Connecticut is best known for amazing historic sites from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, but the state also has a wide array of outdoor and teambuilding adventures perfect for meeting groups.
The compact state also offers up myriad settings for group fun, according to Connecticut CVB President Robert Murdock.
Murdock noted that Connecticut has an abundance of locations that appeal to groups, “from sandy beaches of the Long Island Sound, to entertainment at two of the world’s largest casinos, to cruising on the Connecticut River, to hiking the foothills of the green Berkshire Mountains."
Extreme Bonding in Greater Hartford
In the capital city of Hartford, groups can enjoy a trip aboard Lady Katharine Cruises and discover the beauty of the Connecticut River.
The cruise line also caters to corporate events, including receptions and meals.
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For groups that want to experience more of the river up close and personal, River Recapture offers several programs, including group rowing events, a dragon boat challenge and the Riverfront Adventure Program, featuring challenge courses and teambuilding training.
One of the newest trends in indoor adventure activities is ax throwing, and Hartford aims to please with Pine & Iron Axe Throwing, a facility guaranteed to bring out anyone’s inner mountain man. The facility offers four lanes that can accommodate up to four people per lane, or planners can rent out the entire place for teambuilding or off-site fun.
Just south of Hartford, groups can get their workout going at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland. This outdoor adventure park is set in an old quarry that has been transformed into a nature lover’s paradise. On land, attendees can tackle rock climbing and ziplines, or get into the water for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Adventure Mystic
More daring attendees can participate in cliff diving, and planners can arrange blindfolded kayak relay races for teambuilding—a much saner version of the Bird Box Challenge?
In nearby Middletown, the Empower Leadership Sports and Adventure Center features tree climbing, rappelling, scavenger hunts and the state’s only guided zipline adventure.
If attendees prefer their climbing adventure indoors, New Haven offers a truly unique experience: Jordan’s Furniture has an indoor adventure ropes course in the store.
As the largest indoor ropes course in the world, the facility features two 60-foot-high ropes courses, swinging beams, bridges, plank walking, four ziplines, a double cat walk, four climbing walls and much more.
For extreme thrills, there’s even a 50-foot-high free-fall jump from the highest level to the course exit, and the entire course experience is accentuated with lighting and music.
At Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield, attendees can hit the slopes for some winter fun, from skiing to old-fashioned tubing. Planners can arrange group lessons for attendees new to skiing or snowboarding.
For those who want something different, the park also offers snowbiking lessons and rentals.
In warmer months, the park offers mountain bike trails, kayaking, ziplines and obstacle courses. Also in the area is Ski Mount Southington, which arranges group or corporate events and ski days for as few as 15 attendees.
Eastern Connecticut Teambuilding Activities
The eastern side of the state also offers plenty of outdoor activities for groups. In the northeastern corner is Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, home of NASCAR and the first asphalt high-banked oval course in the U.S.
Groups can take advantage of the park’s Exotic Car Driving Experiences, which allows attendees to drive cars like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini on an autocross cone course.
Planners can arrange experiences like participating in a racing school, driving American muscle cars or stock cars, rental of the entire track, catered meetings and banquets, or even a golf day on the park’s 18-hole golf course.
Further south are Connecticut’s two famed casinos: Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort near Uncasville, and Foxwoods Resort Casino near Preston. While casinos aren’t usually associated with athletic adventure, these two have expanded with world-class facilities, whether attendees enjoy over-the-top thrills or more low-key feats of skill.
Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Extreme Adventures complex can get anyone’s blood pumping with a sky launch that takes guests more than 10 stories high before a heart-pounding free fall, or the Sky Drop, a human catapult. The complex also features the HighFlyer Zipline, which consists of four parallel lines where guests can achieve speeds up to 60 mph.
After that hair-raising experience, attendees can go for the XD Dark Ride, a group multi-sensory game that brings the thrills of multiplayer role gaming to the real world, or ride go-karts at Monza World Class Karting.
Mohegan Sun’s brand-new GAME ON! Complex opens winter 2019 inside the recently opened Earth Expo & Convention Center, perfect for groups who want old-fashioned gaming.
Within 23,000 square feet are ping-pong tables, shuffleboard, an eight-lane luxury bowling alley, billiards, arcade games and other vintage fun. The facility also features a restaurant and bar with craft beers and cocktails.
In Mystic, groups can take to the water aboard the sailing ship ARGIA. Private charters of the schooner are welcome. Cruises take guests through the calm waters of Fishers Island Sound to spot lighthouses, islands and Mystic’s historic culture of sailing and seafaring.
The area is also home to Adventure Mystic, which offers several outdoor group activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and bike tours.
For groups, Adventure Mystic can arrange yoga sessions on stand-up paddleboards or night paddles on the Mystic River by the light of the full moon.
Argia Mystic Cruises in Connecticut
For landlubbers, Mystic also offers Fields of Fire Aerial Adventure Park, set on 50 lush acres of woodlands and only 15 minutes from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.
The park’s five courses range in skill level from beginner to advanced, and groups can combine the courses with team-building activities for a full day.
For those who live on the wild side, the park also offers night climbing.
Tubing, Hiking and Racing Across Connecticut
West of the I-91 corridor is the town of New Hartford and Farmington River Tubing, a sport anyone can master. Planners can arrange an expedition of specialty river tubes down the scenic Farmington River. The trip includes tubing through three sets of rapids. Afterward, attendees can dry out along the stunning Tunxis Trail in nearby Barkhamsted.
The hike is 4.4 miles roundtrip and winds through a peaceful evergreen forest, eventually ending at Indian Council Caves.
The trail is popular with hikers for its soothing, quiet surroundings, but if groups want to try a different trail, there are many on offer. There are 130 miles of trails in the area along 34 different trail combinations.
Further west in Cornwall is Mohawk Mountain Ski Area, which offers group lessons and rentals for any skill level. Planners can rent a variety of spaces for events, from the Main Lodge, which can accommodate up to 500, to smaller, more intimate spaces.
Along the southwestern shore of Connecticut and Long Island Sound, Stamford roars with racing fun at the newly opened RPM Raceway Stamford.
This isn’t a traditional go-kart spot by any means; these Italian, state-of-the-art machines zoom through tracks designed just like auto racing courses.
The facility offers nearly 4,000 square feet of space in three rooms for meetings or events, so groups can get business done before they hit the fast track to fun.
Connecticut CVB Contact Information
Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau