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Connecticut Summer 2021

Ultimate Guide to Family Fun in the Nutmeg State

Connecticut is many times labeled as a “drive-through” state en route to more exciting destinations like Boston and New York City. But with a rich history, beautiful landscapes, picturesque beaches and world-class cuisine, there are plenty of things to explore within our borders. 

Here’s our guide to the can’t-miss places to visit in Connecticut this summer. 

  • Jennings Beach (Fairfield) – Located just off Interstate 95, Jennings is the largest of the Fairfield beaches. The beach is handicapped accessible with a concession stand, bathroom facilities, volleyball poles and sailboat racks. Lifeguards are on duty all summer, and the staff even offers swimming lessons.
  • Sherwood Island State Park (Westport) – Part of the Connecticut state park system, Sherwood Island State Park is known for its spectacular three-color sand. The entire park also covers woodlands, wetlands as well as the sandy shore. 
  • West Beach (Stamford) – Part of the Rocky Neck State Park, this beach has a boardwalk that stretches across the back of the beach, as well as a large concession area, a bath-house with restrooms and showers, and a bike rack for cyclists. The extended park area also includes hiking trails, camping areas, and quant fishing spots. 
  • Silver Sands State Park (Milford) – Located in Milford, the park includes over a half mile of shoreline and three quarters of a mile of all-weather boardwalk. Lifeguards are on duty Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Southport Beach (Southport) – About 2.5 acres in size, this small but quiet beach includes bathroom facilities as well as lifeguards that are on duty during the summer months.
  • Calf Pasture Beach (Norwalk) – Located in Norwalk, visitors can enjoy 3/4 of a mile of scenic coastline as well as a skate park, playgrounds, splash pad, and beach volleyball.

Remember to bring cash for parking fees, which are charged at nearly all of these beaches and collected at the gate upon entrance.

Farmington Canal Heritage Trail – Granby

The trial winds through Hartford and New Haven counties and includes 58 miles of paved trail for families. The paved pathway follows the Farmington Canal, which was once the longest canal in New England. 

Norwalk Valley River Trail – Norwalk

The NRVT is planning to build 38 miles of trail that will run from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury. But currently, you and your family can take a leisurely stroll on the 3.7 mile Wilton loop that features a river. Dogs are also welcome as long as they’re kept on a leash!

Pequonnock River Trail – Bridgeport

Spanning over 13 miles, the trail runs from Bridgeport through Trumbull and Monroe along the Pequonnock River Valley. The trail features a river and is great for hiking, running, and mountain biking as well. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Sue Grossman Still River Greenway
 – Winstead

Coming in at just under three miles, the fairly short asphalt trail runs parallel to Winsted Road along the Still River. This scenic, family-friendly trail is frequently used by bikers, walkers, and joggers alike.

Appalachian Trail

The historic Appalachian Trail winds through the state. The portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs along the Housatonic River was the first built to be handicap accessible. Campfires are prohibited and camping is permitted only at designated sites.

New Britain Museum of American Art 

56 Lexington St, New Britain, CT 06052

Founded in 1902, this is the first museum in the U.S. dedicated to American Art. The museum hosts 10,000 American works of art from 1740 to the present, and is located just a quick drive from Delamar West Hartford.

Mark Twain House

385 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

The Mark Twain House was once home to legendary writer Samuel L. Clemens, who wrote under the name Mark Twain. This 25-room Victorian home-turned museum is where he lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his famous novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. 

The house has been named “one of the ten best historic homes in the world” by National Geographic and is a must-see for anyone exploring the rich history of Connecticut.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

600 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103

Since opening its doors in 1844, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest public art museum in the United States. The museum is home to almost 50,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years and contains everything from antique European art to American art from the 1600s through today. 

The castle-like museum is located at 600 Main Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. With over 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, it is also the largest art museum in Connecticut. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center 

77 Forest St, Hartford, CT 06105

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an abolitionist and the author of over 30 books, but she is best remembered for her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is home to Stowe’s home, as well as Victorian grounds and gardens. 

The museum explores her life and works but also holds regular programs that help visitors connect the social issues of the past — such as slavery and the role of women — to the present.

Gillette Castle

67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423

Built atop one of a series of hills known as the Seven Sisters, this castle was once home to William Gillette, an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor. 

The outside of the castle looks like a medieval fortress. It went through extensive restoration in the early 2000s, and now includes a visitors’ center, museum, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Your family will be in awe of the stunning views, hidden tunnels, the abandoned railroad trails that feel like you’re in a storybook.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center

39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT 06903

Located in the woods of North Stamford, Connecticut, the 118-acre museum property is home to the 10-acre animal farm, a Tudor-style museum and gallery, 80 acres of outdoor trails, as well as a planetarium & observatory. The museum is located just 20 minutes from Delamar Greenwich Harbor. Click here to learn more and plan your visit.

Zoos, Aquariums, and More…

Beardsley Zoo

1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06610

Home to over 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species, the Beardsley Zoo has been one of Connecticut’s top family attractions for over 90 years. Some of the animals include the Amur (Siberian) tiger, Andean condor, Red wolf, Maned wolf, Giant Anteater and Golden lion tamarin. 

The zoo is currently open 7 days a week from 9am-4pm. You can also grab a bite at the Peacock Café and take a ride on their colorful carousel. 

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

10 N Water St, Norwalk, CT 06854

The Maritime Aquarium provides a fun, entertaining and educational experience for people of all ages. Take a journey into the sea life of Long Island Sound, from freshwater rivers and the shallow waters of the salt marsh, to the deeper habitats out in the Atlantic.

The aquarium has 75 live exhibits featuring more than 2,700 marine animals of 300 species.

SeaQuest Trumbull

5065 Main St Ste 1106, Trumbull, CT 06611

Take a journey through an Icelandic Fishing Village, the Great Wall of China, to the Amazon River & beyond. At SeaQuest Trumbull, guests have the chance to connect with animals & learn about their ecosystems through various hands-on activities. Some of the animals featured include asian otters, sloths and stingrays. 

Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355

Mystic Aquarium is home to thousands of species of marine mammals, fish, invertebrates and reptiles and features both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Some of the sea animals include beluga whales, sea lions and seals, African penguins, sharks, and more. 

They even have an indoor dinosaur exhibit featuring 12 giant animatronic dinosaurs, including favorites like stegosaurus, triceratops and the infamous tyrannosaurus rex!

Near Delamar West Hartford

Gillette Castle State Park – East Haddam

This 184 acre park is situated on a hill overlooking the Connecticut River. Site of Gillette Castle, the park features scenic views of the Connecticut river, hiking trails, and picnicking spots. The grounds are open year-round from 8am to sunset. A trail also leads down to the river where you can catch the historic Chester-Hadlyme ferry from April through November. 

Devil’s Hopyard State Park – East Haddam

located at the Eightmile River’s Chapman Falls in the town of East Haddam, the park is home to hiking trails, campgrounds and beautiful waterfalls. The main feature of the park, Chapman Falls, drops more than 60 feet over a series of stone formations. 

Wadsworth Falls State Park – Middletown

Located on the Coginchaug River, the park offers 285 acres of hiking and fishing and scenic views. Two natural waterfalls lie within easy reach by park trails: the Big Falls on the Coginchaug River, and the Little Falls, on Wadsworth Brook. Swimming and picnicking are prohibited at the Big Falls – it is an area intended for short visits to view the scenic falls.

Coltsville National Historical Park – Hartford

This new national park unit is currently open with limited services, with additional services being added in the coming years. The park is the site of Samuel Colt’s firearms factory that played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution. The site was abandoned in 1994 and approved as a National Historical Park in 2014. 

Visitors can explore this industrial city on a self-guided walking tour, visiting the eleven different sites, including the Blue Onion Dome, all while learning about Samuel Colt and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt.

Penwood State Park – Bloomfield

Located on Talcott Mountain just a short drive from Hartford, Penwood State Park offers 800 acres of year-round fun. The park has an extensive trail system, as well as picnic areas, and paved roads accessible by bike. The Metacomet Trail runs the entire length of the park.

Talcott Mountain State Park – Simsbury

Also located on Talcott Mountain and touching Penwood State Park, this 574-acre park offers picnic areas, hiking trails and is the location of the 165-foot Heublein Tower. The tower was a former summer home of a prominent Hartford family. You can access the tower, its museum and the amazing views via a 1.25-mile-long trail that takes 30 to 40 minutes to walk. 

Collis P. Huntington State Park – Redding

Located in Fairfield County, the park covers over 1,017 acres of land and is most known for Anna Hyatt Huntington’s sculptures of bears and wolves that welcome visitors at the park entrance. The park includes trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, as well as ponds for canoeing and fishing. Pets are permitted as long as they’re on a leash. 

Salmon River State Forest – Colchester

Located south-east of Hartford, this state park is the perfect place to enjoy a day of hiking, hunting and picnicking along the Salmon River. The park is also home to Comstock’s Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in eastern Connecticut. 

Near Delamar Southport

Weir Farm National Historical Park – Wilton

This was once home to Julian Alden Weir, one of the leading figures in American Impressionist art movement. The 60-acre park is home to beautiful woods, fields, ponds and waterways, as well as Weir’s home and studio. It is only one of two sites in the National Park Service devoted to the American paintings and visual art. 

Surrounded by beautiful rural scenes and nature, Weir created numerous works here including: Idle Hours, Upland Pasture, the Truants, and The Laundry, Branchville.

Silver Sands State Park – Milford

Located off of the Long Island Sound, the state park consists of 297 acres of beach, restored salt marsh, open areas and woods as well as a 14-acre bird sanctuary on Charles Island. It is the perfect place for swimming, picnicking, hiking, and bird-watching.

Lovers Leap State Park – New Milford

This 160-acre park is steeped in history and lore. Hike the trails to the scenic views of Housatonic River at Lover’s Leap gorge and walk across the restored 1895 Berlin Iron Bridge to the rock formation that gives the park its name. According to legend, this is the site where Pootatuck Indian Chief Waramaug’s daughter, Princess Lillinonah, and her lover plunged to their deaths.

Rocky Neck State Park – Niantic

Located along the Long Island Sound, Rocky Neck State Park has everything from a sandy beach to varied hiking and mountain biking trails, and salt marshes. It is also a great spot for summer camping in CT with some 160 campsites.

Book Your Next Vacation at the Delamar

Location is key when visiting Connecticut.  Delamar has three distinct locations throughout the state in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford, giving you an opportunity to explore and venture around, while enjoying the utmost level of excellence and luxury in hospitality. When you choose to stay at Delamar, you can unwind, relax and rejuvenate with our great amenities and attention to detail at every turn.  Book your stay with us today and enjoy the New England charm in all its glory.

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