When you have a big family, vacations can be financially elusive. But being homeschoolers, we have learned to create great opportunities from any local activity or event.

As we prepare for another autumn of nature study, I recently conducted a search of Squidoo lenses on hikes and trips that can be undertaken in the state of Connecticut and the rest of New England.  Here are my favorite articles:

Hiking All About Connecticut

  • An Easy Walk in Eastern Connecticut” takes the reader through the Rhododendron Sanctuary in Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. The highlight of this hike is, of course, the native rhododendrons that populate the trail side.
  • Haley Farm State Park” in Groton is an easy, level walk through a historic farm site, bringing the visitor through a meadow and alongside a pond.
  • For the more adventurous (and those wishing for more exercise!) there’s “We Climbed Mount Misery,” a photo essay on the author’s climb of Mount Misery in Pachaug State Forest. The hike presents a great opportunity to see some of the glacial erratics of New England.
  • Dinosaur State Park, Connecticut” is famous for being one of the biggest fossil trackways in the world. But this park in Rocky Hill also has an outstanding set of nature trails that wind through a marsh and the local forest. Great family hiking, even for very small children. See “Follow Those Tracks!” for my family’s experience at Dinosaur State Park.
  • In our town of Willington, the Fenton-Ruby Park and Preserve winds throughout glacial erratics of the Fenton River area, alongside a pond that sports a beaver dam, and over corduroy roads built and maintained by the local Eagle Scouts. A highlight is the foundation and ruins of a colonial era homestead. Read more about our family’s visit in “The Power of Observation: Life in a Tiny Ecosystem.”

Other Connecticut Fun

  • I love country fairs, farmer’s markets and other local seasonal festivities. “Connecticut Arts and Crafts Fairs and Festivals” lists crafts fairs scheduled for 2012. Couple a nature hike with a country fair in the same area– fun for the whole family.
  • For other Connecticut hike and trip ideas, see how our family turned a year’s worth of family activities, small and grand, into a ton of homeschool field trips in “Finding Fun, Free Field Trips Close to Home.”

In Search of… Fall Foliage in New England

Road Trip!

  • If you are taking your nature studies on the road, “New England Road Trip” lists the highlights you should include for each state on your “tour.”

While you are traveling, practice random acts of wildflower planting! Uncommon Goods has Wildflower Seed Bombs for “guerrilla gardening,” launching of bags of wildflower seeds especially formulated for your region of the United States. Each kit includes two bags, and each bag has 5 clay balls imbedded with a special formulation of wildflower seeds to transform a roadside, vacant lot or hedgerow near you.

Wildflower Seed Bombs, from Uncommon Goods. $14 for a set of two bags. Click photo for ordering information.

Huge Discounts on Fall Travel! Save $15* with Promo Code FALL15. Book Now