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The major tourist attraction in New London is the US Coast Guard Academy, but this is also the longtime home of the US Navy's submarines.




 

 

US Coast Guard Academy

Start your tour of the US Coast Guard Academy grounds, 31 Mohegan Avenue in New London, at the Visitors Pavilion (open daily 9 am to 5 pm). A special treat here is a visit to the Coast Guard's training barque Eagle, generally in port at the academy in April and May (open to visitors on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm when in port).

If you miss the Eagle, perhaps you can catch the colorful dress review of the Corps of Cadets, usually held (weather permitting) in April, May, September, and October. For times and dates, contact the Public Affairs Office. More...

A new $100-million National Coast Guard Museum is planned, with ground-breaking in 2018 at a location on the Thames River. More...

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
31 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320-8103
Toll-free: 1-800-883-8724

Submarines!

Groton, Connecticut, the "Submarine Capital of the World," makes its living from the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics, builder of nuclear-powered submarines for the US Navy. The Naval Submarine Base New London is located in Groton, just across the river to the east of New London.

Most visitors come to Groton to see submarines, and there are plenty to see.

Submarine Drive

Your tour here should be an auto cruise along Submarine Drive, the waterfront road (Thames Street) along the eastern bank of the Thames River south of I-95 and Military Highway to the north. Take Exit 85 from I-95, and follow Bridge Street to Thames Street.

National Submarine Memorial

Near the point where Bridge Street runs into Thames, just south of the Gold Star (I-95) Bridge, is the USS Flasher National Submarine Memorial East. The conning tower of this World War II Angler-class sub has been established here as a memorial to the American submarine sailors who lost their lives during that war. The Flasher sank more than 100,000 tons of enemy shipping during the war, and its crew members were repeatedly cited by the President for their services.

Submarine Force Library and Museum

North of the Gold Star (I-95) Bridge, Submarine Drive continues along the Military Highway. Near the entrance to the US Navy's Groton Submarine Base (Exit 86 from I-95) is the US Navy's Submarine Force Library and Museum, featuring the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus.

USS Nautilus

Launched in Groton in January 1954, the Nautilus was the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. It saw its finest hour when it passed beneath the ice cap at the geographic North Pole in 1958, the first ship ever to reach that geographically significant spot.

Decommissioned after 25 years of service in 1980, the sub is now on view at the Submarine Force Museum. Displays in the library and museum chronicle the history of the US submarine force since the Revolutionary War. You can peer into working periscopes, inspect miniature submarines, wonder at the Revolutionary War-era Turtle, the world's first submersible with a documented record of action in combat. The museum is open to all for free. More...

Parks

Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

While you're in Groton, visit Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, at Monument and Park streets (Monument runs parallel to Thames Street). The heroic, tragic story of the American force which defended the fort in 1781 against the British is told in the museum, open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

The Memorial Tower (view from the top) was erected for the courageous defenders who fought until overpowered and then perished in the massacre by the victorious British. The state park is open all year, and both the park and the museum are free of charge.

Ocean Beach Park

New London's major beach-and-amusement complex is at Ocean Beach Park, near Harkness Memorial State Park south of the city (Exit 75-76 from I-95).

If amusement parks and commercial beaches are your thing, this is one of the best on the coast.

Besides the beach, a boardwalk allows strolling to check out other members of the swimsuit set, miniature golf will test your reflexes, amusement rides provide a cheap thrill, and an Olympic-size pool is provided for diving and freshwater swimming.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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