17 Best Things To Do In Darien, Connecticut

things to do in Darien CT

Located 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Darien is a small town in the state of Connecticut. It’s quite a small town with only a population of 20,732 and about 13 square miles (33 square kilometers) of land area. Seeing these demographics, you’re probably wondering, “What can one possibly do in such a tiny town?” Well, you’d be surprised to find out that the town of Darien is a nature lover’s quick and nearby escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Sure its reputation of being a bedroom community to the commuters of New York precedes itself, but there are still many activities for tourists and visitors. Read on to know more about the things to do in Darien, Connecticut!

1. Learn about the town's heritage at Darien Historical Society

Source: Photo by user Noroton used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The perfect place to learn about the history and heritage of Darien is at the Darien Historical Society, which was founded in 1953. The site manages three attractions: an eighteenth century-built Bates-Scofield House Museum, the 1827 Scofield Barn Exhibit Hall, and the Darien Historical Archives and Resource Library. The Bates-Scofield House holds a collection of 18th to 19th-century items that were essential to life in Darien, known as Middlesex Parish back then. Connected to the house is the Scofield Barn, which is currently used as the site’s exhibit hall and is also available to be rented out for events. On the other hand, the Darien Historical Archives and Resource Library is open to the public and provides over 10,000 books and documents that cover the history and various other topics related to Connecticut and New England.

Darien Historical Society

Address: 45 Old Kings Hwy N, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Darien Historical Society

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 11am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 3pm (closed on Fri, Sat & Mon)

Price: 5 USD

2. Take a stroll through Stony Brook Park

things to do in darien ct | take a stroll through stony brook park

Stony Brook Park is a nature lover’s paradise with its beautiful waterfalls and scenery. It’s a popular spot for hikers who wish to go for a quick hike. If you’re not much of an athletic person and would rather relax, several benches are scattered all over the park for people to contemplate and listen to the sound of the waterfalls. The park is also a perfect place for photographers to take stunning photos of the waterfalls and the scenery. There have been some pre-wedding photoshoots shot here, and it’s no surprise because the park is a charming spot indeed.

Stony Brook Park

Address: Darien, CT, USA

Website: Stony Brook Park

3. Have a lovely picnic by Pear Tree Point Beach

Pear Tree Point Beach is said to be one of the more beautiful beaches in the area. It’s a lovely spot to take a stroll down the beach with your special someone or have a charming picnic by the shore with your family. Pear Tree Point Beach prides itself on having a handicap-accessible picnic area complete with grills and tables, as well as a lovely gazebo overlooking the beaches. You will also find the Darien Boat Club here. If you’re thinking of renting a boat slip to dock your vessel, you may write to the Commodore of the Darien Club with the postal address on their website.

Pear Tree Point Beach

Address: Pear Tree Point Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Pear Tree Point Beach

4. Recharge at the Connecticut Welcome Center

things to do in darien ct | recharge at the connecticut welcome center
Source: thegillyweed on Instagram

The Connecticut Welcome Center is known to be a great choice to stopover for travelers passing through the area. Usually, a trip to or from Boston will get you to drop by the Connecticut Welcome Center. It’s a pitstop for travelers to refuel their cars, rest up a bit from the trip, and recharge themselves with delicious food. Food outlets here range from local and known favorites like McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Sbarro and many more.

Connecticut Welcome Center

Address: I-95 northbound, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Connecticut Welcome Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 3pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

5. Cruise along Ziegler's Cove

An exciting destination for sailors and boat owners is Zieger’s Cove which sits on the northern shores of Long Island Sound in Darien. The cove is quite steep and is a popular destination for boating with yachts and boats coming in from all over Connecticut and Long Island. Unfortunately, the shoreline is privately owned, it still attracts a lot of visitors especially during the summer months when the sunsets are at its most beautiful, and during the autumn season when the warm-colored foliage charms everyone. There’s also a lot of wildlife in the area.

Ziegler's Cove

Address: Darien, CT 06820, USA

6. Meet new friends at The Darien Nature Center

A perfect destination for your children, the Darien Nature Center is a non-profit organization located within Cherry Lawn Park. The main goal of the organization is to educate others, both local and tourist alike, on how to take care of the environment and the wildlife living in it. The center has several programs fit for the entire family such as: Storytime With Animals which allows children (accompanied by an adult) to interact with the animal told in the story, Pollinator Pathway which creates a safe haven for birds and insects, and Yoga With Danielle Brown which is perfect for the adults who want to relax and unwind with some bunnies and other animals. The center also offers school field trips and other summer camp programs.

The Darien Nature Center

Address: Cherry Lawn Park, 120 Brookside Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: The Darien Nature Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 4pm; Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed on Sun)

7. Go bird-watching at Tilley Pond Park

Tilley Pond Park, unlike Stony Brook Park, is more of a usual park one would find within a residential area. Nevertheless, the ambiance of relaxation remains quite similar. The park is quite vast though with an area of 8 acres (32,000 sqm). There are several fountains fondly decorating the pond and the trails around are lit with quaint lights. If you’re tired of walking, you can sit on one of the many benches and spot some birds in the air or ducks in the pond. It almost sounds like one of those parks you see in romantic films, doesn’t it?

Tilley Pond Park

Address: Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Tilley Pond Park

8. Ace some shots at Kings Highway Tennis Club

If you’re opting instead to immerse in professional tennis lessons, then release your inner Roger Federer or Serena Williams at Kings Highway Tennis Club. The club prides itself with only the best quality facilities including six indoor championship hard courts complete with air conditioning on all courts, a fancy waiting and viewing lounge, large shower rooms with towels available on hand, and a racquet pro shop with stringing services. They also offer a variety of lessons for junior and adult players, as well as private lessons.

Kings Highway Tennis Club

Address: 98 Old Kings Hwy N, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Kings Highway Tennis Club

Opening hours: Mon, Thu & Fri: 8am - 10:30pm; Tue - Wed: 8am - 11pm; Sat: 8am - 6pm; Sun: 8am - 9pm

9. Marvel at the modern architecture of Frederick J. Smith House

Frederick J. Smith House, or simply Smith House, is a modern house that sits on the Connecticut coast overlooking Long Island Sound. The house was built in 1967 with its design spearheaded by Richard Meier, a renowned architect known for his use of the color white and geometric shapes. The often said favorite of the house is the back because of its open façade and its three floors of glass enclosure which allows you to be somewhat “immersed” in nature and the scenery surrounding the house. The house is currently owned by the sons of Fred and Carole Smith, filmmaker and producer Chuck Smith and his sibling Hobie.

Frederick J. Smith House

Address: 16 Shennamere Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Frederick J. Smith House

10. Visit the historic Pond-Weed House

Source: Photo by user Picabu used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Built in the 1700s, Pond-Weed House is the oldest building still standing in Darien, Connecticut. It’s a fine example of early New England architecture with its wood frame saltbox and a chimney. The house may look quite eerie due to its old fashioned features today but back in the 18th century, Pond-Weed House used to be a tavern frequented by many of the revolutionaries as they would stop over to have a drink. Some say that George Washington himself dropped by. It was for this they earned the names “House Under the Hill” and “Half-Way House”, and the house is now registered at the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

Pond-Weed House

Address: Junction of Old Boston Post Road and Hollow Tree Ridge Road, Noroton, Darien, CT, USA

Website: Pond-Weed House

11. Get lost in the woods at Woodland Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

One of the best ways to be one with nature is by visiting Woodland Park. It’s a public park that provides a venue for visitors to see and admire wildlife in its natural habitat. Here you will find a lot of turtles, deer, rabbits, ducks, birds and more living how they should be - untouched and free to roam in its natural environment. The park prides itself on helping conserve and protect these animals since 1979 with the help of the Darien Parks and Recreation, the Boy Scouts as well as local residents, all of whom form the “Friends of Woodland Park”.

Woodland Park

Address: 035 2-441, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Woodland Park

12. Play a game of baseball or softball at Baker Park

Another popular park in Darien is Baker Park. The park is quite big with an area of 11.7 acres (4.7 hectares) and it’s mainly known as the “neighborhood park”. In the daytime, parents come here with their kids to meet up and play with each other, especially at the park’s playground. Meanwhile, at night, the park turns into a sports venue, particularly for baseball, softball or soccer athletes. The Darien Little League and the Darien Soccer Association take the lead in utilizing the multi-purpose field.

Baker Park

Address: Noroton Ave, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Baker Park

13. Feast on seafood delicacies at Ten Twenty Post

After a number of activities, you’ll surely want to fill your stomach. Best to do so at Ten Twenty Post, a contemporary oyster bar that provides casual and relaxed dining to its guests. They serve only the finest oysters and seafood dishes taken from authentic New England cuisine with a fusion of European favorites as well. If you’re allergic to seafood, don’t worry because they also serve specialty meats on their menu! Plus, every Sunday the restaurant offers a special brunch menu.

Ten Twenty Post

Address: 1020 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Ten Twenty Post

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11:30am - 9pm; Thu - Sat: 11:30am - 9:30pm; Sun: 10:30am - 8pm

14. Get together with friends at The Goose American Bistro & Bar

The Goose American Bistro & Bar is a wonderful fusion of a traditional tavern, American bistro, and contemporary dining. Simply referred to by many as The Goose, it’s an upscale version of its predecessor The Black Goose Grille. It wasn’t until 2010 when owners Mike and Lynn Gagliardi turned it into a warm and welcoming venue for many guests. There’s an accessible bar with several chairs and the open fireplace was also retained to maintain the warm and hospitable atmosphere. Not only is the place lovely, but their food choices and service quality is also amazing.

The Goose American Bistro & Bar

Address: 972 Boston Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: The Goose American Bistro & Bar

Opening hours: Sun - Mon: 11:30am - 9:30pm; Tue - Thu: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11:30am - 11pm

15. Treat yourself to a brunch at Sugar Bowl Luncheonette

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Sugar Bowl on Sunday, April 4, 2021

Before heading to work on weekdays or after your morning jog on weekends, why not drop by Sugar Bowl Luncheonette for a grub? They serve both breakfast and lunch, but ultimately people just say brunch the menu is served way beyond the traditional hours of breakfast and much early than lunchtime. Sugar Bowl made a name for itself through the masterful care of Edna Mazza who bought the restaurant in 1950. She was Irish-German yet through her idea of comfort food that she shared at the restaurant, she was able to create a menu very much American. Choose from favorites like eggs benedict, pancakes, french toast, and bacon to fill your hungry tummies!

Sugar Bowl Luncheonette

Address: 1033 Boston Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Sugar Bowl Luncheonette

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 6am - 3pm; Sat - Sun: 7am - 3pm

16. Take a look around Goodwives Shopping Center

Goodwives Shopping Center isn’t just your typical fancy mall. Instead, it’s a charming shopping center where Darien features some of its local produce and their makers. You won’t find those top brands here though but you will be surprised to find amazing deals and hidden gems in this quaint commercial center. They usually have vegetable and flower markets that gives senior discounts to the local residents. It’s also popular for a variety of good Asian restaurants and delicious ice cream.

Goodwives Shopping Center

Address: 25 Old Kings Hwy N, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Goodwives Shopping Center

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm

17. Play some rallies of tennis at Cherry Lawn Park

Cherry Lawn Park is one of Darien’s busiest parks because a lot of people hold their recreational activities such as sports here. One of the popular sports in the area is tennis, and Cherry Lawn Park does not disappoint in providing a venue for just that. The park has four open hard courts for a quick rally, perfect for beginners and amateurs. The courts are not lighted though, so it’s best to play in the daytime.

Cherry Lawn Park Tennis Courts

Address: 120 Brookside Rd, Darien, CT 06820, USA

Website: Cherry Lawn Park Tennis Courts

Drop by Darien, Connecticut

It may be a small town but there are still a lot of recreational activities to do and delicious food to try at Darien. So next time you’re passing by the state, be sure to make a quick stop at the simple town of Darien and be amazed by nature and recreation that it offers!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Marga is a self-employed aspiring writer and budding artist from the Philippines. On days she's not writing, she paints and creates art which she later sells at craft bazaars. Marga also has...Read more

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