Best “stay-cations” in Connecticut

The famous Mystic Pizza, located in Mystic, CT that was featured in the movie starring Julia Roberts. Mystic is one of a few places to visit in CT over this coming Spring Break. (Matt Lehrer/Creative Commons)

Are you an in-state student with nowhere to go this Spring Break? Or maybe a student that won’t be able to get home for the week and want something to do while you’re here? Well, you’re in luck. Here are three of the best stay-cation ideas to try out in the state of Connecticut to keep you busy during break.

Day trip to Mystic Seaport and nearby beaches

For those who may not know, Connecticut has one of the most well-known seaports on the East Coast, if not the entire United States, in the little town of Mystic. Mystic has a myriad of attractions for tourists of all ages. You can spend some time at the Mystic Aquarium, have lunch at the legendary Mystic Pizza (the one the movie is based on), and walk over the iconic Mystic Drawbridge. By the drawbridge, there are also several small shops with Mystic-themed apparel for those looking for a souvenir and, of course, the incredible Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Café, which serves some of the best ice cream in the state.

Since you’ll be so close to the shore, you can also take the time to visit one of the several nearby beaches in the area. From Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme to Ocean Beach Park in New London, there are plenty of sandy spots for you and your friends to explore this break. Last but most certainly not least, before you end your day trip to the shore, you absolutely, without a doubt, have to eat at Mystic Diner, which serves some of the best diner-style food you’ll ever taste.

Enjoy a day in Hartford: Celebrate St. Patty’s Day

Looking for something to do the first weekend of break? Look no further than a short trip to Hartford, where you can experience the 46th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 11 and will offer music, food, drinks and celebration aplenty. Plus, when the parade ends, you can still enjoy the rest of the day in our capital and nearby West Hartford.

While you may not be keen on exploring Hartford, there are actually a lot of fun things to see and do in the city, and it’s definitely worth it. You can see a play at the Bushnell or at the Hartford Stage Company, take in one of the city’s museums like the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, historic houses such as the Mark Twain house or maybe even attend a Hartford Wolfpack hockey game in the XL Center. City Steam brewery and pub is highly recommended by anyone who eats there or tests the original brews. There’s also plenty to do in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square, where you can eat at one of numerous fancy restaurants like Bricco’s, the Cheesecake Factory or Barcelona. If the weather turns on you, the city has many stores, a movie theater and a public library.

Treat yourself to a day of leisure in Fairfield County

If you’re willing to dish out a few extra dollars this Spring Break, a trip to Fairfield County is definitely the move. Connecticut’s Fairfield County is the wealthiest region of the state, with affluent cities like Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, etc. There you can treat yourself to some high-class restaurants, resorts, boutiques and art galleries. In particular, Fairfield has hundreds of places to go on Post Road, and you are no more than 10 minutes by car from a few the nicest beach communities in the state. Plus, you can see some of the biggest mansions in the nation as you drive through each town.

Each of these stay-cations has enough to fill a day with exploration and is absolutely worth a shot if you’re looking for something nice to do without straying far from home.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.