12 Summer Experiences You Just Can't Have in the City Last Updated 7/20

There's plenty to do this summer in Connecticut if you’re itching to get out of the city. This short list is packed with fun and safe activities to enjoy—everything from zip lining to island kayaking and old-fashioned drive ins.

As a reminder, be sure to check each businesses’ website for new safety guidelines before venturing out.

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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. The park will be reopening soon for guests to enjoy zip lining, swimming, jumping, climbing and more. Other zip line adventures in Connecticut include Bridgeport’s Adventure Park at the Discovery MuseumAdventure Park at Storrs, Nomad’s in South Windsor, and HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Resort Casino n Mashantucket.

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Watch a Drive-In Movie

A uniquely American experience, drive-in movies are a summer tradition. Connecticut has two drive-in movie attractions that make for the 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 another drive-in in Barkhamsted, too.

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Take a Bike Ride in a Bike-Friendly Town

Not only does the Town of Simsbury offer a Free Bike program but they are also have been recognized as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicylists. Bike throught this quaint New England town, or find a nearby bike trail to explore.

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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.” Lyman Orchards in Middlefield welcomes visitors to pick from nearly 100 varieties of fruits in June through October. The orchard has implemented new Pick Your Own Procedures for 2020 and ask that visitors follow accordingly to ensure a healthy and safe experience for all.

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Hang Out on a Farm

Away from the hustle and bustle you’ll find Connecticut’s picturesque family farms. Many offer opportunities for guests to help feed the animals, go for a wagon ride and shop fresh products. Flamig Farm in Simsbury has been around for over 100 years and features a petting zoo, pony and hayrides, farm store and lots of seasonal fun.

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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 grab a scoop of its famous farm fresh ice cream while you’re there or if you prefer, call and place an order to-go over the phone.

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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 but please note that at this time they don’t allow groups larger than five.

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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. Wadsworth Falls in Middlefield is one destination that people return to year after year, to see the falls, hike the trails, picnic and more.

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Try Glamping

Glamping, or glamourous camping, is both fun and fabulous. Connecticut campgrounds can officially reopen starting on July 8th and places 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. This attraction is hoping to offer public cruises once again in July but stay tuned for more updates throughout the summer.

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Cool Off at a Swimming Hole

Go for a refreshing dip at one of Connecticut’s swimming holes and make a day out of it by packing a picnic or grabbing takeout from a nearby restaurant to enjoy outside.

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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. The amusement park will officially reopen on July 6 with capacity restrictions and new safety guidelines in accordance with the state. You’ll need to purchase tickets online in advance, so start planning your outing today!