While New England is known for its diverse and drastic season changes, Connecticut is fairly mild.Winters are cold, with average temperatures fluctuating below zero. Spring has variable temperatures with frequent rainfall. Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, but it's also high tourist season so flights to Connecticut are often more expensive and hotels and resorts book up fast. Fall months are mild, and bring foliage across the state in October and November. During hurricane season, tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region. Thunderstorms are most frequent during the summer.
When to fly to Connecticut
Connecticut is a year-round destination for many New Englanders, but most vacationers keep their Connecticut travel to the summer months.
Summer is high season for most attractions when visitors have the most options, and the most crowds, especially along the shore.
July and August, and weekends from May to Columbus Day are packed with tourists in Mystic and the Southeastern coast. Along with the crowds, attractions and restaurants are packed and rooms need to be booked months in advance. Tourists booking Connecticut flights and hotels for summer vacations should plan far in advance to avoid paying high prices and overcharges.
Many attractions close in the winter, but fall and spring are excellent times to visit — fall for the foliage and spring for the gardens and town greens in bloom. Several of the attractions that close in the winter reopen in April or May.
Getting around Connecticut
The third-smallest state (90 miles wide and 55 miles from top to bottom) is well connected by major roads. With several interstates you have ample access to all parts of the state from the Long Island shoreline north and northeast of Hartford. For more scenic routes through the state, try as the Merritt Parkway, U.S. 7, and Route 8.
Rail service connects New London and New Haven, Stamford and stops along the way to Waterbury, and Hartford. Several bus lines provide transportation throughout the state, and ferries take travellers along the waterways.
Connecticut insider information
- One of the primary attractions in Connecticut is Yale University and the many museums in New Haven, the state’s “cultural capital”. No appointments are needed to visit the university, just drop in on the Mead Visitor Centre, at 149 Elm Street. You can take a guided tour with one of the undergraduates. If you’re in New Haven, though, don’t just take in the museums and university. The Green is the city’s public park, a beautiful space right in the city centre, which has been voted one of the top 100 parks in the U.S. Many festivals are held in the space year round, but one of the best is the New Haven Jazz Festival.
- A popular trip for kids, the Mystic Steamboat runs through the summer months (May-October) from Mystic Seaport. The wooden coal-fired steamboat Sabino takes a 30-minute journey up the MysticRiver throughout the day. Evening cruises down the river can also be arranged.
- Mark Twain lived in Hartford from 1874 to 1891. You can visit the house which was the author’s home for 17 years and in which he wrote Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The Victorian mansion is now a national historic landmark and has been turned into a museum for Twain, with all furnished rooms containing the author’s possessions as well as an attached museum celebrating his life and works.
- There are many “trails” available in Connecticut, details of all are available from the tourist board. Take a two-day wine trail to visit some of the 15 vineyards, a family fun trail, a foliage trail, or even a women’s heritage trail – which includes a visit to the Harriet Beecher Stowe centre.
- One of the best things about Connecticut is its close proximity to New York City. If you're eager to visit Manhattan but need to travel on a budget, look for cheap flights to Connecticut. Once you're in the state, you can board a train or ferry for a quick ride into Manhattan (and pay less than if you fly into New York directly).