Things To Do In Mystic CT: Top 23 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn

Morgan Point Light, a lighthouse near to Mystic, Connecticut. Sailing around the harbor is one of the best things to do in Mystic, CTIt seems as if everyone and their mom knows about Mystic, Connecticut.

The fact is:

Everyone has heard of Mystic because there are so many things to do in Mystic, CT.

While Mystic Pizza bears some responsibility for its fame, the movie producer only got the idea while visiting Mystic in the first place.

Mystic is New England’s answer to other tourist traps in America:

  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • St. Augustine, Florida

But, as is typical of a state that peddles historic charm, Mystic, CT, is a tourist destination that oozes class, elegance, and charm.

Many of the activities, attractions, and things to do in Mystic, Connecticut, focus on the old industries of whaling, shipbuilding, and anything maritime.

But there’s plenty more to explore close to Mystic. Much of the surrounding farm and woodland is still intact, unique to Connecticut, so vineyards, hiking, and farm visits are an option here.

And there’s still a bit of kitsch to be found, if that’s what you’re into.

Ready to plan your visit to Mystic CT? Read on.

 

things to do in Mystic, CT, map; perfect for visitors to Mystic, Connecticut
Map design by Stanton House Inn

 

Top 10 things to do in Mystic, Connecticut

an old dock in Mystic, Connecticut

With so much to do in Mystic, first-time visitors need a quick list of the attractions that everyone seems to do here.

The majority of these attractions are centered around the historic Mystic River.

The source of this mysterious name is a Pequot term, “missi-tuk”. The term translates to a large river whose waters are driven into waves by tides or wind.

1) Mystic Seaport Museum

flowers in front of a colonial building at the Mystic Seaport MuseumBefore the arrival of tourists, Mystic was one of the pre-eminent shipbuilding centers in America. Various shipyards along the Mystic River built over 600 ships during a 135-year period starting in 1784.

Ten years after shipbuilding ceased, aficionados founded what is now one of the largest maritime museums in the country in 1929.

The Mystic Seaport Museum hosts:

  • A recreated colonial New England coastal village
  • Working preservation shipyard
  • Maritime and artist exhibitions
  • A planetarium
  • Historic gardens
  • Children’s museum
  • The Lantern Light Village, one of the best Christmas lights festivals in CT

But one of the most unique draws of Mystic Seaport Museum is the four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the second item on this list, the Charles W Morgan.

2) Charles W Morgan

The Charles W Morgan is the only wooden whaling ship still in existence. It also bears the title of being the oldest still floating commercial vessel in America.

It’s permanently docked at Mystic Seaport Museum, where it can’t hurt any more whales.

After an extensive refit, visitors can explore the ship to learn more about the whaling lifestyle of the 1800s.

Whale oil was immensely valuable before the widespread use of oil extracted from the ground, and whalers lived a hard life to acquire it.

Visit the ship after reading Moby Dick, then see how cramped of a space the crew endured all to enable a ship captain to pursue a dangerous obsession.

Speaking of which, this ship was built for the average height of the 19th century, so watch your head down below!

3) Mystic Aquarium

beluga whale in the water at Mystic AquariumNot into learning the history of mankind’s efforts to exterminate what’s left of the world’s megafauna?

Then head to the second major attraction built in the Mystic area to keep you occupied: Mystic Aquarium.

This attraction even hosts living whales, of the beluga variety.

Many of the exhibitions are outside, including the belugas and other creatures:

  • Seals
  • Sea lions
  • Penguins
  • The aviary known as Boomerang Island

But a visitor could knock all of these off their list in about 30 minutes if the weather is uncooperative.

Inside exhibits at the Mystic Aquarium include more of the typical fare:

  • Fish
  • Jellyfish
  • Sharks
  • Stingrays

While the Mystic Aquarium is fairly small, it is heavily involved in the work of researching, preserving, and protecting the life of our oceans.

So, there’s no guilt in supporting their mission.

This is the first attraction (of many) on this list that’s also one of the top indoor activities in Connecticut.

4) Mystic River Bascule Bridge

The Mystic River Bascule Bridge, raised to allow an old boat to passSpeaking of small attractions, the Mystic River Bascule Bridge is cool, but not something that will take-up most of your afternoon.

This unique swing bridge follows a similar construction to more famous drawbridges, like the London Bridge.

In the warm months, this bridge lifts every 40 to 60 minutes for boat traffic. So there should be plenty of opportunities to see the Mystic River Bascule Bridge in action while visiting the surrounding downtown.

Preferably with an ice cream cone in hand from one of the many ice cream shops near the Mystic River Bascule Bridge.

5) Historic Downtown Mystic

The view of Mystic River, looking towards Mystic SeaportHistoric Mystic, straddling the eponymous river, exudes quaint charm.

Downtown Mystic is walkable and full of small stores, restaurants, and specialty shops. Some of the most popular ones here include Bank Square Books and the Mystic Army Navy Store.

Mystic’s waterfront park is an ideal location for people watching, or to see the Bascule Bridge in operation.

And yet the main attraction is the architecture of the buildings along Main Street itself. Much of the quaint fishing and whaling village has survived to the present day, and walking around town is a top free attraction here.

6) Mystic Museum of Art

On the edge of downtown Mystic, overlooking the Mystic River, the Mystic Museum of Art is rapidly developing into an attraction in its own right.

While this charming art gallery is petite, the art exhibitions change every few months and display in a gorgeous space festooned with plenty of natural light.

The surrounding manicured gardens are also lovely. Besides, entrance to the Mystic Museum of Art is free, so the only cost of a visit is your time.

An artist colony started the Mystic Museum of Art in 1913, and visitors can participate in one-day art workshops or children’s art classes.

7) Olde Mistick Village

mallard duck at Olde Mistick VillageOutdoor malls are fairly commonplace anywhere in the States. But where else can you find a recreated 18th-century New England village while finishing your Christmas shopping? Sounds rather ideal as a New England winter vacation spot, no?

Olde Mistick Village brings a charmingly quaint feel to the uniqueness of this shopping center. It makes it one of the most unique things to do in southern Connecticut.

The range of shops include:

  • Christmas shop
  • General store with delicious fudge
  • Imported Irish gifts
  • Garden store
  • Pet store

And the experience of walking around Olde Mistick Village is just as pleasant. The owners of the development included such period features as:

  • A replica of a steepled New England meetinghouse
  • Duck ponds
  • Victorian gazebo
  • Waterwheel

And the entire outdoor space is dog friendly, which also lands this spot on our list of the most dog friendly places in Connecticut.

Just be sure to keep your pet away from the ducks.

8) Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

hiker walking along a logThis nature center has been providing guests the opportunity to experience local flora and fauna first hand for nearly 70 years.

A few of the attractions on-site include:

  • Over 10 miles of Connecticut hiking trails
  • The natural history museum
  • Exhibitions such as injured birds of prey like owls and hawks

And yet one of the most unique and mysterious attractions is a nearby archeological site that Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has exclusive access to, as caretakers of the land.

Gungywamp

Gungywamp is an exceedingly confusing site, with artifacts scattered throughout the 100-acre space.

Some of the major things to see at Gungywamp include:

  • Artifacts dating from 2000-770 BC
  • A double circle of large quarried stones
  • A stone chamber featuring an astronomical alignment during the equinoxes
  • Remains of both Native American and colonial American buildings

Due to regular settlement and re-settlement throughout recent history, the site has likely been arranged and rearranged multiple times.

Hence the perennial frustration of archaeologists studying the site.

9) Denison Homestead

Across the road from the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center sits an opportunity to experience yet another piece of 17th century history.

While the inside is interesting, with friendly staff in period dress sharing stories from the house’s long history, the views alone are worth a visit.

Especially in April, when bright, yellow, daffodils surround the Denison Homestead.

10) Seaside Shadows Haunted Tours of Mystic

lantern on cobble stones during a Mystic ghost tourLike other historical attractions on the East Coast:

  • Boston
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Williamsburg, Virginia

Mystic appears to have a larger amount of paranormal activity than the average town.

Or at least better documented ones, for the sake of providing fodder for walking ghost tours of one of the most haunted places in Connecticut.

Whether you believe them or not, ghost stories are a fun way of learning about the local culture: what terrified and mystified locals. It’s also interesting to consider what legends were important enough to keep alive to the present day.

And the Seaside Shadows Downtown Mystic tour is the top walking ghost tour in Mystic.

Connecticut native Courtney McInvale Reardon guides guests on a tour past local Mystic haunts by lantern light.

Spend an evening learning about the events from the 1600s to the present that developed into the best known spooky tales today.

11) Mystic Boat Adventures

Take a personal power boat up the Mystic River for an unforgettable adventure with Mystic Boat Adventures.

You’ll pass by historic landmarks like the Mystic Drawbridge and Mystic Seaport on this Mystic boat tour.

The 3-hour tour provides up-close views of Fishers Island Sound, local lighthouses, and waterways in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. A 1-hour full open water adventure is also available if you’re short on time.

This one-of-a-kind and unforgettable bucket-list adventure is sure to be memorable.

Even more attractions, activities and things to do in Mystic, CT

With the top attractions on your list for your upcoming visit to Mystic, round-out your trip with a few free activities.

Or perhaps you’re planning a more romantic Connecticut getaway?

Either way, this guide has you covered, plus top Mystic restaurants.

Free things to do in Mystic, Connecticut

While visitors don’t equate charming Connecticut with being inexpensive, the most charming towns in Connecticut all feature free things to do.

In fact, more than a few of the top Mystic attractions are free to visitors:

  • Exploring downtown Mystic
  • Walking and watching the Mystic Bascule bridge
  • Wandering through Olde Mistick Village
  • Admiring the Mystic Museum of Art
  • Walking around Mystic Seaport (just be sure to pay the entrance fee to go into buildings)

Some extra free things to do in Mystic, CT, include:

1) Elm Grove Cemetery

sepulcher in a cemeteryThis beautiful cemetery is a short drive away from downtown Mystic, and up the road from Mystic Seaport.

Elm Grove Cemetery is a picturesque work of the Victorian era. It was built during the Rural Cemetery Movement.

The movement created park settings of rolling hills, brooks, and trees. And visitors to Elm Grove Cemetery can still admire the flowers, willow trees, crowns, and trumpeting figures decorating the ornate sepulchers.

The impressive granite memorial arch was an 1890s addition to the entrance.

Today, the park-like atmosphere is worth at least a drive, or better yet a walk, on a nice day. Even those wary of the deceased will appreciate the gorgeous views of Mystic River.

2) Liberty Pole Square

This is admittedly not much of a destination.

But it is a nice place to take a break while wandering around downtown Mystic. The square is at the intersection of Holmes and East Main Street just before heading west across the Bascule Bridge.

The Liberty Pole Square features a large anchor seated on a gray, round, brick platform.

Surrounding the platform is a three foot high stone wall with flat slab stones for sitting and admiring.

The town dedicated this monument to the citizens of Mystic River Valley, who hold in their hearts the precious gift of Liberty.

Thanks to traffic lights, crossing Main Street to appreciate this dedication to liberty may prove a bit difficult.

3) Williams Beach Park

Enjoy some surf, sand, and even a sunset depending on when you visit Williams Beach Park.

This little beach, only 120 feet of shoreline, is the only beach in Mystic proper. And, obviously, the closest of the list of beaches near Mystic CT.

And parking is free, though be prepared to go elsewhere for typical beach amenities like lifeguards and bathrooms.

Some more of the best Connecticut beaches are just a short drive from Mystic, however.

8 of the most romantic things to do in Mystic, CT

With attractions like Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport, visitors sometimes give this town a reputation for being just a family destination.

And while it is, a trip here can also be decidedly romantic.

1) Saltwater Farm Vineyard

100 panoramic acres bordered by tidal marshes, vistas of Long Island Sound, and a cove await at Saltwater Farm Vineyard. The 15 acres of vineyard are planted with six grape varieties, with a popular tasting room on-site.

This top pick of the Connecticut wineries honors its place in Stonington history as coastal Connecticut farmland and a private airport dating from the World War II era.

Regardless of when you visit, you may be so enchanted by this place that you will be planning your wedding here. It is a beautiful (and popular) small CT wedding venue, after all.

2) Uncas Leap at Yantic Falls

Yantic Falls in Norwich, close to Mystic, ConnecticutThis waterfall is a bit of a drive inland from Mystic, in Norwich, Connecticut.

And while the hometown of Benedict Arnold may not be on the top of your list, this is a sweet place to swing-by if you happen to be in town.

Yantic Falls features an easy quarter of a mile trail to a beautiful waterfall, along with a rustic pedestrian bridge, old railroad bridge, and mill buildings converted to apartments.

The Legend of Uncas Leap

Legend has it that Yantic Falls was a favorite camping and battleground for the local Mohegan tribe. In the 1640s, Uncas, Sachem of the Mohegans, led his tribe in battle against the rival tribe of the Narragansetts. Members of the Narragansetts chose to leap to their deaths in the chasm of Yantic Falls than surrender.

The modern falls are part dam and part natural, with a main plunge of 40 feet in height. After the falls, the Yantic River continues through one of the most impressive gorges in the state.

The best time to see the falls is in the winter, when mist freezes on the trees and the water freezes solid in cascades over the rocks.

3) Enders Island

This little island off the coast of Mystic is one of the most unique places in all of Connecticut.

Owned by an organization of Catholic monks, this little island offers a serene and peaceful escape from daily life.

The gardens and sweeping views of Long Island Sound make for a pleasant way to pass an hour or two.

And everything from parking to wandering around is free, as well. That’s why it’s also won the title of one of the best free things to do in Connecticut!

4) Stonington Vineyards

This vineyard is another popular spot for locals, especially for the free concerts on the lawn held each summer.

On a warm afternoon, you’re sure to find plenty of people sitting outside enjoying wine and the gorgeous views, live music in the tasting room, and smiles all around.

5) Harkness Memorial State Park

On the southern end of a peninsula jutting south from nearby New London sits a beautiful turn of the 20th century former estate.

Harkness Memorial State Park features Eolia, a 1906 Roman Renaissance Classical Revival-style mansion. The 304-acre property belonged to philanthropist Edward Harkness before reverting to the state’s care.

The elegant New England summer getaway for the Harkness family includes over 230 acres of sweeping lawns, stately trees, charming gardens, and plenty of space to spread-out.

You’re sure to see more than a few locals taking their engagement photos here.

6) Argia Mystic Cruises

After spending the day exploring one of the largest maritime museums in America, a relaxing cruise aboard an old sailing ship, watching the sunset, seems ideal.

The Argia, an 81-foot traditional sailing vessel, will take you past the islands and lighthouses in CT on Long Island Sound, and give you plenty of fresh air.

The cruise takes about two hours, exploring Fishers Island Sound, then Noank and Groton Long Point. And while a sunset cruise sounds the most romantic, others throughout the day will provide just as interesting an experience.

Just be prepared for a bit of challenge with parking, as the dock is close to the Mystic Bascule Bridge.

Another local option is Poet’s Lounge Sailing Charters.

7) B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill

B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill in Ledyard Connecticut, close to MysticLike anywhere else in Connecticut, Mystic is particularly charming in the Fall.

And one of the most romantic attractions to visit during Fall in Connecticut is without question the B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill.

This attraction, a short drive from Mystic, is the last steam-powered cider mill in America. It earned National Mechanical Engineering Landmark status in 1994.

Be sure to visit on weekends, when the cider mill is operating.

But any day is an opportunity to enjoy the cider, which many claim is the best you’ll ever have. And other unique things to try include:

  • Cider slushies
  • Wine tastings
  • Cider donuts
  • Apple and blueberry butters

This top pick of CT cider mills is a great stop either heading to or from Stonington, the next romantic spot on this list.

8) Stonington

Mystic is actually not a real town.

The village is split between two nearby towns, Groton and Stonington.

And little Stonington, perched on a peninsula jutting into Long Island Sound, is worth visiting on its own.

A quaint holdover from when this area was heavily involved in the 19th century whaling industry, downtown Stonington, Connecticut, features a tightly-packed village of houses of varying architectural styles from its heyday.

15 top Mystic restaurants

pizza served at a restaurant in Mystic, ConnecticutWhile many visitors have come to town to experience Mystic Pizza, there’s much more to Mystic and the area than one pizzeria.

The pizzeria on which the movie is based has long closed, by the way, though there is another Mystic Pizza to visit for Julia Roberts aficionados. TV screens inside of Mystic Pizza show the movie all day, every day.

Seafood and yes, Italian, are major dining mainstays here. Below are some top picks:

1) Anthony J’s Bistro

This upscale restaurant is right off of the waterfront in Mystic. Anthony J’s Bistro specializes in Italian and seafood with a cozy ambience.

2) Oyster Club

The historic clapboard house provides a rustic yet chic venue to try the age-old aphrodisiac. If oysters don’t do it for you, there are plenty of other dishes to choose from. All include ingredients from local farmers and fishermen.

After dinner, enjoy the open air, romantic views of downtown Mystic, and a drink, at the Treehouse, the outdoor deck and bar attached to the Oyster Club.

This restaurant has racked-up plenty of accolades and awards since opening in 2011, including from Travel + Leisure, Connecticut Magazine, and Town and Country.

3) Bravo Bravo

This trendy Italian eatery is situated in the Whaler’s Inn in downtown Mystic. Bravo Bravo prides itself on serving modern seaside cuisine with an Italian twist, like its signature osso bucco. Save room for one of their decadent desserts!

4) Go Fish Restaurant

If looking at live fish all day gives you seafood munchies, Go Fish Restaurant sits across the street from Mystic Aquarium in the Olde Mistick Village shopping center.

As the name suggests, this spacious and colorful spot is a go-to for seafood, including its sushi bar.

5) S&P Oyster Company

This stylish yet affordable option in downtown Mystic offers traditional New England dining. And yet the biggest draw is its extensive kids menu, making S&P Oyster Company one of the most kid-friendly restaurants in Mystic.

6) Engine Room

Connecticut Magazine awarded the Engine Room the accolade of Best American in 2019. This rustic restaurant offers a more casual atmosphere than its award would imply. The menu is full of mouthwatering burgers and sandwiches, matched by a lengthy craft beer menu.

Much of the menu comes from Stone Acres Farm in Stonington, much like Oyster Club and Grass and Bone.

7) Vivian’s Mediterranean Market, formerly known as the Pita Spot

Every town in Connecticut has at least one Mediterranean-style restaurant, and the Pita Spot offered the best Lebanese cuisine in the Mystic area.

As of 2019, the Pita Spot has reinvented itself as Vivian’s Mediterranean Market, serving Lebanese and Italian fare prepared and packaged daily.

So you can still enjoy their cuisine, with your home, hotel room, or vacation rental as the venue!

8) Red 36

Polished American cuisine centered on seafood is what draws diners to Red 36. What keeps them coming back are the waterfront views and the outdoor seating overlooking the harbor.

Connecticut magazine awarded this restaurant multiple accolades in 2019, for best outdoor dining and seafood.

9) Rise

Why skip your weekend morning tradition while on vacation!?

Rise is one of the newer restaurants on this list, but has already won recognition for being one of the best options for breakfast and brunch in the entire state.

The shop was started by a former Oyster Club employee. And its clam-shack vibe is perfectly appropriate, situated by the waterfront.

10) Sift Bake Shop

Locals are just as willing as tourists to wait in line to savor the coffee and baked goods at Sift Bake Shop. Owner Adam Young was the winner of the Food Network’s Best Baker in America title in 2018.

Pretty impressive, and likely explains why Sift also scored a place on Connecticut magazine’s list of best desserts in the state.

11) The Shipwright’s Daughter

A new addition to the roster of dining options at Whaler’s Inn, the Shipwright’s Daughter offers another swanky option to experience the local seafood.

The pork belly, roasted oysters, cod chowder, and lobster roll win plenty of praise from visitors.

12) Ford’s Lobster Restaurant

This lobster shack is not in Mystic.

But Ford’s Lobster Restaurant is only a ten-minute drive away in Noank. And it’s well worth the trip!

The patio-only seating, waterfront views, and laid-back vibe alone make this place unique. But the simple yet stupendous menu includes fish tacos, lobster rolls, and higher-end options like roasted cod over mushrooms.

The most famous menu item is the Bisque Bomb, a half-pound of hot lobster smothered in lobster bisque, and all served in sandwich form.

13) Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream

I’m not one to end a list at 13. And there are more ice cream stands per capita in Mystic than any other town in Connecticut.

But Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream has the best location. It’s right next to the bridge, as the name implies.

14) Fox Farm Brewery

Fox Farm Brewery in rural Salem, Connecticut, is well-known for its high-quality brews. This Connecticut brewery, which is housed in a former industrial dairy barn, is dog and family friendly, with half and full pours available. The tasting room is also accessible by car. Browns, farmhouse ales, pilsners, porters, sours, and stouts are among the beers available at Fox Farm Brewery. The brewery’s friendly staff is always ready to assist customers in making informed decisions about their selection. Despite being thirty minutes northeast of Mystic, Fox Farm Brewery is a must-see for beer lovers.

What about things to do in Mystic, CT, in the winter?

snowy winter viewThe summer months in CT, especially July and August, are busiest at Mystic.

But every time of year has its own appeal in Connecticut, and Mystic is no different.

Winter months mean fewer tourists, so everything from scoring tickets to finding parking is much easier. The exception being December, as Mystic knows how to host Christmas activities in Connecticut.

Provided you’re not attempting to visit during or shortly after a snowstorm.

Most of the attractions that make Mystic so unique are still open in the winter. In fact, such a large number of indoor attractions or places still visitable in the winter make this one of the best choices for Connecticut winter getaways.

Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay in Mystic, CT

historic building in Mystic, CTThis Connecticutian has been to Mystic many a time. And it’s always been a day trip from elsewhere in Connecticut (the town of Greenwich, CT, on the opposite end, in fact).

But if you don’t want to get stuck racing home as the sun sets on a long day of exploring things to do in Mystic, there are plenty of charming inns and boutique hotels close to downtown Mystic. So they’re all within walking distance of Mystic Pizza, for what it’s worth.

Boutique hotels in Mystic, Connecticut

The Whaler’s Inn in Mystic, Connecticut, is a great option for an historic, elegant, and luxurious hotel stay. The inn is right in downtown Mystic, near the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum. It provides amenities such as free coffee and cookies, boxed waters in rooms, discounted tickets to Mystic attractions, and Tesla charging stations.

Bed and breakfasts in Mystic, CT

The Mermaid Inn of Mystic is a charming, historic inn in downtown Mystic that is well-known for romantic getaways. It is located in a charming historic home and provides a convenient and charming stay for couples looking for a memorable Mystic stay.

Taber Inne and Suites is a charming, affordable, and historic Mystic hotel with twelve buildings on 2 acres of beautiful grounds. It offers practical amenities and a boutique touch, including the largest heated indoor hotel pool in Mystic. Luxury suites feature fireplaces, jacuzzis, and balconies, and are conveniently located near downtown Mystic, Mystic Seaport Museum, and Williams Beach. Highly rated and affordable, this Mystic hotel is a must-visit for those seeking charming and affordable weekend getaways in CT.

Bed and breakfasts near Mystic, Connecticut

The Stonecroft Country Inn in Ledyard, Connecticut, is a historic bed and breakfast that provides a tranquil setting for a Mystic vacation. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and sits on 6.5 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. It has a variety of room options and specialty suites, and its amenities make it one of the most romantic inns in Connecticut.

Directions to Mystic, CT

Ready to check out Mystic?

Mystic is in the southeast corner of Connecticut, just off I-95 at exits 89 and 90. The town is:

The Amtrak train is a very convenient (and environmentally friendly!) way to get into Mystic because it stops right in town! Ride directly from via train from New York City, Boston, or any of the many Amtrak stations throughout the Northeast. The most convenient from us would be the train station in Stamford, Connecticut.

More cities and towns to explore near Mystic, CT

Eastern Connecticut is where we go from the western side of the state when we want to feel quaint.

That said, you do need a car to get around over this way, if you’re looking to explore away from mere Metro-North day trips.

A few nearby towns, hosting their own unique Connecticut attractions, include:

Stonington, Connecticut

The last whaling town in Connecticut has the most charming downtown, clustered on a peninsula. Walking around the town of Stonington, CT, full of New England charm, is a delight in and of itself. The walk from the Dogwatch Cafe to DuBois beach at the tip is only 15 minutes, if you’re hustling for some reason.

Groton, CT

My family used to make an annual pilgrimage to neighboring Groton, CT, each summer. I only know it as a beach destination. But there are many more things to do and see in Groton, Connecticut, than just that. The list includes Bluff Point State Park and Haley Farm State Park.

New London, CT

The trek between Mystic and New London, Connecticut, is only about 15 minutes south on I-95. You just have to cross the Thames River.

East Lyme, Connecticut

Another New England town that revolves around beach weather, the town of East Lyme, CT, hosts the charming borough of Niantic, CT. This is just a little past New London.

Essex, CT

Cross the Connecticut River to explore one of the most charming spots to visit in the Connecticut River Valley. Essex is one of the most charming towns on the River. It’s a bit farther away, at about 30 minutes drive from Mystic. But if you’re looking for quaint little towns like Mystic and Stonington, you can’t miss Essex. Essex is also the home of attractions like the Essex Steam Train and the Connecticut River Museum. Or head back across the river for the Goodspeed Opera House and Gillette Castle State Park.

Ledyard, Connecticut

You may not recognize the above name, but I’m sure you know Foxwoods Resort and Casino. I’m more partial to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, myself.

But there’s more to do here than just gamble. Throughout town, you’ll find Ledyard, CT, activities like apple orchards, historic sites, and much more. And one of the best inns in Connecticut is up here, enough said.

Keep planning your Connecticut getaway

Now that you’ve got your weekend getaway to Mystic in the bag, what about the rest of your time here?

Keep exploring more things to do in Connecticut, and download the free Connecticut Travel Guide.

More guides to explore include:

We hope you discover your love for Connecticut while you’re here!

Updated and republished: May 9, 2024

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