Westport, an artists’ community since the turn of the 20th century, continues to attract creative types. Despite commuters and corporations, the town remains more artsy and cultured than its neighbors. Westport has a vibrant downtown, generates a feeling of a New England town with the convenience of modern life. The town provides a wide range of leisure activities and recreational venues. The town is located on Long Island Sound, and has three beaches located on the coast. Continue reading our Westport Connecticut Travel Guide and plan your next vacation to this wonderful beach-side community.
Westport Weather (When to Visit)
In Westport, the summers are warm and humid, the winters are very cold, and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 23°F to 83°F and is rarely below 9°F or above 90°F. The warm season is from June thru mid September, with an average daily high temperature of 73°F. The hottest time of the year is July with an average high of 83°F. The best time of year to visit Westport for is from early July to late August.
Best Westport Attractions
Sherwood Island State Park
Summer visitors congregate at this state park, which has a 1½-mile sweep of sandy beach, two picnic areas on the water’s edge, sports fields, and several food stands (open seasonally). The on-site nature center offers various programs from bird-watching to nature walks. Note that there’s a parking fee Memorial Day–Labor Day.
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
The indoor, walk-through South American rain forest alone justifies a visit to this zoo. It comes alive with dozens of species, some rare and endangered, such as keel-billed toucans, broad-snouted caimans, and black-and-gold howler monkeys living in a lush environment of waterfalls, ponds, greenery, and bamboo. The zoo itself has 36 acres of exhibits featuring bison, tigers, timber wolves, and proud peacocks that freely roam the property right along with you. There’s also a working carousel and a New England farmyard.
Lockwood Mathews Mansion
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Built by renowned financier and railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood from 1864-1868, the Mansion, with its unparalleled architecture and interiors, illustrates magnificently the beauty and splendor of the Victorian Era.
The Maritime Aquarium
The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.
Sheffield Island Lighthouse
Sheffield Island with its historic 145-year-old lighthouse, beaches and wildlife refuge offers abundant summer fun for visitors. From May through September, visitors can board the Seaport Association’s 45-foot C.J. Toth catamaran for a cruise to the island then tour the lighthouse, observe wildlife in their natural habitat in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, hunt for shells along the beach, dine on a picnic lunch, play on the lawns around the lighthouse and just have a good time.
Best Westport Beaches
About 2.5 acres in size, Southport Beach is a tiny, quiet beach property that includes bathroom facilities and a concession stand that sells food during the beach season. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
Sherwood Island State Park, East Beach
There’s a lot to do at Sherwood Island State Park, East Beach, making it one of the favorite beach options in the area. You’ll enjoy plenty of sand and comfortable water, and you can surf and shore fish anywhere away from the designated swimming areas. And Sherwood Island State Park has so much more to offer, such as a nature center, marshlands, bird watching, and much more.
Compo Beach is a 29 acre park with an extensive sand beach along the shore of Long Island Sound and borders the Saugatuck River. It is handicapped accessible with a boardwalk, pavilion, concession stand, two sand volleyball courts, large wooden playscape, bathroom facilities and lockers, and is adjacent to the Ned Dimes Marina. Compo Beach daily passes are limited to 100 per day. The beach is open year round. All cars must vacate by midnight. Motor vehicles and motorcycles may enter the beach with a valid Parks and Recreation vehicle parking emblem or by paying the daily fee.
Burying Hill Beach
Burying Hill Beach is a 2.39 acre park with sand and rock beach along the shore of Long Island Sound. It has restroom and changing area facilities, picnic tables, grills and is adjacent to a wildlife area along the canal that borders the park. The park is open May 1 through Sept. 30 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Motor vehicles and motorcycles may enter the beach with a valid Parks and Recreation vehicle parking emblem or by paying the daily fee.
Old Mill Beach
Old Mill Beach is a 1.8 acre park with sandy beach along the shore of Long Island Sound. It does not have restroom or changing area facilities and has limited parking available. The park is open May 1 through Sept. 30 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Motor vehicles and motorcycles may enter the beach with a valid Parks and Recreation vehicle parking emblem and a daily fee is not available. No lifeguards on duty, swim at your own risk.
Best Westport Tours & Activities by Viator
Connecticut Coast Sunset Cruise
Get great sunset views of the Connecticut coast on this sunset cruise on board a tall ship. You can choose to help sail the ship and learn about its history, or just sit back and enjoy the provided nonalcoholic drinks and appetizers. Cruising along the coast is the best possible vantage point to see the sunset; you’ll be back on land in plenty of time for your dinner reservation. Learn more about the Connecticut Coast Sunset Cruise.
Mystic Treasures / Guided Tour
This is a small group (max 6), intimate tour led by an entertaining, knowledgeable local. You’ll ride in a luxury minivan and do some light walking. Mystic is a beautiful, historic seaport village, a hidden gem in New England. The homes, the river and the views are beautiful. The history includes Native Americans, Colonial and maritime history, whaling, shipbuilding, sea captains, yachting and more. You’ll see the best spots, and hear stories of local culture and history. You’ll see beautiful historic homes, wooden ships, and more. You’ll also learn the best spots for seafood, dining, drinking and shopping. Every tour includes a “Slice of Heaven” from Mystic Pizza! Check Mystic Revealed site for more details. Learn more about the Mystic Treasures Guided Tour.
Find Your Adventure at Mystic Seaport Museum
Explore America’s maritime history with admission to Mystic Seaport, and spend the day in a recreated 1870’s seafaring village. Meet ship smiths, coopers, and riggers, climb aboard historic tall ships, and step back in time at a series of constantly rotating maritime galleries. Admission to Mystic Seaport includes full access to the 19-acre (7.7-ha) campus and three tall ships, with parking onsite. Learn more about the Mystic Seaport Museum Adventure.
HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods
During your visit to the Foxwoods Resort Casino, experience the thrill of ziplining from the rooftop of Fox Tower. The staff provides instruction and all necessary gear for a safe and fun ride. Begin at 350 feet and zip down the cable for more than one minute, soaking in views that extend to the Long Island Sound. Land at Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center to complete the ride. Learn more about the HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods.
Sailing Luncheon Cruise
Set sail around Long Island Sound on-board a traditional 1960s schooner. Admire coastal landmarks like Fishers Island, Fort Griswold, and New London Ledge Lighthouse from the water, and perhaps even try your hand at sailing and take the helm under the guidance of the crew. While on-board, tuck into a delicious 3-course luncheon, including clam chowder and dessert. Learn more about the Sailing Luncheon Cruise.
Best Westport Restaurants
The Whelk Restaurant $31 – 60
This upscale seafood bar serves straight-from-the-sea clams, oysters, and fish inventively prepared and exquisitely presented. The clean lines of the dining room give the nearly always crowded restaurant a maritime feel that perfectly complements the food. Telephone: 203-557–0902 Web: The Whelk Restaurant.
Da Pietro’s Restaurant $31 – 60
This romantic storefront café serves a savory mix of northern Italian and southern French specialties lovingly prepared by chef-owner Pietro Scotti. Lobster pappardelle, sautéed sea scallops with mushroom risotto, and Parmesan-crusted salmon with pesto linguine are all delicious choices. Save room for the warm chocolate-lava cake. Telephone: 203-454-1213 Web: Da Pietro’s Restaurant.
Westport Garden Cafe $11 – 30
Within the garden store Terrain, you’ll find a quaint café that offers exquisitely prepared cuisine using locally sourced organic produce so fresh you’ll want to become a gardener yourself. Entrées like line-caught Atlantic cod with squash risotto, or the braised beef short ribs are served with a delicious (and frankly adorable) terra-cotta pot of baked bread. The delectable Terrain burger usually comes on either a crosssection of a tree trunk or a thin slab of slate. Telephone: 203-226-2750 Web: Westport Garden Cafe.
Dressing Room $31 – 60
Beside the Wesport Country Playhouse, this pretheater favorite celebrates regional American, farm-to-table cuisine. Many ingredients are sourced locally; others come from prominent ranches and farms around the country. Highlights include baby back ribs served with an apple-cabbage slaw, and seasonal items like the Connecticut lobster succotash with fresh corn, zucchini, and roasted peppers. A huge fieldstone fireplace warms the rustic-chic dining room, with its sturdy ceiling beams and barn-board walls. Telephone: 203-226-1114 Web: Dressing Room.
The Spotted Horse Tavern $11 – 30
The Spotted Horse Tavern is a neighborhood respite where folks gather over great food and drink. Housed in Westport’s historic Sherwood House (circa 1808), the design is modern in its interpretation, with a nod to the historic building’s colonial past. The menu is in keeping with our local food movement but we don’t beat you over the head with it. Organic, clean, distinctive flavors find their way into each dish by way of unique ingredient combinations and thoughtful preparations, and favorite comfort foods are left to speak for themselves. Telephone: 203-557-9393 Web: The Spotted Horse Tavern.
Best Westport Nightlife
The Spotted Horse Tavern
The food is fine and worth the prices – the drinks are great! They have a wonderful outside area in front and lively Happy Hours! Some nights, they have a band if you’re into that. This restaurant is appropriate for everyone – families will feel comfortable here as will anyone wanting a nice restaurant and a great bar. Telephone: 203-557-9393 Web: The Spotted Horse Tavern.
Our House SoNo
Our House also has a basement where DJ’s spin today’s music for those who want to dance and let loose. The basement has a bar and couches reminiscent of a real house party mixed with a trendy nightclub. Two floors of fun and great energy keep Our House as the flagship new concept in SoNo. Don’t miss out on this great bar and eatery, stop in and meet the family tonight! Telephone: 203-939-1347 Web: Our House SoNo.
The Blind Rhino
Great Food & Great Service with 28 TV’s and all of the Sports Packages! Come for a game, or just a bite & a beer! Telephone: 203-956-7243 Web: The Blind Rhino.
Bartaco – Westport
Really good food and drinks. Dragonfly sangria is amazing. Service is excellent. The wait can be incredibly long at times. However, this shouldn’t deter me from visiting! Telephone: 203-222-8226 Web: Bartaco – Westport.
A great beer bar in SoNo. Fantastic staff, great tap line up, nice clean bar with consistent service. The beers are rarer, harder to find beers so you will pay a slight premium. Big plus is they publish their beer menu online so it makes it easy your beer selection. Web: Spigot Beer.