Travel Team Families: It's Playtime—Even When The Kids Aren't Playing Last Updated: August 2023

If your tournament takes you to Connecticut, turn your trip into an adventure.

Parents of student athletes: We get where you’re coming from—or rather, where you’re going: On the road. Again. Does it sometimes seem like your weekends are just a blur of highway miles, bleacher seats, and fast food?

Are your athletes on the younger side, jumping to find fun after the game is over? Are they teens, just looking for a cool place to hang out with their crew after the final buzzer? Are you bringing along younger siblings who need plenty of distraction while their older brother or sister take the field?

Planning a team dinner? Would you prefer to celebrate that big win—or console that loss—with a little more atmosphere and a lot better dining?

Connecticut hosts the full range of sports competitions, all over the state. Whether you’re coming from out of state or just out of town, let us guide you to a higher level of fun.

Hockey: CHC Action near New Haven

Let’s say your goalie suits up for a Connecticut Hockey Conference Tournament at Hamden Rink. A quick search on reveals all sorts of options for visiting families. For instance:

Why have a same old, same old burger when you can feast at the place where the hamburger itself was invented: Louis Lunch in New Haven?  Or head to the headquarters of what BuzzFeed calls Connecticut’s state sandwich, the lobster roll, perfected by the chefs at Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale (in New Haven and Madison).

Kids of all ages will love the PEZ Visitor Center, with the world’s largest display of PEZ memorabilia. Or take a stroll through the beautiful West Rock Nature Center, with 40 acres to explore.

And teens: Sure, they want to gravitate to the mall.  But how much more fun is it to roam the boutiques, coffeehouses, and restaurants of New Haven’s Chapel and York Streets? Perhaps they’ll catch a little inspiration from the Gothic grandeur of Yale that will surround them.

Soccer: EDP League Excitement in Hartford

Is your club heading to the Hartford area for an for Elite Development Program soccer league competition? 

The whole family can dive into the deep sea or explore outer space at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, with 165 hands-on exhibits and a giant 3D movie theater. Who can resist a butterfly encounter in a tropical greenhouse, a fast-paced robot race, or an amazing new way to see yourself with a 360-degree view?

Have your meal at a dining landmark: A.C. Petersen Farms in nearby West Hartford, where families have headed for burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream for more than 100 years. Or stroll through the shops at Blue Back Square, with a wide choice of restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, Playa Bowls and Poke-Man.

Or take the youngsters to West Hartford’s Children’s Museum, featuring a Wildlife Sanctuary, a fascinating Planetarium and interactive exhibits for even the littlest learners.

Basketball: Premier League Play in Fairfield

Connecticut Premier AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball gives us another way to look at the travel team challenge: What do the boys do while the girls are on the court—or vice versa?  In Fairfield you’ll find options to please all, separately or together. 

The perfect place for a tranquil stroll? The Connecticut Audubon Society’s 8.4-acre bird sanctuary. It’s sure to inspire both the young artist and the young scientist.

Need to work off a little steam after the pressures of the meet? How about easing those traveling tensions at Rock Climb Fairfield? Or, cap off your event with rolling-on-the-floor stand-up at the Fairfield Comedy Club.

NERVA Volleyball in Hartford

Each January, the New England Region Volleyball Association’s (NERVA) annual First to the Finish New England Winterfest volleyball tournament takes place over two weekends at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

You’ll be in town for Winterfest Hartford in Bushnell Park, with free ice skating and free skate rentals. And don’t miss the Bushnell Park Carousel, with its hand-carved merry-go-round horses.

Challenge each other with puzzling fun in West Hartford’s Mission Escape Room.

You’re just a short drive to the New England Air Museum for a look at the history of aviation. Explore more than 80 aircraft on display and see special exhibits on the Tuskegee Airmen, the Flying Tigers, and the 57th Fighter Group.

Satisfy your burger craving with a stop at Bart’s Drive-in in Windsor, a legendary family favorite for generations. Try Bob's Belly Bustin' hotdogs or it's signature Popeye Sandwich.