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Lying on Connecticut’s most easterly shoreline, and mid-way between New York and Boston, Mystic - named after its river - makes for a cool and relaxing retreat from the heat and pressure of those two cities. Once one of the great ship-building and whaling centres of the east coast, the town’s maritime history is still evident today., and the best places to stay in Mystic overlook the water.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is stroll the harbour; there’s always something going on amongst the yachts and steamboats. To learn more about the town’s maritime history, call in at the Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut's largest tourist attraction. This is not just the odd model ship and rusty anchor but a recreation of an entire New England whaling and ship-building village spread over 17 acres of the town’s former leading shipyard, George Greenman & Co. Some 60 historic buildings, four tall ships and almost 500 smaller crafts create a fascinating insight into maritime traditions, brought to life by demonstrations and interpreters.
Afterwards, take a trip along the Mystic River, perhaps in a 1908 steamboat, or cruise down to Fishers’ Island Sounds. Real boat-lovers will want to tour the USS Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum in nearby Groton.
The town’s other big attraction is the Mystic Aquarium, with more than 6000 species of sea creatures, as well as an outdoor viewing area for watching seals, sea lions and penguins.
Stretch your legs at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, a protected area of woodlands, wetlands and meadow offering hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities.
For classic beach fun, head to nearby Westerly, Watch Hill or New London, the latter boasting what is generally considered Connecticut’s most beautiful beach; a half-mile stretch of sugar sand.
The best way to end the day is over a plate of oysters while watching the sun go down over the harbour. For a relaxing trip, check out our selection of the best places to stay in Mystic.
For great value
- For excellent value in the heart of downtown, you won’t do much better than the Whaler’s Inn, a handsome collection of five Victorian buildings. Rooms are large and traditionally furnished, some with fireplaces and four-poster beds. There’s a gym and terrace, too.
For lovely harbour views
- With stunning harbour views, there’s a chance you won’t want to leave your room at The Steamboat Inn. With large windows, rooms are light and spacious. Borrow one of the hotel’s free bikes to explore the town.
Best Hotels in Mystic
Steamboat Inn 11 rooms from $125Mystic
An enchanting riverside Inn, located in the heart of Historic Downtown Mystic. The inn features light and spacious rooms commanding spectacular views of the Mystic River. No better place from which to explore this historic town.Sights nearby - Mystic Seaport , The Museum of America and the Sea and Florence Griswold Museum.Sailing - Charter a sailing boat at Argia Mystic Cruises.Views - Great views from hotelRomantic - Good for couples.
Whaler's Inn 48 rooms from $106Mystic
Made up of five charming Victorian buildings in the historic downtown of Mystic. Each individually decorated room features a range of antique touches, the more plush have fireplaces and deep soaking tubs! Which ever building you choose this is the perfect spot to explore Mystic like a local.Sights nearby - Visit the world famous Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea.Fishing - Charter a fishing boat with Blue Venture Fishing.Sailing - Charter a yacht at Argia Mystic Cruises.Lively - Hip and happening.