By Gillian Burdett

Summer is vacation time. Even if your work schedule only has room for a long weekend “staycation,” you need time away from ordinary life to adjust your perspective, reinvigorate and re-create yourself.  Lounging on a beach may be fine for some, but if the sands of Hammonasset leave you restless, if you need to be alive in the moment with adrenaline-pumping action, you have options that don’t require traveling to Acapulco for cliff diving or hiring a Sherpa to lead you up Everest. You will find plenty of thrills no further than an hour’s drive from anywhere in Connecticut. If your bucket list is filled with adventures, you’ll want to check out these spots.

Lime Rock Park Race Track
60 White Hollow Road
Lakeville, CT 06039

Get out of the bleachers and onto the track. The speedway at Lime Rock Park, Paul Newman’s home track, lets you live out your NASCAR fantasy without fear of a speeding ticket. Lime Rock has facilities for beginners and drivers with track experience. Several motor clubs run High Performance Driving Events that group drivers by experience level and offer non-competitive “races” controlled for safety. Rental vehicles are available, but most run their own street cars. Lime Rock hosts a few different driving schools if you want to take your need for speed to the next level and become competitive.

Lake Compounce
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT 06010
(860) 583-3300

Historic Lake Compounce has been thrilling visitors for 170 years and is home to Boulder Dash, a five-time winner in the Golden Ticket Awards’ Best Wood Coaster category. The park’s newest addition, Phobia Phear Coaster, is a must-ride for thrill seekers. The triple-launch coaster careens at speeds up to 65 mph taking riders through loops and corkscrews. You’ll travel backwards, forwards and upside down at dizzying heights. If you’re looking for a coaster with lots of airtime, this is the one. It is a fast, short ride guaranteed to blast you through any phobias you may have about hanging upside down 150 feet in the air.

The Adventure Park
4450 Park Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 690-1717

Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum is one of the most elaborate aerial adventure courses in New England.  Climb a ladder to the main platform and take your pick from 11 trails of varying skill levels. In all, the Adventure Park has 161 challenge bridges and 21 zip lines. Younger kids can get in on the action on The Labyrinth, a crazy jungle gym that offers challenges for the 5- to 9-year-old crowd. For a truly spectacular zip through the treetops, the park stays open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with LED lights guiding the way.

Related:  Top Connecticut Mountain Biking Spots

Farmington River Tubing
92 Main St.
New Hartford, CT 06057
(860) 693-6465

Farmington River Tubing will send you down a three-mile stretch of river through three sets of rapids on a specially designed inner tube. When you’re not being tossed around by pounding white water, you can lay back and swirl past thick forests and scenic rock outcroppings. The total ride runs between one and one-half to two and one-half hours, depending on the water level. The company provides the tube, life jacket and shuttle bus to return riders back to the starting point at the end of the ride. Note: This is a cash-only business, no credits cards or personal checks are accepted. The cost is $20 per person. A second trip on the same day costs $10. Farmington River Tubing opens Memorial Day weekend and continues through mid-September. Be sure to call ahead as operations may be closed due to poor weather or river conditions

Connecticut Parachutists
360 Somers Road
Ellington, CT 06029
(860) 871-0021

For the ultimate rush, nothing can beat jumping out of an airplane at14,000 feet. Connecticut Parachutists will provide all the training you need to make a tandem jump over the farmlands of Ellington. The Connecticut Parachutists skydiving club has been operating out of Ellington Airport for nearly 50 years and has a professional staff safety-certified by the U.S. Parachute Association. These are the pros you want for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Related: The Two-Day Hike: What To Bring And Why To Bring It