what to do

Things slow down a bit on the Yale campus in the summer, but there is certainly no shortage of fun activities and events to enjoy in New Haven and beyond. Summer is especially a great time to get out and explore different parts of Connecticut and New England. We hope these suggestions will keep you entertained throughout the summer months, in any kind of weather.

New activities are added periodically and marked as "new", so check often and don't forget to check out our staff suggestions, too!

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fridayBlock Island, RI
Take a ferry to Block Island and enjoy the beaches, salt marshes and wildlife. The island is easy to navigate by bike or moped with great places to grab lunch in town.

Branford Land Trust
Explore nearly 775 acres of rugged rock outcroppings, tall oaks, beeches, groves of mountain laurel, wetlands and magnificent bluffs.

Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park
Activities include swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, rock climbing, cliff jumping, wakeboarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, zip lines and a challenge course!

Connecticut Beaches
Enjoy some sand and sun on one of Connecticut's many beautiful beaches such as nearby Lighthouse Point Park, the West Haven beaches and Hammonasset State Park.

Connecticut College Arboretum
The Connecticut College Arboretum provides a welcome connection with the natural world, offering opportunities for teaching, research, conservation, recreation and public education.

Connecticut River Expeditions
Cruises on the lower Connecticut River aboard RiverQuest, a 64-foot vessel with a large covered cabin area.

Huck Finn Adventures
Since 1983, Huck Finn Adventures has rented canoes and kayaks on the Farmington River in Avon and Simsbury, as well as on the Park River in Hartford.

Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust promotes the understanding and appreciation of nature and supports the conservation, preservation and management of natural resources.

newMarsh Botanical Garden
Eight acres of gardens and greenhouses located on the north end of Yale's campus, with historic Marsh Hall on the front of our property.

Sheffield Island Lighthouse Tour
Sheffield Island, with its historic 142-year-old lighthouse, beaches and wildlife refuge offers abundant summer fun for visitors.

Take a Hike
CT Department of Environmental Protection Hiking Maps.

Thimble Island Cruise
Join Captain Mike and the crew of the Sea Mist as you tour the famous Thimble Islands off the coast of Branford, CT.

Yale Outdoor Education Center
Located on 1,500 wooded acres, the Yale Outdoor Education Center (OEC) is nestled on the south shore of a pristine mile-long lake.

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fridayConnecticut Children’s Museum
A place where children can experience the magic and wisdom of learning at their own pace by interacting with exhibits that are full of whimsy and wisdom, in spaces built to their size and specifications.

Connecticut Landmarks
A state-wide network of twelve significant historic properties that span four centuries of New England history.

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
A combination wildlife sanctuary, visitor attraction and educational facility featuring all-new exhibits highlighting the habitats and wildlife of southeastern Connecticut, as well as eight miles of trails that wind through a beautiful 300-acre wooded preserve.

Fairfield Museum and History Center
13,000 square-foot museum presenting exhibition galleries, library and reading room, family education center and 80-seat theater.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center preserves and interprets Stowe's Hartford home and the Center's historic collections, promotes vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change.

Leffingwell House Museum
one of the finest restored examples of New England Colonial architecture and home of revolutionary patriot, merchant, and industrialist Christopher Leffingwell.

Lutz Children’s Museum
A multi-faceted museum for children to explore culture, history, and the natural sciences through internal and external exhibits, programs, and experiences.

Mark Twain House & Museum
The mission of The Mark Twain House & Museum is to foster an appreciation of the legacy of Mark Twain as one of our nation’s defining cultural figures, and to demonstrate the continuing relevance of his work, life and times.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
Extensive interactive exhibits depict 18,000 years of Native and natural history, while two libraries, including one for children, offer a diverse selection of materials on the histories and cultures of all Native peoples of the United States and Canada.

New England Air Museum
The Museum is situated in three large display buildings consisting of more than 75,000 square feet of exhibit space. In fair weather, the outside storage yard is available for touring as well.

New Haven Museum
Three hundred and sixty-two years of history come to life at the New Haven Museum. From the colony’s founding as a puritan village through its growth into a major industrial center and now a thriving metropolitan area, New Haven’s history is brought to life for our visitors, inspiring a rich appreciation of the City’s past, present, and future.

Old Lighthouse Museum
The Old Lighthouse in Stonington was the first government operated lighthouse in the state. The museum features maritime and whaling artifacts, a children's room and changing exhibits.

Submarine Force Museum
Home of the Historic USS Nautilus submarine.

The Children’s Museum
A museum dedicated to science inspiration and learning amongst children aged twelve and under.

Trash Museum
Learn about the problems of old-fashioned methods of disposal and exciting new trash solutions like source reduction, recycling, trash-to-energy and landfills.

Yale Center for British Art
The Yale Center for British Art is a public art museum and research institute for the study of British art and culture.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
Learn about dinosaurs, earth's history, life and culture and much, much more!

Yale University Art Gallery
The mission of the Yale University Art Gallery is to encourage appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement with original works of art.

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fridayBranford Festival and Summer Jazz Series
Every Father’s Day Weekend in June, the Branford Festival takes over the town green with crafts, activities, food, live music and much, much more family fun. The celebration continues with the free Annual Summer Jazz Concert Series on Thursday evenings June 28-August 23.

CitySeed Weekly Farmers’ Markets
Weekly outdoor markets in different parts of New Haven.

Common Ground Open Farm Days
Every Saturday, 10am - 2pm through June 25
Enjoy spring on the farm with a walk in the gardens, visits to the animal yards, and a self-guided hike on the trails that depart from the farm and venture into West Rock

Connecticut State Capitol Tours
Learn the history of the Capitol, a National Historic Landmark.

Creative Arts Workshop
Explore your creative side this summer with visual art classes and workshiops for adults and young people.

Group Bike Rides with Elm City Cycling
Weekly rides for cyclists of all levels, including children.

International Arts & Ideas Festival
Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul. June 16-30.

Lake Compounce
Roller coasters, water rides, kiddie rides and shows.

Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium
Weather permitting, the telescopes at the observatory will be set up for public viewing on Tuesday evenings after the planetarium show, starting at about 9 pm.

Mystic Aquarium
Learn to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.

Neighborhood Music School
Summer Session offers ongoing lessons and class instruction in both music and dance.

Pick-Your-Own Fruit at Bishop’s Orchards
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, apples and pumpkins!

Quassy Amusement Park
Sitting on the south shore of Lake Quassapaug, Quassy's 20 plus acres boasts of 22 rides, a variety of thrill rides as well as attractions for the very young.

Six Flags Amusement Park
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, Six Flags New England features roller coasters, rides, games, a carousel and a water park—don’t forget your bathing suit!

Yale Summer Carillon Concert Series
Every summer, the Guild organizes a Summer Concert Series where we invite carillonneurs from around the world and the United States to come to Yale to perform. June 24-August 12.

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fridayBridgeport Bluefish
Connecticut's own professional baseball team, the Bridgeport Bluefish are a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Cluefest 9
Cluefest is an opportunity to meet new people and explore famous and not-so-famous treasures in New Haven. Participate or volunteer on July 21.

Connecticut Wine Trail
Follow the trail of the vine as it winds through some of the most picturesque towns in Connecticut.

Giant Valley Polo Club
Bring a picnic and enjoy a fast paced game of Polo on a Sunday afternoon, along with magnificent views of the Sleeping Giant mountain.

Hamden Summer Concert Series
Sponsored by the Art's Commission this free concert series takes place at Town Center Park at Meadowbrook. Fridays June 29-July 27.

Lake After Dark Friday Night Concert Series
Every Friday night in July and August you can come down and enjoy cover bands performing in the gazebo by Lake Compounce. Music starts at 6pm but the fun in the sun is all day long!

Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze
It's no secret sunflowers attract butterflies! Imagine what 350,000 sunflowers could attract: a 3-acre sized Butterfly!

Mansfield Drive-In Theatre & Marketplace
Take in a double feature on an outdoor screen every night of the week and visit Eastern Connecticut’s largest flea market every Sunday.

Music Mountain Festival
Music Mountain is the home of the oldest continuing summer chamber music festival in this country. Founded in 1930 as the permanent home for the Gordon String Quartet, one of the leading string quartets of its time, Music Mountain is celebrating its 82nd anniversary season in 2011.

Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
The Yale Summer School of Music - Norfolk Chamber Music Festival has a dual teaching/performance purpose. Audiences from around the country come to northwest Connecticut to hear world-class artists. June 12-Aug 20.

Running Races in Connecticut
Races of all shapes and sizes.

Summer Youth Guide
This guide published by New Haven's Office of the Mayor lists summer programs for kids of all ages. Many of the programs are free or low-cost.

Triathlons in Connecticut
Swim, bike, and run, all in one challenging event.

Vintage Base Ball
Vintage base ball is a re-creation of the 19th century game as living history through sport.

Waterfire Providence
Over eighty sparkling bonfires on torch-lit vessels traveling down the Providence River in Rhode Island's capital city.

Yale Summer Cabaret Shakespeare Festival
An immersive celebration of Shakespeare's plays: food, drink, three unique productions in rotating repertory, and a series of free workshops.

 

Events

 

Resources

Find helpful resources now:

Have a Suggestion?

Have a suggestion for a fun summer activity? Please e-mail the details to: oiss@yale.edu

OISS Staff suggestions

nathanAnja suggests...
Day trip to Newport

"There is something for everyone – big mansions, the cliff walk, tons of restaurants, coffee shops, stores, several marinas… It’s so much fun to hang out there, and the drive is pretty relaxed. You could always combine the trip with going to one of the beautiful beaches in Rhode Island…"

 

nathanSarah suggests...
Attend a Music Festival

"There's a great festival called Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival happening this summer. Some amazing bands will be playing including: Drive-By Truckers (my favorite!), Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, James McMurtry, Justin Townes Earle, and more."

 

nathanNathan suggests...
Tubing on the
Farmington River

"When it's a really hot, summer day this is a great adventure for cooling off. You can rent a tube, walk down to the river, and jump in! You travel over some white water rapids (but nothing too serious) and then just sit back and relax. At the end a bus will take you back to your car."

 

nathanAmanda suggests...
Elephant’s Trunk
Flea Market

"Take a scenic trip to beautiful Northwestern Connecticut on a Sunday and browse an amazing variety of merchandise, including antique furniture, vintage clothing and jewelry, and art deco items. Make a day of it and visit the historic Hunt Hill Farm museum, gallery, land preserve, and cooking school!"

 

parkerParker suggests...
Visit a CT Fair

"The Association of Connecticut Fairs has a great Web site illustrating when and where to find fairs all over the state. There are some wonderful small town fairs happening all summer long."


other suggestions

iconKatie Bell from the Center for International Experience suggests...
Watch Hill Beach in RI

"Itinerary for a great summer day: Wake up early, pack a lunch, drive to Watch Hill Beach, relax in the sun until late afternoon, and then stop for a pie at Mystic Pizza on the way home!"