Although Connecticut is one of the smaller states in the country, it is home to a large variety of attractions that range from historical museums to shore-lined beaches and ports. Explore New England beaches in Greenwich or tour Yale University in New Haven. Connecticut vacation rentals give you access to nature trails and botanical gardens boasting blooming flowers and trails of plants. Consider these cities offering fun in the sun and winter wonderlands when planning your next weekend getaway.

1. Hartford

hartford ct
Source: Flickr / Daniel Hartwig

For big-city fun in the capital of Connecticut, book a vacation rental in Hartford. This city is an art enthusiast’s haven with the oldest American public art museum in the downtown area. Browse the Wadsworth Athenaeum to see stunning masterpieces before touring Bushnell Park, the oldest United States public park. When you want to tap your toes, take a tour of the New England Dodge Music Center or stop in for a bite to eat and cold beverage at the nearby Riverside Cricket Club. Catch a hockey game at Hartford Stage during the winter months or take a leisurely walk with a cool breeze in Riverside Park.

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2. Stonington

stonington ct beach
Source: Flickr / Lisa Jacobs

Visit this historic port town and walk along the colorful harbor and admire the Victorian mansions in the downtown area. When making Stonington your vacation destination for the weekend, you can learn about farming, whaling, and sealing history at the Old Lighthouse Museum or tour the Victorian mansion that was home to Captain Nathaniel Brown Palmer. Make a splash at Dubois Beach when the weather allows or sign up for a kayak or canoe guided tour with New England Science and Sailing. Adults can sample the aged wines at the Stonington and Saltwater Farm before retreating to cozy vacation rentals nestled along the water.

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3. New Britain

new britain ct
Source: Flickr / Doug Kerr

Dubbed the “Hardware City” because of its bustling growth of manufacturers, this Connecticut city also offers stunning views and rolling hills perfect for viewing on a weekend getaway. Explore the young forests of New Britain with a walk through Walnut Hill Park or make a splash at Batterson Park Pond. Get to know the industrial city when touring the New Britain Industrial Museum to see manufacturing artifacts or soak up the culture of the city when walking through the New Britain Museum of American Art. The kids can burn off some energy with an afternoon at Flight Trampoline Park and the adults can sample local brews at the Alvarium Beer Company.

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4. Greenwich

bruce park greenwich ct
Source: Flickr / Bonnie Council

Head along the coast of the Long Island Sound to settle in the charming city of Greenwich for the weekend. Located close to the trendy attractions in New York City, this quaint city puts you close to big city attractions, yet offers a relaxing, quiet environment. Soak in the culture with a stop at the Bush-Holley House, home of Connecticut’s first art colony or get your fill of science and art exhibits at the Bruce Museum. The Maritime Aquarium is the ideal afternoon attraction to see otters and sea turtles while Greenwich Point Park offers a sandy beach to soak up the sun. Travel along the miles of hiking trails at this popular park and snap a few photos of the New York City skyline.

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5. New Haven

lighthouse point park new haven
Source: Flickr / versageek

Immerse yourself in the artistic community of New Haven, home to 59 properties that have made it on the National Register of Historic Places. Beyond the draw of Yale University, this Connecticut city is also popular for water attractions with its close proximity to the shore of the Long Island Sound. Take a boat ride with Harbor Adventures or explore this New England town in spooky fashion when reserving your spot on the Ghosts of New Haven Walking Tour. See the city’s natural surroundings when walking the trails of East Rock Park or indulge your desire for knowledge with tours of the New Haven Museum. The Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park gives you and the family the perfect spot for a photo.

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6. Guilford

stewart b. mckinney national wildlife refuge
Source: Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Choose a shore-lined vacation rental when staying in the small, rustic town of Guilford. Walk along the tree-lined streets in the old-fashioned Village Green area and stop in at the boutiques and art galleries. The Henry Whitfield State Museum is a popular draw for history buffs, as well as the 1803 Medad Stone Tavern. An afternoon at Bishop’s Orchard supplies you with fruits and vegetables to supplement your dinner back at your vacation rental, or you can opt for an evening sampling the wines at the orchard. Take the kids to Sandy Jacobs Beach to make sandcastles during the summer months or soak in the history of this small town when visiting the historic Faulkner Island Lighthouse.

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7. Old Saybrook

saybrook point lighthouse
Source: Flickr / Wilson Bilkovich

Rest and relaxation are plentiful with a vacation rental in Old Saybrook, a historic Connecticut town located on the banks of the Connecticut River. Stroll through the Main Street shopping area offering specialty shops such as the Saybrook County Barn and the Little Gift Shoppe. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a homemade dessert at Dagmar’s Desserts after your shopping spree. A vacation rental in Old Saybrook puts you within close proximity of the historic Saybrook Breakwater Light. Play a game of mini golf with the kids at Saybrook Point or ride bikes along the river trails. Spend a weekend evening soaking up the old-town culture when reserving tickets for a performance at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater.

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8. Stamford

mill river park stamford
Source: Flickr / Rain0975

For peace and quiet in a 19th-century town, head to Stamford for the weekend. Located just 30 miles from Manhattan, New York, this quaint town is rich with cultural attractions. Head out on a Saturday to tour the Stamford Museum and Nature Center or see through the blooming flowers and plants at the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens, complete with 91 acres of land to explore. The Palace Theatre draws in locals and tourists for performances by the Stamford Symphony Orchestra while the Palace Theatre at the Stamford Center for the Arts features plays, musical, and dance events throughout the year.

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