Things to Do in Connecticut this Summer Last Updated: November 2023
Looking for something to do in Connecticut this summer? Whether you want something active or relaxing, artsy or outdoorsy, historic or trendy, Connecticut's got you covered... all season long. Here are some highlights.
2. Canoe or kayak. Connecticut is full of scenic bodies of water perfect for canoeing or kayaking. Some perfect inland spots include Cockaponset State Park, Bigelow Hollow State Park, and Lighthouse Point Park. Looking to rent your boat? Try Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook and Old Lyme, Main Stream Canoes and Kayaks in New Hartford, Scoot & Paddle in Milford, or Collinsville Canoe and Kayak.
3. Golf with the buddies. Call up some friends and hit the links on some of Connecticut’s best professional-grade golf courses. Gillette Ridge in Bloomfield, Blackledge Country Club in Hebron, and Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, or these great spots are perfect for an August outing.
6. Explore on UTVs. Get behind the wheel of a UTV and take a guided tour through privately owned trails with Backyard Adventure Tours in Canaan.
7. Hike by the water. As we welcome the summer season, waterfront spots become even more inviting. Shake up your usual wooded hiking routine and try these saltwater hikes throughout the state. Find more hiking spots here.
8. Go river rafting. Grab your best crew and float 10 miles down the Housatonic River at Clarke Outdoors in West Cornwall.
Arts & Culture
9. Enjoy outdoor music. Kick back in a lawn chair and listen to the great artists on the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Westport, Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, or Westville Music Bowl in New Haven, or summer concerts in Stamford's Mill River Park. Looking for more? Check out these great music venues across the state.
10. Take an art walk. Discover a 234-acre tree farm and landscape sculpture park at Hogpen Hill Farms, explore work from local Woodbury artists Arts Alliance of Woodbury Art Walk, admire murals walking in downtown New London, stroll by the river and see award-winning sculpture reflecting the life of Abraham Lincoln in Hartford, or pack a picnic to enjoy large star sculptures by Frank Stella on the grounds of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
11. Explore art and culture towns. When looking for arts and culture, why not explore an entire town? Try these spots for art galleries, historic sites and more.
12. Celebrate the arts. Celebrate art and community at the epic International Festivals of Arts & Ideas. And enjoy 4 days of nature, creativity, music, and collaboration at Spring Hill Vineyard's exquisite SHAG Festival.
14. Tour architecture. From historic and artistic structures to celebrated works by well-known architects, explore Connecticut’s diverse architectural masterpieces throughout the state.
15. Admire Impressionist art. Connecticut was an important creative seedbed of American Impressionism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Explore Impressionist exhibitions at museums across the state.
Food and Drink Adventures
16. Savor seafood. From clams to lobster, taste all your favorites with a visit to these classic summer seafood shacks.
17. Take a hot dog tour. Whether you like them topped with bacon or a famous hot relish, you’ll find savory flavors at every turn on this Connecticut hot dog tour.
18. Raise the roof. Celebrate summer air and good food at these cool rooftops and other outdoor spots that offer fantastic views.
19. Eat the “coolest” ice cream. The only thing better than cooling down with an ice cream cone? When the treat looks as good as it tastes. Plan a trip to these Insta-worthy ice cream shops on a hot summer day.
20. Bet on barbecue. From mouthwatering ribs and wings to mac & cheese, fries, and more, devour barbecue favorites at these Connecticut barbecue joints.
21. Sip cocktails. On a summer night, sip your way along the Signature Cocktail Trail for an evening of mules, margaritas, and everything in between.
22. Plan a luxury picnic. Host a stunningly Insta-worthy affair… atop picnic blankets! Book a luxury picnic for you and your gang, complete with champagne, charcuterie, string lights, decorative pillows and much more with The Picnic Gals, The CT Picnic Co., CT XOXOXO, Luxury Picnic Co., or Pause + Picnic. Looking for places to host your event? Try these great picnic spots around the state.
23. Cook with the pros. If you are on a quest for sharpening your cooking skills, or feel like you need some inspiration from a pro, book a cooking class at Husky Meadows Farm, a certified organic working farm in Norfolk.
24. Start lobster lovin’. Summer seafood season is here, and Connecticut is the place to be for all things lobster. Try these photo-worthy lobster shacksor follow this guide for lobster lovers to find all your favorites.
25. Upgrade your cookout. Do your backyard barbecue the right way and pick up fresh meat and seafood from these local craft butchers and fish markets.
26. Try food halls and beer gardens. The best thing about a food hall is the endless options — from diverse cuisine to gourmet grilled cheese stands! Try a little of everything at Parkville Market in Hartford or any of these food halls and beer gardens.
27. Plan a family beach day. While the summer’s still hot, cool down in the ocean and make plenty of sandcastles at Connecticut’s favorite beaches or at beachfront hotels like Water's Edge Resort and Madison Beach Hotel.
28. Hit the amusement parks. Connecticut is home to two fantastic parks with the world’s #1 wooden roller coasters, water rides, and other amazing thrills! Spend the day at Lake Compounce in Bristol or Quassy Amusement & Waterpark in Middlebury.
30. Pick your own. From strawberries to blueberries, peaches, and more, so many sweet treats are in season each summer. Grab the kiddos and go pick your own.
31. Go out to the ballgame. Take the family to enjoy peanuts, cracker jacks, and home runs hit by Connecticut’s baseball teams.
32. See fireworks. Nothing says summer like a fireworks show! Find one near you and light up the night.
33. Go mini golfing. Take in a summer afternoon and visit any one of Connecticut’s hole-in-one mini-golf courses such as Safari Golf, Saybrook Point Miniature Golf, Matterhorn Mini Golf, and Sonny’s Place.
35. Find something for the teens. Have a teen who’s not easily impressed by family fun? Have no fear – try these cool spots the whole family will enjoy.
Rest and Relaxation
36. Be mindful. Take a step back and live in the moment. From meditation retreats and sound healing to clean eating and connecting with nature, there are so many ways to travel mindfully in Connecticut.
37. Admire roses. Early summer is a spectacular time for seeing roses in bloom. Take in hundreds at once at stunning parks like Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Pardee Rose Gardens in Hamden, and Mohegan Park in Norwich.
38. Sit back at the spa. From facials to massages and everything in between, pamper yourself at the spa and rejuvenate your entire body.
39. Stroll town greens. A lovely, manicured town green is part of the quintessential New England experience — and Connecticut does it right. Take a leisurely afternoon to enjoy the areas and relaxing small-town charm
40. Plan a girls’ weekend by the water. Gather the girlfriends and book a night (or two, or three) at Insta-worthy beach town hotels such as The Surfsidein Stratford, Saybrook Point Resort & Marina in Old Saybrook, Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook, Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, or the Whaler’s Inn in Mystic.
41. Relax by the lake. Kick back, take a dip, or have a picnic by one of Connecticut’s serene and beautiful lakes.
42. Unwind in new ways. Find your center like never before with a unique experience. Try to recharge in a salt cave at Salt of the Earth Spa in Woodbury, experience sensory deprivation therapy at Imagine Float in Avon, or chill out with cryotherapy at KUR Recovery Spa in Old Saybrook.
43. Hang with horses. Equine therapy is said to relieve anxiety, build self-esteem, and help those suffering from trauma. Try therapeutic riding at High Hopes in Old Lyme, Hidden Acres in Naugatuck, RainBow Rising in Dayville, or Horses Healing Humans in Stonington.
44. Chase sunsets. What’s more romantic than when the sun goes down and the sky goes pink? Head to these top spots for seeing sunsets.
45. Road trip down the coast. An ocean view is always romantic… why not make a whole trip out of it? Plan a getaway just the two of you to road trip along the scenic Connecticut coast.
46. Stay in really unique spots. Spark romance by experiencing something truly new together. Book an unforgettable overnight in a lighthouse, a tipi, a treehouse, and so much more at these unconventional accommodations in Connecticut.
47. Explore off the beaten path. When you’re together you feel like you can conquer the world – but what about intimate, hidden gems? Perhaps that’s even more romantic. Explore these small towns off the beaten path with your significant other.
48. Wine and dine at wine bars. From chardonnay to merlot, take your date to sip their favorite at charming wine bars such as Barcelona in New Haven, South Bay in Fairfield, Vinted in West Hartford, Owl Wine Bar in New Preston, and Bernard + Sarah’s in Ridgefield.
49. Go stargazing. Looking at the stars together. Take your special someone to these stargazing spots and watch sparks fly.