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Connecticut Parks, Gardens, & Natural Areas

Throughout Connecticut are idyllic recreation sites, beautiful beaches, mountain retreats, deep forests, and lush parks. Several of the state’s natural attractions also showcase celebrated historic sites and treasures from yesterday. At the Weir Farm National Historic Site, visitors can walk along the Historic Painting Sites Trail and stand in the same place as the Impressionist artists to compare paintings with the scenes that inspired them.

For every imaginable outdoor activity, the state provides a panoramic backdrop and outstanding facilities. Winding bike trails, horseback riding paths, scenic hiking trails, modern and primitive campgrounds, cabins, delightful nature centers, exquisite gardens, and environmental education centers are never far from home.

Hikers, walkers, and nature lovers will find it easy to discover the perfect places to enjoy Connecticut’s natural beauty with seemingly endless miles of trails for beginners to the famous Blue Blazed trail system. On a state level alone, more than 100 parks and forests beckon the adventurous.
Connecticut State Forests
Thousands of acres of heavily forested land throughout the state have been preserved for public enjoyment and recreation. Popular activities are many and include picnicking, camping, canoeing or kayaking, fishing, hunting, swimming, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching, motorcycling, and dog-sledding.

Connecticut Wine Trail

Vineyards and wineries can offer everything from wine tasting and picnic areas to scenic walks, musical festivals, and maple sugaring. Some activities are year-round while others are seasonal.
Connecticut Wine Trail
Chamard Vineyards
115 Cow Hill Road
Clinton 860-664-0299
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DiGrazia Vineyard & Winery
131 Tower Road
Brookfield 203-775-1616
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Haight Vineyard & Winery
29 Chestnut Hill Road
Litchfield 860-567-4045
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Heritage Trail Winery
291 N. Burnham Highway
Lisbon 860-376-0659
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Hopkins Vineyard
25 Hopkins Road
New Preston 860-868-7954
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Jonathan Edwards Winery
74 Chester Maine Road
North Stonington 860-535-0202
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McLaughlin Vineyards
Alberts Hill Road
Sandy Hook 203-426-1533
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Priam Vineyards
11 Shailor Hill Road
Colchester 860-267-8520
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Sharpe Hill Vineyard
108 Wade Road
Pomfret 860-974-3549
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Stonington Vineyards
523 Taugwonk Road
Stonington 800-421-WINE
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White Silo Winery
32 Route 37 East
Sherman 860-355-0271
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Natural Wonders
Ansonia Nature & Recreation Center
10 Deerfield Road
Ansonia 203-736-1053
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Miles of nature trails in a 104-acre park includes native fern and wildflower gardens, butterfly and hummingbird garden.
Bartlett Arboretum
151 Brookdale Road
Stamford 203-322-6971
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More than 60 acres of natural woodlands and cultivated gardens are complemented by ecology trails, a swamp walk, a pond, and a greenhouse.
Devil's Den & Nature Conservancy
32 Pent Road
Weston 203-226-4991
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Nature preserve with historical features includes more than 20 miles of hiking trials on 1,720 lush and wooded acres.
Lighthouse Point Park
New Haven 203-946-8027
New Haven 203-946-8327
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Long Island Sound recreation area covers 82 acres to offer swimming, natural history displays, nature trails, picnic areas, bird sanctuary, and antique carousel.
Mohegan Park & Memorial Rose Garden
Judd Road
Norwich 860-823-3759
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Opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and fishing combine with nature trails and gardens with brilliant seasonal rose blooms.
Ocean Beach Park
1225 Ocean Avenue
New London 860-447-3031
Toll free 800-510-SAND
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Major recreation area offers saltwater and pool swimming, bathhouses, carousel, playground, miniature golf, picnic areas, boardwalk, and arcade.
Pardee Rose Gardens
180 Park Road
Hamden 203-946-8027
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More than 50 varieties of roses in East Rock Park bloom in June and July; annuals, perennials, and herbs delight visitors throughout the seasons.
White Memorial Foundation & Conservation Center
Route 202
Litchfield 860-567-0857
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More than 4,000 acres makes this wildlife sanctuary the state's largest with 35 miles of multi-purpose trails for four-season recreation.
State Forests
American Legion & Peoples State Forests
Barkhamstead 860-379-2469
Campground 860-379-0922
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3,736 acres
Cockaponsett State Forest
Haddam 860-663-2030
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15,652 acres
James L. Goodwin State Forest
Hampton 860-424-3200
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2,171 acres
Mohawk Mountain State Forest
Cornwall/Goshen 860-491-3
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3,351 acres
Natchaug State Forest & James L. Goodwin State Forest
Eastford 860-928-6121
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12,935 acres
Pachaug State Forest
Voluntown 860-376-4075
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22,938 acres
Salmon River State Forest
Colchester 860-295-9523
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6,115 acres
Shenipsit State Forest
Stafford 860-684-3430
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6,126 acres
Topsmead State Forest
Litchfield 860-567-5694
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514 acres
State Parks
Bigelow Hollow State Park
Stafford Springs 860-684-3430
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The park combines with adjoining Nipmuck State Forest to offer 9,000 acres of recreation opportunities including miles of hiking trails and an 18-acre pond.
Black Rock State Park
Litchfield 860-238-8088
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Black Rock offers excellent swimming, hiking, scenic views, and Indian legend all tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the Western Highlands.
Bluff Point State Park
New London 860-444-7591
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Bluff Point Coastal Reserve offers the visitor a delightful mixture of wooded hiking and biking trails coupled with spectacular wildlife viewing on Long Island Sound.
Burr Pond State Park
Torrington 860-482-1817
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Wooded splendor with a lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, pedalboating, hiking trail, picnicking, fishing, and ice skating.
Collis P. Huntington State Park
Redding 203-938-2285
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Life-like sculptures of bears and wolves welcome visitors to a peaceful and tranquil setting with open fields and dense woodlands.
Devil's Hopyard State  Park
East Haddam 860-873-8566
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Named for the round holes in the falls that some call "the work of the devil," the park is ideal for bicycling, hiking, birding, picnicking, camping, and stream fishing.
Gay City State Park
Marlborough 860-295-9523
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Gay City State Park offers a glimpse into Connecticut's industrial roots with over 1,500 acres of endless opportunities for outdoor fun including the exploration of extinct mill-town ruins and stone foundations.
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Madison 203-245-2785
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The largest shoreline park features a beach, swimming, picnic areas, camping, saltwater fishing, scuba diving, hiking trails, nature study, and boating opportunities.
Harkness Memorial State Park
Waterford 860-443-5725
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This former summer estate on Long Island Sound is a magnificent, 42-room mansion with formal gardens, picnic areas, a fine beach, and summer concerts.
Hopeville Pond State Park
Jewett City 860-376-2920
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Fish, swim, or camp along the shores of Hopeville Pond in a panoramic area that combines quality recreation with historic significance.
Housatonic Meadows State Park
Sharon 860-927-3238
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The hiking trail on Pine Knob Loop Trail joins the Appalachian Trail. Other activities include picnicking, flyfishing, canoeing, and riverside camping.
Kent Falls State Park
Kent 860-927-3238
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Wander across the covered bridge, hike the falls, and feel the mist on your face as water cascades 250 feet down on its way to joining the Housatonic River.
Kettletown State Park
Southbury 203-264-5678
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The refreshing waters of the Housatonic River make the park and Lake Zoar popular recreation destinations.
Macedonia Brook State Park
Kent 860-927-3238
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Hike the Blue Trail across Cobble Mountain and other peaks for outstanding views of the Catskill and Taconic mountains and splendid foliage vistas.
Mashamoquet Brook State Park
Pomfret Center 860-928-6121
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Rich with history and legend and home of the Wolf's Den, the park offers hiking, camping, fishing, and swimming for the whole family.
Mr. Tom State Park
Litchfield 860-567-8870
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Hiking trails and opportunities for lake swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating, scuba diving, and ice skating surround a 1,325-foot summit.
Osbornedale State Park
Derby 203- 735-4311
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Enjoy hiking and fishing, then relax with a picnic or visit the nearby environmental center.
Penwood State Park
Bloomfield 860-242-1158
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Visitors enjoy more than 800 acres of four-season fun at this expansive park just a short drive from the capital city.
Rocky Neck State Park
Niantic 860-739-5471
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The large stone pavilion, diverse trail systems, and gently sloping half-mile beach make this a popular family destination.
Sherwood Island State Park
Green Farms 203-226-6983
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Park amenities include facilities and opportunities for swimming, fishing, scuba diving, field sports, interpretive programs, a picnic grove, and beach.
Sleeping Giant State Park
Hamden 203-789-7498
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Two miles of mountaintop resembling a sleeping giant give this park its name, and make it a distinguishing feature on Connecticut's skyline.
West Rock Ridge State Park
Hamden 203-789-7498
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Featuring a ridge that is one of the most prominent features of the New Haven area, the park offers spectacular views.
State Parks & Forest System
Boating Courses & Certifications
Old Lyme 860-434-5326
Boating Division
Old Lyme 860-434-8638
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Boating Information
Old Lyme 860-434-8638
Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
Hartford 860-424-3014
Connecticut State Parks
State Headquarters
Hartford 866-287-2757
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Connecticut State Parks & Forest System
State Headquarters
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Eastern District Headquarters
Marlborough 860-295-9523
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Forestry Division
Hartford 860-424-3620
Inland Fisheries
Hartford 860-424-3474
Marine Fisheries
Hartford 860-434-6043
Marine Headquarters
Old Lyme 860-434-6043
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Western District Headquarters
Harwinton 860-485-0226
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Wildlife Division
Hartford 860-424-3011
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