52 Getaways


18. Mystic Magic

Summer brings out the best in the Connecticut shore – and more reason to visit fan-favorite Mystic and its many attractions. Here’s a Getaway that takes in destinations that will become treasured memories for you and your family.

Mystic Magic
Experiences Types: Family Fun
Seasons: Summer
Driving Tip: All within 10 miles


Your getaway actually begins not in Mystic, but in the nearby Native American community of Mashantucket, where the extraordinary Mashantucket Pequot Museum will give you dazzling new perspectives on an important part of American history. Here, you’ll witness 18,000 years of Native and natural history through amazingly lifelike walk-through dioramas, interactive exhibits and live performances. Truly one of Connecticut’s gems.


Next, head a few miles south for lunch (Mystic Diner & Restaurant in Mystic is a fun stop or look here for more choices) and then a visit to the Mystic Aquarium, several highly enjoyable attractions at one site. At the aquarium, there are sea lion shows, dozens of African penguins on parade, beluga whales and of course the wonderful indoor tanks.

And then there’s Exploration Wild, a stirring, newly opened tour of the world’s most captivating habitats – Rainforest, Arctic, Wetlands, Desert and Open Ocean – and just adjacent to the Open Ocean exhibition is an homage to the Titanic, highlighting the ship’s legendary story, those of her passengers, and the discovery of her watery grave.

There are lots of places to eat and stay overnight in Mystic. Good restaurants range from Captain Daniel Packer Inne Restaurant and Pub and S&P Oyster Co. to the renowned Mystic Pizza. For ideas on accommodations, go to the Mystic Country website here.


As an option, you can start off Day 2 with a lovely summer morning hike through the 300-acre wooded preserve at Denison-Pequotsepos Nature Center. On eight miles of trails, looks for turtles, bullfrogs and a variety of birds.


Whatever you do, be sure to save plenty of time for Mystic Seaport, a 19th-century maritime village along the banks of the Mystic River. Climb aboard the beautifully restored 1841 whaler Charles W. Morgan to get an idea of what life was like during the golden age of sail, rent a rowboat or sailboat or walk along the re-created seaside village. There are demonstrations and performances related to maritime life, and exhibits and galleries to see. For kids, there’s a children’s museum, discovery barn and playground.


Finally, set aside time to stroll Mystic’s busy Main Street, stopping for a sweet treat at the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop. Enjoy a cone as you people-watch or take in the ups and downs of the Mystic River bascule bridge right next door.

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