The 10 Best Guided Tours in Connecticut!

Connecticut’s history and culture runs deep, and visitors or residents aiming to learn more about its local heroes could opt to take an informative tour to learn more. Historical residences, buildings, and districts can be toured, and the diversity of cultures in Connecticut can even be savored through food tours. Dive into some fun with a guided tour in the Nutmeg State!

1. Taste of New Haven Food and Drink Tours, New Haven, CT

Join an experienced tour guide and fellow food lovers for a tour around New Haven’s hip culinary scene and unique heritage. Taste of New Haven offers several different tour options including Live to Eat Tour for education on healthy eating accompanied with great food, Pizza Lovers Tour to visit famous Wooster Street pizzerias as well as downtown and East Rock joints. They also offer a sweets tour, different neighborhood tours, and cooking classes.

2. Eolia Mansion Tours at Harkness State Park, Waterford, CT

The elegant summertime mansion of the Harkness family was built in 1906 and in the summer, visitors can enjoy guided tours of the mansion and learn history about the family. Tours are available on weekends and public holidays only from Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day, but is closed during special events such as weddings. The grounds of Harkness State Park are stunning and Eolia is surrounded by carefully manicured gardens and beaches protected for nesting birds.

3. Connecticut State Capitol Tours, Hartford, CT

Year-round guided tours are available weekday mornings and early afternoons of the Connecticut State Capitol. During this tour, visitors will learn about the history of the capitol, see important artifacts, learn about the legislative process, and see several different halls and office buildings. Guided tours are free and provided by enthusiastic volunteers.

4. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT

Several different tour options are available at the historic home of the author and activist Harriet Beecher Stowe including a family tour, Spirts at Stowe (only in October), and the Stowe Center Experience. Visitors will learn all about Stowe’s life, her novel, and discuss the impact of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

5. Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford, CT

Next door to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is the Mark Twain House. As the home of the famous author, visitors will be treated to excellent guided tours of his home as well as learn information about Twain’s life, work, and family.

6. Nathan Hale Homestead, Coventry, CT

Nathan Hale is Connecticut’s state hero, and those itching to learn more about this brave man should stop by the Nathan Hale Homestead for a guided tour. This homestead is where Hale grew up and is furnished with items used by the Hales as well as other period antiques. Tours are given from May until October.

7. Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden, Suffield, CT

The tours at Phelps-Hatheway House tell the tale of two wealthy Connecticut families living in the 1700s before, during, and after their wealth was lost during the American Revolution. Visitors will be able to enjoy the largely intact interiors that were decorated with imported goods and 18th century American furniture. The formal garden has been restored to its glory and can also be visited.

8. Thimble Islands Cruise, Stony Creek, CT

Enjoy a 45-minute long sightseeing tour of the Connecticut coastline and Thimble Islands in a narrated boat ride. Those on this seafaring guided tour will learn about the natural history of the area, shellfish industries, as well as local legends.

9. Yale Campus Tours, New Haven, CT

Tours of the Yale campus are available on weekdays throughout the year and are led by Yale students. Tours focus on specific sections of the campus; for example, Science Tours, Engineering Tours, and general campus tours are available. 

10. Kayak and Paddleboard Tours by Downunder, Westport, CT

Active guided tours are available along the Saugatuck River via kayak and standup paddleboard. Tour leaders describe the ecology of the river as well as the wildlife that can be seen in and around the river. Do keep in mind that some experience is suggested for those participating in a tour. 

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