Cool Spots for Hot Spells Last Updated: May 2023

When it gets really hot – so hot that you can’t even think clearly anymore – you’ll be happy to turn to this handy little guide to some of Connecticut’s cooler spots.

Connecticut’s Icebox

When the summer heat gets to be too much, why not head to a town commonly referred to as “the icebox of Connecticut"? Norfolk, pop. 1,787, sits along the Massachusetts border, about 1,365 above sea level, in Connecticut’s northwest corner.

At the town’s Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, you can hike through cool hemlock glades and arrive at a 100-foot waterfall (very refreshing). In the evening, the icebox light stays on with music at Infinity Music Hall and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, a product of the Yale University School of Music.

But there are other cool spots in Connecticut, of course, including:

Sundown Show

When you arrive at the Pleasant Valley Drive-In in Barkhamsted, you may have trouble believing such a place still exists. It’s a true throwback to an earlier day, a single screen nestled among evergreens in a country setting that’s cooled by river breezes.

Really Cool

How about a zip line that takes you directly into the cooling waters of an old brownstone quarry? It sounds like something out of Tom Sawyer, but you can give it a go at Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland. And if that doesn’t quite cool you off, there’s snorkeling, cliff jumping, wakeboarding and just plain old swimming.

Ice Age Passage

You can even visit the Ice Age in Connecticut with a trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center in Mashantucket. Your trip through the museum begins with a very cooling descent through an Ice Age glacier – but then it takes you into the fascinating world of Native American life and culture, with astonishing, lifelike exhibits and eye-opening insights.