Christmas Fun in Connecticut: Holiday Lights & Santa Express

This past weekend, we took a drive two hours north of the Bronx for some holiday fun in Connecticut. Covered in white from a previous snowfall, the decorated small towns along with the Holiday Lights and Santa Express train ride made for the perfect holiday getaway.

Where We Stayed: Courtyard Southington

The Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce and Santa Express at the Railroad Museum of New England are around 20 minutes from each other, so we opted to stay at the Marriott Courtyard Southington, just a few minutes away from Lake Compounce. Located near plenty of restaurants and retail options, it was the perfect location for a family trip. 

For more info, visit

Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce

The first night we headed to the Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce. This lakeside amusement park (and also oldest continuously open amusement park in the country!) turns into a winter wonderland November 22nd through December 22nd.

Holiday Lights features the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut, and visitors can enjoy a light show every half hour. Children can decorate cookies, make gingerbread houses, and enjoy many of the kiddie rides. Families can also hop on the North Pole Railway- just don’t forget to grab hot cocoa in a special souvenir cup before boarding!

And don’t worry- there are plenty of fire pit stations throughout the park to huddle around to keep warm- but we recommend dressing in plenty of layers- snow pants work perfect to keep little legs toasty.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Santa Express at the Railroad Museum of New England

The next morning we headed around 20 minutes away to Thomaston Connecticut to board the Santa Express at the Railroad Museum of New England. This railroad museum offers two holiday train options- the Northern Lights and Santa Express.

For the Santa Express, families hop aboard a vintage train car to enjoy a train ride through the wilderness with some special guests on board.

Children enjoy visits from both Santa and Mrs. Clause- with elf sightings and Christmas music to sing along to. The kids also receive a special gift from Santa.

We’ve done the Easter train ride with the Railroad Museum and it was so beautiful to see the same scenery covered in snow this time around! There is also a Chocolate Decadence Tour, Pumpkin Patch, Spirit Tasting, and other train rides to enjoy throughout the year.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

We had such a great time on our holiday weekend in Connecticut. The snow, the holiday fun, and the quality family time were the perfect way to countdown to Christmas.

We received some accommodations to facilitate this post. As always, all opinions are our own.

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