Summer Activities

Get on the Connecticut Art Trail with Passport

Connecticut is many things to many people. For some, the amazing local food scene whets the appetite and keeps them coming back for more. Others like to get out in nature on one of our states many trails. But if you're someone who just loves to while away an afternoon taking in great works of art, and maybe you're thinking it's time to get the kids involved, too, have I got news for you. The Connecticut Art Trail not only houses some of the most spectacular treasures but with the new and improved Connecticut Art Trail Passport it is also right at your fingertips.

This (Sort of) Secret Waterfall will Blow Your Mind!

Great Falls, a waterfall tucked in the Falls Village section of Canaan, Connecticut far up in the northwest corner of Connecticut, is a sight to behold. Though variable depending on the rains, when it’s on, it’s on. The falls have long been a popular sight for day trippers looking for a little escape. With hiking, views, and the chance for a little bit of floating and swimming (depending on skill level and currents, of course) it’s little wonder that this hidden gem is getting pretty popular.

Where The Wild Things Are...Waiting for You: at Beardsley Zoo

Where can you gaze into the eyes of Siberian tigers, watch the antics of a red panda or the graceful dance of a colorful peacock, admire the perfect stillness of a sloth or trace the movements of turtles, or be wowed by the size of a bison - all in one day? At Beardsley Zoo, of course. Listed at the top of our 120 Things to Do With Kids in Connecticut, our state's only zoological park has been harboring endangered species, promoting conservation, and delighting visitors of all ages for nearly 100 years. 

Family Weekend Getaway: River Rafting with Kids in the Catskills

I've wanted to take my kids river rafting since my teenage son was a toddler, yet we never managed to get around to it—until this summer. After spending a wonderful day on the Delaware River in the Sullivan Catskills, my only regret is that we didn't go sooner.

With three kids ranging from 8 to 13, finding an outing we can all enjoy is sometimes a challenge. River rafting hit the mark beautifully, providing a completely unplugged experience that's fun for all ages. Plus, clocking in at just under two hours from New York City (and even less for Westchester residents), rafting in the Catskills is an easy day trip or a quick weekend getaway. We opted to make a weekend out of it, so we've got the scoop on where to go rafting and what to expect, plus where to stay overnight.

For more weekend getaway ideas, consult our Day Trips & Getaways Guide and sign up for our newsletters.

The Haddam Neck Fair: Perfect for Families

When my Canadian husband and I moved to Connecticut, we were overwhelmed with the abundance of agricultural fairs and festivals that cap off summer in the nutmeg state. The amount of time, preparation and volunteer power that goes into these longstanding events is a wonder. From the Big E to the neighborhood church carnivals, there are plenty of fairs to choose from across the state. You can’t go to them all, so my recommendation for families with kids is our favorite: the Haddam Neck Fair.

Cape Cod With Kids: 25 Things to Do in Chatham, MA

Ever since I first saw the TV show Gilmore Girls, I have been searching for the fictional town of Stars Hollow—the quintessential New England small town, where everyone knows everyone, and you can walk (or bike) to just about anywhere you’d want to go. I had no idea that after years of looking, I would finally find a real-life Stars Hollow on the Lower Cape: Chatham, Massachusetts.

Chatham is a beautiful and enchanting town, rich in history and tradition. One of my favorite things about the place is its walkability. Main Street is bustling with adorable shops and good restaurants, and the beach and parks are just a short distance away.  It may not be practical to live in a town like Chatham year round, but for a weekend getaway, I daresay it’s the perfect place. Read on for 25 fun things to do while you’re there, in the summertime and beyond. Whether you feel like getting in touch with nature, catching a ball game, sampling some treats, or having some quiet time in a museum or bookstore, there's something here for everyone in the family.

Vikings Invade the Connecticut Coast!

I admit it, as soon as I learned there was a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters, I couldn't get the kids packed into the car fast enough. Not only does this speak to our family's Scandinavian heritage and a long standing interest in all things Viking, but also hello?! There's a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters! This sort of thing does not happen every day. But it's happening right now at Mystic Seaport and if you have time during these dog days of summer or over Labor Day Weekend, make a point to invite yourself aboard the Draken Harald Halfagre before the ship closes to visitors for the winter and sails away next spring. 

New Jersey's Liberty State Park: A Perfect Family Day Trip

With majestic views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty, acres of sprawling green lawns, a riverfront walkway, picnic areas, and a huge playground, Liberty State Park in Jersey City is ideal for a memorable family outing. Spend a day exploring the park, or board a ferry to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. You can also head indoors for an afternoon at Liberty Science Center, followed by a bite at one of our favorite family-friendly restaurants in Downtown Jersey City.

Read on for tips for visiting Liberty State Park, and for even more family adventures, check out our Summer Fun Guide or favorite picnic spots in North Jersey.

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