After multiple trips over the holidays in December and January involving a five-hour plane trip and a ten-hour car ride with three children, I’m thinking a staycation for our upcoming winter and spring breaks sounds ideal. Especially if planned ahead of time and includes both family time and a night or two away without kids. So, looking ahead, I put together some ideas for day trips and fun things to do without leaving the state, or at least not far from the Connecticut border.
Hiking and Biking
If you enjoy hiking and enjoying the outdoors once the snow has thawed and the temperatures rise, here are some ideas for hitting the trails.
Last fall my family traveled to Ridgefield to hike at the Seth Low Pierrepont State Park. My girls were groaning in the backseat at the thought of taking a hike that day, but I remember as we started venturing out on the trail the excitement and eagerness to explore began to show. The trails were well-maintained and not too long or difficult for young kids. It was also beautiful with rolling hills and one of the trails goes around a lake. The town of Ridgefield has great restaurant options for lunch as everyone is sure to be hungry after a hike.
Another great hiking option and family-fun adventure is a trip out to Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut where you can hike the Gillette Railroad Trail and tour a medieval-style castle. Mianus River Park between Greenwich and Stamford also has great trails for hiking as a family and is a great option if you don’t want to travel too far. It is very scenic but not too challenging for young kids. If a bike trail is more your speed, check out the Hudson Valley Rail Trail which is a beautiful paved path and easy terrain so it’s great for a family with young kids.
A couple of fun day trip ideas include a trip to Cold Spring, New York in Hudson Valley. This is one of our favorite past-times and traditions as a family. There are hiking trails nearby but the town also has great shops and restaurants and is a fun place to spend the day with your family along the Hudson River. There are some great photo opportunities along the river and an ice cream shop too.
Mystic, Connecticut is a place I want to venture to with my kids. Primarily to visit the Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, and lunch at the famous Mystic Pizza. Also, another longstanding item on my “to do” list with my older two is a visit to the Tea Room at Alice in the Village, an “Alice in Wonderland” themed tearoom and store.
Getaway Night (or two!)
Winter and spring breaks are a great time for family fun, but also an opportunity to get away, even for just a night, with your spouse. It’s worth taking the time to plan ahead and give yourself some much needed time away.
Some getaway ideas include: The Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook; The Delamar with locations in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford; Hotel Hi Ho in Fairfield, and Saybrook Inn and Spa in Old Saybrook.
While school breaks throw off your typical routine and require advance planning, it is a wonderful opportunity for adventure and to create memories with your family. While these breaks sometimes loom in the future and cause some anxiety and necessity for lots of patience, it is worth the time for creating quality time with your family.