Hidden Gems of Mystic Country Last Updated: June 2021
Sure, everyone knows about Mystic Seaport and you may have visited Ocean Beach Park in New London at one time or another, but what about those hidden-gem, off-the-beaten-path spots that only the locals and the savviest of travelers know about? If you are looking to check out a new beach or explore something different this summer, here are a few suggestions for your bucket list located in Mystic Country.
Williams Beach Park, Mystic
Mystic’s only public beach, located at the Mystic YMCA, this little beach is small but mighty. There are no lifeguards on duty, but it’s a great spot to pack a picnic and relax with family and friends. The onsite playground, ballfields, shade pavilion, and grills make it the perfect place for an afternoon outing with little ones.
Image via @thisismystic
Eastern Point Beach, Groton
Another great family beach, where the waves are small and the sand is soft. Eastern Point Beach does have lifeguards in-season as well as a snack bar, restrooms and showers and basketball and volleyball courts. It is also a great spot for birdwatching, fishing and taking in a sunset. Residents of Groton receive discounted rates, but non-residents are welcome as well. With picturesque views of the Thames River and Long Island Sound, this beach is the ideal place to escape the heat during the summer months.
Image via @thechristopherchampagne
Waterford Beach Park, Waterford
A rare stretch of unmodified natural beach with unobstructed views of the Long Island Sound, Waterford Beach Park offers nearly a quarter mile long stretch of sandy shoreline and tidal marshes to explore. After parking, which is limited so you will want to get a season pass and plan to get there EARLY on the weekends; walk past the salt marshes and the fragile dunes to reveal a pristine wide-open beach ahead.
Image via @thesizeofct
Enders Island, Mystic
“All are welcome” is a rare find on the pristine Connecticut shoreline, where many a private beach and no trespassing sign can be found. But not at Enders Island. This 11-acre island located off the coast of Mason’s Island in Mystic is open to the public year-round to relax, reflect and enjoy the 360-views and natural beauty of the coastal gem. Looking out over the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean, visitors can also hike, fish and picnic during their visit.
Since 1954, the island has been a spiritual retreat and offers a variety of programs. There are beautiful gardens, a Seaside Chapel, an outdoor Stations of the Cross, and iconic facilities including the Enders Mansion and the Catholic Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption. Guests are welcome to visit the gift shop located in the St. Michaels Hall, where you can pick up homemade jelly, among other goodies. Although surrounded by water, there is no ferry to the island and visitors can only access it by vehicle via a short causeway. If you’re looking for some solitude and to explore the coastline in all its unspoiled glory, a visit to Enders Island is a must.
Image via @endersisland