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New Haven to Mystic Day Trip: Tickets, Tours and Eats

Updated: Jun 6

Calling all Yale students, Alumni, visitors or others just passing through the Northeast corridor of the US, there's a fun and inexpensive day trip you can take just one hour from New Haven!

The quintessentially New England town of Mystic, Connecticut is one I grew up knowing about, having lived the first years of my life in a small town in Massachusetts. In search of clam cakes, the squawks of seagulls and the distinct scent of New England ocean air, a day trip to Mystic is full of nostalgia and charm.

With plenty to see and do from fisherman's villages, kitschy shopping opportunities and classic clam stands, it is easy to spend a day exploring this coastal gem. Below, discover how to travel to Mystic without a car, taking the Shore Line East New Haven to Mystic train, along with details on places to visit. To really save money doing this, be sure to keep reading.

Note: Always Pack Tissues represents many tried and tested travel sites as what is called an 'affiliate' partner. That means if you click on my ads I may get a commission from a resulting sale.

new haven state street train tracks

This article includes:

How to Book a Cheap New Haven to Mystic Train

Two routes to plug in:

New Haven to Mystic

An easy hour ride from New Haven Union Station, this is the most direct route for your day trip.

Depending on the dates, fares can be as low as $10 or well over one hundred dollars (seriously!) so book early.

To book your New Haven to Mystic train, check rates here.


New Haven to New London

From New Haven State Street Station to New London, this route stops one stop away from Mystic, saving a lot of money.

Why New London?

Believe it or not, the price for the dates I searched were $246 for two people (New Haven to Mystic on Amtrak) versus $43 total for two people (New Haven to New London on the regional Amtrak train).

Once you arrive in New London, simply take a 10-12 minute taxi or Uber ride from the train station to your first destination, which will likely be the Mystic Seaport Museum (more on that below).

The cost of the taxi fares will undoubtedly be cheaper than the $200 difference in train fares, so this is a no brainer. The train takes 1 hour no matter which train you take, and you're only one stop off from the Amtrak route.

To book your New Haven to New London train, check rates here or at the helpful widget below:

Other ways to get from New Haven to Mystic:

Unfortunately, from what I could find there is no regular bus route from New Haven to Mystic. There is a charter bus service, however, which I did not look into deeply.

Driving is the other obvious option, taking about the same amount of time as the train.

Do you need luggage storage while you are traveling by train? Click here to check out luggage storage options near you.

What to Do in Mystic, CT

More than a museum, this open air complex costs adults about $30 to visit for the day. Admission gets you into numerous exhibitions, but the shining star is the waterfront seaport village.

white lighthouse

Made to model an early 19th century fishing village, you'll find cozy cottages, ships docked in the harbor, and more.

red and white sign

Included in the ships is a fantastic whaling ship called the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the WORLD! See what life was like on board, and other interesting and unique finds like their whale boiling vats, called try pots.

onboard a whaling vessel, bunks

Expect to see a general store, lobster shack, an old school house, the bank, the printing office and other typical town businesses all perfectly capturing the historic settlements of New England in the 1800's.

One of our favorite building exhibits was where they made the ship ropes. What a fascinating thing to display, as it is often overlooked how simple things like ropes were made back then.

rope on spindles

The Mystic Seaport Museum is a must-see in Mystic, so visit early when they open (10am) and check hours and admission on their website.

Because I live in Florida, kitschy shopping areas are pretty much a staple, especially if you are familiar with the Oldest City - St. Augustine. Very similar to that, you will find Olde Mystick Village.

Another open air village set to resemble Mystic's historic seaport past, here you can discover restaurants and shops a plenty. Expect the typical old time sweets, on theme souvenirs and general stores, jewelry, handicrafts and even a Christmas shop.

The Olde Mystick Village is an adorable spot for spending the afternoon hours popping in and out of shops or grabbing a cold drink and people watching.

olde mystick village square

Historic Downtown Mystic is less kitsch and more upmarket, casual boutiques. Find rows of restaurants offering happy hour like the Oyster Club's generous discounts on drinks, oysters and mussels, or venture in to dine at Captain Daniel Packer Inne, where old nautical vibes meet New England tavern fare.

As in all places near Mystic, downtown offers river views and lovely scenery.

teal snack bar with old school sign

Of course the word Mystic makes just about everyone my age think of curly-haired Julia Roberts and the movie Mystic Pizza, which I actually haven't seen, so shoot me. If you are into that, by all means get some pizza in Mystic.

Otherwise, check out the riverfront Sea View Snack Bar, where you'll be greeted with a locals only vibe and really good fried seafood. Get the clam cakes (clam fritters here), clam strips, or the lobster roll, followed up by some ice cream next door at Twisters.

old school ice cream snack bar

Dine outdoors on picnic tables at this walk-up seafood shack, and enjoy the water views. What a classic way to indulge in some of New England's best summertime treats.

fried seafood with a Waterfront view

If You Have Time, Visit the Nautilus

black submarine

This free museum located in Groton, just minutes between New London and Mystic, is an amazing place to visit for history buffs.

Step foot on board the first nuclear powered submarine from 1954. See the way the crew lived, the torpedo room, and learn about the nuclear powered fleet of submarines in our nation's history.

map of the nautilus

The fascinating Nautilus museum is free admission to all, and offers plenty of hands on exhibits, as well as historical artifacts.


If Traveling Back to New Haven Out of New London:

Try some of these other easy to get to spots just minutes from the New London train station:

Only 6 minutes along the waterfront walking, grab some oysters and a drink, or enjoy some live music by the water before hopping on your return train.

blue and white striped tent bar overlooking water

About 1 mile from the train station, this place is very authentic for seafood shack offerings. If you don't make it to the Sea View Snack Bar, make Captain Scotts a must do on your day trip list.

This free fort is a cool way to spend some time checking out artillery and sweet views of the harbor.

Getting Around

Getting around was easy without a car, with destinations no more than 10-15 minutes apart. All of our Ubers cost an average of $10-12, about the equivalent of one dollar per minute.

We found New London to be a rather run down town with not much to offer, so I don't recommend spending much time near the train station. Make your day great by spending the majority of it in Mystic, followed by a visit to the Nautilus and City Dock before your train.

The train for the Shore Line East is brand new and really clean, and the ride was not only enjoyable, but very scenic as it follows the coast line.

red and white seats on a train

Enjoy your train journey and day trip from New Haven to Mystic!


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