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Best Outdoor Attractions in Connecticut | 2014 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Outdoor Attractions in Connecticut | 2014 Editors’ Choice Awards
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The Nutmeg State has plenty to offer in the Great Outdoors. Read our picks for the best outdoor attractions in Connecticut for 2014.

BEST LAKESIDE PARK:
ROSELAND PARK, Woodstock

Well-shaded picnic tables, a small playground, and a gazebo all offer calming views of a boating lake. Need exercise? Jog across the street to a nine-hole golf course. Roseland Park Road. 860-928-4130; townofwoodstock.com/things-to-do/-roseland-park.html; woodstockgc.com

BEST FOREST FLOWER HIDEAWAY:
RHODODENDRON SANCTUARY, Voluntown

Follow the Nehantic Trail in early July to walk amid tree-tall blooming rhododendrons, or later stroll the hushed evergreen-lined paths that start at Lowden Brook picnic area and lead to Mount Misery. Offers wheelchair access. 219 Ekonk Hill Road. 860-376-4075; ctgov/deep

BEST CANOE & KAYAK:
Collinsville Canoe & Kayak, Collinsville

Right next to the store, dip your paddle into the smoothly flowing Farmington River in a rented canoe or kayak. Or join guided day tours around the state to Great Island in the Connecticut River or along the coastline of Long Island Sound. 41 Bridge St. 860-693-6977; cckstore.com

BEST SWIMMING POND:
WADSWORTH FALLS STATE PARK, Middletown

Swim and picnic at the park’s small stream-fed pond; then follow the easy path to cool, diminutive Little Falls. Note sedimentary rock formations that mirror the region’s geologic development million of years ago. 721 Wadsworth St. 860-663-2030; ct.gov/deep/wadsworthfalls

BEST FARM & FOREST GAME RESERVE:
Action Wildlife Foundation, Goshen

Large pens contain emus, llamas, and ibexes, plus more than two dozen other species. There’s a trophy museum showcasing elephant, zebra, and bear scenes. 337 Torrington Road. 860-482-4465; actionwildlife.org

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