Welcome to the Thames River Heritage Park – a new kind of state park. One without boundaries. The Thames River Heritage Park is a collection of almost 20 national and historic sites along the shores of the Thames River – linked by a water taxi – that tell the stories that shaped our nation.
The park draws together historical and contemporary sites, communities and institutions on both sides of the river where visitors may experience the region’s many heritage attractions. Four anchors—Fort Trumbull State Park, Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, the Submarine Force Museum, and soon the National Coast Guard Museum—provide visitor services. The anchors and many smaller park sites are tied together by a water taxi system that allows visitors to experience the Thames River itself as the heart of the region.
The Park is a unique collaboration between three municipalities working together to create a rich and diverse visitor experience across their cities and towns and across the river.
The City of New London
The City of Groton
The Town of Groton
Our mission is to develop, preserve, coordinate, and promote a collaborative heritage experience on both sides of the Thames River.
In the Park you’ll be transported to the spot where in 1781 traitor Benedict Arnold’s men stormed Fort Griswold in Groton, a massacre commemorated with the nation’s first obelisk, built before Bunker Hill.
Cross the River to the Custom House Maritime Museum in New London where you’ll learn about the 1839 mutiny of African captives aboard the schooner La Amistad, a story immortalized in a Steven Spielberg movie.
Or visit the 1678 Hempsted Houses to see where a widowed father of nine children managed to find time to chronicle daily life in a diary that is now used worldwide as a primary source on Colonial America.
There are so many stories to tell you’ll want to visit again and again.
- Visit all the sites or choose a few favorites. Start at any site or taxi landing.
- Tour at your leisure.
- Stop for lunch, shopping or visit our galleries.
- For your convenience download our free mobile app. Go to your app store and download izi.travel. Then enter “Thames River Heritage Park” to find our tour. The tour starts in New London’s Historic Waterfront District. If you start at Fort Trumbull State Park just skip to that site. If you start in Groton just skip ahead to the Historic Groton Bank to start your tour.
The Thames River Heritage Park is the only heritage park in CT. Officially opened in 2016 it was actually more than 50 years in the making. Read the Park Plan to appreciate how it went from a dream to a reality. The plan was prepared by the Yale Urban Design Workshop; the principle authors were Andrei Harwell and Alan J. Plattus. Initial funding for the Thames River Heritage Park project came from the Avery-Copp House.