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Some day trips have a singular focus — attend a baseball game, hike a mountain, go skiing. But what if you want to pack a plethora of activities into that precious time between sunup and sundown? Well, you go to New London.

Feeling patriotic after celebrating Independence Day last month? Drive onto the U.S. Coast Guard Academy grounds (with valid I.D., of course) and check out the U.S. Coast Guard Museum. It’s open Monday through Saturday (closed Aug. 12 and 26) and admission is free.

A similar option is Fort Trumbull, a Revolutionary War-era fortification built near the mouth of the Thames River that in 2000 became Fort Trumbull State Park. Rich with history, the current fort was built in the mid-1800s, and the grounds have been used for myriad purposes over the many years. Nowadays it’s here for our enjoyment, whether it be a walk, picnic, fishing or just taking in spectacular views.

History lessons can make you hungry, so you’re going to need some lunch options. Muddy Waters Cafe on Bank Street is a coffeehouse and so much more. A popular downtown breakfast-and-lunch spot, Muddy Waters also has outdoor-deck seating with views of New London Harbor to go along with scrumptious soups, salads and sandwiches and delicious pastries. (Pro tip: If you’re not familiar with the Love Salad, add it to your to-eat list).

Now that it’s mid-day and you’re fueled up, it’s time for an outdoor activity. One of artist Robert Wyland’s 100 worldwide Whaling Walls is on the corner of Eugene O’Neill Drive and State Street, but there are many murals painted on the walls of downtown New London. Become a whaler and see how many you can find. (Sorry Hartford, it was a New London thing first.)


We told you about the Thames River Heritage Park Water Taxi in our July issue, but another water-related option is Ocean Beach Park. Relax or frolic on the “sugar-sand” beach, take a dip in the ocean or an Olympic-size pool, cruise down the triple waterside, or challenge your family and friends to a round of mini golf.

Time for a solid meal to cap off the day. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock — with one of the state’s best lobster rolls — and On the Waterfront are the old standbys, but August presents a couple of unique options. A “Farm to Pier Dinner” that doubles as a fundraiser will be held Aug. 16 at Waterfront Park and a food truck festival is scheduled for Aug. 26.

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.