Are you spending a weekend in Mystic, Connecticut with kids? This guide gives you fun things to do in Mystic, CT with kids for a weekend getaway.
Mystic, CT is a cute little town that is perfect for a family weekend getaway. With Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, and unique shopping and dining, Mystic is worth a visit with kids!
We didn’t really know anything about the town of Mystic but decided to include it in a weekend getaway with stops in Mystic and Springfield, MA.
Weekend Things to Do in Mystic, CT with Kids
- Arrival Day: Explore Olde Mystic Village, Dinner at the Jealous Monk
- Day 2: Bleu Squid (Breakfast), Mystic Seaport Museum, Sea View Snack Bar (Lunch)
- Day 3: Deviant Donuts (Breakfast), Mystic Aquarium, Depart for our next destination.
Want More details? Read on for more things to do in Mystic, Connecticut with kids for a weekend getaway.
Best Things to Do in Mystic, Connecticut
The big Mystic, Connecticut attractions are Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. These are both must-see attractions when visiting Mystic with kids and will take the most time for your weekend.
We also suggest visiting Olde Mistick Village for dining and shopping. There are some really unique shops at the village including a Christmas shop and specialty doughnut shop.
A common question about visiting Mystic is “Is Mystic CT worth visiting?”. I say yes! You do not need a full week vacation to see everything, but 2-3 days in Mystic is a great weekend getaway for families or couples.
Where is Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic, Connecticut is in the Southeast area of Connecticut along the Mystic River. This quaint coastal village has a historic downtown and fun places to experience with kids.
It is about a 6 hour drive from our home in Rochester, NY. It is in the New England area of the United States. It is under a 3 hour drive from New York City.
It is under an hour drive from Rhode Island and we took a little drive to visit and include in in our challenge to visit 50 of the United States.
One thing to point out is there is not ocean or beach access readily available in Mystic. Be prepared to drive and pay entrance fees to any local beaches.
I wish I had known this going into our trip. We still had a great time but I had my heart set on walks on the beach, and that didn’t happen!
Where to Stay in Mystic, CT with Kids
- Budget-Friendly Hotel that includes breakfast.
- Apartment with Space and Walking Distance to Main Street/Downtown area.
- Luxury House that sleeps 10.
Mystic, Connecticut 48 Hour Itinerary with Kids
We visited Mystic in August of 2020. The world was recovering slowly and everything wasn’t open like it is today. Information is correct at time of published.
Day 1: Arrive in Mystic, Connecticut
We got on the road before breakfast to make the 6 hour drive to Mystic. Our plan was to stop for breakfast an hour or so in, and then arrive in Mystic by lunch time.
It was rainy most of the drive in and we arrived at our hotel before check-in. We stayed at the Hyatt Place Mystic and is was a great location and price.
It is a moderate priced hotel and walking distance to Olde Mistick Village (shopping area) and Mystic Seaport.
The Hyatt Place had space for our family of five, grab and go breakfast(due to Covid), and an outdoor pool. There is not an indoor pool at this hotel.
It was a good spot for our 2 night family vacation stay in Mystic because it was centrally located near the most popular attractions and downtown Mystic.
Once we arrived we settled into the hotel and relaxed for a few hours before we decided to explore Olde Mistick Village and find a place for dinner.
Olde Mistick Village is where we spent a lot of our visit. We ate a few meals there, browsed the shops, and the Mystic Aquarium is located in the complex as well.
For dinner we wanted to sit outside and decided on the Jealous Monk. The food was delicious and they have craft beer options as well. Everyone really liked their meals and they also have a kids menu.
We called it an early night and returned to the hotel. We were tired from the travel day and wanted to get up early to visit Mystic Seaport at opening.
Day 2: Mystic Seaport Museum
On day 2 in Mystic we planned to spend the morning at Mystic Seaport Museum. I purchased tickets ahead of time and we had an timed entry of 10:00am.
But first we stopped for breakfast at the Bleu Squid.
The Bleu Squid is a breakfast and bakery café. We ate outside and had a great breakfast before we drove the few miles down the street to the Mystic Seaport.
The Bleu Squid had a great baked goods menu that included cookies, cupcakes, and other treats.
I went with a basic breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. There was a bit of a wait for our table due to wanting to eat outside. Keep this in mind when you plan how much time you will need for your visit.
After breakfast we headed out to Mystic Seaport Museum. Mystic Seaport Museum is a maritime museum that covers 19 acres along the Mystic River. It includes recreated village shops, working shipyard, and formal exhibit halls.
The Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the largest maritime museums in the country. They have indoor exhibits and outdoor exhibits with special events, live music, and real ships you can explore.
We started our visit signing up for the free (included with admission) boat ride along the Mystic River. We arrived early to be on the first boat. While we waited for the boat ride we walked over to the shipyard to explore.
The kids liked seeing the ships out of the water and see the workmanship that goes into keeping the ships sea-worthy. There is not much hands-on activities in this area but it is a nice area to walk around.
There is a children’s museum on site that was closed during our visit but provides hands-on exhibits for the kids. There were a lot of hands-on exhibits that were closed because of our 2020 visit.
After the shipyard we lined up to go for a boat ride. The boat ride is a guided tour of the ships along the docks. It is about 20-30 minutes.
I would recommend older kids for this because there is not a lot to see and it is more of an informative tour than a boat ride.
After the boat ride we started our self-guided tour of the grounds. When we visited places like this I always prefer a self-guided tour so the kids can take the lead and we can explore what interests them.
There were a few hands-on activities for families that gave the kids some time to run around in the open field. We played on stilts and with other games. All the activities were sanitized between usage.
The last thing we explored was the replica ships. I thought this was really cool. It was fun to walk through and imagine what life was like on the ships.
Overall the museum was a neat place to experience. It was a little pricey for what it was, at least for us.
It cost around $100.00 for the five of us. I don’t think I would visit again but if you are interested in boats and maritime history your family you may feel differently.
We were done visiting after about 1.5 hour and walked to lunch at Sea View Snack Bar. This is outside of Mystic Seaport Village. Admission allows you to come and go as you please for the day.
After lunch we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon swim and to relax a bit. In the evening we walked back to the Sea View Snack Bar from our hotel to watch the sunset on the Mystic River and get some ice cream.
Day 3: Mystic Aquarium
It was our last day in Mystic, Connecticut so we checked out of the hotel and made our way to Olde Mistick Village for breakfast and to visit the Mystic Aquarium.
I was really excited to visit the Mystic Aquarium. It is located in Olde Mistick Village and I had heard great things about it. We parked at the aquarium and walked over to grab breakfast at Deviant Donuts.
Deviant Donuts is located at Olde Mistick Village and is a specialty donut shop that has a rotating weekly menu of specialty items. We had been following along on their Instagram account and I couldn’t wait to try! They were delicious!
After breakfast we walked back to the Aquarium and got in line for our timed entry. I suggest purchasing tickets ahead of time for your visit.
We wanted to be there as soon as it opened so we booked the first time slot.
This was best to make sure the crowds were low and we basically had the exhibits to ourselves. During our stay there were arrows marking the ground to control the flow of traffic.
It made it easy to see everything during our visit and keep socially distanced.
Once the aquarium opened they took took our temperatures and scanned our tickets. Masks were required during our visit.
Mystic Aquarium is unlike any aquarium I have ever visited. There is an outdoor area and an indoor area that guests can explore.
Our first stop was the Beluga Whales!! As we walked up we realized they were having breakfast and we couldn’t get a good look at them. Luckily you can also view them at the end of the outside loop.
We continued on to visit the Seals and Sea Lions, and then the penguin exhibit. Every exhibit at the Mystic Aquarium made viewing the animals easy for kids of all ages. I like that you could see the Penguins under the water and at the top.
We continued around the loop and walked around the aquarium. There were alligators and a frog pond. Overall it was a really serene and peaceful area that we all really enjoyed.
Next stop was the indoor area of Mystic Aquarium. Here we saw Jelly Fish, Octopus, Crab, and turtles. The true star of the show was the shark petting area.
The kids were brave enough to touch the shark but there was one who was a little feisty compared to the others.
As we were leaving the shark started jumping up and eventually jumped right out of the touch tank! Luckily there were not a lot of people around and they put him back in quickly.
We had never seen anything like it! He was like an excited puppy wanting to play.
After the shark excitement we headed back outside to see the Beluga whales. There was also a indoor dinosaur walk through exhibit that we visited before we left.
The exit is at the gift shop so be prepared to purchase something or try your hardest to avoid the cutest plush beluga whales and penguins!
Overall the Mystic Aquarium was a great attraction to visit in Mystic with kids. It is top on our list!!
I suggest arriving early, buying your tickets early, and taking your time walking the loop to see the animals. Most visits will take between 1.5-2 hours depending on crowds and how much time you spend at each exhibit.
More Activities for Kids in Mystic CT
We couldn’t see everything there is to do in Mystic, CT but I wanted to include more ideas if you have a bit more time than we did.
Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has a wildlife sanctuary and 10 miles of walking trails. There is also a meditation walking path.
If you have older kids you may want to check out the zip lines at Highflyer Zipline at Foxwoods Casino. This is about a 20 minute short drive from Mystic. This is one long zipline and is for those looking for an adventure.
TreeTrails Adventure is another outdoor activity in Mystic that is great for all ages. This is different rope courses that families can experience.
If you want to explore the main street area in downtown Mystic be prepared that it gets busy with traffic. It is best to find a parking spot and explore on foot.
Mystic Pizza is located in the downtown Mystic area. It may be the perfect place to grab a slice and watch the sun set on the Mystic Harbor.
We loved our weekend! The things to do in Mystic, Connecticut were perfect for a family weekend getaway. We were able to spend some quality time together and enjoy the village of Mystic.
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Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.