Connecticut may be small, but it packs a mighty punch when it comes to beauty. You don’t have to travel far to find rolling hills, dense forests, vast coastlines, and historic towns. Here is a line-up of the most beautiful places to take pictures in Connecticut.
15 Beautiful Places to Take Pictures in Connecticut
I’ve broken these places up into categories: cities and towns, state parks, and sites and attractions.
Cities and Towns
Here are some of the most picture-perfect cities and towns in Connecticut:
This moody coastal town is home to one of the largest maritime museums in the United States, Mystic Seaport. Here you will find the Charles W. Morgan whaleship, the oldest merchant vessel in the U.S. (built in 1841).
Walk across the Mystic River Bascule Bridge to the town center, featuring boutique shops and restaurants.
It is said that Washington, Connecticut inspired Gilmore Girls writer Amy Sherman-Palladino in the creation of her fictional town, Stars Hollow. When you visit this place, it’s not hard to understand why.
With its white churches, old post office, small family-owned restaurants, and quiet neighborhoods, this town is a picture-perfect example of New England charm.
When I first arrived in the small town of Kent, I noticed rows of tables piled high with books for sale right next to the public library. Seeing people quietly browsing the selections under budding trees was such a picturesque scene I will never forget.
A stop in Kent would not be complete without a visit to Kent Falls State Park, where you can see the beautiful cascading waterfall.
Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains is the historic town of Cornwall, established in 1740. Here you can walk across one of the last covered bridges in the state, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge.
There are also miles of scenic trails surrounding the town, such as the Pine Knob Loop Trail, parts of the Appalachian Trail, and the Mohawk Blue Blazed Trail.
Founded in 1672, Chester is the perfect place to experience old-time New England. The town is positioned along the Connecticut River, with small brooks and streams flowing throughout, making for a peaceful place to stroll and take photos.
The Chester/Hadlyme Ferry is one of the last operating ferries in Connecticut and is a scenic way to cross the Connecticut River over to Gillette Castle (see #13).
6. New Haven
New Haven is the third-largest city in Connecticut and one of the oldest cities in the United States (est. 1638). It is best known for its Gothic-inspired Yale University campus (see #15).
However, the city has several other photogenic places to explore, such as the New Haven Green, a National Historic Landmark made up of 16 acres of green spaces and three historic churches. Hike to the top of East Rock for sweeping views of Long Island Sound, the harbor, and downtown New Haven.
Connecticut’s capital city is full of picture-worthy scenes. The Connecticut state capitol building itself is a work of art, surrounded by Bushnell Park, the oldest publicly funded park in the United States.
The Mark Twain House & Museum and Elizabeth Park Rose Garden are also worth checking out.
Connecticut is loaded with beautiful state parks. Here are some of the most picturesque ones:
8. Lighthouse Point State Park
Just outside the city of New Haven is Lighthouse Point State Park, an 82-acre park with captivating views of Long Island Sound. Take pictures by the Five Mile Point Lighthouse and meander along the rocky shoreline.
Be sure to also stop by the Lighthouse Point Carousel, which has been in operation since 1916. Both the lighthouse and the carousel are on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Hours: Park open 7 am. to sunset | Carousel open weekends and holidays from noon to 4 p.m.
Cost: Parking free for New Haven residents / $25 for other CT residents / $30 for non-residents | Carousel $0.50
Best time to visit: All year round (Parking is free during off season from November 2 through March 31.)
9. Silver Sands State Park
Have you ever heard of a tombolo? This is one of the highlight features of Silver Sands State Park. During low tide, a thin sliver of sand stretches from the mainland to Charles Island, a 14-acre bird sanctuary.
You are welcome to walk all the way to the island (keeping an eye out for areas blocked off for bird nesting), but don’t forget to keep an eye on the clock! The tombolo is completely covered by water during high tide, blocking the path back to the mainland. 😉
It’s also worth walking along the 0.75-mile boardwalk with its picturesque views of Long Island Sound on one side and marshlands on the other.
10. Hammonasset Beach State Park
Hammonasset Beach State Park is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, with more than 2 miles of sand to explore. A boardwalk runs along a good stretch of the park, giving you more elevated views of the beach and Long Island Sound beyond.
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset
Cost: From May 28-September 5, parking is $22 for out-of-state visitors, but only $7 if visiting after 4 p.m. and someone is still at the ticket booth. Parking is free during the off season.
Best time to visit: Fall and spring for free parking, summer for swimming
11. Sleeping Giant State Park
This unique state park is comprised of two miles of mountaintop shaped like a man lying on the ground, earning it the name “sleeping giant.” The trail will lead you to an observation tower on Mount Carmel, giving you impressive views of New Haven and Long Island Sound.
12. Devil’s Hopyard State Park
Located in Haddam, Connecticut, Devil’s Hopyard State Park is an 860-acre stretch of forests and rivers, with its biggest attraction being the 60-foot waterfall, Chapman Falls. This state park is a sleepy oasis and offers the perfect woodsy backdrop for photos.
Sites and Attractions
Here are three popular sites in Connecticut that make for beautiful pictures:
13. Gillette Castle
Did you know Connecticut has its own castle? It may not compare to the ones you find in Europe, but Gillette Castle is still an interesting sight to behold. The “castle” is really just the quirky home of former actor William Gillette.
You can pay to tour the inside or simply enjoy the grounds with lovely views of the Connecticut River.
Hours: Tours are every 15 minutes, every day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-12 | Reserve online ($2 additional processing fee applies) or purchase tickets on site.
Best time to visit: Tours are offered from May 28-September 5, 2022.
14. Buttonwood Farm
For some of the finest sunflower fields in New England, visit Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, Connecticut. They have a walking field you can tour for free, or you can also purchase tickets for their “cut your own” field.
When you’re done, be sure to cool down with delicious ice cream made fresh on their eco-friendly farm.
Hours: March 1-October 31 | Summer hours Monday-Friday 1-9 p.m., Saturday & Sunday noon to 9 p.m.
Cost: Walking field is free, “cut your own” field is $3 per person | Parking on site is free.
Best time to visit: Summer
15. Yale University
Founded in 1701, Yale is the third-oldest higher education institution in the United States. Its campus is stunning, with many of its buildings in traditional Gothic collegiate architecture. It has been voted by Travel + Leisure as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.
Don’t miss the Old Campus for the historic Georgian-style red brick buildings, including Connecticut Hall. The Sterling Memorial Library is also a must-see place.
Hours: Campus is open 24/7, but building hours are limited and can vary.
Best time to visit: All year round, but spring and fall colors are the prettiest to see.
Planning Your Trip: Most Beautiful Places in Connecticut
The nice thing about visiting a state that’s only about 110 miles west to east and 70 miles north to south is you can see a lot in a short amount of time. If you’re looking to only spend a few days taking photos in Connecticut, you can pretty easily see all 15 of the places mentioned in this post in just 3 days’ time.
Below I have outlined which places to see on a 3-day itinerary based on their geography.
Washington | Kent | Cornwall | Hartford
Silver Sands State Park | New Haven | Yale University | Sleeping Giant State Park | Lighthouse Point Park | Hammonasset Beach State Park
Chester | Gillette Castle State Park | Devil’s Hopyard State Park | Buttonwood Farm | Mystic
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