Charts: NOAA 13205, 13214, 12372.
From points west and south, the channel to Mystic begins at Morgan Point in Noank, between buoys GC “3” (Planet Rock) and RN “2” (Swimming Rock). Heading north, steer clear of the “Special Anchorages” (shown on charts) between Noank and Masons Island. Pass west of Fl R 4s R “4″ (Whale Rock) then turn sharply east before Q G “5” (Morgan Point Light). At RN “6” turn north and follow the channel along Morgan Point and into Mystic Harbor. Note that the channel makes a sharp turn east at GC “19”, then widens and turns north again at RN “22”. When proceeding upriver between Sixpenny Island and Mason’s Island, be sure not to swing eastward out of the channel, as there are rocks alongside.
From points east, you can pick up GC “7″ at the north end of Ram Island. From Ram Island, follow the well-marked channel west to Morgan Point and RN “6” then north to Mystic Harbor. Note that the channel makes a sharp turn east at GC “19”, south of Sixpenny Island, then widens and turns north again at RN “22”. When proceeding upriver between Sixpenny Island and Mason’s Island, be sure not to swing eastward out of the channel, as there are rocks alongside.
It is just over 3 miles upriver from Long Island Sound to Mystic Downtown Marina and Mystic Seaport. The approach has a depth of 12 feet.
A railroad swing bridge is located north of Murphy Point and GC “35”. The bridge is usually open to river traffic, but closes for approaching trains. Contact the bridgetender (860-444-4908, VHF 13). Just north of the railroad bridge are Fort Rachel Marine Service and Bayside Diesel Service.
North of these facilities is the bascule bridge in downtown Mystic. In summer, the bridge opens at 15 minutes past every hour from 7:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., and will open on demand at other times in season. Contact the bridgetender (860-536-7070, VHF 13), and be sure to clarify which bridge you are requesting. Note that boats moving with the tide have right-of-way here. When the bridge is closed, you may hold along the Mystic River Park boardwalk for 15 minutes, but no tie-ups allowed. Once past the bridge you’ll see the Seaport on the east bank.
Shallow-draft vessels with less than 25 feet clearance can continue upriver to an anchorage near Old Mystic.
NOTE: Much of the Mystic River is a no-wake zone and the entire river is a no-discharge zone, so head valves must sealed. The body of water covered is from the greater area north of Ram Island, including the channel entrance up to the waters north of the Mystic Seaport. Connecticut General Statutes state that speed regulations for the Mystic River are 6 mph within 200 feet of any wharf, pier or dock.
- A free dinghy dock (max length 14 feet) is located at the south end of the Mystic River Park boardwalk, on the east side of the river. Another dinghy dock is located just above the bascule bridge, on the east bank alongside the charter vessel Argia. A third dinghy dock exists on the west bank of the river, near the Captain Daniel Packer Inne along Water Street.
- A free mobile pump-out service is available on weekends during the summer. Contact VHF 68. Most of the local marinas also offer pumpout service.
- Mystic Seaport (860-572-5391, VHF 68): The Seaport offers free daytime tie-up along its docks when visiting the Seaport grounds. Reservations can (and should) be made. If you wish to spend the night, cost is $4.50 per foot per night ($3.25 for Seaport members), and includes entrance to the museum, after-hours access to the grounds, shore power and clean toilet/shower facilities. The dock office is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May through November. If you decide to anchor or dingy over from another marina, the Seaport maintains a free dinghy dock at the northern end of its docks.
- Mystic Shipyard (860-536-6588): Full-service marina offering transient moorings and slips.
- Mystic Downtown Marina (860-572-5942): Full-service marina.
- Mystic River Marina (860-536-3123): Full-service marina.
- Brewer Yacht Yard at Mystic (860-536-2293): Large, full-service marina offering transient slips and moorings, plus many dockside amenities and services.
- Noank Shipyard (860-536-9651): Large, full-service marina offering transient slips and moorings.
- Noank Village Boatyard (860-536-1770): Full-service marina offering transient slips and moorings.
- Masonss Island Marina (860-536-2608): Full-service marina offering transient moorings and slips.
- The Mystic Harbor Management Commission has placed 4 buoys marked “A” to outline a transient-anchorage area north of Masons Island and southeast of the railroad bridge. Vessels may anchor for up to 7 days. Shallow-draft vessels only.
- A second approved anchorage area is located off the Mystic Seaport. It is identified by a sign on the Seaport property near the north dinghy dock. Vessels may anchor for up to 7 days. Shallow-draft vessels only.
- There is no viable deep-water anchorage close to downtown Mystic. However, there are some good spots to drop the hook well south of the Seaport, and the run to downtown should be within range of medium-sized, outboard-powered dinghies and tenders. A free dinghy dock (max length 14′) is located at the south end of the Mystic River Park boardwalk.
- The area’s primary anchorage is located between Noank and Masons Island, but finding a spot can be difficult in summer. Anchor as far east of the main channel as possible to avoid wakes.
- Another popular anchorage is the grass-and-mud flats on the east side of Ram Island. This spot offers protection from prevailing southwesterlies, but is vulnerable to the wakes of passing boats.
- A third anchorage is located on the east side of Masons Island, between Masons Point and Enders Island. This area is exposed to southerly winds.
- A fourth option is to anchor between Masons Island and Andrews Island. Stay south of latitude 41.20′ and you’ll find depths of 6′ to 1′ feet.
- See above for dinghy dock info.
- Mystic River Boat Launch: This crude dirt ramp located next to the I-95 overpass is best suited to kayak, canoe and skiff launching. Parking is limited to about 8 vehicles.
- Bayberry Lane State Ramp: This good state ramp with ample parking is located in Groton, on Bayberry Lane between Juniper and Avery Points. The Bayberry ramp has an access pier and sanitary facilities. No fee.
- Many local marinas offer boat launching for a small fee. One is Shaffers Boat Livery (860-536-8713) on Mason’s Island. Shaffers offers ready access to many good fishing spots, as well as the Sound. A bait and tackle shop are located on-site.
- Kayak access is available at the Mystic Shipyard Park on Willow Point, as well as at the Mystic Art Association.
- Paul Watts (860-536-9344)
- Mystic Seaport (860-572-5391): Rents kayaks, rowboats and sailboats from Memorial Day to October.
- Mystic River Kayak (860-536-8381)
- Yellow Cab (860-536-8888)
- A&P (860-536-5813): Large supermarket located at 179 Stonington.
- McQuade’s Marketplace (860-536-2054): Market located at 14 Clara Drive.
- Mystic Market East and West (860-536-1500): Market located at 375 Noank Road.
- Puritan & Genesta Natural Foods (860-536-3537): Located on Holmes Street; caters to health-food aficionados.
- Mystic River Wine & Spirits (860-536-9463): Located at 4 Holmes Street; offers a large selection of wines and liquors.
- Bartleby’s Coffee Café (860-245-3714): Located on Main Street; sells gourmet coffee and fresh pastries.
- Mystic Seaport (888-973-2767): With 19 acres fronting the scenic Mystic River, the grounds of the Museum of America and the Sea at Mystic Seaport are among Connecticut’s most picturesque. Over 30 19th-century buildings sit tucked beside the river or on graveled town streets, along with the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, a working shipyard where visitors can observe the art of wooden shipbuilding firsthand. The Seaport also hosts numerous boating events throughout the year, including the WoodenBoat Show, the Small Craft Show and the Classic & Wooden Boat Show.
- Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration (860-572-5955): See Beluga whales, sea lions, penguins, tropical fish, stingray touch tank and more.
- Denison Homestead Museum (860-536-9248): Historic home and museum on 140 acres of land. Take a virtual tour on the museum website.
- Denison Pequot Nature Center (860-536-1216): A combination wildlife sanctuary, visitor attraction and educational facility. Features all-new exhibits highlighting the habitats and wildlife of southeastern Connecticut, as well as 8 miles of trails that wind through a beautiful 300-acre wooded preserve. Through natural history exhibits, educational classes and outreach programs, the Center seeks to educate visitors of all ages about the unique interrelationships of animals, plants and non-renewable resources.
- Mystic Art Association (860-536-7601)
- Mystic Arts Center (860-536-7601)
- Katya’s White Nights, Artisan Gallery & Magickal Bead Emporium (860-536-8339)
- Finer Line Gallery (860-536-8339)
- Bartleby’s Coffee Café (860-245-3714): Gourmet coffee and fresh pastries on Main Street.
- Latitude 41 (860-572-5303) (formerly the Seaman’s Inn): Fine dining located next to the Seaport.
- Sea-View Snack Bar (860-572-0096): Fried seafood in the rough.
- Kitchen Little (860-536-2122): Tiny restaurant with outdoor seating located near the Seaport and Aquarium. Great spot for breakfast.
- Mystic Pizza (860-536-3700): Pizza parlor made famous by the eponymous movie.
- Anthony J’s Bistro (860-536-0448): Great seafood menu and wine bar.
- Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop (860-572-7978): Great homemade ice cream shop located next to the bascule bridge.
- S&P Oyster Company (860-536-2674): Fresh seafood and more.
- Zhang’s Asian (860-572-5725)
- Margaritas Mexican (860-536-4589)
- A Taste of India (860-536-8485)
- Harp and Hound Irish Pub (860-572-7778)
- Morgan House Bed & Breakfast (860-536-3050)
- Pequot Hotel Bed and Breakfast (860-572-0390)
- Harbour Inne & Cottage (860-572-9253): Offers dockage.
- Mermaid Inn of Mystic (860-536-6223)
- Inn at Mystic (800-237-2415)
For more information, contact the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce (860-572-9578), which publishes the Mystic Boater’s Guide. The guide can be downloaded from the website.