The temperature is ramping up as we enjoy midsummer and beyond in New England. The good news is there are plenty of options if you’re looking to beat the heat, and some of them might be closer than you’d think. Dress accordingly, and check out a few of these local water-based wonders!
Cheshire Community Pool
The Cheshire Community Pool is a cut above the rest! This active aquatic facility has the public pool basics and hosts exercise and therapy programs, birthday parties, swim meets, and more. The facility has options for swimmers of all ages and abilities; the pool and facilities are accessible and there are classes available for children and senior citizens alike. If a class seems a little much for your first visit, consider picking up a day pass to check out the space and experience all it has to offer!
185 Enterprise Drive,
It should be no surprise that the oldest still-operating amusement park in the country is home to some pretty astonishing attractions. While Lake Compounce may seem like an old classic when it comes to aquatic activity, the water park has definitely experienced some updates to give a fresh new feel to a family favorite. Before covering the new updates, it’s only fair to shout out the water park icons that live in the hearts of so many. From the Clipper Cove water playground to the Croc-O-Nile Lazy River, Lake Compounce essentially dominated the childhood summers of Connecticut’s millennial population — we can relive our glory days since the park is still home to these gems!
As for contemporary highlights, in 2021 Lake Compounce introduced the public to Venus Vortex. This four-person raft ride sends brave patrons barreling through a dark chute before plunging into a giant Venus flytrap-esque half pipe. An even more recent development is the updated Storm Surge, the famous lighthouse waterslide that’s been revamped for the 2022 season. Whether your idea of a fun day is floating down the lazy river or chasing an adrenaline rush, definitely look into a trip to Lake Compounce.
50 Maple St, Branford
This paddle sports destination is all about location! Calling a spacious Branford River dock home, Branford River Paddlesports has access to Long Island Sound and all the adventure that comes with it. To give you an idea of what potential paddlers can expect, consider navigating the shore’s tiny islands, crannies and coves at your own pace. Or consider the Thimble Outer Island tour option. Make sure to pack a light lunch if you opt for the tour — this 3-hour jaunt includes a peaceful paddle on the river as well as a snack-and-swim break at Kelsey Beach. Regardless of how you choose to spend the day, Branford River Paddlesports has a location and charm that no one can resist.
Silver Sands State Park,
1 Silver Sands Parkway, Milford
For sandy toes and a surprise sandbar, check out this glorious public beach and park! If you’re looking for boardwalks, a salty breeze, seagulls, and shells, Silver Sands State Park is the place for you. With over a half mile of public shoreline, the facilities and ambiance of Silver Sands is an excellent splash-around option. The sandbar, or tombolo, connects Charles Island to the beach and park. Don't miss the opportunity (during low tide) to traverse the sandy path to explore the island. However, be warned. The Sound rises above the sandbar twice each day during high tide. This will leave you stuck on Charles Island, so plan accordingly. Parking is free for Connecticut registered vehicles, so if an out-of-state friend drives over to visit, make sure to take your wheels to the beach.
To close off this piece, it seems wrong to not mention a couple of my local favorites! An unlikely honorable mention goes to Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield. Despite the wintery name, there’s a giant water tubing slide attraction that should not be missed. Also, Portland's Brownstone Quarry Adventure Sports Park shan’t go unmentioned. This unique oasis has a plethora of inflatables, rentals and activities that provide all-day entertainment. Fair warning — on hotter days, due to the brownstone landscape, the water in the quarry does tend to grow a bit warmer than one might expect. Feeling the adrenaline rush of ziplining into warm quarry water is one of the experiences that everyone truly should try at least once in their life.
Each summer brings new opportunities and adventures. Whether you revisit a favorite or try something new, be sure to stay hydrated and make time this season to beat the heat!