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Secret New England Gem: A Road Trip to Wallingford, Connecticut

Considering Wallingford, Connecticut, for your next family road trip? Picking your destination can be a tough decision and is one you shouldn’t take lightly.

Adventuring in this charming town may be just what you and your clan need. Keep reading if you’re on the fence about whether it’s a vacation worth taking. 

Today, we’re looking closer to see if a family road trip to Wallingford is worth it.

Let’s drive!

Happy girl is ride a horse on carousel like the one near Wallingford, Connecticut
You and the kids will love riding the carousel at Lighthouse Point Park

About Wallingford, Connecticut

Wallingford is a small town in New Haven County, near the middle of the state. It sits roughly halfway between Boston and New York City. This is the place to visit to experience authentic New England charm.

The original plot of land established by the Connecticut General Assembly now serves as Main Street. It has an extensive history that dates back to 1667.

While the population in 1670 was 126, it’s grown considerably. At last count in 2020, Wallingford was home to just over 44,000 residents.

The town received a lot of attention in the late 1690s due to being the site of the last witchcraft trial in New England. It also generated considerable buzz after an 1878 tornado struck the area. The twister killed 29 to 34 residents and remains the most deadly tornado in Connecticut’s history.

It’s home to various industries ranging from medical to research and development. Several industrial parks throughout the area have helped generate numerous jobs. As a result, it’s become a special place to live.

Top 5 Fun Things To Do on a Wallingford Family Road Trip

So what should you do while visiting on a family road trip? We’ve found some of the best activities to keep you busy and help you make unforgettable memories. Let’s take a look!

#1 Visit Lyman Orchards

Lyman Orchards is just down the road from Wallingford. However, it’s worth the 15-minute drive for this experience. It’s a family-owned orchard in business for over 280 years.

You can walk through the orchard to pick fruit from the plant or take your time in the farm market. There’s a long list of items to consider, including award-winning pies, jams, preserves, and much more.

The orchard is home to two incredible seasonal mazes. One made from approximately 350,000 sunflowers is available during August. Additionally, their corn maze runs from September through the beginning of November. Both can be incredible experiences that you’ll never forget.

# 2 Check Out Lighthouse Point Park

Another popular spot to experience is Lighthouse Point Park. The New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees manages this site. It features a 70-foot sandstone lighthouse built in 1845. However, this isn’t all that this 82-acre park has to offer.

The Lighthouse Point Carousel is a completely restored 1916 carousel. It features 69 horses, one camel, and two dragon chariots. Oil paintings adorn the outer rim and feature boats, trains, mermaids, and lighthouses.

You can also find opportunities for swimming, exploring nature trails, and a bird sanctuary. You don’t want to miss this stop when passing through this area because there’s something fun and exciting for everyone. 

It’s just over an hour from the lighthouse, but Is Mystic, CT, a Wallet-Draining Tourist Trap?

#3 Savor a Tasty Treat at Neil’s Donuts

If you’re anything like us, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity for a delicious donut. Neil’s Donuts has the best-tasting coffee and a variety of New York-style sweet treats. Besides your favorite fried dough, they offer pastries, danishes, muffins, and several breakfast sandwiches.

The company has been in business since 2001 and cranks out 3,600 donuts for 4,100 customers each day. They have multiple locations, including the North Turnpike Road store in Wallingford.

Do your tastebuds a favor, and plan to stop to grab a treat here. Just be sure to get there before they’re all gone.

#4 Explore the Quinnipiac River Marsh Wildlife Area

If you love nature, you’ll enjoy the Quinnipiac River Marsh Wildlife Area. You’ll find wetlands, marshes, and uplands to explore on 900 acres. 

The best time to visit is during the early morning hours. Additionally, fall is a great time to experience this area as many different types of birds pass through on their way south.

Remember, it’s a protected area. Make sure you follow any posted rules or guidelines. Keep your distance from wildlife and avoid damaging the vegetation.

#5 Grab a Drink at the New England Cider Company

The New England Cider Company is Connecticut’s largest craft cider brand. They pride themselves on making their beverages with real fruit and no added sugar.

They have everything from cider to beer and wine. In addition, you grab a bite to eat and enjoy their indoor and outdoor seating.

Whether you’re refueling or ending the day, they have something on tap to hit the spot. Some of their bests are their Viva la Sidra apple wine and Cider-Saurus. However, they offer a variety of seasonal beverages worth trying. Support a local business and try something unique by visiting this hot spot.

Glass of apple juice and fresh apples with autumn leaves on an outdoor rustic table like what might be found at a cidery in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Craft cider is something to look forward to in Wallingford

Best Places to Stay Near Wallingford, Connecticut

There’s so much to see and do in Wallingford. You’ll likely need more than one day to do your road adventure justice. Let’s look at a few of the best places to stay.

Hammonasset Beach State Park Campground

If you enjoy camping, Hammonasset Beach State Park Campground is a short drive to Wallingford. This is a seasonal campground that’s open from the end of May through the middle of October.

You can choose from 550 campsites, and one of the best beach accesses is a five-minute walk from most sites. They include a variety of premium and dry camping opportunities. While out-of-state guests pay more than residents, it’s still a budget-friendly place to stay.

Discover the 7 Best Beaches in New England (and Awesome Nearby Campsites).

The Wallingford Victorian Inn

For those looking for a charming bed and breakfast, the Wallingford Victorian Inn is worth considering. The ornate detailing and intricate woodwork will leave you feeling like you’re living in the Victorian era. However, you don’t have to go without modern amenities like WiFi, cable TV, or air conditioning.

Five suites are available for reservations, and each guest receives a gourmet breakfast in the morning. It might surprise you how much time you spend appreciating the intricate details of this inn.

It’s obvious that they’ve spared no expense to provide a first-class experience.

Hilton Garden Inn Wallingford

The town also has several chain hotels, like the Hilton Garden Inn. This location offers free WiFi, parking, and an indoor pool. Want to bring your furry friend with you? They have pet-friendly rooms to make it possible. Like many of these locations, there’s an on-site restaurant and fitness center. 

This is an excellent option for families as you can book connecting rooms, ensuring everyone can spread out and get a solid night’s sleep before your next adventure.

Explore more with the HowExpert Guide to New Haven, Connecticut.

Is a Wallingford Family Road Trip Worth It?

Wallingford can be an excellent family road trip destination. While some places boast that there’s something for everyone, they mean it here. Nature lovers, wine enthusiasts, and donut connoisseurs will love this charming New England town.

If your travel plans involve passing through Connecticut, certainly plan a stop here!

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