Things to do and see in beautiful Southeastern Connecticut

Southeastern Connecticut is a wonderful year-round vacation destination. In addition to 2 world class casinos, you will also find numerous options for recreation, including beautiful beaches and state parks. During the summer months, you will want to check out the sandy beaches of East Lyme.  The fall season is the ideal time to get out for a hike while enjoying the dazzling colors. Check out my list of 5 great things to do while visiting the area.

1. Rocky Neck State Park Beach

Rocky Neck is a great option for those looking for a clean, sandy Connecticut beach. The sand is soft, the swimming is great due to the calm waters, and the views are beautiful. Camping, hiking, and picnicking are also popular activities within the park.

Rocky Neck State Park Beach in East Lyme, CT

Best season to visit: summer

How to get here: Rocky Neck is located at 244 W Main St in Niantic, CT. Parking fees are in effect from mid-April until late September. Weekends are $22 per non resident car. Weekdays are $15.00 per nonresident car. Those arriving after 4:00pm will receive a discount ($7 fee).

2. Devil’s Hopyard State Park

This beautiful 860 acre state park is home to several miles of hiking trails, a stunning waterfall, and a covered bridge. The park is especially beautiful during fall foliage season. Autumn is the perfect time to take in the true beauty of the forest as the leaves turn a brilliant medley of yellow, orange, and red hues. In addition, photography of the bridge with the autumn leaves in the background can’t be beat. Learn more about the legend behind the park’s unique name.

Covered bridge in East Haddam,  CT

Best season to visit: fall for the brilliant leaves

How to get here: Devil’s Hopyard is located at 366 Hopyard Rd in East Haddam, CT. There is a large free parking lot.

3. Foxwoods Casino

With over 340,000 square feet of gaming space, Foxwoods is one of the largest casinos in the world. In fact, it used to claim the number one spot, however, that spot now belongs to WinStar casino in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, Foxwoods is an incredible resort filled with top notch amenities, including: 6000+ slots, various table games, a range of restaurants ranging from casual to upscale, live shows, shops, bowling, a full service spa, and much more!

Two notable features are the bingo hall (one of the largest in the world with over 5000 seats) and poker room (largest in the Northeast and 3rd largest in the world). In terms of lodging, you have your choice amongst 4 different hotel properties.

Best season to visit: anytime

How to get here: Foxwoods is located at 39 Norwich-Westerly Rd in Ledyard, CT. There is a large, free parking garage.

4. Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun is a 5 star casino resort located in Ledyard, about 15 minutes away from Foxwoods. With 364,000 square feet of gaming space, it also stands as one of the largest casinos in the US. The architecture and design are stunning, as is its’ picturesque location on the Thames River. Mohegan Sun’s Season Buffet and Tuscany are 2 excellent dining choices. Tuscany offers a weekday Tuscan Table lunch buffet special, where you can dine on Italian favorites while taking in the gorgeous waterfall.

Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut

One of the highlights here is the Mohegan Sun Arena, which consistently ranks among the best venues in the world. The Wolf Den is another fantastic live entertainment venue; here you will be treated to live performances by popular performers of both today and yesterday. Other attractions on site include: The Mohegan Sun Shops (a collection of various chain and specialty shops), a full service spa, and a handful of bars/nightclubs. Over 1200 rooms are available, many featuring beautiful views of the river.

The Shops at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut

Best season to visit: summer for the concerts and nighttime pool parties at GLO

How to get here: 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd in Uncasville, CT. There is a large, free parking garage.

5. Hole in the Wall Beach

Hole in the Wall is another great beach option in the East Lyme area. Although a bit more rocky, the beach is more secluded, which is great for a lazy day of summer reading. From here, you can take in gorgeous views of the Long Island sound by taking a waterfront stroll along the 1.1 mile long Niantic Bay Boardwalk.

Hole in the Wall beach in Niantic CT

Best season to visit: summer

How to get here: Hole in the Wall Beach is located on Main Street (Route 156) in East Lyme, CT. Parking is available on Baptist Lane. Passes can be purchased in Tumbleweeds (across from the entrance) or at the parks and recreation office at 41 Society Road.

6. Olde Mistick Village

Olde Mistick Village is an outdoor shopping village located in historic Mystic, Connecticut. This quaint shopping area features historic New England brick walkways, a duck pond, waterwheel, and plenty of landscaping. It’s a great place to stroll around on a summer day, browsing inside unique shops, stopping for a sweet treat, and even catching a show at the art cinema. Taking a walk through this old fashioned village is like taking a step back in time.

Olde Mistick Village in Mystic, CT

Best season to visit: summer for the beautiful landscaping or winter for the holiday light display

How to get here:  Olde Mystic Village is located at 27 Coogan Blvd in Mystic, CT. Parking is free.

Have you visited any of the above mentioned attractions? What would you add to the Southeastern Connecticut must-see list?