On the banks of Connecticut’s historic Mystic River, Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, it is home to four vessels with National Historic Landmark status. Visitors can explore more than 19 acres along the river, including a re-created 19th-century seafaring village and a working preservation shipyard.
A visit to Mystic Seaport is an interactive experience, where you can learn about 19th-century New England’s seafaring heritage and maritime history through on-site historians, storytellers, and craftspeople. Climb aboard historic vessels including the wooden whaleship Charles W. Morgan, witness shipbuilding in action in the working shipyard, duck inside the cooperage, or explore the stars (and the art of celestial navigation) at the Treworgy Planetarium. The museum’s gardens showcase plants from the habitats of the Mystic River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Mystic Seaport is a must-see for history buffs and families.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, as many of the museum’s exhibits are outdoors.
- Photography is permitted at Mystic Seaport, but leave tripods, monopods, and drones behind.
- About a third of the museum’s buildings have wheelchair-accessible entrances. Most trails are stable and firm, even if unpaved.
How to Get There
Mystic Seaport is located in the town of Mystic, located 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of New London. The easiest way to get there is by car; there is free parking across the street from both the north and south entrances.
When to Get There
Mystic Seaport is open daily throughout the year, with limited hours and operation during January and February. The best weather—and more sizable crowds—arrives in June, July, and August.
Things to Do in Mystic
If you’re in the area to visit Mystic Seaport, set aside some time to see some of the area’s other notable attractions. Traveling families can spend an afternoon at the kid-approved Mystic Aquarium, while the historic downtown area offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. Browse the rotating exhibits at the Mystic Museum of Art, or dive deeper into the region’s history at the Denison Homestead Museum.