Mystic is a quintessential Connecticut coastal town that is bursting with history and full of nautical charm!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport Museum, The Whaler’s Inn, and Hilton Mystic. The content and opinions expressed here are our own. We are proud to be working with these partners to provide this honest review.
This quiet, shipbuilding seaport village has a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, attractions, and scenic trails. Mystic, Connecticut may be best known for its cameo in the movie, Mystic Pizza and the honeymoon destination of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, but is a destination not-to-be-missed.
Mystic offers fun and educational attractions for all ages – Step on the deck of the Charles Morgan, the oldest whaling ship in the world at the Mystic Seaport Museum or explore our oceans and conservation efforts at the Mystic Aquarium and family-friendly and romantic places to stay.
Things to do
As soon as we arrived at the aquarium the kids headed straight for the Beluga whale exhibit. This expansive habitat is home to the aquarium’s 3 resident Belugas, Kela, Juno, and Miki. (fun fact: the Mystic Aquarium features the largest outdoor beluga whale habitat in the United States (at 750,000-gallons).
We were able to get up close and personal as the beluga whales swam past giant 20-foot long underwater windows just inches away! The boys were showered with a surprise from Miki as they stood next to the tank…
The Sea Lion show is fun, entertaining, and educational. It is offered several times throughout the day so if you like it you can go back and see it again!
The Main Gallery is home to thousands of unique and colorful fish in the central 35,000-gallon exhibit, a large touch tank where kids are welcome to interact with sea life, a 12-foot long water table and a touch experience (Discover Long Island Sound), and the jellyfish room.
The Mystic Aquarium also organizes a range of fun events such as family overnight visits, seminars, animal encounters and more. Check out their events calendar to see what’s coming up!
Save the date for 2020’s Northern Lights!
Northern Lights at Mystic Aquarium takes guests on a journey through a unique winter-themed experience as you stroll along beautifully-decorated pathways throughout the outdoor Aquarium exhibits.
Snap selfies and meet the Snow Sisters, Father Christmas, and Petey the Penguin.
Northern Lights is sure to be a new holiday family tradition. We are looking forward to what’s in store for 2020’s Northern Lights at the Mystic Aquarium.
Tips: Bring some change for the penny press machines 50 cents per pressed penny. If you don’t get to see everything in one day, you can have your admission tickets validated to use again for the next 2 days! Parking is FREE.
Mystic Seaport Museum
The Mystic Seaport Museum is the world’s largest maritime museum! Encompassing 37 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits, with more than a million artifacts that provide a look at the area’s rich shipbuilding and seafaring history.
We stepped aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaling ship, to see what life was like for the ship’s Captain and crew.
With about 50 buildings made up of museums, trade shops, whaling ships, and businesses depicting a 19th-century seafaring village, there is a lot to see.
The Wendell Building houses the Museum’s large collection of figureheads. The craftsmanship and detail in the carvings was amazing.
Our visit was during the offseason, so a limited number of the historic homes, ships, and buildings were open for viewing. The kids enjoyed learning about the whaling industry and what life was like during that time, and the Home Port activity Center was a big hit.
Home Port offered a variety activities from drawing, old fashioned puzzles and traditional games, to a parlor area for some quiet reading along with a wonderful puppet theater.
The “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit explores America’s historic relationship with whales and whaling. On display are more than 100 whaling-related artifacts, images, and documents, including logbooks, photographs, scrimshaw, ship models, and souvenirs, as well as moving images, oral histories, and sound recordings.
We thoroughly enjoyed what we were able to experience during our visit and look forward to returning in the summer months.
Learn more: https://www.mysticseaport.org/
Places to stay
The Whaler’s Inn
You can’t get any closer to downtown Mystic than this attractive, nautical inn located just a block from the drawbridge. Overlooking the waterfront and within walking distance to restaurants and shops, the Whaler’s Inn is in a prime location for a relaxing weekend of exploring.
The cozy and inviting lobby is staffed and offers coffee, tea, and cookies 24 hours a day. Check-in was a breeze and the staff offered suggestions for the area and answered all the questions we had.
Our Double Queen Guestroom was located in the Stonington House. All rooms have a shared deck and parking lot access. The Stonington House is located at the back of the property off the main road.
Our room amenities included:
300 sq ft room
36″ flat-screen smart TV
Tuft & Needle Mattresses
Keurig coffee pot
Privately controlled heat/ac
Breakfast is provided at Grass and Bone a lovely little butcher shop and restaurant next door. They specialize in local meats, sandwiches, sides, and fresh rotisserie chicken. Our only negative about our meal was the lack of meal options for children.
We highly recommend a stay at The Whaler’s Inn! It is the perfect spot for a Romantic weekend, Anniversary getaway, or Girl’s trip.
Book your stay: https://www.whalersinnmystic.com/
The Hilton Mystic is a great spot for families staying in Mystic! The hotel is conveniently located directly across the street from the Mystic Aquarium and Olde Mystic Village. (Tip: The Hilton Mystic offers a complimentary shuttle to locations within a 5-mile radius!)
The sprawling lobby provides lots of cozy spots to relax, catch a game, or work. The chic and modern feel of the property continued inside the building, but with a nautical twist. The check-in process went very smoothly and the staff was accommodating and friendly.
Our spacious adjoining King and Double guestrooms offered plenty of room for our family of 6. The Hilton has many rooms to suit different budgets and family arrangements.
Room amenities include Hilton Serenity Beds, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, hairdryer, desk, iron, and ironing board, flat-screen tv, premium Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, and high-speed internet access.
One of the main draws for us to the Hilton Mystic for us was the pool. Every evening there is a dive-in movie! After a long day of exploring Mystic, it was great for the kids to go for a swim before bed.
Onsite dining is available at The Irons. Designed to reflect the rich history of Mystic, The Irons offers local seafood, burgers & seasonal entrees plus craft brews, wine, local live music, culinary experiences, & Sunday brunch.
Attached to the Irons is a beautiful courtyard with fire tables and patio seating. A great spot to warm up on a chilly evening.
The Hilton Mystic is a great place to spend quality time with your family, host a special event, or stay for a business trip!
Have a question about Mystic? Comment below!