Looking to ditch the devices and embark on one of the best CT family hikes? Head to Groton, Connecticut for a stunning adventure along the coastline at Bluff Point State Park. Moms, dads and kids can exercise, see incredible views, learn history and experience nature while bonding and conversing. In fact, a walk through the wild can even resemble a stroll through a museum. Natural history is everywhere while incredible vistas are works of art.
Trading Tech for CT Family Hikes
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to throw the gadgets out the window. Days were simpler when the boys were young. It seemed easier to enjoy quality family time. Now that they’re 11 and 13, they have baseball practice, art lessons, school dances and, yes, the seemingly constant presence of a technological distraction. On a recent Sunday afternoon, when I was feeling particularly disconnected, I gathered everyone for a tech-free family outing. I used these five strategies to engage the boys and ignite their sense of natural wonder:
1. Find a New Place
We headed to a spot we’d never visited before, Bluff Point State Park in Groton. This destination is known for its unique beauty. Not far off the busy highway, find a gorgeous 800 acre park, one of the last remaining pieces of unspoiled, undeveloped land along the Connecticut coastline. It’s become an incredibly popular spot for picnicking, boating and fishing. Bird watchers also flock (no pun intended) to this pretty destination. Over 200 species of birds have been spotted in the park. The beach and bluff can only be accessed by hikers, bikers or horse back riders. Cars are not allowed on the paths.
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2. Show The Kids Incredible Views at Bluff Point State Park
The park is actually a peninsula that juts out into Long Island Sound. On arrival, we saw small planes taking off and landing at the Groton-New London Airport, directly across the Poquonnock River from the entrance to the park. We began walking through a flat, wooded path that eventually opened up to beautiful views of the coastline. The New London Ledge Lighthouse, a fascinating building, is visible in the distance. This beacon, resembling a red colonial home, is a unique sight, planted in the center of the Thames River. Tours of this lighthouse, rumored to be haunted, are available each summer through a group called Project Oceanology. The view includes the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut.
3. Teach Some History
We looked up the history of Bluff Point. The Pequots used it as a fishing spot before it became the site of a plantation in the late 1600s. In the early 1900s, Bluff Point was home to summer cottages and a seasonal camping community. The famous Hurricane of 1938, one of the most deadly storms to ever hit New England, destroyed these homes. In 1975, the Connecticut legislature declared Bluff Point a Coastal Reserve which protects the land and area animals. As the MuseumLoving TravelingMom, I enjoy taking the boys to interesting, educational destinations. This walk felt like a trip to a museum. We found exhibits in nature.
4. Get Moving!
The 3.6 mile loop is flat and easy terrain for able walkers of any age or ability. After 45 minutes, we arrived at a lovely beach. We followed a rocky path to the top of a bluff. I must say, the views were absolutely breathtaking. The boys sat on the edge of the bluff for a few minutes, soaking-in the atmosphere and tossing stones into Long Island Sound. We were tired during the walk back but we chatted and enjoyed each other’s company. The exercise felt really good.
5. Involve the Pets
Whenever we bring our dog, Lucy, along on an adventure, the boys become particularly engaged in our surroundings. Our 3 year old rescue pup is an energetic girl! She pulls and pulls, needing to sniff anything and everything! The park permits leashed dogs. We took turns holding Lucy’s leash and accompanying her through the paths. Warning: this area has a tick population. Sure enough, we found one crawling on my younger son when we arrived home. A walk out to Bluff Point requires a thorough tick check of all adults, kids and pets. Lyme Disease is prevalent in this section of the state.
Add Weekend Hikes to the Family Schedule
This adventure is inspiring me to make family hiking a habit. A nice hike can even feel like a mini family vacation, take it from this TravelingMom. But, you must prepare before you go. Check out this great pre-hike checklist from Nature TravelingMom.
We accomplished what we set out to do. There were no buttons and blinking screens on this outing. And, you know what? The kids loved it. So did I.