Family Fun for All Four Seasons Last Updated 2/21
Written by Jennifer Birch.
No matter the season, Connecticut is your one-stop spot for family fun. Here you can enjoy the distinct seasons and take in spring flower festivals, make a summer splash at the beach or a water park, admire the fall foliage or find downhill thrills at a winter ski resort. Whether you've got young kids or a teen that's hard to please, Connecticut offers adventures, year-round.
During this time, all Connecticut businesses are working diligently to prioritize safety, but read through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on domestic travel to ensure that you've taken all necessary safety precautions. Don't forget to check with each location before venturing out, as hours may change due to COVID-19.
Go on a Winter Hike
Connecticut is home to some fantastic hiking trails! Check out Campbell Falls State Park Reserve in Chaplin or Devils Hopyard State Park for some incredible frozen waterfalls. These winter wonderlands are a great place for a quiet walk to enjoy the scenery. Here are a few more great places to hike in Connecticut.
Go Ice Fishing
Did you know that Connecticut is home to over 180 inland lakes and ponds? Many of these bodies of water are perfect for ice fishing. Dress warm, bring a pole and get ready to see Connecticut’s large variety of fish, including trout, pike, walleye and bass. Here are a few great spots to bring the whole family.
Go Snow Tubing
If you want an outside winter activity, snow tubing is the perfect activity for adventurous kids . Slide down a well-maintained slope at Powder Ridge Park for an exciting family experience. Make sure to check out Mohawk Mountain Resort as well, which offers eight lanes of snow-tubing fun.
Follow the Lights
Enjoy a stunning display from the comfort of your own car by visiting downtown Stamford for an incredible holiday display of over 300,000 miniature lights. Another fantastic show celebrating all winter holidays is Holiday Light Fantasia located in Goodwin Park, Hartford. Discover more than two miles of holiday cheer boasts up to one million lights!
Smell the Flowers
When winter is over, it’s time to get out and smell the flowers, and Connectiut is covered with gardens and flower fests. Wickham Park in Manchester is a great stop for the whole family, with 250 acres of interactive gardens and walking trails. Another beautiful landscape to check out is Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, a historic park with flowers and a gorgeous scenic overlook. Explore gardens all across the state or even visit these photo-worthy flower towns. Find more picturesque spots below.
Savor Unique Sweets
Spring is a great time to satisfy that sweet tooth in the family! Head over to Milkcraft in New Haven, Fairfield, or West Hartford to try some locally made ice cream with their signature BubbleCone. Make sure to check out Uconn Dairy Bar for an interactive farm-to-table experience. Or visit these Instagram-worthy sweet spots. Enjoy the other savory sweets below.
See Trains, Planes and Automobiles
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is home to a unique, all-in-one experience for the whole family to enjoy! Explore the Connecticut River Valley in an old-timey steam train or riverboat while taking in the magical views. Board the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine at the Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum. More interested in the skies? Look no further than the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks where you can wander the massive hangars and peek inside cockpits.
Solve a Mystery
Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes by checking out MindBreak Escape Rooms in Norwich. If you’re looking for a safe night out, make sure to visit The Dinner Detective in New Haven, America’s largest interactive murder mystery dinner show. Check out some more mysterious spots below.
If you have an animal lover in the family, explore Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. This zoo holds more than 300 animals including bald eagles, tamarins and a Siberian tiger. Check out New England’s only Beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, where you’ll find interactive exhibits that little ones will enjoy. Or meet an adorable crew of farm animals at Flamig Farm in West Simsbury. Here are a few more of Connecticut’s animal experiences.
Amusement and Adventure Parks
Enjoy thrilling rides and exciting attractions at Lake Compounce, North America’s oldest operating amusement park! This family destination hosts over 50 coasters and slides, including America’s #1 ranked wooden roller coaster. Urban Air Adventure Park in Orange is the ultimate indoor adventure park for any age. From laser tag to the Sky Rider indoor roller coaster, this indoor attraction is perfect for the whole family. Check below for more adventurous suggestions.
Visit a Farmstead
Visiting a local farmstead is a classic summer tradition for many Connecticut residents. Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry offers an in-depth look at Nathan Hale’s humble upbringings. Enjoy free guided tours, farmers markets and a gift shop. Other great locations for a summer day are Andrew’s Homestead in Meriden, The Dudley Farm Museum in Guilford, and Cheney Homestead in Manchester.
Get Ice Cream
If you’re in need of a sweet treat on a hot summer day, Capital Ice Cream in Hartford is the place to be! “Hartford’s Premier Dessert Shop” serves ice cream, sundaes and other desserts in a warm, welcoming environment. Grab a cone at Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream in Griswold and enjoy expansive sunflower fields. Ashford Dairy Bar in Ashford is a true hidden gem that features takeout and pickup orders. Or try these photo-worthy ice cream experiences. Check out more favorites below.
Take to the skies on a ziplining trip at the HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Resort this summer! Soar over 60mph as you zipline off of a 33-story building. The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport features 23 ziplines on different-level obstacle courses for the whole family to enjoy. The Adventure Park at Storrs is another great spot for a high-flying adventure. Discover 100 treetop platforms form 8 different levels of ziplining fun.
Pick Your Own
A classic Fall tradition in Connecticut is apple and pumpkin picking. Johnny Appleseed’s Farm in Ellington and Lyman Orchards in Middlefield both have everything: pick your own apples, pumpkins, and a large corn maze. Another great family location is Rogers Orchards Sunnymount Farm in Southington. After picking your own apples and pumpkins you can head inside to try some fresh pies, apple cider and homemade donuts. Check below for some more festive locations.
Expand Your Mind
The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford has more than 165 hands-on exhibits for curious minds of any age. Kids will love the daily events and digital theaters included within the museum. The Connecticut Trolley Museum is a must-see for the entire family, with over 70 trolley exhibits and a self-guided tour of the attached Connecticut Firetruck Museum. Check out some of our other recommendations below.
Want to get spooked this fall season? Legends of Fear in Shelton has tractor-pulled hay wagons that pull guests through “haunted” forests and other creepy attractions. Dark Manor Haunted House in Baltic is perhaps Connecticut’s most well-known haunted house exhibit, so be prepared to get scared! Things That Go Bump in the Night in Coventry takes you through the rumored haunted Nathan Hale Homestead on night tours. Get in the Halloween spirit with more spooky suggestions below.
Hit the Pizza Trail
Connecticut is a pizza paradise – and if you haven’t taken a pizza trail tour, you’re missing out. New Haven Connecticut is home to Frank Pepe’s Neopoletan Pizzeria, commonly referred to as the best pizza in the United States. Sally’s Apizza, also conveniently located in New Haven has been open since 1938 and is a perfect spot for the whole family. New Hartford is home to Pizza Pete’s, a hidden gem that should still be on everyone’s pizza trail list. Discover more delicious spots below.