15 Free Things to Do with Kids throughout Connecticut this Summer
We officially moved to the Nutmeg State back in 2002 and have enjoyed exploring dozens of its 169 cities and towns, many of which border New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the Long Island Sound. We’re working on an updated master list of all the places we’ve visited and all of our travel tips for later in the summer, but this index, this list, and this list are good places to start. You might also like our City Guides featuring Mystic and Coastal Connecticut. As summer nears and temps rise, we wanted to share 15 FREE things to do this summer (really, all year, but summer offers some additional perks and better hours) and a few bonus spots we’re hoping to check out ourselves this summer.
City Guide: 20 Ways to Have Fun in Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic, Connecticut is a quick, hour long drive along the coast from our home that our family enjoys making several times a year. The seaside town is home to many popular family friendly spots, and the nearby towns and cities of Stonington, New London, East Lyme, Norwich, and Niantic offer plenty more to see and do. Mystic was one of our first City Guides back in 2018; we have recently discovered some new-to-us places and thought we would update our guide.
13 Living History Museums on the East Coast Kids Will Love
While traditional museums have priceless artifacts and works of art that are important to see (read why here), kids tend to be more engaged when they can get up close to history. One of the best opportunities for kids to engage with live interpreters and engage with tangible artifacts is a living history museum. Living history museums have indoor and outdoor exhibits, interactive displays, and daily programs and informative demonstrations. Many museums even offer summer camps for children. Most museums do close during winter hours (some spots keep indoor exhibits open), so we’re sharing this list now, as everything prepares to open for the 2021 season. Here are 13 of our favorite spots on the East Coast and two more that are on our 2021 list:
10 Family Friendly Places to Hike in Mystic, Connecticut
One of our recent family goals, and new favorite activity, has been to enjoy the outdoors more by spending time exploring some of the 139 Connecticut State Parks and open spaces; see the full list here. Connecticut has over 210,000 acres of public, open spaces, and we’re slowly making our way through them all.
We spent time this fall exploring the western part of the state- mostly in Litchfield County- and you can read about some of those adventures in this post about 6 family friendly places to hike. This week, we want to share 10 places in the eastern Mystic region of the state we have recently explored:
32 Places to Eat in Connecticut
Our recent list of 30 Places We Love in Connecticut received some great feedback. We’re glad so many people enjoy (and agreed with) some of our favorite spots. I thought about including some of our favorite places to eat, but decided food needs its own post!
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Our suggestions below are definitely Fairfield and New County heavy, as that’s our home base. If you’re looking for a larger variety, check out this recent list from Connecticut Magazine. I subscribe to Connecticut magazine and always save this annual issue- so many great suggestions. One of my other favorite guides for dining in Connecticut is CTBites.com. They offer weekly newsletters with updates, special events, and holiday menus. You might also be interested in this guide to eating gluten free in Connecticut and this guide from Mommy Poppins, which includes peanut free spots.
15 Places to See Boats on the East Coast
Growing up near the water, I have spent many a day both IN and ON the water in a boat. Over the years, my family has enjoyed learning about the sailing and the boating industries. There are many ways, and places, to explore all types of boats throughout the Northeast. Here are 11 spots we love and 4 more we’re hoping to visit in 2021: