12 Summer Experiences You Just Can't Have in the City Last Updated 3/19

There's still time to escape the city this summer. And if you need any more motivation than the stifling heat, here are a dozen amazing experiences just waiting for you in Connecticut. This short bucket list is packed with everything from zip lining over the water and hiking with llamas to island kayaking and old-fashioned drive ins. Have a favorite we haven’t mentioned? Let us know @CTvisit.

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Zip Line in a Quarry

Connecticut’s Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland was built around a historic quarry, where the stone was mined for many of the most iconic brownstone buildings in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other cities. Today, you can soar high above or across the water‘s surface on a zip line. Other zip line adventures in Connecticut include Bridgeport’s Adventure Park at the Discovery MuseumEMPOWER in Middletown, Adventure Park at Storrs and Nomad’s in South Windsor.

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Watch a Drive-In Movie

A uniquely American experience, drive-in movies are a summer tradition. Connecticut has three drive-in movie attractions that are make perfect night out for families, friends or a romantic old-school date night. The Mansfield Drive-in, not far from Storrs, offers multiple screens, a snack bar and a flea market on Sundays. Find other drive-ins in Southington and Barkhamsted, too.

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Take a Bike Ride by the Beach

Located right on Long Island Sound, Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park is a great place for a beach-side bike ride, especially at sunset. Bring your own bike or pick one up at Westport Bike Rentals. You might even want to bring a picnic.

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Pick Your Own — Everything

From strawberries and blueberries to peaches, apples, flowers, pumpkins and even Christmas trees, Connecticut is filled with farms and orchards that invite you to come and “pick-your-own.” Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury is a popular destination, but you’ll find many more to explore, many with corn mazes, wagon rides and farm animals too.

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Hike with a Llama

Lots of people love hiking with their dogs. What if you could hike with a llama? Newtown’s Rowanwood Farm gives you the unique opportunity to take a guided two-hour hike through a pine forest with these intelligent, gentle creatures as your companions.

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Stand in a Field of Sunflowers

In late July and early August, the sunflower fields in Connecticut come to life. Visit the extraordinary display at Buttonwood Farms in Griswold (and get some ice cream while you’re there!). Or lose yourself in the annual sunflower maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. 

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Kayak the Islands

Kayak among the scenic Thimble Islands, off the coast of Branford. The Indian name for these pink-granite islands translates to “beautiful sea rocks,” and on a calm summer morning, you can see why. Put your kayak in at the boat launch along Stony Creek Beach. If you’re looking to rent, visit Branford River Paddlesports for gear and tips.

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Discover a Waterfall

Connecticut has many spectacular waterfalls. And to see them, you don’t have to go far. Whether you want a challenging hike, an easy stroll or just a peek from the road, Connecticut has a waterfall for you.  Kent Falls State Park in the Litchfield Hills is one destination that people return to year after year, to see the falls, hike the trails, fish, picnic and more.

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Try Glamping

Glamping, or glamourous camping, is both fun and fabulous. Some Connecticut campgrounds like Odetah Camping Resort in Bozrah offer premier cabins, massages and other amenities. While Club Getaway in Kent offers an all-inclusive summer camp for adults only. Want to go all out? Winvian in Morris has cottages nestled among 113 wooded acres that give you the feel of camping, with the luxury of a 5-star resort.

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See a Tornado of Tree Swallows

Bald eagles are just one of the many birds that make their home along the Connecticut River. But they are best seen in the winter months. Luckily, in August, you can take a cruise to see the amazing spectacle of tree swallows that flock in the thousands. RiverQuest in Haddam offers nature cruises along the Connecticut River to see these majestic birds, along with ospreys, egrets and other wildlife. 

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Take a Tube

River tubing is one of the coolest activities in Connecticut. With Farmington River Tubing, you'll start out from Satan's Kingdom State Recreation Area in New Hartford and ride a specially designed tube through three miles of calm river interspersed with wild rapids.

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Test your Nerve

Are you ready for Phobia Phear? The first ride of its kind in New England and the first triple launch coaster to hit the northeast, Phobia Phear hits speeds up to 65 mph, and features a cobra roll inversion at 150 feet in the air. It joins Boulderdash and Wildcat as one of the premier attractions at Lake Compounce, the longest continuously operated amusement park in North America.