Please note that some of the suggested outings are businesses that have been or are currently sponsors of our site. No additional compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% our own.
This might just be our favorite time of the year here at Out and About Mom. It’s right about now that we start to see summer on the horizon. Summer. That too short season of long days, loose schedules and limitless possibilities. An invitation to revisit our old favorite places and discover our new favorite spots. A chance for great adventures with good friends. An opportunity to make those precious family memories that our kids will carry with them long after they’ve left childhood behind. So much to experience and so little time! What’s a mom (or dad or grandma or auntie) to do?!
Ummmm, check out our 2017 Summer Bucket List of course!
For the fourth year in a row, we have put together a list of over 50 destinations, activities, and events in and around Connecticut that we think your family will enjoy this season. And just like in previous years, these are all places that we have personally been to with our families and written about on our blog. So not only do we provide you with this great list of ideas, but we’ve also included a link to our blog post about each destination so you can get all the details you’ve come to expect from Out and About Mom.
This year we’ve got farm animals and fruit picking; trails and tipis; beaches and boardwalks and boat rides and baseball. And so much more! This is the stuff that memories are made of! And it’s all right here in one handy list. All stamped with that exclusive Out and About Mom seal of approval. Because we’ve been there. We’ve done that. We’ve loved it. And we know you will too!
Summer is short. Let’s get out there and have some fun while it lasts!
The outings on our 2017 Summer Bucket List are (drum roll please)…
- Eat peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or ride the carousel) while rooting for the New Britain Bees at the family-friendly New Britain Stadium in New Britain.
- Escape a hot afternoon with an open gym session at Romp n’ Roll in Wethersfield.
- Spend the night in a tipi at Bear Creek Campground, then play all day at neighboring Lake Compounce amusement park in Bristol.
- Enjoy seafood and sea views by the seashore at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank.
- Climb the two-story tower, brave the giant tube slide and find tons of other fun things to climb on at the fully fenced-in Adams Adventure Playground in Tolland. (FREE)
- Encourage your pint-sized Picasso with some family-friendly plein air painting at Weir Farm in Wilton. (FREE)
- Brush up on maritime lingo, learn about the local environment and use binoculars to search for wildlife (and a hot dog boat) along the beautiful Connecticut River aboard the family-friendly RiverQuest Kids Cruise in Haddam.
- Spend a rainy day indoors enjoying coffee and a health-conscious lunch at the Crossroads Café while watching your kiddos explore the nature-themed Pebble Park playscape at Questers’ Way in Mansfield.
- Conquer the kiddie rides, splash in the spray park, and play a round of mini golf before taking a dip in the crystal waters at Ocean Beach Park in New London.
- Examine the sea creatures in the nature center, search for nesting birds in the salt marsh, then collect shells along the shore at East Beach and the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
- Check out the famous model train layouts and watch real trains speed by (not to mention enjoy a delicious pizza pie!) at the station-side Pizza Works in Old Saybrook.
- Drop in for a fun class or activity at the mega sports-tainment complex, Chelsea Piers in Stamford.
- Enjoy a picnic among the flowers and then pick your own bouquet of beautiful blooms at Petersen Farm in South Windsor.
- Have a close encounter with Monty and 40 other life-sized dinos along the family-friendly trails, then cool off at New England’s largest SplashPad at The Dinosaur Place in Montville.
- Browse the South Windsor Farmers’ Market, then sample the local fare you purchased while the kids play at the nearby My Friend’s Place Boundless Playground (FREE) at Nevers Park in South Windsor.
- Ramble through the Rose Garden and splash around in the shallow water at Spaulding Pond Beach at Mohegan Park in Norwich. (FREE)
- Pet the friendly chickens, sample what’s growing in the Children’s Garden and make mud pies in the outdoor “kitchen” at Open Farm Day at Common Ground in New Haven. (FREE)
- Find hours of indoor fun (and air conditioning!) at the incredible jungle-themed Billy Beez play arena in Holyoke, MA.
- Have a playdate at the hayloft playscape then pick-your-own fruit at March Farm in Bethlehem.
- Learn and play at the recently reimagined Imagine Nation children’s museum in Bristol or visit the pretend seaside village at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut (before heading down the street to an actual beach) in Niantic. (Museum pass may be available)
- Plan an all-ages play date at the expansive Kids in Motion Playground–or beat the heat with 10 frames of duckpins at Highland Bowl–then head up the road for a sweet treat at Sweet Claude’s Ice Cream in Cheshire.
- Let your little bundles of energy hang from the rafters (literally!) at the amazing IT Adventure Indoor Ropes Course in New Haven.
- Feel the beach vibes with fried clams and lobster rolls (plus grilled cheese for the kiddos) on the outdoor deck at Shad Row, then take a short trip across the river on the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry in Rocky Hill.
- Ride on the Isle of Sodor’s most famous inhabitants in Thomas Land, stroll among two dozen life-like dinosaurs on the Dino Land walking trail, enjoy classic carnival rides and board a train (pulled by Thomas!) through the cranberry bogs at Edaville USA amusement park in Carver, MA.
- Go fly a kite or take a stroll on the beach at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford.
- Channel your inner Willy Wonka with a chocolate molding session at Chocolate Works in Darien.
- Have a beach day at Hammonasset State Park followed by dinner at Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale Restaurant in Madison. (Museum Pass may be available)
- Start off a summer morning with a bike ride or stroll along the Air Line State Park Trail in Hebron and nearby areas or the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Avon and nearby areas. (FREE)
- See history come to life at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum’s 17th Century Encampment (June 23rd & 24th) or Educational Powwow (July 6th) in Mashantucket.
- Dig into a delicious (and scenic) pancake breakfast on the outdoor deck, then hop on the wagon to pick blueberries and raspberries at Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury.
- Have a wet and wild morning at the Colchester Spray Park (FREE) and follow it up with a visit to the nearby Colchester Farmers’ Market.
- Discover an Indian cave then cool off in the pond at Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth. (Museum Pass may be available)
- Explore the family-friendly nature trails, then make a cast of a real dinosaur footprint at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill. (FREE; BYO casting supplies–see post for details)
- Hang out in the yard playing lawn games while enjoying a gourmet lunch or delicious ice cream creation from Jem’s Garden and Dairy Barn in South Windsor.
- Cool off at the movies and watch Trolls, The Peanuts Movie, and more for FREE at Bow Tie Cinemas in Hartford, Stamford, and Trumbull. (FREE)
- Check out the two new rides in Kiddieland at Quassy Amusement and Waterpark in Middlebury.
- Grab a bite, sample the milk bar (pecan praline milk, anyone?) and round out your meal with a scoop of fresh ice cream at the Farmer’s Cow Calfé in Mansfield, CT.
- Tour the family-friendly Springfield Museums, picnic in the Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden plus be among the first to visit the BRAND NEW Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum (opening on June 3rd) in Springfield, MA.
- Explore the outdoors and visit with the animals at the 118-acre Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford (museum pass may be available) or hang out with the farmyard crew at the (much) smaller-scale Flamig Farm petting zoo in West Simsbury.
- Pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches and more at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield.
- Let your kids explore the shallow water during low tide at Harvey’s Beach in Old Saybrook.
- Take your little monkeys to play on nearly a dozen different jungle gyms at Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn in Ellington.
- Explore a whaling ship, visit the children’s museum, and learn what life was like in the 1800’s at Mystic Seaport in Mystic. (Museum Pass may be available)
- Let the kids play yard games while you try a local wine at Lost Acres Vineyard in North Granby.
- Take a swim then explore the nature trails at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury. (FREE on weekdays)
- Pick up a beautiful sunflower bouquet and enjoy all the family-friendly activities at Buttonwood Farm’s annual fundraising event, Sunflowers for Wishes, from July 22-30 in Griswold.
- Enjoy a relaxed summer outing at the smaller-scale Zoo at Forest Park in Springfield, MA. (Museum Pass may be available)
- Relax at the beach and let the kids watch the train zoom by at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. (Museum Pass may be available)
- Hike to the waterfalls at Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown. (FREE)
- Let the kids explore the unique playground and then cool off at the spray pad at Rockwell Park in Bristol. (FREE)
Need more ideas for summer fun? See what made our lists from 2014, 2015 & 2016. Or check out these popular posts for tons of summer outing inspiration!
And if you’ve still got room in your schedule, check out our Places We’ve Been Page for a full list of the blog posts we’ve written over the past 5+ years.
From Norwich to Noank, from Westport to East Lyme, from New Britain to Old Saybrook, there are so many fun places to explore in (and around) Connecticut. We hope our 2017 Summer Bucket List has inspired you to start planning your summer adventures.
Shawna & Mandy
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