It’s a great time to be outdoors but finding inexpensive places to go in Connecticut can be daunting. Consider these spots that are an easy drive and have either free or low-cost admission.
Really looking to save money? Bring along abuela or abuelo and everybody gets in for free. The state has a Charter Oak Pass that provides access to state parks and forests and is available free to Connecticut residents, 65 years of age or older. The pass is accepted at all day use areas where a parking fee applies. Presenting it allows free access for the entering vehicle and passengers. The pass holder does not have to be the vehicle driver. More information is available at Connecticut’s park pass website.
Cockaponset State Forest
18 Ranger Road, Haddam
Cockaponset, named after an Indian chief who’s buried in the Ponset section of Haddam, is the state’s second largest forest. The development of this area for recreational purposes allows visitors to fully enjoy the attractiveness of the land, woods, and streams within the forest. Activities include fishing, hiking, swimming and more.
Admission is free on weekdays but it’s going to cost $9 per vehicle on weekends and holidays so bring tia.
119 Flagg Road, West Hartford
Westmoor Park is a self-funded environmental education center located in West Hartford encompassing 162 acres. Its demonstration farm, wildflower meadows, perennial gardens, woodland trails, and ponds are open to the public daily. It’s an easy shot down Albany Avenue (Route 44) in Hartford to the park, located just west of Bishop’s Corner in West Hartford. Farm is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and the grounds are open dawn to dusk.
295 West Avenue, Norwalk
Norwalk has a free splash pad at Devon’s Place, which is inside Mathews Park and behind the parking lot for Stepping Stones Children’s Museum. Parking is free. Devon’s Place is a handicap-accessible playground developed by Norwalk and Boundless Playgrounds. It’s a fun place to visit and it’s free.