Known for its rolling hills and attractive coastline, traditional hospitality and rich heritage, Connecticut has long attracted visitors looking for classic New England charm – but the region’s southernmost state also has plenty to offer those in search of adventure.
From scrambling hikes to high-octane thrills, Connecticut is shaking off its once-sleepy image to attract growing numbers of active travellers. Here are five fantastic adventures for visitors to The Constitution State:
HIKE: The Mattabesett Trail
Connecticut is criss-crossed by hundreds of miles of hiking trails, with one short but challenging option being on the Mattabesett Trail in the centre of the state. For those who are prepared to engage in some scrambling, the trail offers superb views from the famous ‘traprock ridges’. Climb from Giuffridda Park in the town of Meriden up to Chauncey Peak and Lamentation Mountain, scrambling to reach a high ridge which offers vistas of the city of Hartford to the north, New Haven on the coast to the south, and spectacular, seemingly endless countryside to the west. Learn more about hiking in Connecticut here.
Connecticut is made to be explored on two wheels, but hardcore pedallers should head to the town of Ridgefield in the southwest of the state. The Ridgefield Bicycle Company offers mountain bike rental at $100 per day, and from here riders can explore Bennett’s Pond and the Hemlock Hills, which together form one of the largest nature preserves in this part of Connecticut. Glacial activity has left numerous erratic boulders and small cliffs, and the variety of terrain makes any ride a memorable one. The area’s meadows, woodlands, wetlands and steep ridges are traversed by trails of varying difficulty, with a massive slick rock section among the highlights.
FLOAT: The Farmington River
In northwest Connecticut the wild, scenic Farmington River offers the chance to take a 2.5-mile float trip in specially-designed river tubes. Travelling over three different sets of rapids, participants enjoy the thrills and spills of white water in an idyllic woodland setting. The $20 price includes a river tube, life-jacket and shuttle to the start point. www.farmingtonrivertubing.com.
FLY: Ziplining in Middletown
A few miles south of the state capital Hartford, get out among the trees at EMPOWER Adventure Center for an unforgettable zipline canopy tour. Soaring up to 75 feet above the ground, visitors get to see the forest from a completely new perspective on a half-mile sky trail consisting of five different ziplines, varying in length between 200 and 650 feet. Tours last approximately 90 minutes and are priced at $54 per person plus tax.
REV: At Thompson Speedway
Pure adrenalin is the order of the day at Thompson Speedway in northwest Connecticut. Get behind the wheel of today’s fastest, most powerful supercars including the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550 for three laps of pure speed that will test your nerve as much as your driving skills. Experienced instructors teach participants how to handle the cars and make the most of this unforgettable Autocross Driving Experience. The list price is $275 per person, but visitors should look out for discount offers with Groupon and others, and put their feet to the floor for as little as $99!
Learn more about Connecticut at www.discovernewengland.org/about-new-england/Connecticut.
To find out more about active breaks in New England at www.discovernewengland.org/things-do-outdoors-play.
For further information on New England, visit www.discovernewengland.co.uk