Vacations are canceled (or at least drastically scaled back), gas is cheap and you’re looking for a change of scenery a day trip away from home. Here’s a look at some places to explore right on or just across the Connecticut border. Pack some food and drinks and make a day of it!

Massachusetts

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The namesake falls of Campbell Falls State Park Reserve are just over the border in Massachusetts.

Campbell Falls State Park ReserveNorfolk and New Marlborough

The Whiting River thunders over a rocky gorge creating Campbell Falls, one of the most scenic waterfalls in the area. The falls were a gift to both Connecticut and Massachusetts by Alain White, the man who created the White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center in Litchfield.

The trail passes under huge white pines and past granite state-border markers to the bottom of the 62-foot-high falls, which are geographically in Massachusetts. Be sure to check out the stone bridge at the top of the falls and explore the woods around the falls.

Access from: Spaulding Road, Norfolk

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Bartholomew's Cobble, Sheffield, Massachusetts. General view of a ledge with ferns and other plants.

Bartholomew’s CobbleSheffield

The cobble, located on the banks of the Housatonic River, is one of the National Park Service’s National Natural Landmarks. Even though most of the cobble is over the border of North Canaan, the top of the 1,000-foot-high Hurlburt’s Hill — with a stunning view of the Massachusetts mountains into Vermont — is in Connecticut.

The 329-acre preserve has 5 miles of trails with more than 800 plant species recorded including the greatest natural concentration of ferns in the country, according to the NPS.

Access from: 105 Weatogue Road in Sheffield

Cat Rocks, Union and Southbridge

Unique rock formations and a scenic pond highlight this trip through Bigelow Hollow State Park and the Nipmuck State Forest into Massachusetts.

Hikers traverse the deep forests along the “Ridge Trail” from the state park to the top of Peter Rabbit Rock to Cat Rocks, a formation made of huge boulders and named after the wildcats believed to pounce among them years ago. A return trip along the banks of the peaceful and scenic Breakneck Pond is a welcome respite.

Access from: 298 Bigelow Hollow Road

NEW YORK

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Deer Pond Farm.

Deer Pond Farm Preserve, Sherman and Pawling

This Connecticut Audubon Society preserve includes 835 acres across the two states with 10 miles of hiking trails in each of the Connecticut and New York portions traversing through hardwood forests, meadows and swamps. A high point of 1,200 feet offers superb views into both states.

Access from: 57 Wakeman Hill Road in Sherman

Overmountain Conservation AreaAncramdale

A trio of rises including Round Ball Mountain, Fox Hill and Kite Hill give beautiful views of the Hudson Valley and the Catskill and Taconic mountains. There are more than 10 miles of trails at the 1,700-acre preserve. The American kestrel, the smallest falcon in North America, is often perched on wires near open grasslands.

Access from: 138 Cattalino Road

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Leon Levy Preserve in Lewisboro, New York

Leon Levy PreserveLewisboro

Explore a 370-acre preserve with 5 miles of trails passing foundations of cabins and a huge stone mansion. Trails pass through a deep ravine with high cliffs and along old carriage roads.

Access from: Route 123 near the junction of Route 35

RHODE ISLAND 

Buck Hill Management Area, Burrillville

If you’re looking to explore more of the area around the marker, visit the 1,777-acre Buck Hill and its 5-7 miles of trails through the forest and the banks of Wallum Lake. The area is good for mountain biking and birding and has access to the 77-mile “North-South Trail” which crosses Rhode Island.

Access from: Buck Hill Road, Burrillville

Sprague FarmChepachet

An old farm-turned-nature preserve takes visitors through 1,300 acres of forest and fields along wooded roads past an Atlantic cedar swamp, stone walls and a half-dozen foundations of old barns and homesteads. The trails also traverse ledges with scenic vistas and cross stone-slab bridges.

Access from: Pine Orchard Road, Chepachet

The Tri-state marker

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Tri-state marker of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

New England’s version of the “Four Corners” is the tri-state marker in the wilds of northeast Connecticut, northwest Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts.

Visitors take a trail south from the Air Line State Park Trail that travels right on the Connecticut/Massachusetts border to a 5-foot-tall granite obelisk with “MASS” on one side, “CONN” on another and “RI” on the third. The year “1883” is etched on two of the sides. Feel free to take video of yourself jumping into each state.

Access from: East Thompson Road in Thompson. Park at the Air Line Trail head near New Road and follow the railroad bed to the east. 

This article appeared in the July 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.