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New Haven Federal Law Building, Connecticut© Arthur ConnorsNew Haven Federal Law Building, Connecticut
© Arthur Connors
For a tiny state—the third smallest in the union—Connecticut has a lot to offer: bucolic villages, pretty seashores, historic sites and more. According to many surveys, it's also the richest U.S. state, so you'll find lots of upscale shops and restaurants, particularly in New Haven.

Art lovers can make their way through the state along the Connecticut Art Trail, which includes 14 museums and galleries housing everything from antique porcelain and Impressionist paintings to contemporary sculpture. A highlight is the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, where you'll find the largest collection of British art in the U.S. Literature fans, meanwhile, can visit the homes of both Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe in the state capital of Hartford.

Mystic, once a booming shipbuilding center, offers visitors a taste of the ocean. You can learn about its seafaring history at Mystic Seaport or delve into life under the waves at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration.

The Litchfield Hills area in the northwest corner of the state is a popular destination for history buffs, with railway museums in Danbury and Thomaston, and the Golden Age of Trucking Museum in Middlebury. There are even two museums devoted to timepieces: the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, and the Timexpo Museum (focused on all things Timex) in Waterbury. And people who want to take a bit of history home with them should check out Woodbury, the state's unofficial antiquing capital.

Indian Leap at Yantic Falls, Connecticut© Donald MallalieuIndian Leap at Yantic Falls, Connecticut
© Donald Mallalieu
But while the past is undeniably important in Connecticut, you can enjoy modern thrills here, too. The state is home to the world's largest gaming facility, the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, whose theatre hosts top performers like Norah Jones, Bill Cosby, Alicia Keys and Chris Rock. Outdoorsy types, meanwhile, book fishing charters in New London, go sailing on Long Island Sound or cycle along quiet back roads.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF