Escape the City Last Updated: April 2023

You don't have to travel get far away. Not when you get out of the city, hop in the car and head to Connecticut. Here are just a few of the stops you'll want to consider for both a little zen and a little zip.

The Wine Trail

This is one of the best ways to get out into the country. The Connecticut Wine Trail is an ever-expanding list of vineyards and wineries, now numbering 25, some also serving food, providing live music, selling Connecticut handicrafts or offering everything from hiking to vintage baseball games. Check out the map and make your own itinerary.

Hike, Bike & Dine

Get up into the legendary Litchfield Hills a bit with a drive to Washington, where the Steep Rock Preserve beckons. You can hike along and above the Shepaug River, then bike through the back roads or all the way around scenic Lake Waramaug, poke around in the shops in New Preston and then find a cozy dinner spot indoors or out at the nearby GW Tavern or Hopkins Inn. Find more hiking ideas here.

Wet & Wild

Want to feel like kids? Zip up to Portland, where an old brownstone quarry has magically been turned into one of Connecticut’s most exciting attractions, Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park. There’s swimming, rock climbing, snorkeling, cliff jumping, zip lining, kayaking and more. Or enjoy an adult (and family-friendly) summer camp experience at Club Getaway in Kent.

Art Retreat

If you’d just like to chill but still feel like you’ve done something intelligent with your time, consider a trip to Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield. On these nearly 200 country acres, American Impressionist painter Julian Alden Weir lived, worked and welcomed his friends and fellow artists. Today there are re-created studios, property tours, gardens, hiking trails, art to view and even art classes if you time things right. Afterward, have a picnic on the grass (now there’s a good subject for a painting!) or head elsewhere in Ridgefield, where there are many places to eat. Better yet, consider making it an overnight, with a trip to Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House in New Canaan on the second day.

Drive, Park & Sail

Get some seafaring friends together and drive to Mystic, where you can get out on a saltwater cruise and truly put summer in the city behind you. Consider a half-day sail on the 81-foot schooner Argia, a memorable two-day cruise on the 110-foot Mystic Whaler or, for a more intimate experience, charter the 33-foot centerboard yawl Aida at Mystic Seaport. No matter which you choose, you’ll be dazzled.