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New London & Groton CT Guide

New London means the sea, specifically the US Coast Guard Academy, and the Navy submarine base at Groton, across the river.

Greek Revival houses, New London CT
Stately Greek Revival houses, built with wealth from the sea.

Visitors to these navy towns are usually here to see the US Coast Guard Academy, or the Submarine Museum at Groton.

But there are other things to see and do as well.

New London has two state parks and a beachfront amusement park, as well as ferry servicesto Block Island RI, Fishers Island NY, and Orient Point, Long Island NY.

The big draw in this region is, of course, Mystic Seaport Museum. Many visitors choose to stay near Mystic, and tour New London and Groton on a day trip.

There are some lodging possibilities, however, in New London, Groton, and the nearby towns of Niantic and East Lyme, to the west.


New London is on the Connecticut Shoreline between New York City and Providence RI (map).


Boston: 107 miles (172 km) NE

New Haven: 46 miles (74 km) W

Hartford: 45 miles (73 km) N

Mystic: 9 miles (15 km) E

Providence: 57 miles (92 km) NE


Amtrak runs trains daily from New York City to Boston along the coastal route via New Haven, Old Saybrook, New London, Mystic, and Providence. More...

The trip from New York City to New London takes about 2-3/4 hours; to Mystic, about 3 hours.


Southeastern Area Transit (SEAT) operates bus routes connecting New London, Groton, Niantic, Norwich, and the gambling casinos of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.


New London is on I-95 and CT Route 52. Rush-hour traffic (8 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm) in the Groton/New London area is extremely heavy, especially along I-95 and its feeder roads. Make your getaway before 5 pm, or stay and have dinner until the highways are less crowded.

Ferry to Long Island NY

Cross Sound Ferry operates car-and-passenger ferryboats between New London CT and Orient Point NY, on the tip of Long Island's North Fork. The ferries run from late May through September. The New London dock is on Ferry Street (map). Reservations for the 90-minute cruise are essential in July and August. More...

Ferry to Block Island RI

From late May through September, the Block Island Express speeds passengers and bicycles (no cars) between New London and Block Island's Old Harbor in about 75 minutes (weather permitting). More...

Where to Stay

New London has its own hotels and motels, mostly modern and moderately-priced.

If you don't find what you're looking for, or if you're combining a visit to New London with a visit to Mystic Seaport Museum, consider lodgings in Mystic and Niantic as well.



What to See & Do

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).

City of New London sign

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...


Groton, Connecticut, the "Submarine Capital of the World," makes its living from General Dynamics Electric Boat, 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.

USS Nautilus
USS Nautilus.

Submarine Force Library & Museum (USS Nautilus)

Exit from I-95 east of the Gold Star (I-95) Bridge over the Thames River and go north on the Military Highway three miles (5 km) to the Submarine Force Library & Museum. Prime exhibit here is the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. The Nautilus set many records during its 25 years of service (1955-1980), and is now open to visitors.

Launched in Groton in January 1954, the Nautilus 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.

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...

Submarine Drive

Drive south on the Military Highway along the eastern bank of the Thames River (map). The informal name for this route is Submarine Drive because it takes you to the most significant sub sites.Your tour here should be an auto cruise along Submarine Drive, the informal name for the waterfront road along the eastern bank of the Thames River from Submarine Force Library & Museum and the USS Nautilus in the north to Eastern Point Beach in the south.

National Submarine Memorial

Near the point where Bridge Street runs into Thames, just south of the Gold Star (I-95) Bridge, is the National Submarine Memorial East. The conning tower of the World War II Angler-class sub marine USS Flasher has been mounted 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.

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.

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.