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Small But Mighty: Connecticut State Parks System

Connecticut is a fascinating one in the story of America. It contains multitudes and dichotomies and, while small, covers a lot of ground, figuratively. 

It’s a part of New England, the southernmost part, but it’s also a part of the tri-state area with New York and New Jersey. It’s a state of wealth, the richest one on average, with sprawling estates lining the posh neighborhoods of Stamford and Greenwich, just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It’s also a blue-collar state, filled with working-class folks from Hartford to Bridgeport. 

Additionally, the Constitution State boasts some of the most beautiful shorelines on the East Coast and some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Northeast. 

With a human history dating back centuries and a colonial history dating back to the beginning of European settlement, Connecticut’s story is as timeless as the North American continent.

It would come as no surprise to learn that within its relatively small borders, Connecticut contains a wealth of historical and natural treasures just waiting to be enjoyed, learned from, and experienced. Many of these treasures can be found in its State Parks system.

Below are some State Park must-sees in the Land of Steady Habits!

Natchaug State Forest: A singular state with a myriad of stories to tell dating back hundreds of years, Connecticut is chock full of small oddities and little-known facts sprinkled throughout its landscapes. For instance, this site contains the remains of the birthplace of General Nathanial Lyon, who was the first union general killed in the American Civil War. Today, the forest is a popular spot for horseback riding enthusiasts and anglers of all types. It contains some of the best riding trails and fishing holes around, conveniently located near the junction of the Bigelow and Still Rivers. This hidden gem is a can’t-miss!

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Kent Falls State Park: This park is home to one of the most majestic waterfalls in the northeastern U.S.! With more than 250 feet of cascading water, Kent Falls is a sight to behold. Hiking and fishing are popular activities, with the spring and fall months being the most popular due to the volume of water from the spring rains and the turning foliage in the autumn months. Kent Falls is also one of the most scenic sites in the state and has been featured in numerous television and magazine spots advertising Connecticut’s beauty.

Photo Courtesy Connecticut State Parks

Beckley Furnace Industrial Monument: Step back into time and learn about the industry that quite literally kept America running some 150 years ago at this spot. This iron furnace, which operated from 1847 to 1919, made the giant iron railroad car wheels that gained prominence for their superiority and durability. The work done at this long-defunct location was integral in building the machinery that precipitated the westward expansion of the U.S. during the 19th century and is partly responsible for the “sea to shining sea” of America today. Visitors can tour the furnace and learn about this fascinating and vitally important industry from a time long past.

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