Summer in Connecticut


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By Annika Darling,

To experience the summer in Connecticut is to experience pure magic.

Everywhere you look there is a plethora of natural beauty to explore and enjoy and in every nook and cranny, there are celebrations of culture.

If you’re feeling like you haven’t made the most of the great weather, breathtaking scenery and charming coastal communities this summer, don’t worry, there is still plenty going on and CTLN has compiled a summer bucket list for you. So, get out there and have some fun!  

Attend a Local Event

Connecticut is rife with local events. They are all around you, besides the ones listed here you can check your local community calendars for more.

Summer Nights in Mystic

Every Monday night through July and August Mystic Aquarium hosts Summer Nights. Visitors can gaze at the thousands of creatures including beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea turtles and so many more kinds of marine life. Jurassic Giant exhibit holds over a dozen animatronic dinosaurs that seem to come to life. This is sure to turn into a great family memory.

Tacos and Tequila Cruise in Essex

All aboard!

On July 25, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat will host a tequila cruise that will sure to be a fun adventure. First, jump on a vintage train pulled by an antique locomotive which will take you to the riverboat where you can choose from a variety of summer fresh margaritas and where you can hit the taco bar! Live music will be part of the experience.

Riverfront Latin World Rhythms Festival in Downtown Hartford

This festival brings up the rear of summer events, but thoughtfully placed to ring in Hispanic Heritage Month. The Riverfront Latin World Rhythms Festival will take place Sept. 7 and will be a day-long celebration of Latino culture. Along with Latin music, there will be dance instructions for Latin dances, Latino art exhibits, performance and plenty of traditional food and drink.

If you attend this festival for nothing else, attend it for the amazing guitar performance of Danial Salazar.

Daniel Salazar, musician

SUGGESTION: Guitar Romance: A Connecticut Musician And His Spanish Guitar

Get Active Outdoors

Summer weather is that external prompt that tells us it’s time to get outdoors.

There are so many options in Connecticut to appease the little adventurer inside you, so there is no way we can list them all here but we will certainly list a few of our favorites.

Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens in Hartford

There are 15,000 rose bushes consisting of 800 different varieties of roses in the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens. If walking through this garden is simply like walking in a painting. The most historic part of the park is in the middle and dates back to 1904. Come experience the magic while you can this summer.

The Wine Trail in Statewide

Connecticut has one of the best wine trails in the country. If you haven’t experienced this ever-expanding land of vineyards and wineries that serve food, have live music and extraordinary wine, it’s about time you do. Check out the map and make your itinerary now.

Steep Rock Preserve in Washington Depot

It’s time to pull out your hiking boots and get some fresh air. With 974-acres of preserved land, Steep Rock is the optimal place for hiking enthusiasts. There are more scenic views one could ever take in during one visit. Hike to the top of the overlook, traverse the suspension bridge across the Shepaug River, explore the former railway tunnel, then take the back roads all the way around Lake Waramaug. Adventures on this hike are endless.

Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland

Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park is one of the most exciting and adventurous destinations in all of Connecticut. This is not s shortage of activities here. There is swimming, rock climbing, zip-lining, kayaking, cliff jumping, snorkeling and more. Cater your trip to the adventurer inside you.

Silver Sands State Park in Milford

Do you believe in legends? Well here’s your chance to go looking for Captain Kidd’s treasure he left on the coast of Silver Sands State Park. If you don’t find it, don’t worry, there is plenty to make a wonderful day. Sandcastle building is prime and laying out and swimming is never overrated. This is a perfect day trip to the beach.  

Mystic Seaport Cruise in Mystic

If you’re feeling like treating yourself to a more luxurious summer experience, then make your way to Mystic. Grab some friends and jump on a two-day saltwater cruise. There are a few boats to choose from that can help you make your experience exactly how you want it.

Soak in the Culture

One of the best things about Connecticut is its rich, diverse culture. Summers are a great time to get outdoors and celebrate this diversity and take advantage of the wonderful variety of activities in your neighborhood.

Latino Migration Exhibit in Willimantic

Now, this is an event that should perk up the ears of all the history buffs.

The Latino Migration Exhibit at the Windham Textile & History Museum is a great wat to learn Hispanic History. This unique exhibit accomplishes this through both sight and sound; it is a multi-media experience where you can expect to see anything from paintings to videos. Come delve into the Latino migration. You have plenty of time to make it to this exhibit, it runs until Dec. 8.

Battle of the Bands in Mashantucket

The Battle of the Bands at Foxwood Resort Casino has begun! It’s not too late to be part of the fun. The battle will wage until Sept. 7. Until then, attendees can come to listen to great music and have a chance to win prizes and tickets to future battles. Be a part of cheering on your favorite band.

52nd Annual Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz in Hartford

The Monday Night Jazz Series returns for more free concerts under the summer sky.

The series includes an array of musicians, from the world famous to local aspiring musicians. Jazz night was designed to invigorate the culture of the community and encourage diversity and economic growth.

Be a part of the good vibes. Jazz nights began July 8 and will continue to Aug. 12.

Salsa Under the Stars in New Haven

DJ Christie will be at the Broadway Island at The Shops every Monday night this summer to lead you in dancing salsa under the stars. This event is a product of the Yale Student Salsa Society and is meant to be inclusive. Everyone is encouraged to join and shake it up. 

Goes from July 8 to August 26.  

Farmers’ Market in Connecticut

With over 100 farmers’ markers in Connecticut we couldn’t just pick one, so follow the link provided to find the closest one to you or any that are on your way to or from a summer adventure.

Farmers’ markets are a wonderful gathering place where local goods can be exchanged between the community. Meet the faces behind the fresh, local foods you are buying and get out and enjoy the sun while you’re at it.

Get off the Beaten Path

Movie Mondays in Mashantucket

What’s better on a summer night than a blanket on the grass, your favorite snacks and a big screen playing one of your favorite movies under the stars? Movies begin at 8:30 p.m. and you can check the lineup of movies through the provided link. Every Monday from July 1 to August 26.

59th Annual Summer Book Sale in Southport

The summer is the time to stock up on reading materials because you’re going to need them for those long days on the beach. Pequot Library in the Southport throws one of the largest book sales in Connecticut along with CDs, DVDs, and records. Proceeds go to the library’s educational programs, events, and services.

Come contribute and pick up some good media materials for the whole family. July 26 – 30.

Lady Bug Lunch and Story Time in Canton

Ladybugs are one of the stable summer bugs that love to make an appearance at picnics, bar-be-ques and the like. Bring the kids to the Roaring Brook Nature Center for a closer examination of this critters. Bring a bag lunch and make an afternoon of it. Crafts and stories galore! Lemonade and cookies provided if you need more convincing.

Also… costumes welcomed. July 26.