exhibitions, drawing classes, and engaging talks. They even host poetry readings and self-help sessions.

 

Breweries in Southington, Connecticut

beer from a Connecticut brewery

Some of the best breweries in all Connecticut have chosen Southington, CT, as their home. Kinsmen Brewing Company and Witchdoctor Brewing Company are go-to places in Southington when you’re thirsty for a good brew. They offer a variety of craft beers, each with its unique flavor. The atmosphere is enhanced by live music and a friendly crowd.

 

Kinsmen Brewing Company is located in a century-old brick factory by the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. It has long opening hours and a wide variety of beers on tap. And Witchdoctor Brewing Company is another relaxed spot that focuses on craft beer.

 

So, whether you’re a beer aficionado or just want to relax with friends while you’re here, these breweries are worth a visit.

 

Restaurants in Southington, CT

Dining room of one of the best restaurants in Southington, CT

After a day full of sightseeing in Southington, CT, you’ll work up a hearty appetite. This charming town offers a variety of restaurants, each providing a unique dining experience.

 

Hop Haus Southington is a casual spot where you can enjoy craft beer, cocktails, and quick bites. If you prefer a more upscale dining experience, visit Cava Restaurant. Here, you can indulge in prime cuts of steak, fresh seafood, and homemade pasta in a European bistro-like setting.

 

Hotels and Inns in Southington, CT

Roller coasters at Lake Compounce

Southington, Connecticut, is an excellent destination for a day trip from our Greenwich, CT, bed and breakfast. That said, if you’re captivated by the area’s charm and wish to explore more, there are a few cozy spots for overnight stays.

 

There are plenty of chain hotels in and near Southington, CT. For more charming options:

 

Southington, CT, Bed & Breakfasts

Captain Josiah Cowles Place used to be a charming and historic bed and breakfast in Southington, CT. But it doesn’t appear that they’re still in business. Some bed ad breakfasts in the surrounding area include:

 

 

  • Just 20 minutes away, you’ll find The Inn at Middletown. Housed in a beautifully restored building from the 19th century, it sits on the main street of Middletown, Connecticut.

 

 

Directions to Southington, CT, from Greenwich, CT

Ride at Lake Compounce

The drive from Greenwich, Connecticut to Southington would take about an hour and 20 minutes, via I-95 or the Merritt Parkway to Route 8.

 

More Nearby Cities and Towns to Explore Near Southington, CT

Caught in the snow in Middletown, CT

If you’re looking to expand your Southington adventure even further, there are plenty of unique Connecticut attractions and activities nearby. Explore historic sites, craft breweries, a renowned public golf course, and more just a short drive away in the Farmington River Valley and the Hartford, Connecticut, area.

 

Meriden, Connecticut

Castle Craig in Meriden, CT

Just a short drive south from Southington, you’ll find the city of Meriden, Connecticut. Known as the “Silver City” due to its long history as a center of silver manufacturing, Meriden offers a blend of natural beauty and historical charm. You can take a leisurely stroll through Hubbard Park, home to the historic Castle Craig, or explore the Meriden Antique Veterans Museum to delve into the city’s past. If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss a visit to Giuffrida Park, known for its stunning reservoir and hiking trails. The best things to do in Meriden, CT, make a delightful addition to your Southington adventure.

 

Newington, CT

The smallest natural waterfall in the United States is in Newington, CT

A short drive in the opposite direction from Southington is the town of Newington, Connecticut. Newington offers a blend of cultural experiences and outdoor adventures. You can explore Mill Pond Falls, the smallest natural waterfall in the United States, or delve into the town’s past at the Kellogg-Eddy House and Museum.

 

New Britain, Connecticut

Wall art at the New Britain Museum of American Art

New Britain, Connecticut, just 9 miles from West Hartford, is a city famous for its industrial past and burgeoning arts and culture scene. The New Britain Museum of American Art, the New Britain Youth Museum, and the New Britain Industrial Museum all showcase the city’s rich history and creative spirit.

 

Farmington, CT

Bike path through Farmington, Connecticut

The progenitor of Southington, Connecticut, Farmington, CT, is worth a visit as well. This historic town, established in 1645, is known for its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century homes, which line the scenic Farmington River. The town is home to the Hill-Stead Museum, a Colonial Revival house with a fantastic collection of French Impressionist paintings. Farmington is also the site of Miss Porter’s School, a prestigious private school for girls, which counts Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among its alumni. The town’s Main Street, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers a charming array of shops and restaurants. The best things to do in Farmington, CT, make it a delightful destination for a day trip.

 

Middletown, CT

Historic building in Middletown, CT

If you’re looking for a city with an artsy, gritty, vibe and unique culture, head to Middletown, CT. Located along the Connecticut River, Middletown is home to attractions like the Wadsworth Mansion, the Kidcity Children’s Museum, and the picturesque Mattabesett Trail.

With a variety of independent businesses and eateries on Main Street, Middletown is the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

 

Tl;dr

Are you sold on visiting Southington, CT, yet? Well, let me tell you, it’s a place with a lot going on. History, outdoor fun, breweries – you name it, the list of things to do in Southington, Connecticut, is long and unique. It’s the kind of town that leaves its mark, and makes you want to come back for more. So, grab your gear and set your sights on Southington, CT. Regardless of the slope you pick: roller coaster, hiking trail, and ski slope, you’re in for a fun ride.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Southington CT known for?

You see, Southington’s got a history that’s as rich as the soil in its apple orchards. It’s a town that’s been shaped and molded by its people, their hands worn from years of work in agriculture and manufacturing. They’ve made their mark with bolts, nuts, hardware, and tools, the very backbone of the local industry.

 

And the apples, oh, the apples. The town’s got so many orchards, they’ve taken to calling it “The Apple Valley”. It’s a name that’s stuck, a name that tells a story of a town and its people.

 

And then there’s the Quinnipiac River, cutting through the town like a vein, bringing life and vitality. It’s a sight to behold, especially when you’re standing atop Mount Southington, the town’s ski area. It’s a place where locals and visitors alike come to carve their paths in the snow, to feel the rush of the wind against their faces, to live in the moment. That’s Southington for you.

 

Is Southington CT a nice area?

Now, Southington, it’s a place that’s found itself on the list of Connecticut’s finest. A gem in the heart of Hartford County. The schools? Top-notch. The downtown area? Charming and full of life. And the best part? It’s just a stone’s throw away from all sorts of adventures.

 

I’ll tell you this – Southington, it’s more than just a town. It’s a home.

 

How big is Crescent Lake in Southington CT?

Let’s chat about Crescent Lake in Southington, Connecticut. It’s a modest-sized beauty, stretching across about 8 acres of land. You’ll find it sitting pretty on Shuttle Meadow Road.

 

Is Southington CT urban or suburban?

Now, let’s talk about Southington, nestled in the heart of Hartford County, Connecticut. It’s got that suburban charm, you see, a place where folks have a piece of land they call their own.

 

Despite the hustle and bustle, Southington’s kept its quiet allure. It’s a place that’s growing, sure, but it’s got its roots deep in the suburban soil.

 

And they call it the “City of Progress”, and for good reason. They’re looking ahead, planning to make more room in their schools for the young ones. It’s a town that’s got its eyes on the horizon, always on the move.

 

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