Discover New London’s Waterfront
New London’s seafaring heritage dates back to the 1800s, when it was one of the top whaling ports in the world. Thanks to its prime location on the shores of the Thames River, there are plenty of waterfront adventures to be had in this New England coastal destination. Whether hopping aboard a water taxi or visiting an historic lighthouse, fun on the water awaits you in New London.
Thames River Heritage Park
The Thames River Heritage Park is a collection of historic locations in New London and Groton linked together by the Thames River, that tell the stories of our nation’s past. You can access the park at one of three water taxi landings, City Pier Landing and Fort Trumbull Landing in New London, or Thames River Landing in Groton. The Thames River has played a pivotal role in modern history, serving as home to one of the world’s largest whaling ports in the 19th century and the birthplace of the first nuclear-power submarine, the USS Nautilus. Even the taxi boats have their own unique history behind them, as they were once US Navy utility boats.
Water Taxis runs hourly during the season from all three ports, and guests can hop on and off at their leisure, leaving plenty of time for tours or self-guided exploration. Climb the ramparts at Fort Trumbull for a prized view before heading to downtown New London to visit historic sites including the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, the Hempsted Houses, Monte Cristo Cottage, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and the Garde Arts Center. The 2021 season runs from June 12 – September 12.
Want to extend your time on the water? Try one of their themed boat tours including a haunted history adventure tour, Revolutionary War Ghosts on the Thames, a women in history themed tour and a submarine and military history tour.
New London Harbor Lighthouse Tours
While many of the city’s lighthouse tours by boat have been temporarily suspended due to pandemic, those willing to put in some serious steps can schedule an indoor tour of the New London Harbor Lighthouse. As you climb the 116 steps to the top, you’ll receive a history lesson on the 260-year-old lighthouse, one of the oldest in the country and the tallest on the Long Island Sound. Once you’ve reached the lantern room at the top, take in the spectacular views from all angles before descending.