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Can I Leave Hartford Airport During a Long Layover?

If you find yourself with a long layover at Hartford Airport, also known as Bradley International Airport (BDL), you may be wondering if it’s possible to leave the airport and explore the surrounding area. Fortunately, Hartford Airport is conveniently located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, which offers a variety of nearby attractions and activities for travelers to enjoy during their layover. In this article, we will discuss the options available to you and provide some insights on how to make the most of your time outside the airport.

Exploring Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks is a charming town with a rich history and several points of interest for visitors. If you have a few hours to spare, consider exploring the local attractions to make the most of your layover experience. The New England Air Museum is a great option for aviation enthusiasts, featuring an impressive collection of aircraft and exhibits detailing the history of flight. It’s located just a short drive or taxi ride away from the airport, making it easily accessible during a layover.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, the Windsor Locks Canal Trail offers a scenic walking path along the Connecticut River. This trail spans approximately 5.3 miles and provides a great opportunity to stretch your legs, enjoy beautiful views, and immerse yourself in nature. Take a leisurely stroll or even rent a bicycle to explore the trail and make the most of your time outside the airport.

If you’re interested in history, the Windsor Locks Historical Society and Museum provides a fascinating look into the town’s past. The museum features exhibits showcasing artifacts from different eras and offers insights into the industrial heritage of the area. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of the airport, making it a convenient option for those with limited time.

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Venturing Further

If you have a longer layover or access to transportation, you can also explore nearby towns and attractions outside Windsor Locks. For example, Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, is just a short drive away and offers a range of cultural and historical attractions. The Mark Twain House and Museum, where the famous author lived and wrote many of his works, is a must-visit for literature enthusiasts. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the oldest continually operating public art museum in the United States, is another notable attraction in Hartford. Additionally, the Connecticut Science Center provides an interactive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Another option is to visit the picturesque town of Simsbury, located about 20 minutes from the airport. With its charming Main Street, beautiful hiking trails, and historic landmarks, Simsbury provides a peaceful and scenic escape from the airport environment. Take a walk along the Farmington River, explore the Simsbury Historical Society & Tapping Reeve Meadow, or indulge in a delicious meal at one of the local eateries.

Considerations and Tips

While leaving the airport during a layover can be an exciting opportunity, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. First and foremost, always give yourself ample time to return to the airport and go through security before your next flight. Make sure to account for traffic, potential delays, and any changes to the airport’s security procedures. It is strongly recommended to inform the airline about your layover and explore their policies on leaving and returning to the airport.

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Secondly, it’s crucial to check if you need a visa or any additional documentation to leave the airport. Requirements vary depending on your nationality and the country you’re visiting. Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork to reenter the airport smoothly. Consult the relevant embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements.

Additionally, be mindful of your luggage. If you’re planning on exploring the area, it’s advisable to travel light or store your bags securely at the airport. This way, you won’t have to worry about lugging heavy luggage around with you. Some airports offer luggage storage or lockers, so it’s worth checking with the airport authorities to see if this service is available at Hartford Airport.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of the local customs, culture, and currency of the area you plan to visit. Research beforehand and have some local currency on hand in case you need to make any purchases or pay for transportation. Familiarize yourself with the local transportation options, such as taxis, rideshares, or public transportation, to easily navigate the area during your layover.


In conclusion, if you have a long layover at Hartford Airport, there are numerous options available to leave the airport and explore the surrounding area. Whether it’s visiting local attractions in Windsor Locks, venturing further to nearby towns like Hartford or Simsbury, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region, you can make the most of your time by stepping outside the airport’s confines. Just remember to plan your time wisely, consider transportation logistics, and ensure you have all the necessary documentation and precautions in place. With proper planning and research, you can turn a layover into a memorable and enjoyable experience, discovering the charm and attractions that Connecticut has to offer.

Can I Leave Hartford Airport During a Long Layover?
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