Best Picnic Spots in Fairfield County
If you’re looking for that bucolic spot to relax on a lazy summer day, pack your picnic baskets for these park destinations. Fairfield County is home to quite a few open spaces that are not only idyllic but also historic and, in some cases, pet friendly.
Check it out:
960 Morehouse Highway
Any Fairfield resident will tell you what a little gem this 170-acre open space is. With hiking trails winding around a man-made lake suitable for people and dogs, there are plenty of great spots to sit and break bread. There is a designated picnic area as well as beachfront on the lake and a water park for the kiddies. Parking is free, but there is a fee of $8 for residents and $15 for non-residents.
Donated in 1878 by James W. Beardsley, this pond-side park boasts over 100 acres of flora, fauna, and the Beardsley Zoo. Frederick Law Olmstead, landscape architect of Seaside Park and New York’s Central Park fame, created the park’s layout by utilizing the natural contours of Bunnell Pond and its surrounding area. And if you get tired of languishing in the grass with a crusty baguette and a hunk of Brie, stop by the zoo to celebrate their 90th anniversary. They’ve got some new animals joining them, too. Most notably the giant tortoise for this summer only! Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children 3 and up.
285 Cutlers Farm Road
This spot has picnic areas with tables, grills, and a picnic pavilion. The park area was acquired by the town in 1967, but has since undergone serious improvements. Not only do they have hiking and biking trails, but a lake, basketball and tennis courts, football field and baseball diamond, and a pool. If you’re lucky, you may hear a little music as one part of the park is dedicated to outdoor concerts. There is free parking, but some lots are paid.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center
39 Scofieldtown Road
The Stamford Nature Center is home to Heckscher Farm and the Bendel estate. Just outside the farm and the facility, there is a meadow shaded by trees lining a brook. Watch the swans, enjoy a sunny day and take in nature. There are hiking trails and the farm has all kinds of animals for the little ones to enjoy. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, but your picnic is free!
Collis P. Huntington Park
Sunset Hill Road
Best known for its life-like statues of bears and wolves, this open space spreads over 800 acres through the towns of Redding, Bethel, and Newtown. Archer Huntington’s wife, Anna, who was an internationally known sculptor created the statues. The park is named for Archer’s railroad tycoon father, Collis Potter Huntington, when he willed the land to the state. It has dense woods, hiking trails, and five separate ponds. Beyond just packing a quick lunch, plenty of residents use the ponds to canoe or use the trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. In the winter, the trails are often used for cross-country skiing.
Putnam Memorial Park
492 Black Rock Turnpike
Visit one of Connecticut’s oldest state parks and soak up a little bit of history while you’re at it. This space was used as a barracks and encampment for General Israel Putnam’s division of the Continental Army from 1778 to 1779 during the Revolutionary War. There is a museum on premise, a reenactment field, and other historical spots along a winding pathway. The picnic area is on one side of the main lake in the park. Stop by the visitor’s center for more information and upcoming events.
735 Nod Hill Road
With ambling meadows interrupted by handcrafted colonial stonewalls, Weir Farm is a National Historic Site with an adjacent 110-acre preserve. Pets are allowed on the farm as long as they are leashed, but they are not allowed on the hiking trails in the preserve. When you’re finished hiking and having a bite to eat, there’s plenty more to do and see. There are four historic structures on the premises, three of which are in the process of being restored. You can get a guided tour. And because the farm was home to three of Connecticut’s best-known artists the last of which was Sperry Andrews, visitors can “Take Part in Art” Thursdays through Sundays with colored pencils and pastels or watercolor paints.
Wherever you find your open space, enjoy time spent outdoors with the ones you love this summer. And don’t forget to pack a lunch!