10 Summer in Connecticut Ideas: Where to Go and What to Do (2023)

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As the warmer weather rolls in, remember that the Nutmeg State’s green rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and quaint towns are chock-full of Connecticut charm, providing the perfect backdrop for your next summer in Connecticut.

Whether your favorite summer adventures include hiking trails, waterfalls, beaches, or air conditioning, you can find the perfect activities for an awesome summer in Connecticut!

Summer in Connecticut

Spend a Week in Waterfront Mystic

Mystic is a waterfront town that is one of the best places to visit in CT any time of the year, but is the perfect Connecticut summer playground! There’s plenty to do in Mystic regardless of the weather, but when the sun is shining, the best thing to do is head out on the water.

Head over to The Sandbar for paddleboard and kayak rentals so you can feel the soft summer breeze out on the scenic Mystic River.

If you’d rather let someone else take the lead, check out your charter sailboat options at Poet’s Lounge Sailing Charters, LLC. A Sunset Cruise on the Sound with your favorite bottle of wine could be the perfect end to a perfect summer’s day!

A white boat in a body of water in front of a row of homes

Mystic has some very unique and interesting shopping options so you can pick up the perfect souvenir to remember your summer getaway with. Maybe a nautical-themed bracelet from Mystic Knotwork? You’ll also find lots of awesome places to go for meals and drinks, but Mystic Pizza—of Julia Robert’s Mystic Pizza fame—is a must-visit while in town!

If you can plan your Connecticut summer getaway for the end of June, you just might be in town for the River Jam Festival, where you can boogie down to some great music in support of two great charities.

Now all you have to do is pick a place to stay while you’re in town, and you’re in luck because Mystic has a wonderful selection of great hotels and vacation rentals to choose from. The Whaler’s Inn is a great spot for your waterfront summer in Connecticut!

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Retreat to the Lake at Interlaken Inn & Resort

Located in lovely Lakeville, Interlaken Inn & Resort is an excellent vacation destination any time of the year. Interlaken consists of 30 acres of spectacular Connecticut scenery tucked in between two gorgeous fresh-water lakes.

There are several room options to choose from, offering varying views and details (including pet-friendly options!), with all featuring comfort and amenities galore. Once you’ve landed on where to stay, start planning what you’ll do while at this laid-back CT lake resort!

A close up of a pile of rocks next to a body of water with mountains in the distance

Of course, there is ample opportunity to get out on the lake, including swimming and complimentary use of canoes and kayaks through the end of September.

There are hiking trails, a golf course, tennis courts, an outdoor heated pool, a game room, health and fitness center, basketball half-court, and volleyball net, too! Basically, you’ll have no shortage of ways to stay active at the Interlaken!

If you’re looking for a little extra pampering during your summer vacation, check out Interlaken’s Ellora Spa  before you grab a bite at one of the onsite restaurants. Interlaken Inn & Resort is a fun lakeside summer in Connecticut getaway.

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Let the Connecticut River Valley Take You Away

When your summer getaway needs to really help you get away from the day-to-day, plan a trip to Connecticut River Valley!

Consider checking into the Inn at Middletown, where you’ll find high-count thread sheets that maximize your sweet summer slumber. Splurge for the extra comfort and convenience of the Inn’s fabulous downtown location because there is plenty to see and do in downtown Middletown!

Then there’s Soulshine Salt Cavern in nearby Durham for some salt therapy; Soulshine is an immersive relaxation experience in a gorgeous salt cavern. Once you’ve reached Soulshine Salt Cavern’s level of relaxation, go out to one of the many nearby restaurants to cap your evening.

Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar is a local favorite, with authentic Italian cuisine and a robust wine selection served in a lovely bistro setting. Plus, Esca is just a short walk from the Inn!

A waterfall in a forest

The top-rated Body of Needs Spa is also just a quick stroll from the Inn, so you can add that to your rejuvenation protocol before your next stop.

You know how you can light a few lavender-scented candles and it helps you relax? Go way above and beyond that by visiting 25-acre Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth between June and August, when lavender flowers are in full bloom!

With a tranquil pond and a cute little covered bridge, Lavender Pond Farm is idyllic and peaceful. It’s one of the most beautiful flower fields in New England! Purchase a few hand-crafted lavender goodies to take a little lavender Zen home with you, too.

Then you can ride that lavender calm on over to beautiful Arrigoni Winery just over the river in Portland, where you will find live music, food trucks, and other fun happenings on the events schedule throughout the summer months.

Add in visits to gorgeous outdoor areas like Wadsworth Falls State Park and Gillette Castle State Park and you’ll be wondering if you’ve just stumbled upon the Connecticut River Valley’s greatest secret!

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Have a Go at Hartford!

If Hartford isn’t already on your radar as a Connecticut summer vacation destination, it should be. As a capital city, it has tons of fun and interesting sights, including free things to do!

To begin, one of the most gorgeous green spaces in the state is at Elizabeth Park, included on the National Register of Historic Places and featuring some of the most spectacular rose blooms in the state that bloom from June until the first frost.

A summer concert series and Movies under Moonlight also happen throughout the summer months, so check in with their events calendar for details. The city of Hartford also puts on several awesome summer events and festivals, including the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, the Riverfront Food Truck Festival, the Black-Eyed and Blues Fest, and the Hartbeat Music Festival, just to name a few!

Keep an eye on their events calendar for more info.

A bridge over a body of water with a city in the background at sunset

This capital city has plenty to do in the air conditioning on a hot CT summer’s day, too! Art lovers should head to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the more science-minded, the Connecticut Science Center.

The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center should be on everyone’s list. These incredible historical attractions for these two famous authors who once called Hartford home are educational and entertaining.

Hartford is also a bit of a foodie destination, so bring your comfiest pants in case you need a little extra give on the trip back home! They’ve got a great craft brewery scene, too.

When it comes to where to stay, you’ve got plenty of options, but right in the “heart of Hartford” is The Goodwin. This historic boutique hotel offers rooms that are little bastions of luxury and indulgence affordable for those of us who don’t exist in the very tippy-top tax bracket, too!

This capital city is a cool Connecticut summer destination with a little something for everyone.

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Book a Unique Vacation Rental

Connecticut has some pretty fantastic vacation rentals, and they can be the perfect spot for your summer trip! There’s the Spirit Horse Farm in Kent, where you can stay with rescue horses, peacocks, chickens, and more. Plus, there’s a pool, perfect for a summer in CT vacation!

Perhaps you’d prefer an oceanfront cottage in Guilford, one of the most adorable towns in the state! Or maybe it’s more of an antique farm with a beautiful outdoor pool in Bethel that sounds better? Or could it be that a treehouse Airbnb is more your speed?

Whatever kind of a vacation rental experience you’re looking for, Connecticut most likely has it!

Explore the Connecticut Wine Trail

Situated in Southern New England, Connecticut has a great climate for wine making. It allows for the cultivation of traditional grape wine varieties while opening the door for lots of great experimentation and unique blends!

The Connecticut Wine Trail is one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the US and features dozens of vineyards and wineries. You can take a self-led tour or book a limousine-led winery tour if you’d rather ride in style as you sample the goods from each winery, and really, in a state as small as Connecticut, how long that takes is up to you!

Lindsey Limousine and LimoABC both offer Connecticut Wine Trail tours that can be booked as is or adjusted to your specifications.

Green fields and plants with mountains in the distance

Many of Connecticut’s wineries have summer music series and fun annual festivals, so click around on the events calendars for the Connecticut Wine Trail wineries that look the most enticing to you!

Some of our favorites are the Summer Concert Series at Stonington Vineyards, live music weekends at Maugle Sierra Vineyards (one of our favorite New England wineries), and the many festivals and art exhibitions at White Silo Farm & Winery.

Most wineries are located in picturesque settings and you’re more than likely to find a beautiful B&B very close by, and Hopkins Vineyard is literally right across the street from Hopkins Inn, and just up the road from this beautiful Warren cottage with waterfront access.

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Amuse Yourself at the Amusement Park!

If you like your summer vacations to be more action than relaxation, then an amusement park getaway in Connecticut could be the perfect option for you!

There’s Lake Compounce in Bristol, the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, with an origin story that begins way back in 1846. There are dozens of rides, including the Boulder Dash, voted the World’s #1 Wooden Coaster five different times.

A childrens\' Elephant ride at an amusement park
Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Lake Compounce is also Connecticut’s largest water park, so it’s easy to stay cool and beat the summer heat. There are plenty of places to stay nearby and onsite campgrounds have one and two-bedroom cabin options, tipis, cub huts, RV spots, and tent sites if you’d like to stay just a few steps away from the action!

Lake Compounce is one of the best family friendly summer vacations in Connecticut.

If you’re looking for something that keeps you in the water all day, check out Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland, just a short drive from New Haven, and a perfect way to spend a hot summer’s day!

This area of the lake has been converted to a water action park, with ziplines, rope swings, wakeboarding, kayaking and paddle boarding, inflatables and water obstacles, zip lines, and a cliff jump. Brownstone is the perfect play place for anyone who loves the water, kids and adults alike!

You have plenty of great lodging options in the area, too, including camping options at nearby River Highlands State Park in Cromwell and the beautiful Inn at Middletown.

The Constitution State is also home to several adventure parks, too, so you’ll have no problems getting your blood pumping and your heart racing on your Connecticut summer vacation as you make magical summer memories!

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Cultivate some Calm in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner

Sometimes you need a vacation where you get to step into a world where everything slows down and you can slow down too; Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” can give you exactly that, with several sweet little inns and B&Bs that offer idyllic respite amidst the green rolling hills. 

If you’re looking for upscale boutique experiences, you’ll find that too. The Watson Boutique Bed & Breakfast is one of the most beautiful places to stay in the region!

A bright pink victorian home behind a vibrant pink garden
Editorial credit: LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

During your Woodstock stay, be sure to visit Roseland Cottage, the lovely historic 19th-century home that is a favorite tourist attraction for the region; both the architectural intricacies of the home and the immaculately manicured grounds are a sight to see.

If you’d rather take in some live performance art, visit the Loos Center for the Arts for great performances and the area’s most extensive collection of art.

Woodstock is also home to the Taylor Brooke Winery and the Taylor Brooke Brewery (literally right across the road from each other), where you can find delightful vino blends like their “Woodstock Hill White” and carefully-crafted brews like “Quiet Corner” so you can sample some of the flavors of the region while you kick back and relax!

If a restful summer getaway sounds like just what you need, look into a visit to Connecticut’s Quiet Corner.

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Enjoy a Beautiful Beach Vacation

A family walking on the beach next to the ocean

Sometimes you just need a little Vitamin Sea, and luckily for you, Connecticut has no shortage of beautiful beaches!

Consistently rated one of the top beaches in Connecticut, Ocean Beach Park is known for its soft, white sand that is absolutely ideal for wriggling your toes into. The waters here are calm and the soft sand extends out beyond the shore so you can swim here without worrying about a rocky coastline below you like you often do while swimming off of Connecticut’s coast.

Ocean Beach Park also has a boardwalk that offers a bit of fun outside of the water, too, with a mini-golf course, arcade, rides, food vendors, gift shops, and even an Olympic-sized pool if you’d like a break from the saltwater.

Of course, you will find ample places to stay and things to do if you stay in the New London area (including trying your luck at the Mohegan Sun casino), but there’s something extra special about New London’s location… it is also the spot where you can board the Block Island Ferry!

Madison is another cute beach town that’s always on the list of the top summer in Connecticut things to do! Hammonasset Beach State Park is gorgeous, and is the largest shoreline park in the state. It’s also home to Scranton Seahorse Inn, a positively dreamy B&B!

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Participate in Some PYO Fun!

There are several great places around Connecticut to pick your own fruit in the summer! Of course, everyone knows apple orchards are the place to go in the fall, but many offer other seasonal fruits that you can pick for yourself too.

Growing seasons and crops vary around the state, but you’ll typically find PYO farms start offering up goodies like cherries and peaches towards the beginning of the summer, with blueberries and raspberries a little afterwards.

There are some apple varieties available for picking as early as August, so you’ll have to check out some of CT’s best apple orchards if you’re looking for that experience!

If you’d really like to get into the spirit of things, you could consider booking a stay at this gorgeous 200 year old farmhouse in East Windsor!

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Connecticut is full of beautiful places to explore, with great state parks, ice cream shops, and adorable small towns. Wherever your travels take you, we’re sure you’ll have a blast on your Connecticut summer getaway!

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