Favorite Summer Escapes to Enjoy in Washington: 2024 Edition

Summer is officially here! Take a look at some of our favorite things to do around town during these idyllic, lazy days of summer. From exploring nature and the great outdoors, to inspiration from arts & culture, great dining experiences, and more. Washington offers a perfect summer escape for every interest.

For the nature lover

Our abundance of beautiful landscapes, hiking trails, and pristine preserves await for you to explore. Start with a hike at the Hidden Valley Preserve where you can cross the Henry David Thoreau Footbridge, hike along the riverbanks and hillsides of Washington at Steep Rock Preserve, and climb up to Waramaug’s Rock at Macricostas Preserve where you can catch an incredible panoramic view of Lake Waramaug at sunset.

At Lake Waramaug State Park you can visit for the day to enjoy kayaking, swimming, fishing, and biking or running the loop around the lake. The lake is one of the few Connecticut Heritage Lakes and offers breathtaking views. To extend your stay, you can camp out at the Lake Waramaug Campground.


For a romantic weekend

If you and your special someone want to explore Washington together, there are a number of romantic spots to visit. Start with the Mayflower Inn & Spa, the perfect background for romance. Indulge in spa and self-care treatments together at THE WELL and make reservations for a romantic al fresco dining experience in the garden. Or pack your own picnic and enjoy a meal with a view at some of our favorite scenic picnic spots in Washington.

During your weekend getaway, be sure to visit Hopkins Vineyard to enjoy wine and charcuterie platters while overlooking beautiful Lake Waramaug. For something to satisfy your sweetie’s sweet tooth, check out the gourmet chocolates and candies at Sweeets in New Preston!

And tune in for a romantic summer afternoon at Music on the Green on Fridays in June and July. For more fun summer events, view our Events Calendar.


For the history buff

Washington is just the place to be if you love New England’s rich history. Visit the Gunn Historical Museum to see the award winning exhibit, “Washington, Connecticut – An American Story” to learn about the unique people, places and events that have shaped Washington’s rich history, or head over to the Institute for American Indian Studies to discover the traditions of Native American cultures.

In the afternoon, take a stroll through New Preston Hill Historic District and the Washington Green to get a glimpse of unspoiled colonial Connecticut. The pristine architectural styles in Washington’s historic districts offer a step back to simpler times.


For art lovers

Washington is a town that is steeped in arts and culture! View the latest exhibits on display at the Washington Art Association and Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens, and visit the leading gallery and consultant on Post-War and Contemporary Art at Eckert Fine Art + Consulting. For a more hands on experience, take part in an art class or workshop at the inspiring Hollister House Garden.


For the foodie

For the foodie on the prowl for new culinary experiences, Washington is the perfect destination! Go on an outdoor dining adventure, with your first stop Marty’s Cafe or The Po Cafe for a delicious breakfast and coffee as you watch the world go by. For lunch, enjoy a fun ambiance at The Owl Wine & Food Bar or a classic burger at White Horse Country Pub. For dinner, enjoy a farm-to-table experience at the Community Table or American classics at GW Tavern.

Don’t miss the Washington Farmers Market at Judy Black Park every Saturday from 9:30am-12:30pm where you’ll find a selection of baked goods, fresh produce, specialty cheeses, and much more. And visit our incredible gourmet shops including The Pantry, The Smithy, and The Po Cafe where you’ll find freshly made prepared foods for a delicious picnic and to-go meals to take home!

View all the wonderful restaurants in Washington

The Po Cafe by @basicallytot
White Horse Tavern

For the family

For a summer adventure with the family, enjoy a day at Lake Waramaug State Park to soak up the sunshine and take a dip in the water. You can even stay overnight at the campgrounds to get a true New England summer experience! Or immerse yourself in nature and explore the beautiful preserves of the Steep Rock Association.

To keep the kids entertained, bring them to the Institute for American Indian Studies to learn something new and take part in the Wigwam Escape Room. Or go on a stroll through New Preston Village and Washington Depot to browse the shops. Make sure to visit the Hickory Stick Bookshop, filled with the latest best-sellers and classic books genres for all ages and interests. While you’re there, pick up a new board game or puzzle set for the whole family to enjoy!

And for a fun evening together, tune in for an outdoor movie night at Judy Black Park! View the 2024 Outdoor Movie Night schedule

Wigwam Escape

For more things to do this summer, view our Events Calendar to see what’s coming up in Washington!


Enjoy your summer escape to Washington!

Share your experiences with us by tagging us at @explorewashingtonct