Connecticut is a beautiful state, known for its lush surroundings. So it’s no surprise that it’s home to a number of great state parks. But sometimes an awesome locale can be overlooked in favor of its more popular competitions. Lucky for you, we’re highlighting some of the great state parks that have been overlooked so you can get out and start exploring. Check them out!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Wickham Park
1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, Connecticut 06040
This beautiful park has been the site of many a wedding, thanks to its gorgeous gardens. There are 250 acres of breathtaking land here, and some pretty great views of the Hartford skyline. With its picnic sites and duck feeding, the whole family will love it here.
2. James L. Goodwin State Forest
23 Potter Road, Hampton, Connecticut 06247
Two thousand acres of forest and nearly two hundred acres of lake make this place a scenic dream come true. Fishing, canoeing, and hiking are common activities here, and nature lovers will appreciate the feeling of remoteness. It's an absolute must visit.
3. Quinnipiac River State Park
Banton Street, North Haven, Connecticut 06473
There are 6 miles of river here and a 4 mile trail that beginners will enjoy. Walking the protected flood plains is a relaxing retreat and the well maintained trails are easy to navigate.
4. Mount Tom State Park
Washington Depot, Connecticut 06794
There's a great retired fire tower her that will give you unforgettable panoramic views. Swim and picnic at the beach area or opt for the trails. Or hey, do both! When it comes to great state parks, this locale is like a two for one deal.
5. Black Rock State Park
2065 Thomaston Road, Watertown, Connecticut 06795
Experience the scenic rolling hills of the Western Highlands at this camping spot featuring excellent trails. There are 439 acres to explore here and it's also open for swimming. Who wouldn't want to stay overnight in a place of Indian legends?
6. Cockaponset State Forest
Cedar Lake Road, Chester, Connecticut 06412
The second largest forest in the state, there are sixteen thousand acres here so try not to get lost. But the benefit of such a large space is that there are more activities. You can hunt, hike, swim, mountain bike and more at this awesome locale.
7. Stratton Brook State Park
149 Farms Village Road, Simsbury, Connecticut 06070
This is a great choice for water lovers looking to swim and fish, but it also features large open spaces for field games. This park is also wheelchair accessible and includes a former railroad track that was converted into an awesome bike trail.
8. Paugussett State Forest
Great Quarter Road
Newtown, Connecticut 06482
This massive park is broken into two sections and includes shores of both Lake Lillinonah and Lake Zoar. Its proximity to Kettletown State Park also means you could hit two parks in one day. It's having that option that makes this spot so perfect for a summer day trip.
9. Squantz Pond State Park
178 Short Woods Road, New Fairfield, Connecticut 06812
The slopes are steep here, but the water is cool and blue. In fact, some folks scuba dive here but the real draw is the mountain like setting and relaxing views.
10. Hurd State Park
Hog Hill Road, East Hampton, Connecticut 06424
This walk-in park offers mountain biking, camping, and birding. You won't feel totally immersed here, as some areas are open fields with clear views of the sky. So this one is perfect for young and first-time campers who want to start connecting with nature.
11. Seven Falls State Park
CT-154, Higganum, Connecticut 06441
Everyone loves a hike with a waterfall and this place is no exception. Seven Falls has multiple levels of cascades and a bubbling brook. Plus it's pet friendly so you can cool off in the summer with your pup in tow.
12. Haystack Mountain State Park
Rte 272, Norfolk, Connecticut 06058
Another site with a mountaintop tower, you can catch some jaw dropping panoramic views here. This place is gorgeous in the fall, and features an easy walk up a mountain road or a more rugged trail to the top. So this spot is perfect for hikers of all levels.
13. Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park
Park Ave & Monument Street, Groton, CT 06340
Why not add a little history to your outdoor adventure? Say hello to the site of the 1781 massacre led by the traitorous Benedict Arnold and visit the museum.