34 Things to Do in Central Connecticut this Fall Last Updated: July 2023
When the air is crisp and vibrant foliage hues emerge, so do safe and fun fall activities. From active adventure and family fun to relaxation and romantic escapes, here’s your guide to the fall season in Central Connecticut.
As always, be sure to check with each location before venturing out as hours may change.
1. Hike through foliage. See foliage up close and from the heights when you hike at Castle Craig & Hubbard Park in Meriden, Gillette Castle in East Haddam, the Mattabesett Blue Trail throughout Central Connecticut, and Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury.
3. Bike the trails. Pedal through the colorful leaves this season. Go fast-paced on mountain biking trails such as Rockland Preserve in Madison, West Hartford Reservoir, or Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield. Enjoy more leisurely rides on Farmington Canal Linear Trail in New Haven or Farmington River Trail in Simsbury.
5. Row, row, row, your boat. Rent a canoe from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak and go gently down the stream – while admiring fantastic foliage of course.
Below are more spots to find active adventure:
Rest and Relaxation
6. Discover small town charm. Fall is a gorgeous time to appreciate Connecticut’s quaint villages. Take a leisurely stroll or drive through towns like Historic Wethersfield, Chester, Essex, and Old Saybrook.
7. Forest bathe in foliage. “Forest Bathing” is the act of being mindfully present to nature and one’s senses – and what better time than foliage season? Detach from technology, take in each scent, and notice the colors at parks such as West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden, Millers Pond State Park in Durham, Naugatuck State Forest, in Hamden/Naugatuck, or McLean Game Refuge in Granby.
8. Camp with Fido. Pets can provide such great comfort and companionship. Enjoy the serene outdoors and bring your furry friend along at pet-friendly campgrounds like Wolf’s Den Family Campground in East Haddam, GrandView Camp Resort & Cottages in Moodus, and Portland Riverside Marina.
9. Detox at spas. With back-to-school and pre-holiday stress, you deserve a self-care break. Pamper yourself with treatments at spas such as Delamar Spa in West Hartford, Elm City Wellness in New Haven, or By the Sea Day Spa in Branford.
Below are more spots to find rest & relaxation:
Arts, Culture & History
12. Fill your artistic senses. Enjoy a variety of arts offerings such as visual arts exhibitions from new and emerging artists, independent film showings, literary readings and more at Real Art Ways in Hartford.
13. Travel the barn trail. Explore working farms with farm stands, orchards, wineries, historic sites with tours, displays and living history. Find Central Connecticut spots along the barn trail and take in the rural atmosphere.
14. Watch films outdoors. Bring your favorite blanket and enjoy movie showings in New Haven’s Pitkin Plaza.
15. Be a literature lover. Find books in unique places. Explore a vast array of literature at independent bookseller R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, or even find used books along with your food at Book Trader Café in New Haven and Traveler Restaurant in Union (where each person gets a free book with their meal!)
Below are more spots to find art, history & culture:
Food and Drink Adventures
16. Devour comfort food. Fall weather calls for comfort food. Find favorites like wings, shepherd’s pie, mac & cheese, loaded baked potatoes, and rice dishes at spots like J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville, The Corner Pug in West Hartford, House of Naan in New Haven, and Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ in Hartford, South Windsor, Windsor, and New Haven.
17. Find photo-worthy food. The only thing better than delicious food is food that looks as good as it tastes. Try insta-worthy pho at Pho Saigon in West Hartford, donuts at Donut Crazy in New Haven, chocolate at Divine Treasures in Manchester, brunch at The Place 2 Be in Hartford, and pizza at BAR in New Haven.
18. Sip hard cider. Fall might as well be the unofficial season of hard cider. Stop by one of Connecticut’s hard cider destinations like Yankee Cider Barn at Staehly Farms in East Haddam, New England Cider Company in Wallingford, and Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery in Guilford.
19. Chow down on chowder. Prolong summer’s seafood season and warm up with chowder. Find New England style at The Chowder Pot of Hartford, Rhode Island style at Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale in Westbrook, Manhattan style at Stowe’s Seafood in West Haven, and Market style at Atlantic Seafood Market in Old Saybrook.
20. Pick up farm fresh treats. From pies and cookies to apple cider donuts, find fall favorites at Bishop’s Orchard Farm Market & Winery in Guilford, Rose’s Berry Farm in South Glastonbury, and Rogers Orchards Shuttle Meadow Farm in Southington.
21. Visit craft breweries. Central Connecticut’s craft brewery scene is booming. Join the craze and check out Hops on the Hill in South Glastonbury, Kinsmen Brewing Company in Milldale, 5 Churches Brewing in New Britain, Rhythm Brewing Company in New Haven, or Thimble Island Brewing Company in Branford.
22. Try plant-based feasts. Plant-based eating is a growing trend, and whether you’re in it for the long run or simply sampling new dishes, Central Connecticut’s got you covered. Find mouthwatering meals and sweet treats at 21 Oak in Manchester, Flora in West Hartford, Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford, and Claire’s Corner Copia in New Haven.
Below are more spots to find food & drink adventures:
23. Get lost in corn mazes. Enjoy the thrill and creativity of Connecticut corn mazes and find your way out as a family. Discover great mazes at Treat Farm in Orange and Lyman Orchards in Middlefield.
24. Go apple picking. The kids can’t miss this fall favorite! Pick your own apples at Johnny Appleseed’s Farm in Ellington, Karabin Farms in Southington, Drazen Orchards in Cheshire, and Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield.
25. Swing from ropes. Experience thrills from the heights on ropes courses at Nomads Outdoor Adventure in South Windsor. Or if the fall air gets a bit too chilly, take the fun indoors at ropes courses like IT Adventure Ropes Course in New Haven or Soarin’ Indoors in Manchester.
26. See farm animals. Pay a visit to some furry friends on the farm at Flamig Farm in West Simsbury, Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, Maple View Farm in Granby, and Buttermilk Lane Farm in Orange – you may even get to pet them!
27. Make your own soda. Tour a local soda factory and invent your own unique flavors at Avery’s Soda in New Britain. When you’re done, take home your drinks and enjoy!
28. Pick pumpkins. You can’t make a jack-o-lantern without a great pumpkin. Pick your own at The Pickin Patch in Avon, Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury , and Hickory Hill Orchards in Cheshire.
29. Get spooked. If you have some brave little souls in your family (or older kids) get in the Halloween spirit and visit legendarily haunted spots like Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford or Grove Street Cemetary in New Haven.
Below are more spots to find family fun:
30. Wake up to foliage. Escape to an inn with foliage views and romance will ensue. Find scenic rooms at the Simsbury 1820 House, the Scranton Seahorse Inn in Madison, or the Boardman House Inn in East Haddam.
31. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride. What says fairytale like a horse-drawn wagon? Surprise your special someone with a ride from Maple View Farm in Orange.
33. Ghost hunt together. Try a thrilling and unique date idea: ghost hunting. Visit legendarily haunted spots like Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, or the Milford Historical Society. Be sure to hold each other tight!
34. Float through foliage. Experience the breathtaking magic of foliage views from a hot air balloon ride from Berkshire Balloons in Plainville – a romantic date for the books.
Below are more spots to find romantic escapes: