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Destinations & Day Trips

Mystic, CT: 10 Must-Do Activities for Your Next Day Trip

Mystic Seaport Day Trip CT
Written by Ryan Sylvestre

If you’ve always wanted to take a day trip up to Mystic, CT, let’s make one thing clear: You absolutely should! The town offers so many activities from shopping to eating to learning about history and visiting the aquarium that it’s perfect for families, couples, and everyone in between.

The phrase “daycation” doesn’t really get thrown around much these days, but Mystic might be changing that, at least in Connecticut. This historical town is great for families, couples, and really anyone who needs to get away but don’t need to (or can’t) go far. Mystic is home to a diverse selection of activities to keep virtually anyone and everyone entertained.

If you’re thinking about taking a trip up to Mystic, the one thing you need is a plan of action to make sure that you get to do everything you want to do: There are so many possible activities that it’s easy to miss out on some of the fun. To help you get the most out of your trip up to Mystic, I’ve planned out an entire day that will allow you to experience the true soul of Mystic, including:

  • The best local destinations and attractions
  • All the favorite historical sites
  • Romantic options for couples
  • Food ideas
  • And other hidden gems

Whether you’re visiting Mystic on your own, with family, or with your significant other, I’m sure you’ll love everything that Mystic has to offer.  

When you want to be a tourist

Sometimes you don’t want to stray too far from the beaten trail: You want to experience all of the things that everyone else has experienced and told you about. And there’s nothing wrong with that! These are the must-see favorite attractions that you’ve got to check out when you’re up in Mystic.

1. Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Seaport is one of the most impressive maritime museums in the entire United States. Founded in 1929, the Seaport draws about 300,000 visitors a year and boasts about 14,000 active members all around the US. They built a replica of a “New England coastal village, a working shipyard” and much more. You can go to this destination and experience what the boating community of yesteryear did when they were in port.

Impressively, the 41,000 square foot Collections Research Center is home to “more than 2 million artifacts.” There are tons of things to grab your attention as you walk around different parts of the museum. This would be a great place for a family to take the little ones to learn about what the boating community meant to the early development of Mystic.

2. Mystic Aquarium

The Mystic Aquarium is MUST VISIT, even if you don’t want to be a tourist. I have been here a handful of times and I am never disappointed. People visit regularly to go to see the penguins and watch the beluga whales dance around as you watch them through the glass. If you are lucky enough to see the sea lion show make sure to bring your camera to capture them doing amazing tricks through the air and water. (If the show is on your bucket list, you can check times here.)

Even though this seems like an obvious choice to bring your children, this makes for a great date spot for new or seasoned sweethearts. The combination of inside and outside exhibits will keep you occupied for the entire morning.

3. Olde Mistick Village

This Olde Mistick Village is home to some of the best shops in town, ranging from Tiger Lily Tea, which is home to Chinese organic teas, and Munson’s Chocolates, Connecticut’s largest retail chocolate manufacturer.

You may notice some ducks roaming around the area: Their home is in the pond at the center of the village. You can even buy some duck food from select stores feed them.

Want to catch a movie? Luckily, the village is also home to a luxury cinema which hosts all the new and popular movies. Make sure to check their events list to see if there is something you want to make sure you do on your day away.

When you want something to eat

4. Mango’s Wood-Fire Pizza

Speaking of Olde Mistick Village, Mango’s Wood-Fire Pizza is located in the village area. Mango’s was started by two brothers and it truly encompasses the old time tradition of Mystic. Their pizza dough, made from scratch, is some of the best in the area. If you think of yourself as a pizza connoisseur you need to stop by and have some of their delicious pizza.  

If I could be so bold and make a recommendation, “The Jake” pizza is certainly at the top of my list. “Olive Oil, fresh garlic, sea salt topped with crisp bacon, oven roasted chicken, gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese.” In my opinion, this is the only reason you need to take a trip to Mystic.

5. Red 36

Red 36 is a lovely spot tucked away right on the water. In the warmer weather, they transform the dining experience by bringing the outdoors, inside. There are removable walls that change the restaurant into a lovely night on the water. This town is all about the water and historic boating industry, you wouldn’t want to block that out!

They offer an amazing seafood menu accompanied by burgers and flatbread pizzas. They pride themselves on the freshness and innovation of each dish. If you have a friend with a boat, they can even dock it on Red 36’s private dock, making this a great and unique spot for lunch or dinner.

6. Engine room

The Engine Room is the epitome of a modern rustic eatery. The engine room prides themselves on local ingredients, large craft beer menu, largest bourbon selection and full wine list. This venue is an absolute must any time of year. When the weather is nice, families can sit outside enjoying the sunshine on the patio.

If you come here, I would suggest getting a local, grass-fed burger. They have the most amazing burgers and get their beef from local farms. If you think I’m lying, check out their burger hall of fame.

7. S&P Oyster CO.

Right across the street from the Engine Room is the S&P Oyster Co. This is a great stop for any couple looking for a romantic dinner on the water. They have “Traditional New England Seafood with a South American flair.” I have personally eaten here and have to say, the food was amazing. I ordered a steak with a flavorful pesto sauce. I could eat that every single night of the week!

The outside seating area is beautiful in the warm weather. The patio is covered in greenery and makes for a truly romantic night out. This makes for another great stop for delicious seafood so make sure to check out their menu.

8. Barley Head Brewery

This small brewery is in the heart of the downtown Mystic Area. Barley Head Brewery is considered a nano-brewery, which means they produce less than 2,000 barrels of beer a year. Even though they are small, they pack a punch with there 4-6 beers on tap. These beers on tap show how diverse they can be with many different styles of brews. They try to rotate in new beer styles every week.

If you want to stay updated on their constantly updating beer list, check it out here. This is a perfect final stop to a great day in Mystic. Whenever you visit, make sure to support all local business. Barley Head is a great local brew spot to support.

When you want to get in a little exercise

9. Mystic Drawbridge

The Mystic Drawbridge is not far from the Red 36. This drawbridge area is not only home to the historical bascule bridge, but it houses tons of stores along the water. This would be a perfect activity for after lunch to walk off that glorious meal you just had.

Now, if you have little ones with you, you might want to visit Mystical Toys. Mystical Toys is a place full of fun toys your child will eventually beg for. If you like more of a nostalgia location, check out Mystic Disc. If you are a vinyl record lover you will be in heaven at this shop. Get lost in the good ol’ days; check out their website for the full shopping experience.

10. Mystic Bike Rentals

If you want to go off and explore on your own, bike rentals are available! Mystic Bike Rentals can deliver bikes to your staycation location. There are gorgeous views all around Mystic, you can walk to most. If you want to get the most out of your day than it might make sense to rent a bike!

They provide everything for you so you don’t have to worry about packing anything. This would be a perfect opportunity to increase your appetite so you can enjoy some of Mystic’s best dinner restaurants.

About the author

Ryan Sylvestre

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