1. Lake Hills, Fairfield CT
Upon arriving in Lake Hills (tucked away just East and West of Black Rock Turnpike, South of the Merritt Parkway), one is greeted with a clear and unmistakable impression. The meandering, tree-lined streets, and five beaches surrounding the lake are just a few of the tangible things that make this private neighborhood so distinct. There is also a strong sense of community created by the Lake Hills Association which hosts annual activities including a Fall Festival, Hiking Events, Movie Camp-Out Night at the lake, Family Fun Day, and a Fishing Derby just to name a few.
2. Mianus River Park, Greenwich/Stamford CT
Mianus River Park, a nature reserve on the Greenwich / Stamford border in Connecticut, has a total combined acreage of 391 acres. The two mile stretch of the beautiful Mianus River which flows through the park is a major attraction to visitors but the park also offers fine forest lands, vernal pools, varied wildlife and miles of rolling trails for walking and other recreational activities. Be sure to walk or ride your bike through the trails during the fall seasons as the leaves start to change, to get the real Connecticut autumn experience.
3. Collis P. Huntington State Park, Redding CT
Collis P. Huntington State Park was primarily in agricultural use until the Luttgen family acquired the land in the late 1800's and developed the present service roads, trails, and artificial ponds. Reportedly, a small steam paddlewheeler was then kept on the largest pond and is now sunken somewhere under the park waters. A short, stone "lighthouse" still remains on one of the islands. The Starratt family then owned the estate until the 1930's when the land was acquired by Archer M. Huntington, who willed the land of the homestead he called Stanerigg for a state park. Walk the trails or get in the water with your kayak/canoe to get a different view of the park.
4. Devil's Den Preserve, Fairfield County CT
The Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil's Den Preserve is the Connecticut Chapter's largest continuous preserve and the largest tract of protected land in densely developed Fairfield County. Its patchwork of woodlands, wetlands and rock ledges and a series of north-south ridges and valleys woven with streams and swamps make the Devil's Den ideal for low-impact outdoor activities such as hiking and bird watching. Devil's Den is the chapter's most frequently visited preserve, hosting more than 40,000 people per year. It is ideally located to provide an enriching and educational outdoor experience for residents of surrounding towns such as Redding, Easton, Westport and Wilton, along with the nearby metropolitan areas of Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford. The Den is part of the extended 70-mile Saugatuck Valley Trails System, with contiguous forest and watershed lands.
5. Squantz Pond State Park, New Fairfield CT
This four-season park immerses the visitor in a "mountain like" setting, as steep, wooded slopes disappear into the cool, blue pond below. In the fall, the park becomes a haven for photographers capturing the colorful reflection of the foliage in the mirrored surface of the water. Activities include boating, hiking, interpretive trail, picnicking, nature center programs and exhibits, pond fishing, swimming, scuba diving; canoe and kayak rentals.
6. Silverman's Farm, Easton CT
Silverman's Farm in Easton CT always has something going on. Whether you're there for apple picking, choosing your favorite pumpkin, or taking a scenic tractor ride, you'll never be disappointed. The Country market is full of everything from fruits and vegetables to dairy products, jams, jellies, but please do yourself a favor and get the apple cider donuts. They always have sweet treats to share with friends and family! Don't forget to check out the animal farm! See, pet, and feed all sorts of unusual animals, including buffalo, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, fallow deer, emus, and long-horn cattle.
7. Penfield Beach, Fairfield CT
Penfield Beach is one of 5 beaches in Fairfield. It is fully equipped with lockers for storage (rented per season), a concession stand with a great food menu, a playground for the kids and ample parking. Enjoy designated swim areas monitored by a full staff of lifeguards or play in the sand at low tide, great for building sandcastles! If you're not a beach person but love the water views, consider attending (or hosting your own!) events that take place at Penfield Pavilion. Concerts, comedy nights, and bridal shows are some of the events hosted by the town every month. Be sure to attend the 4th of July fireworks every year, and have a front row seat to the show taking place out on Long Island Sound.
8. Ferris Acres Creamery, Newtown CT
Ferris Acres Creamery is a fantastic spot to bring the family for ice cream that Fairfield County raves about. Ferris Acres prides itself on being a true family business with three generations still working to bring Fairfield County fresh, delicious ice cream you can enjoy from the picnic benches that overlook the sprawling pastures with cows grazing and relaxing. The fall flavors bring a whole new taste to your palette that should not be missed!
9. Southport Harbor, Southport CT
Southport Harbor is located five miles southwest of Bridgeport and almost seven miles east of Norwalk off Long Island Sound near Sasco Hill Beach. The town of Southport is a small Colonial-era town, and Southport Harbor reaches past the waterfront with a thin and narrow dredged channel that weaves its way in and out of various shoals that can bare at low tide. The views from the top of Harbor Road, overlooking the marina, Long Island Sound and the Country Club of Fairfield's golf course. Right along the water you have multiple spots to enjoy coffee and watch the boats cruise by, including Perry's Green next to Pequot Yacht Club, and Ye Yacht Yard towards the mouth of the marina. Ye Yacht yard also has a boat launch, so bring your own kayak!
10. Harbor Point, Stamford CT
Whether you're looking for restaurants, bars, shopping or just want to take a walk down the boardwalk along the harbor, Harbor Point is the place to be. Lively in places, but easy to find a quiet spot to enjoy yourself. Take the Metro North Train in and hop on the trolley to find yourself in walking distance to everything Harbor Point has to offer. There are even water taxis to transport you across the harbor to other outdoor restaurants like the Crab Shell, who love to host live music along the water!