Mystic Seaport Museum: One of the Best Things to See in Connecticut!

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by admin

If you’re planning to spend time in Connecticut, we highly recommend that you add a visit to the coastal town of Mystic. Mystic is known for its shipbuilding history, and the Mystic Seaport Museum is a fun and interactive way to learn about maritime history. I used to live in Connecticut, and I had the opportunity to visit the Mystic Seaport Museum several times over the years. In this post, I’ll share why the Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the best things to see in Connecticut

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Disclosure: Cover photo provided by Mystic Seaport Museum. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from These sales help to run this blog without any additional cost to you. See our policy page for details. 


About Mystic

Europeans arrived to Mystic in 1654 and created a shipbuilding village. Today, the town of Mystic is filled with New England charm. In addition to the Mystic Seaport Museum, there are plenty of things to see in the city. We recommend that visitors also check out the Mystic Aquarium, Olde Mistick Village, and Mystic Pizza from the 1988 film of the same name.

About the Mystic Seaport Museum

The Mystic Seaport Museum has been dedicated to preserving Mystic’s maritime history since 1929. It’s frequently been recognized as one of the best maritime museums in the country. In addition to the exhibits and the marina, the museum offers numerous research and educational programs. The Mystic Seaport Museum has over 19 acres of attractions!

Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut
A photo from our last trip to Mystic Seaport Museum


You can purchase tickets to the Mystic Seaport Museum here.

How to Get to Mystic


The Mystic Seaport Museum is located in the state of Connecticut. It’s located conveniently off of Interstate 95. It’s about 56 miles east of New Haven, Connecticut, and about 49 miles away from Providence, Rhode Island. 

See our full guide to visiting Connecticut here.


Things to Do at the Mystic Seaport Museum

There are tons of things to do at the Mystic Seaport Museum. You could easily spend an entire day there. Here’s a few things we recommend that you check out during your visit.




One of our favorite parts about the museum was exploring its numerous exhibits. At the time of this writing, the museum has the following exhibits

  • Figureheads & Shipcarvings
  • Mystic River Scale Model
  • Sailor Made
  • Small Boats
  • Thames Keel Shipbuilding Exhibit
  • Sentinels of the Sea: Lighthouses
  • Whaleboat Exhibit
  • Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers
  • Sea as Muse
  • 19th-Century Navigation
  • Benjamin F. Packard Ships Cabin

I particularly enjoyed the Figureheads & Shipcarvings exhibition. Each of the displayed figureheads gave its boat a unique personality, and the types of figureheads varied tremendously across the different countries and time periods represented. 

Seaport Village

One of the things we liked best about the Mystic Seaport Museum was how it encompassed so much more than a single building. In addition to the exhibitions listed above, the museum also contains the Seaport Village. The Seaport Village is a re-created 19th-century village. Many of the buildings were original cottages from that time period that were carefully moved to the museum. As you stroll through the village, it’s important to note that the buildings aren’t replicas, but rather original pieces of historical architecture. 

Historic Vessels

The Mystic Seaport Museum extends to the marina where you can board a number of historic vessels. When you visit you’ll be able to see the last surviving wooden whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan which was built in 1841. It’s one of the oldest commercial ships to still afloat. The museum’s collection of ships includes four National Historic Landmark vessels: the MorganDuntonSabino and Emma C. Berry

Photo by Mystic Seaport Museum
Photo by Mystic Seaport Museum



The sailors relied on the stars for navigation, so it makes perfect sense that the museum would also have a planetarium. You can read more about the shows offered at the Treworgy Planetarium here

See our full guide to Fall in New England!

Kids Activities

The Mystic Seaport Museum has numerous activities for kids of all ages. When I first visited the museum I didn’t have children, but now that I’m a mom, I would love to take my daughter the next time we are in Connecticut. Children will enjoy the Susan Stucke Funk Children’s Museum, Home Port activity center, toy boat building on the weekends, discovery barn, and playscape. You can read more about the kids’ activities here


The marina is still home to a working shipyard. At the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, you can observe carpenters at work. You might also be able to catch a ship being lifted from the water at the Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift. At the John Gardner Small Boat Shop, you can learn how small boats are made. Finally, you can see several large marine engines as you observe the shipyard.


The museum hosts a number of gardens, including the Greenmanville Ponds, Burrows House Garden, Buckingham-Hall House Gardens, Children’s Zoo Garden, Mallory Birds & Butterflies Garden, and the Memorial Garden.

Go for a Boat Ride

There are even opportunities at the museum to get out on the water. One option is to take a 25-minute boat ride on the Liberty. (Free with museum admission.) Boat rides will resume 4/30/22. There’s also opportunities to charter boats.

Photo by Mystic Seaport Museum
Photo by Mystic Seaport Museum



The museum offers several dining options. Latitude 41º Restaurant & Tavern is a full restaurant, Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern is a casual restaurant, and you can also grab a quick bite at Anchor Mystic Café & Sweets. The Galley Café is also set to reopen in spring 2022.

You can purchase tickets to the Mystic Seaport Museum here.

Where to Stay in Mystic  

  • The Whaler’s Inn: The Whaler’s Inn is located near the Mystic Seaport Museum of America and has a restaurant on-site.
  • Hilton Mystic: This hotel is located directly across from the Mystic Aquarium. It has an indoor pool and is about a mile away from Olde Mystic Village.
  • House of 1833 Bed and Breakfast: This charming Greek revival mansion was built in 1833. The rooms are uniquely decorated and the property has a beautiful English garden. The bed and breakfast also has a seasonal outdoor pool. 
  • Hyatt Place Mystic: This hotel is close to Mystic’s main attractions and has a seasonal outdoor pool.

For a full list of hotels in Mystic, click here

If you plan on visiting Mystic Seaport Museum and the Mystic Aquarium, you might want to consider buying the Mystic Pass


What to Pack for a Visit to Connecticut

Here are a few things you might want to pack with you to enjoy the state:

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking around town, so make sure you pack comfortable walking shoes. I’ve been wearing Brooks brand shoes for years and have loved them. I’ve linked them here for women, and here for men.
  • Power Bank: We always keep a fully-charged power bank with us while we’re out exploring. That way, if our phone battery is running low, we can easily plug it in and re-charge on the go. We rely on our phones heavily for navigation and photography, so this product is a must for us.
  • Water Bottle: We prefer to bring an insulated re-usable water bottle when we are out exploring. 
  • Travel Guides: When I moved to Connecticut, I brought a travel guide and it gave me so many ideas for weekend adventures. It also provided good historical background to the places I visited. I’ve linked a couple below.

(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information!)

We also recommend you visit the nearby city of New Haven. See our full guide to New Haven here!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mystic Seaport Museum famous for?

Mystic has been a center for shipbuilding and maritime history for over 300 years. The Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the largest maritime museums in the United States. There are dozens of historic buildings on the museum’s 19-acres.

Is Mystic Seaport worth visiting?

Yes, Mystic Seaport Museum is absolutely worth visiting. While I was living in Connecticut, I brought many of my friends and family to the museum and it was always a trip highlight.

How long should you spend at the Mystic Seaport Museum?

I recommend setting aside a full day at Mystic Seaport Museum. The property is 19-acres and there are numerous exhibitions and vessels to explore. There are multiple dining options on-site at the museum, so you can definitely plan to spend a lot of time there.

Are dogs allowed at the Mystic Seaport Museum?

Leashed dogs are allowed on the property, but may not enter the exhibition halls or historic vessels at Mystic Seaport Museum.

Can you walk around the Mystic Seaport Museum for free?

You need to pay admission to walk around the grounds of the Mystic Seaport Museum. If you’d like to see spend time by the water for free, we recommend that you visit the nearby Mystic River Park.


If you’re planning a trip to Connecticut, definitely plan to spend a day at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Whether you enjoy the historical exhibits, walking onboard the vessels, or strolling through the village and gardens, you are sure to enjoy your visit. We’ve enjoyed our visits to the museum, and we hope this post inspires you to visit as well!

Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut
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Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.

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