Best RV Trips in Connecticut
Whether you are local, just passing by, or came only for that, there is no denying that Connecticut is a beautiful place to visit. Bring your friends and family and take in all the beautiful sites – from sandy beaches of Hammonasset Beach State Park to the beautiful Wadsworth Falls. Connecticut has enough to offer to fit every taste.
Here is our list of the 9 most worthy places to see on your RV trip:
1. Mark Twain House and Museum
The museum is located in Hartford. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain lived in this intricate Gothic style house from 1874 to 1891. He shared it with his wife and kids. This house is where he wrote his most famous masterpieces The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The building was going to be torn down in 1929, but was saved by historic preservationists. Currently the house welcomes all visitors to come in and learn about the life of this great American novelists and humorist.
If you are an aspiring writer yourself, you can sign up for a class offered at the museum over the weekends. Just like with many old houses, there are stories about it being haunted, so join "Graveyard Shift Ghost Tour" and meet some ghosts.
Admission: $20 for adults and discounts for seniors & kids
There are two great campgrounds just a short drive away:
• Nelson's Family Campground is located on 175 acres of beautiful land and offers electricity, water, cable, fishing pond, a pool, arcade, mini golf, shuffleboard, and many different activities.
• Markham Meadows Campground is equipped with everything like Nelson's is, but includes some wonderful extras – general store, snack bar, free kayaks, free paddle boats, and two ponds.
2. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
This center is located very close to Mark Twain House. Harriet Beecher Stowe was another great American writer, revolutionary for her time. She was born in
Litchfield, Connecticut and moved to this house in 1873. She was already famous by then after having written Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852. Her views were liberal and she was very much anti-slavery. She spent the last 23 years of her life in this brick house. It was later purchased by her grandniece and turned into the current museum. Visitors can view expositions by themselves or join a tour.
Admission: $14 for adults and $8 for children 5-16, discounts for seniors and students.
• Branch Brook Campground is located in the hills of Thomaston, very close from Stowe's birth place. Besides usual amenities, this campground has a swimming pool, fishing pond, playground, and a small store.
• Gentile's Campground has full hookups and swimming pool, baseball field, mini golf, basketball court, bocci ball court, and sand volleyball. You will definitely not be bored!
3. Gillette Castle State Park
One of famous Connecticut eccentric personalities was William Gillette. He is best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on the stage. He was born and died in Hartford, Connecticut. At his heyday he purchased a 184-acre land and built his impressive estate complete with a 24-room house that looks like medieval castle. He called his estate the "Seventh Sister" known today as Gillette Castle State Park.
Just like his owner, the house has some very quirky features – built in sofas, hidden mirrors to see the outside, an unusual door knobs and locking mechanisms. Gillette died in 1937 and requested in his will that the house was not to be sold to somebody that would come in and change everything. The state took over the estate in 1943 and renovated the property for $11 million dollars. The park is busy and hosts about 300,000 visitors each year. The castle is open during summer months from Thursdays to Sundays.
Admission: $6 for adults, $2 for children 6-12
• Wolf's Den Family Campground offers traditional amenities and a huge swimming pool, recreation hall, shuffleboard, mini golf, a store, and laundry machines.
• GrandView Camping with 19 RV sites, a game room, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pool, and playground.
4. Yale University
Even if you haven't been a student for many years, the beautiful campus is well worth a visit. You can see all the sites yourself or join a tour to learn more about the 300 year old university's history. The tour is short, just 15 minutes, and takes you to Gothic Sterling Memorial Library and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to view some of the oldest texts in the world. You can later stop by at the Cushing Brain Collection and observe the extensive collection of human brains. This will help you understand how neurological medicine was evolving through history.
• Riverdale Farm Campsites in Clinton. This is a fully equipped campground that also offers plenty of entertainment options, like games, swimming pool, fishing, and playgrounds. It is about 25 minutes away from Yale.
5. Louis Lunch
This little place is not your typical lunch joint, even if it might look so. The unassuming restaurant is an official birthplace of a burger and has been recognized as such by Library of Congress. It opened in 1898 and has been serving meat patties made of 5 different kinds of meats. The meat is definitely the star here. You will not find ketchup or French fires to go with it. Simple sandwich is made with cheese, onion, and tomato, on a white toast. Nothing should interfere with the flavor. Some side items are potato salad, chips, and home-made pie. You can't have it your way here – it's their way or the highway.
Price: $6.25 cash only for original burger.
• Totoket Valley RV Park is just 15 minutes away. It has 15 hook-up sites with free Wi-Fi and cable access. There are no other RV parks in New Haven area.
6. Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum
Rocky Hill is famous for this dinosaur park, especially popular with kids. The park has one the largest collections of dinosaur footprints in North America. They were discovered about 60 years ago and have been visited non-stop since then. About 500 of tracks are visible under the geodesic dome and another 1,500 are still underground for preservation purposes. Learn more about Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut.
In spring time, the park offers gem mining on the weekends and two miles of trails. This way the entire family can have fun and get some exercise in too.
Admission: $6 for adults, $2 for kids 6-12.
If you have Mark Twain and Harriet Stowe Museums on your radar, stay at Nelson's Family or Markham Meadows Campgrounds, described above. They are just about half an hour drive from the Dinosaur Park and perfect distance from other museums.
7. Wadsworth Falls State Park
If you are feeling hot on your summer RV trip, visit Wadsworth Falls to cool off. The park is located in Middleton and has two natural waterfalls and a swimming hole, which is perfect for swimming and is equipped with lifeguards. In addition to taking a dip or a soak, you can also enjoy walking and biking trails all over the 267-acre park territory. History enthusiasts can visit an old mansion once owned by Col. Clarence S. Wadsworth. Finally, take a picnic basket and enjoy lunch in one of the most beautiful Connecticut parks.
Admission: free on weekdays, $15 for out of state and $8 for Connecticut vehicles on the weekends
• Salem Farms Campground is about 45 min away, but well worth the trip. It is spread on 157 acres in rural Salem. You can bring your pets here and enjoy swimming pool, family games, mini golf, volleyball court, and even a petting zoo.
• Witch Meadow Lake Family Campground on the lake. It has tennis courts, heated pool, trails, adult lounge, and a campground store. Perfect location for ultimate family relaxation.
8. PEZ Visitor Center
As it turns out, Connecticut is home to this beloved and nostalgic childhood candy. It is produced in a nearby Orange factory. You can take a self-guided tour and look through the windows how the tiny candies and dispensers are made. You can play games here and take some trivia tests. Picture opportunities await with a 14-foot tall PEZ dispenser. Make sure you pick some candy on the way out from the shop.
Admission: $5 for adults and teens, $4 for children 3-12.
• Totoket Valley RV Park is just 25 minutes away. It offers 15 hook-up sites and basic amenities, like a cable and laundry facility.
9. Hammonasset Beach State Park
If you feel like you've seen enough and just want to relax on the beach, this is it. Hammonasset Beach is the largest shoreline park in Connecticut. It boasts over 2 miles of sand waiting for your chair and umbrella. Beach is definitely an amazing place – you can read, fish, play with kids, catch crabs, and swim. If you want to spend some time inside, you should check out Meigs Point Nature Center.
• Riverdale Farm Campsites are just 15 minutes away. You will stay on a 100-acre colonial farm. The sites have traditional hook-ups and the campground has a swimming pond, playground, arcade, tennis and basketball courts, and softball field.