Family Fun

15 Fun Outdoor Adventure Spots for Kids in Connecticut

outdoor summer activities kids
Written by Corin Fuller

If you’re looking for things to do outdoors with the kids this summer, here a few nature centers and extreme water sport locations around Connecticut.

The great thing about summertime in Connecticut is that there’s always something fun for you to do with the kids outdoors. Whether you’re into hiking, swimming, go-karting, kayaking, or water paddling, you’ve got tons of options to help keep your kids—and yourself—entertained.

So what are you waiting for? Check out these 15 fun outdoor adventure spots in CT. Your family will love getting some fresh air and sun while having some serious bonding experiences together.

Editor’s Note: Most activities listed are best suited for kids ages 7 and up!

For Water Lovers

1. DownUnder Surf Shop in Westport, Darien, and Rowayton

Downunder is dedicated to ensuring fun on the water for people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life. They offer several paddleboarding and kayaking programs for kids that will be an extraordinary summer experience for your little water lover! Ages in Westport are 9-15, and Rowayton 6 -12. Participants must wear life vests at all times.Swimming experience is desired but not required. Call 24 hours in advance for availability, lessons are $85 per person. For more details, visit their website.

2. Lakeside Watersports in Danbury

For extreme summer fun on the water, your kids should take watersports lessons from an experienced Lakeside staff. Services include wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing, wakesurfing, wakeskating, slalom skiing, water skiing, wake foil & kneeboarding. Book a lesson at this link. Prices depend on length of lesson. Here are 10 more things to do with your tweens/ teens this summer.

3. Farmington River Tubing in New Hartford

This experience is super thrilling! Tubes are designed to float down a 2.5 mile wild and scenic Farmington River, travelling over 3 sets of rapids. Due to safety concerns, experienced swimmers are only permitted to ride. Tubing is $20 per person, cash only. Participants must wear sneakers and comfortable swimming attire. Visit their website for more details, please call on the day you plan to visit for river conditions.

4. Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport

Captain’s Cove is a popular tourist attraction in CT. This location is packed with amusing activities for the family. Attractions include diving, 45 minute boat rides, and aquatic museums to explore! There is never a dull moment at the cove!

For Extreme Sports

5.  Go Karting at Stratford Speedway in Stratford

Go karting is exciting and a great idea for a family outing. Prices are affordable, just $6.00 a ride (20 to 25 laps). Each ride is approximately 5 minutes. Drivers must be at least 54 inches tall and passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Call (203) 375-1171 or visit their website for more details.

6. The Adventure Park at Discovery Museum in Bridgeport

Swing through the trees like Tarzan on a series of platforms connected by cable, wood, rope and zip lines. If you’re looking to mix nature with exercise than the Discovery Museum’s Aerial Forest is a great spot to take your family. There are 11 trails, 21 zip lines, 6 difficulty levels, and 161 challenges. Each platform is color coded, indicating level of difficulty. To reserve tickets, click here.

7. Yankee Paintball in Oxford

Get colorful, step inside this paintball arena and battle the entire family. Admission is $25 per person and $10 equipment rental. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more details on group prices, visit their website.

8. Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland

Brownstone is the ultimate outdoor adventure location. Kids can swim/snorkel, zip line, rock climb, rope swing, wakeboard, cliff jump, and hike/bike all around the park. Brownstone is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 7pm. Prices range from $26 to $46, depending on type of pass. Click here for equipment rental prices.

9. Nomad’s Outdoor Adventure in South Windsor

Looking for a challenge this summer? Take your family to this thrilling outdoor ziplining course and they’ll have a blast! The course is open 7 days a week from 10am until dark. All participants must be at least 7 years of age and weigh between 50 lbs to 275 lbs. Within a 2 hour window, prices are $40 for kids 12+ and $30 for kids 7-11. Click here to choose your adventure.

For Wildlife Enthusiasts

10. Audubon Center Bent of the River in Southbury

The Audubon Center is a wildlife preserve, protecting bird habitats and species. Kids can engage with nature throughout the scenic hiking trails. Do not bring pets, bikes, or horses. Be mindful of the footprint you leave as you walk through the wonderful trails.

11. Tariffville Gorge in East Granby

This location is for the most experienced hikers, kayakers, and adventure junkies. Strong rapids are frequently visible in this area. No swimming allowed but other activities include canoeing, bicycling, and fishing.

12. Devil’s Den in Weston

If you’re looking for low impact outdoor fun, Devil’s Den is an ideal hiking location. Devil’s Den is Connecticut’s largest continuous preserve, featuring woodlands, wetlands, rock ledges and a series of valleys woven with streams and swamps. Take in the scenic view of Connecticut with your family.

13. Maltby Lakes in West Haven

Take in the beautiful scenery that Connecticut has to offer at this hiking and mountain bike area. All 8 trails have their own difficulty level with unique scenic features. A state fishing license is required and no dogs are allowed on the trail.

14. Bluff Head Preserves in Guilford

Bluff Head Preserves is considered to be a town treasure in Guildford, as it is one of the most beautiful forests in the state. There are 3 marked trails for hiking which can be accessed from the parking lot on Route 77. Click here to view the trail map.

15. Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison

Hammonasset Beach State Park is Connecticut’s longest shoreline park with over 2 miles of beach to enjoy. Many come to the park to swim, fish, study nature, and hike along the trails. Families can plan a camping trip at Hammonasset 556 campsites and 8 rustic cabins. Call 1-877-668-2267 for reservations. Another popular attraction is the Butterfly Garden, as the weather gets warmer and flowers bloom, kids can enjoy an abundance of beautiful butterflies.

About the author

Corin Fuller

Corin is an upcoming senior at Southern Connecticut State University. Her major is Communications with a specialization in Advertising and Promotions, where she has developed a passion for copywriting. When she's not studying, she likes to binge-watch Game of Thrones and find the latest fashion trends on Pinterest.

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