Coast & Country: A Perfect Fairfield County Family Getaway Last Updated: May 2019
CTvisit.com is proud to partner with some of Connecticut’s most popular bloggers for ideas, insights and inspirations from the people who are lucky enough to call Connecticut home. This time, we have a great summer weekend itinerary from our friends at Mommy Poppins Connecticut.
You only get about a dozen weekends to squeeze in summertime family fun. Luckily, Connecticut has got you covered. In just one weekend you can explore the great outdoors, stroll historic towns, squish your toes in the sand, watch the sunset, eat yummy fresh seafood, catch a tadpole, splash in a pool, and so much more. So leave your FOMO behind and trade your bucket lists for beach buckets with this Fairfield County getaway guide.
Friday Night Sunsets on the Beach
Start your adventure by booking a room at the Norwalk Inn, conveniently located in Norwalk, Connecticut. This hotel has a variety of rooms to choose from for different sized families, ranging from traditional hotel rooms to the fully loaded Guest House. There’s a fitness center, restaurant, and free onsite parking, but the main reason this hotel is a winner for families is its fantastic outdoor pool.
After you check in and splash around a bit, head down to Calf Pasture Beach to play some mini golf at Norwalk Cove Marina. Norwalk Cove Mini Golf has been a part of Norwalk’s summer scene for over 50 years. The 18-hole course may not have fancy waterfalls or an over-the-top theme, but it is the perfect spot for little ones to fall in love with mini-golf. Bonus points: it has a fantastic view of the Long Island Sound and marina.
The view from Sunset Grille can’t be beat. After all that mini golf, it will be perfect timing for some family-friendly waterfront dining. True to its name, Sunset Grille provides stunning views of the marina and the sunset. Children can enjoy kid friendly meals while watching the boats come in, and the adults can play grown-up with a summer cocktail and a Lobster Cobb Salad. Most summer nights, there’s also live music for everyone to bop around to.
Cap the end to a perfect day with a stop at Mr. Frosty’s Ice Cream Shop for the original Unicorn Craver ice cream treat or another one of their delicious desserts.
An Artful Saturday
Say farewell to the coast and hello to the country as you travel down the scenic winding country roads to downtown Ridgefield. The historic town is home to the very modern Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The Aldrich is the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art. It’s great for families because the ever-changing galleries are home to a variety of programs including its Creative Family Series. Make sure you check the calendar for events such as Third Saturday program.
Ridgefield is also home to Connecticut’s only National Park at Weir Farm (pictured). The historic homestead was home to Julian Alden Weir, a leading figure in American art and the development of American Impressionism. Start your journey at the Visitor’s Center where you will find park rangers who can provide you with maps, a little bit of history, and hand out free art supplies to use during your visit. In keeping with the park’s history, visitors are encouraged to paint au plain air anywhere on the farm’s grounds.
In July and August, Saturday night means family-friendly movie night at the beach! Head back to Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach. After 5 p.m. the parking drops to $15 a car and you can still enjoy the beach, splashpad, playground, and grab dinner at Ripka’s Beach Cafe which has a menu ranging from fresh oysters and lobsters to chicken fingers and burgers. At 7 p.m., pre-show entertainment such as face paint and dance competitions start, and then stick around for an outdoor movie under the stars at dusk. Check the schedule to see what’s showing and bring a blanket and sweatshirts.
Sunday with the Seals
Start your Sunday with breakfast or brunch at Caffe Social in South Norwalk. Everything here is delicious, but you should order a stack of “build your own” hotcakes to share. Yum!
South Norwalk is also home to the Maritime Aquarium. The Maritime will provide visitors of all ages with insight into the rich biodiversity of Long Island Sound. There is a pretty packed schedule of live animal encounters, shark feedings, touch tanks, and seal-training demonstrations and more to make the aquarium a full afternoon of fun before heading back home.