Connecticut State Parks

Connecticut State Park Journeys: Connecticut Valley Railroad State Park

Locally this is referred to as the Essex Steam Train and I did not know until more recently the actual name and that it’s considered a state park. Awesome! I have been on the train many times for their super popular Christmas train. One autumn I dragged some family on the train and boat ride for a fall tour; that ride was my favorite of them all. I have yet to do the dinner train but it’s on my list.

The grounds are beautifully decorated for autumn, highly recommend going in the fall!

If you’ve ever only done the Essex Christmas train I highly recommend the autumn train and boat ride and buy tickets early 🙂

Connecticut State Parks

Connecticut State Park Journeys: Sleeping Giant State Park

It’s possible Sleeping Giant is the Connecticut State Park I’ve been to the most! Autumn is my favorite time to go, as you can see from these pictures from fall 2020. The park is huge and I haven’t done nearly close to all the trails. I prefer to go here without the kids so I can do some serious hiking.

My sister and I did over seven miles one day this past fall. We like to skip the main parking lot and park at the Chestnut Lane entrance. Not much parking at that trail head but we are usually the only ones. Maybe I should keep that a secret 🙂

If you are wondering about the name, it is because the entire park, from afar, looks like a sleeping giant on the sky line. I have a picture of it as seen from Castle Craig:

Not the best picture but I hope you can get the idea
Quarry ruins
The autumn trees get me every year

I love when a state park as their own association and website. Check out for all you need to know about Sleeping Giant!

Connecticut State Parks

Connecticut State Park Journeys: Silver Sands State Park

A favorite local beach of ours! I went several times summer 2020 and hope and pray the construction is done for summer 2021. Highly recommend going at least once during low tide and walking out to the island. Make sure to wear some kind of water shoe. I went in flip flops and they kept coming off; can’t go barefoot, so many rocks.

At high tide the tide pools are fun to explore!
Very scenic! Would be great for professional photos 🙂

I recommend going in the morning if you want to avoid a larger crowd. Maybe we’ll see you there this summer!