My husband and I took a weekend trip celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary! The weather was cool and crisp making it the perfect fall weekend to visit and definitely helped in creating a relaxing and romantic vibe 💗 We had a great time exploring the town and nearby areas. Whether you're traveling with kids or as a couple, there are so many fun things to see and do in Mystic, CT!!
Mystic, CT is a charming, New England coastal town that runs along the Mystic river. The town itself is small, however, it is one of my favorite towns to walk through because of how adorable and charming it is. It offers many quaint shops, bakeries, cafes and restaurants to visit and explore.
During the summer season, the town is more active with visitors exploring beaches, boating, vineyards and parks. The fall season may be cooler, but offers a more chill and relaxed vibe- where you'll be more likely visiting breweries, local cider mills, farms and maybe taking a spooky walk.
Mystic is home to a famous Bascule drawbridge built in 1922, connecting the Stonington side and the Groton side of Mystic. You might get a chance to see the drawbridge stop traffic and allow boats to pass by. Just make sure your on the right side when it does goes up, or you'll be waiting a bit for it to go back down! Either way, it's a pretty neat sight to watch this drawbridge in action!
Things to do in Mystic, CT
Mystic Seaport Museum-
Visiting this museum is one of the most popular thing to do in Mystic. The museum was established in 1929 and is known for its incredible collection of sailing ships and boats. It's the largest maritime museum in the United States. The seaport includes a re-created 19th century whaling and seafaring village, working shipyard and is home to hundreds of historic watercraft.
The village is made up of historians and storytellers, so that visitors can walk through this re-created New England coastal village and experience what it was like living and earning from the sea.
Other museum exhibits include the last wooden whaling ship in the entire world called the Charles W. Morgan, a replica of a local lighthouse, underwater sea research and maritime history.
*Feel free to take advantage of cruising the river with a rowboat rental- which is included with your museum ticket. If not, you can opt to take a guided sailing tour for an extra charge.
This Aquarium may be small, but it is big in character! There are so many exhibits to explore like Seals, Sea Lions, Sharks, Sting Rays, African Penguins, coral reefs and more. Its a great way to spend the day!
Its home to New England's only Beluga whale exhibit as well as two sea lion exhibits. There's also multiple touch tanks- which everyone can try or not! The exhibits are both indoors and out, making the best out of the animals natural habitats. A unique feature of this aquarium are the exhibits themselves. Many of the exhibits have a narrator explaining details about the animals - such a fun way to learn especially for little ones ; )
If you want a closer and more intimate look with the animals, try a personal encounter with California Sea Lions, African Penguins or Harbor Seals. Reserve a 30-minute experience with an animal professional to learn more about these amazing animals. Recommended for ages 6 and up. And yes there is a fee for this experience!
This aquarium is fun for all ages and the Sea Lion show is informative and entertaining!
*For dining options you can eat at their Salt Water Cafe or if you brought lunch - you can head over to the designated picnic area!
Tree Trails Adventures-
If your a thrill seeker, go on an adventure where you'll be climbing and zip-lining through the trees in this amazing Adventure Park located in Mystic, Ct. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced, this adventure park offers 5 courses to choose from. There's something for everyone : )
*Try a night climb or glow in the dark experience - where you'll climb with glow lights and a d.j.
Visit the Vineyards-
Salt Water Farm Vineyard
is set in a gorgeous renovated old airplane hanger. Which is located in Stonington about a 10 minute drive from Mystic. The upstairs tasting room overlooks their beautiful rows of vines. While, we were visiting the vineyard, there was a wedding taking place. We actually witnessed the moment a bride and groom saw each other for the first time. It was truly something special.
Be sure to check the times, on the weekends as the vineyard tends to close earlier to the public due to private events taking place.
*They absolutely welcome you to bring your own snacks- Obviously, you can not bring your own wine!
is located on beautiful grounds offering many places to relax and enjoy your glass of wine during the warmer months. The tasting room inside offers more of a cozy vibe where you can sit by the fireplace with your glass of wine and some snacks.
*You can bring your own snacks as well!
Argia Mystic Cruise-
Take a cruise on this traditional 81 foot sailing ship which holds almost 50 people. The views are stunning to see along the Mystic coastline and listening to the stories were so captivating! Captain Jack and his crew were professional, friendly and knowledgeable. If your looking for something more romantic- definitely book the sunset cruise!
*You're more than welcome to bring a small picnic basket carrying snacks or a small cooler with beer or wine. Check out their website for more details!
Historic Downtown Mystic-
Take a stroll on Main Street through this quaint and charming town and visit one of the whimsical shops along your way. The town boasts an older vibe, which is one of the reasons I love Mystic. There are some newer shops popping up and bringing more of a modern and lively feel to this old town charm. Make a stop for lunch or dinner before you head out- there's multiple options to choose from!
Mystic Dark Room-
If your looking for an out of the ordinary experience for date night -you must get tickets for this cabaret style show. Its located in a performance art theatre just minutes away from Mystic. The intimate atmosphere offers all front row seating. You will be entertained by the unique performance!
*Guests are invited to byob - they do provide bottle openers.
Experience the beer at one of the local Breweries-
Bank & Bridge Brewing - What used to be an old bank building has now transformed into this trendy brewery. It has a great location being right on Main Street - not to be missed! Its absolutely beautiful inside and you can clearly see the old vault! There's a menu where you can order appetizers and burgers as well.
*A fun atmosphere to visit, even if its just to grab a few quick beer cans to go!
Barley Head Brewery -
is a nano brewery located in Mystic. If your asking what nano means - no worries... I had no idea what that meant either lol! It simply means they just produce less quantity in a year than a larger size brewery - but that doesn't mean the quality is less!
Its a quaint and cozy vibe inside with the beers changing on a weekly basis. The selection is always diverse aiming at using mostly local and fresh ingredients. If your looking for something different, its worth a stop!
*They do serve hot pretzels or your welcome to bring in your own snacks : )
Visit the Trails At Bluff Point State Park-
Visit Bluff Point Coastal Reserve for beautiful scenery with views of the water. It offers hiking and biking trails. Located approximately 15 minutes from Mystic, it makes a quick day trip. The trail consists of a 3 mile-long loop. Activities include hiking, salt water fishing, mountain biking and shell fishing.
You can only access this bluff by foot or non - motorized vehicle to help preserve the park. Pets are welcome on the trails, but not allowed on the beaches. A note for choosing a trail...the lower trail is flatter (which might be easier) and the higher trail consists of more hills.
* This park is a great spot to watch planes take off and land at the local airport across the way.
There is a fee to visit the park.
Often when people think of Mystic, they think of the movie Mystic Pizza where Julia Roberts starred in. I know I did! The actual filming took place in Stonington - not here in Mystic, however the real life Mystic Pizza building on Main St. was renovated to resemble the movie set.
This is a personal favorite of mine- though it's not the traditional N.Y. slice that I'm used to... its still one of my favorites! All the old movie memorabilia throughout the restaurant gives it a nice ambience. It's a great stop, even if you can only grab a slice to go!
*I love grabbing a pie to go before I head back home on the ferry.
A must stop at Sift Bakery-
Be prepared to wait on a long line out the door. But its definitely worth the wait! You can dine in or take out - this bakery begins baking in the early hours of the morning, so you know everything is served fresh ; ) Plus, there's a coffee shop on premise to go with your baked goods.
Sift is unique because its family-owned by French trained pastry chefs.
Everything is amazing, whether you choose to order their famous French macarons, cookies, pastries, desserts or gourmet sandwiches. Personally, I love their croissants!
Its also the same owners as Young Buns
Doughnuts- which is another delicious treat!
* If your heading their this spring (2023) -check out their brand new rooftop space which includes seating and a bar- and yes alcohol beverages will be served too!
Olde Mistick Village-
Olde Mistick Village is a picturesque outdoor setting that's centered around a pond. Its enjoyable to take a walk around the village because it was inspired by the 1700's colonial period and it was built so no building was the same! The village includes a vast array of shops, dining, entertainment and history.
Looking for some sweets- stop in at the homemade ice-cream or donut shop. Or visit the wood fired pizza place or steak house for something fancier. After you eat, you can catch a movie at the Mystic Luxury Cinemas.
If your looking for a special souvenier- visit one of the 60 shops offering unique gifts. There's something for everyone : ) I loved the general store!
Harry Potter fans or anyone interested in magic must visit this Cloak & Wand store. Make sure to order from the "Potion Bar" where you can create your own magical drinks- (soda and hot chocolate)!
*Olde Mistick Village is pet friendly!
B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill-
Whether your looking to spend a fall day here or just a quick visit- it doesn't get any better than tasing their delicious ciders and amazing apple cider donuts- my favorite : ) They also offer hard cider too! Looking for something special to take home- be sure to grab some locally produced honey as well as other home-made goods.
This family owned mill is the last standing steam powered mill in the U.S. You can make a day out of it and spend an afternoon here at this National Historic Landmark. It's one of conneticut's best examples of living history.
*When visiting be sure to check out the live cider press.
Mystic Museum of Art-
Truly a gem of a find!! Any art lover will enjoy this charming gallery. This museum features both local and famous artists. It's situated right on the river and offers beautiful views of the surrounding water. Take a nice walk after visiting and enjoy the area or stop into Sift bakery on your way out for a delicious treat!
*The museum admission is free, parking is not!
Seaside Shadows Haunted Tours-
If you love spooky stories and goosebumps take a haunted walking tour throughout historic Mystic listening to a mixture of true and spooky tales. The guides (story-tellers) are informative and entertaining! They also offer pub crawls and boat tours to choose from to.
*A must do for anyone interested in paranormal activity.
A quiet and small beach perfect for spending a few hours. The views are stunning and picturesque, especially when visiting in the late afternoon to watch the sunset.
This beach is located in the town of Stonington, just a quick drive from Mystic. Its open all summer with lifeguards on the beaches. You may want to pack a picnic lunch as there are no shops or restaurants located on the beach, however there are a few to choose from close to Water Street (near by).
*There are many rocks in the water- so even though there are life guards its not ideal for swimming-though you still can- just be careful! There's also a fee to access the beach.
Dine at the Ocean House-
If your looking for something unique to do- take a drive to Watch Hill, RI (20 minutes from mystic) to visit this 5 star luxury beachfront resort. The drive is scenic and you'll get a chance to see all the beautiful homes on the water. This hotel is a Relaix & Chateaux property, making it a truly special place to visit.
Open year round this hotel offers incredible views of the ocean. Its a great way to escape for the afternoon and dine in their restaurant. We've visited here the past 2 times for lunch and every time is exceptional!
*After dining you are welcome to walk around the property.
Is Mystic, Ct. worth visiting?
YES, I absolutely love Mystic for the many reasons I listed above! And whether your traveling with friends, as a couple, or with your kids, there's something to do for everyone!! Mystic has an old town charm and offers shopping, dining, an aquarium, a seaport museum and village and a host of outdoor activities/excursions to keep you busy!
When to go?
Really, its a great destination to visit any time of the year. Depending on which season you prefer to travel in will depend what will be open- but, there is still enough to do even if you choose to visit in the winter months : )
Some of my Favorites...
Salt Water Farm Vineyard
A walk through town
Dining at the Ocean house
Grabbing a pie to go from Mystic Pizza
Bluff Point State Park
Some people ask for suggested itineraries- I'm honestly not a fan of making itineraries for people or suggesting exactly what you should do while your there. Everyone's interests and range of activities are all different! Some like adventure and beaches and some like history and visiting spas. That being said - I'm honest in my reviews and what I think are some special and noteworthy places to visit- Its up to you to squeeze in how much or little you want to do with your time! I can say that visiting Mystic will be a memorable trip!
Stay tuned for my next posts on where to dine and stay in Mystic, CT.
Cheers - xoxo