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Kayaking and seafood near Connecticut's Thimble Islands

Off the coast of Branford, 10 minutes from New Haven, Connecticut, lie the Thimble Islands, a group of about 365 small islands in Long Island Sound. Summer is the perfect time to explore by boat or kayak, and several providers are always eager to show off the islands. After your explorations, seafood dinners and relaxation at a classic New England B&B await.

The islands have been described as "a piece of the Maine coast that drifted in Long Island Sound." Connecticut Coastal Kayaking leads day-trip tours for newbies and advanced paddlers alike, during which you'll see beautiful Victorian-style homes and million-dollar mansions on about 25 islands. Trips depart from Stony Creek, a village on the Branford waterfront, and start at $80.

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If you prefer to relax as you sightsee, consider a 45-minute cruise of the islands aboard either the Sea Mist or the Volsunga IV. Rates are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and depart from the Stony Creek dock.

Branford is also an ideal spot to enjoy a fresh seafood dinner. Favorites include the U.S.S. Chowderpot III and Lenny's Indian Head Inn. Since you'll no doubt be tuckered out after spending a day on the water, rest your head at Linden Point House a small Stony Creek B&B that overlooks the Thimble Islands. Rates start at $175 per night.

There's more than just the islands, however. If you can spend a few more days in Branford, be sure to take advantage of the area's great shopping, biking, and hiking opportunities.

Have a recommendation for the Thimble Islands area, or another great getaway within Connecticut? Post your comment below!

Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.

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