Best Connecticut Attraction (2017)


At fewer than 60 miles top to bottom and 100 miles across, you can travel just about anywhere in the state of Connecticut in under two hours. This authentic New England state, depicted by shows like The Gilmore Girls and The Stepford Wives, has a personality closely tied with the water, with several rivers cutting through its hills toward its coastal plain. Those who slow down and linger in New England's front porch will find numerous Colonial villages, a rich maritime heritage and one of the nation's greatest educational institutions.

  • Lavender Pond Farm

    Lavender Pond Farm

    With the singular goal of making the world a more beautiful place, Lavender Pond Farm invites visitors to come and enjoy the 25-acre property, planted with more than 10,000 lavender plants. Guests can walk through the fields or pick up all-natural lavender products in the farm store.
    Photo courtesy of Romy Lee Photography

  • Mystic Seaport

    Mystic Seaport

    Mystic Seaport was founded in 1929 to collect, protect and showcase artifacts from America's seafaring heritage. Today, it's one of the most significant maritime museums in the world, with grounds covering 19 acres along the Mystic River. The museum encompasses a working shipyard, recreated 19th-century coastal village and exhibit space displaying more than 500 historic watercraft, including the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • Elizabeth Park

    Elizabeth Park
    West Hartford

    Listed on the national register of historic places, Elizabeth Park is the nation's oldest public rose garden, open since 1897. Over 100 acres in total, the rose garden comprises 2.5 acres with 475 beds and 15,000 bushes and arches.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • The Maritime Aquarium

    The Maritime Aquarium

    Opened in 1988, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk encompasses 34 exhibits highlighting some 1,200 marine animals of 259 different species. Guest favorites include river otters, sea turtles, sharks and harbor seals.
    Photo courtesy of Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

  • The Book Barn

    The Book Barn

    A book store might not sound like much of an attraction, but Connecticut's Book Barn definitely qualifies. The shop maintains a collection of half a million titles, spread throughout five buildings. As visitors walk between buildings, they pass art installations, playgrounds, gardens and even the occasional goat.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • Goodspeed Opera House

    Goodspeed Opera House
    East Haddam

    Situated on the banks of the Connecticut River, the Goodspeed Opera House has been staging musicals, old and new, since the curtain first rose in 1963.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • Mark Twain House & Museum

    Mark Twain House & Museum

    In 1873, Samuel and Olivia Clemens commissioned a New York architect to construct their home in Hartford. After moving in in 1874, the author better known as Mark Twain enjoyed what he called the happiest and most productive years of his life.
    Photo courtesy of John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum

  • Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

    Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

    The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat unlocks the beauty of the Connecticut River Valley by taking guests on a 12-mile (round trip) narrated journey beginning at historic Essex Station. Highlights include views of Selden Neck State Park, accessible only by boat.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • Lyman Orchards

    Lyman Orchards

    Lyman Orchards is celebrating its 275th anniversary in 2017. Visitors to this local institution, in the same family for nine generations, come for the pick-your-own produce – apples, pumpkins, berries, peaches and pears.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

  • New Britain Museum of American Art

    New Britain Museum of American Art
    New Britain

    When the New Britain Museum of American Art was founded in 1903, it became the nation's first museum dedicated strictly to American works of art. Today the 8,300-piece collection highlights colonial portraiture, American impressionism, the Hudson River School and the Ash Can School.
    Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

We asked a panel of Connecticut travel writers to nominate their favorite state attractions, and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites. The results are in!

The top 10 winners in the category Best Connecticut Attraction are as follows:

  1. Lavender Pond Farm - Killingworth
  2. Mystic Seaport - Mystic
  3. Elizabeth Park - West Hartford
  4. The Maritime Aquarium - Norwalk
  5. The Book Barn - Niantic
  6. Goodspeed Opera House - East Haddam
  7. Mark Twain House & Museum - Hartford
  8. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat - Essex
  9. Lyman Orchards - Middlefield
  10. New Britain Museum of American Art - New Britain

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Kim Knox Beckius (, Eric D. Lehman and Cindi D. Pietrzyk were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Connecticut.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.

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AlertThe Experts

Kim Knox Beckius

Kim Knox Beckius

Kim Knox Beckius

Eric D. Lehman

Eric D. Lehman

Eric D. Lehman

Cindi D. Pietrzyk

Cindi D. Pietrzyk

Cindi D. Pietrzyk