Madison, CT is located just a short distance from New Haven along the shores of the Long Island Sound. The small town is a true gem, offering plenty to do in addition to its clean beaches. Most attractions in town can be reached by walking or by bicycle as the Madison is a culture-filled, compact hamlet. Madison is particularly a great place to enjoy the sea breeze and the outdoors at sites like the Hammonasset Beach State Park. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Hammonasset Beach State Park
The Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut is a recreation area open to the public and encompasses two miles of the beachfront along the Long Island Sound. The state park is the largest shoreline park in the state of Connecticut and is also one of the state’s most popular attractions with around one million guests every year. Hammonasset Beach State Park includes a nature center, a large campground, and an array of beach activities across its grounds. Activities possible at the state park include swimming, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, and bicycling. The campground contains more than five hundred units.
1288 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-245-2785
2.Meigs Point Nature Center
© Meigs Point Nature Center
The Meigs Point Nature Center is located within the large Hammonasset Beach State Park and is a vital and exciting learning center focused on environmental science. The nature center is open to visitors of all ages and is one of Connecticut’s most beautiful site in its state park system. The center features hands-on activities, an observation deck, and a seasonal touch tank where visitors can get up close and personal with some of the sea’s smaller wonder. Other wildlife include fish, crabs, amphibians, snakes, and turtles that are unable to be released back into the wild.
1288 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-245-8743
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3.The Shoreline Greenway Trail
The Shoreline Greenway Trail, running eastward from the city of New Haven, is part of an effort in collaboration with communities to create pedestrian, wheelchair-friendly, and bike connections, such as bike lanes and greenway trails to take people where they want to go. The Hammonasset section of this greenway trail is located in Madison, Connecticut and has been a showcase of what is possible with greenways in the state since it opened back in 2014. The Shoreline Greenway Trail is almost a mile in length and is one of the state’s most popular biking and walking trails, and a great place for birdwatching.
Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-481-3870
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4.Chef Paul Barron, Madison, Connecticut
© Chef Paul Barron
Visitors and locals alike can join one of the cooking classes offered by Chef Paul Barron in downtown Madison, Connecticut. Chef Barron offers a broad array of different cooking classes, basing his instruction on teaching technique and methods instead of only relying on teaching recipes. This allows those participating in the cooking classes to be able to transfer these skills they learn in their cooking at home. Chef Paul Barron’s cooking classes take place at 6:30pm on Tuesdays and lasts around three hours. The classes are also limited to only six people, so pre-registration is necessary.
837 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203779-5713
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Creations is a retail space situated in the heart of Madison’s downtown shopping district. The space showcases the stunning work of over one hundred and eighty different artisans from throughout the country’s Northeast region. Creations aims to share the stories and products of these artisans to all visitors of the space. Creations seeks out the unique, strives to find the creative, and celebrates function and beauty. The retail space is owned and managed by Vista Life Innovations, which is an organization focused on supporting people with disabilities. All proceeds from the sales at Creations go towards supporting the organization’s services and programs.
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6.Field House Farm, Madison, Connecticut
© Field House Farm
The Field House Farm in the town of Madison along the state shoreline is a family owned and operated farm. Visitors will find a farmhouse built back in the year 1720, the grounds of which have been utilized to create a sustainable farm operation. The grounds include a large garden for produce, as well as several different animals, including a donkey, a llama, pigs, Alpine goats, heritage turkeys Hampshire and Shetland sheeps, and chickens. Field House Farm practices responsible and humane animal care and farming practices. Many different programs for adults and children are offered at the farm as well.
623 Green Hill Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-779-9187
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7.The Audubon Shop
© The Audubon Shop
The Audubon Shops in Madison is the state of Connecticut’s original birding store, founded in 1986. The shop is owned and managed by Jerry and Janet Connolly and is housed within a historic house near the Long Island Sound. Just a stone’s throw away to the east is the Hammonasset Beach State Park, which is one of the state’s best sites for birding, as well as one of the Atlantic Coast’s most significant migratory bird stopover and breeding areas. The Audubon Shop offers bird walks on a seasonal basis in addition to its selection of bird feeders and other birding supplies.
907 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-245-9056
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In North Madison, sitting to the west of Route 79, is the beautiful Rockland Preserve, a much-loved nature destination for locals and visitors alike in Connecticut. This preserve is filled and characterized by impressive, wooded areas, glorious round, and rocky hills, as well as eye-catching ledges and precipitous gray cliffs. Hikers and leisure walkers can access Rockland through roads that have been long abandoned in the past and were once used by the city’s earliest occupants. At the center of the Rockland Preserve sits the Coan Pond that is surrounded by lovely rare flowers and wildlife. Also found at the preserve are the Singletracks of Rockland, which is open to trail runners and mountain bikers, as well as the Rockland Bike Park, which is frequented by avid mountain bikers of all levels. The bike park features spectacular pump tracks, berms, rollers, and a skills area.
Off Route 79, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 202-245-5623
9.Bar Bouchee, Madison, Connecticut
© Bar Bouchee
Bar Bouchee is a popular restaurant in Madison for both the authentic, yet affordable bistro fare and the boisterous, yet intimate atmosphere. It has become a place where people gather and “neighbors act neighborly, friends encounter old friends and make new ones.” Imported from France, the zinc bar at Bar Bouchee makes a dramatic statement, but is also often packed with some of the restaurant’s regulars as they enjoy a lively conversation, great wines, and unique cocktails. Bar Bouchee is inspired by the “bouchons,” or neighborhood bistros, of the city of Lyon in France, and features authentic bistro decor.
8 Scotland Ave, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-318-8004
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10.Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale, Madison, CT
© Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale had its beginnings as a simple roadside clam stand back in 1979 with only four picnic tables for customers. During that time, the owners made an important promise to every customer, a promise to serve only the freshest and finest seafood available, keep prices reasonable, provide friendly and prompt service, and offer generous portions. Lenny and Joe’s is now a full-fledged restaurant, open 11:00am until 9:00pm Sunday to Thursday and 11:00am until 10:00pm Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant still stands behind the commitment it made more than thirty-five years ago.
1301 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-245-7289
11.Cafe Allegre, Madison, Connecticut
© Cafe Allegre
The Cafe Allegre in Madison, Connecticut serves award-winning Mediterranean fare in the heart of the town’s downtown district. The family owned and operated eatery has more than forty-five year of experience providing exceptional service and food, striving to make each and every customer feel like one of the family. Lunch is served from 11:30am until 2:30pm Tuesday to Saturday, while dinner is offered 5:00pm until 9:30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and until 10:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The dinner menu is served all day on Sundays from 1:00pm until 9:00pm.
725 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-245-7773
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12.Moxie, Madison, Connecticut
At the Moxie Bar, guests can experience fun and creative recreations of traditional dishes. Moxie applies the sensibilities of modern day to more classic recipes with a fusion of local grown flavors, simple preparations, and high quality ingredients. The bar and food menu at Moxie’s adapts with the seasonal harvest of New England, providing customers with a taste of the familiar along with an occasional flare of more original savory cuisine. The bar and restaurant offers an easy and inviting atmosphere in which friends and family can gather and just relax in the casual and warm setting.
52 Wall St, Madison, CT 06443, Phone: 203-421-6963
13.Susan Powell Fine Art
© Susan Powell Fine Art
If you’re looking for the best gallery to purchase stunning art pieces, look no further than Susan Powell Fine Art. The gallery was established in 1981 by Susan Powell who has over 40 years of experience under her belt and an impressive resume to boot. Susan has worked at the Smithsonian Institution, was the former director of Doyle Auction’s painting department, and currently represents 50 award-winning artists. Some artists under Susan Powell’s care include Jeff Erickson, David Dunlop, Ira Barkoff, and Harley Bartlett. Specializing in curating stunning private collections and procuring art for all kinds of budgets, the gallery brings new exhibitions every month for the benefit of collectors and the artists she represents.
679 Boston Post Road, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 203-318-0616
14.Allis-Bushnell House and Museum
© Madison Historical Society
There is a lot to discover and experience at the Allis-Bushnell House and Museum. This home, which is a cherished site in Madison, was built in 1785 and was the former home of two prominent Madison families – the Bushnell and Scranton families. What makes this museum special is the way it allows guests to experience five different periods starting from the colonial era up until the 1920s in just one historic location. It does this through rooms in the home’s lower levels, each of which brings a distinct period to live through architectural features, domestic tools, decorative pieces, artworks, and furniture to complete the experience. Hear stories from the museum’s incredible guides about what life was like in times like the Revolutionary War, the Colonial Revival, the Civil War era, and more. Be sure to stop by the Allis-Bushnell House Annex as well to see more artifacts including a collection connected to the USS Monitor.
853 Boston Post Road, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 203-245-4567
15.Deacon John Graves House
Take a walk through time and visit one of the first homes ever to be built in Guilford’s easter settlements at the Deacon John Graves House. Constructed in 1685, the museum tells the incredible, and at times heartbreaking story of the seven generations that called this beautiful house home up until 1979. What’s amazing is that the museum tells the family’s history accurately and with great detail, as the museum is based on a logbook that the family’s first four generations used to detail their lives. Within the museum’s walls are tales of the family’s lives, deaths, joys, sorrows, and their many struggles to simply stay afloat amidst a society that was constantly evolving. Visitors to the Deacon John Graves House can enjoy a lively tour that gives spectacular insights to its very first inhabitant, John Grave I, up to the last Grave descendant to occupy the house, Mary Elizabeth Redfield.
581 Boston Post Road, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 203-245-4798
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16.M&J Beach Grille and Seafood
© M&J Beach Grille and Seafood
Dig into all of your favorite summertime grub at the M&J Beach Grille and Seafood. Home to what many are saying is the freshest seafood that you’ll ever find in Madison, M&J is located conveniently on the beachfront with plenty of picnic tables right out on the sand to treat visitors to great views and even greater food. Regulars of this cherished beachfront restaurant sing praises for the fish and chips, which feature fresh breaded cod, perfectly cooked fries, and tangy coleslaw. The fish and chips are so good that it’s been voted the best on the entire shoreline by avid foodies. While each dish on the menu is delicious in its own right, some all-around favorites include the spinach salad, the By the Sea Salad, the avocado veggie wrap, and the Hummel’s Big Bite Hot Dog. If you’re more of a burger kind of person, then the MJ Burger is definitely worth a try.
87 Surf Club Road, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 203-245-6867
17.Friends and Company
© Christian Schwier/stock.adobe.com
Opened in 1980, Friends and Company is a restaurant that sits peacefully along the gorgeous East River and is known for its contemporary American menu. The restaurant has a longstanding tradition of putting a premium on locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, the owners and chef behind Friends and Company make it a point to serve healthy and freshly prepared meals. Come and gather with your loved ones for a refreshing beverage at the restaurant’s deck for the summer or come by in the winter to tuck into a warm and comforting meal by the fire. Diners at this lovely restaurant can sample favorites like the Chicken Gorgonzola Salad, the Shrimp Piccata, Herb Crusted Cod, or the New York Strip Steak. Other loved dishes include the Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger, the Fried Beer-Battered Popcorn Shrimp, and the Panko Fried Oysters.
11 Boston Post Road, Madison, Connecticut 06443, Phone: 203-245-0462
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17 Best Things to Do in Madison, Connecticut
- Hammonasset Beach State Park, Photo: Thomas/stock.adobe.com
- Meigs Point Nature Center, Photo: Meigs Point Nature Center
- The Shoreline Greenway Trail, Photo: Tierney/stock.adobe.com
- Chef Paul Barron, Madison, Connecticut, Photo: Chef Paul Barron
- Creations, Photo: Creations
- Field House Farm, Madison, Connecticut, Photo: Field House Farm
- The Audubon Shop, Photo: The Audubon Shop
- Rockland Preserve, Photo: seamind panadda EyeEm/stock.adobe.com
- Bar Bouchee, Madison, Connecticut, Photo: Bar Bouchee
- Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale, Madison, CT, Photo: Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale
- Cafe Allegre, Madison, Connecticut, Photo: Cafe Allegre
- Moxie, Madison, Connecticut, Photo: Moxie
- Susan Powell Fine Art, Photo: Susan Powell Fine Art
- Allis-Bushnell House and Museum, Photo: Madison Historical Society
- Deacon John Graves House , Photo: AlexandruP/stock.adobe.com
- M&J Beach Grille and Seafood, Photo: M&J Beach Grille and Seafood
- Friends and Company, Photo: Christian Schwier/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: FLX2/stock.adobe.com
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