25 Free and Inexpensive Summer Activities in Connecticut (Fairfield County)
I’m no mathematician, but 3 little girls X 2 weeks of summer camp X 3 weeks of swimming lessons X 3 new bathing suits = a whole lot of money. So now I’m on the hunt for summer activities that won’t (further) break the bank. Happily, there are lots of options here in Fairfield County for summer fun that aren't prohibitively expensive!
Amongst our favorite summer activities are the summer concert series that many area towns sponsor. Bring a picnic, a blanket, and spend an evening with friends and family enjoying music in some lovely venues. Concerts are held weekly in New Canaan, Stamford, Trumbull, and Danbury, and feature a variety of musical styles including jazz, country, pop and classical.
If you enjoy the theater, there are a few summer events to consider. Shakespeare on the Sound, a renowned summer theater company, will be performing Romeo and Juliet in Greenwich (June 26-July 8th) and Rowayton (July 18-29). The performances are outside - bring a blanket and picnic! - and admission is free, though donations are requested.
Also offering delightful theater is the Summer Theater of New Canaan. Tickets are somewhat costly, but if you opt for lawn seating, tickets can be had for $25/each, AND, dads go free on Father's Day! This season's performances include My Fair Lady, Pinkalicious, and The Wizard of Oz.
Looking for more Father's Day activities? Consider Bridgeport's Beardsley Zoo, where dads get free admission on Father's Day (June 17th). Or check out the RCA Rowayton Fun Run, where you can choose either a 4 mile run, or a 2.2 mile run (kids under 15 can only do the shorter run). Adult registration is $10, children's registration is $5.
A week prior to Father's Day weekend, on June 9th, Connecticut is sponsoring Open House Day! Many museums and historic sites statewide will be offering free admission. Amongst the participating museums are the Bruce Museum, the Danbury Museum and Historical Society, and the CT Audubon Society.
What's summer without a fair or two? We suggest kicking off the summer at June 2nd's FunFest sponsored by Grace United Methodist Chuch in Fairfield. The FunFest features bouncy houses, arts and crafts, and a magic show. At the tail end of summer, head out to Norwalk's Oyster Festival, which is a a fantastic carnival offering ferris wheels, roller coasters, and carnival games, as well as tons of fair food. Technically not in Fairfield County but worth the short drive across the county line is the FREE CT Summer Fun Expo on June 3rd hosted by Mommy Poppins CT and Westfield CT Post mall in Milford. Spend the day learning about fun places to visit this summer in the state. Enjoy a family concert, loads of free raffle prizes, arts and crafts and a carnival on-site!
One of my kids' all-time favorite things to do on a summer night is head to an outdoor movie. While drive-ins are a thing of the past, several Fairfield County towns offer outdoor movie screenings in the summer. The Shelton Youth Service Bureau sponsors a weekly outdoor summer movie starting July 14th. Movies start around 8:30pm; bring blankets and food! More outdoor movies can be found in Fairfield, where the town sponsors 4 Sand, Jam and Family Movie Nights. Kick off your evening at 6:30 with music and dancing on the beach, followed by a family friendly movie when the sun goes down. Whose kids wouldn't sleep well after an evening like that?
Summer reading is a must for all - and lots of local libraries have great summer reading programs for kids. Check out the programs offered via the libraries of New Canaan, Brookfield, Ridgefield, and Darien.
My smallest editors (my children) are aghast that I've yet to mention the 4th of July fireworks that are in the area. Not to worry, there are several firework displays! New Canaan, Fairfield, Danbury, and Norwalk, all host Independence Day fireworks (note that Danbury holds their firework display in late June, not on the 4th itself).
My busy little editors have another addition to the list: farmers' markets! We love visiting nearby farmers' markets...it's fun to pick out produce for the week and try new foods. And I can usually be talked into buying a lemonade for the kids...happiness all around! The Fairfield Green Food Guide offers a comprehensive list of area farmers' markets - we've found that the markets in Ridgefield, Darien and Greenwich have all been fantastic.
So there you have it...some low and cost - and even free! - events to enjoy this summer in Fairfield County. Happy summertime!