If there is one must do activity while visiting Mystic, Connecticut it is to head to Adventure Mystic and rent a paddle board, kayak, or tandem kayak to explore the Mystic River! There is something wonderfully exhilarating and simultaneously peaceful about being your own captain.
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is the fastest growing sport in the world. Anyone can do it, it is a great workout, and it is undeniably fun. Adventure Mystic’s rental fleet of ATX paddle boards are far more stable than you may imagine a SUP to be, you’ll quickly feel like you’re walking on water. Not only that, but the view from atop a board is exquisite. With unique backdrops such as the Mystic Seaport Museum’s collection of historic vessels, be prepared to be in awe as you discover natural wildlife underneath you and flying above you. Cormorants will likely pop their heads up, an osprey may be seen nesting, or perhaps a little fish will become your new buddy.
If ready to take a seat after too much shopping in Mystic’s quaint local businesses, grab a classic Old Town Kayak. Kayaking offers a nice low-impact upper body workout, allowing you to kick back, relax, and take in the sights. A kayak might also be a safer option if you’re hoping to snap some photos along the way.
Adventure Mystic’s location on Holmes Street provides the perfect starting point for your journey. The Mystic River Bascule Bridge, known by locals simply as the Mystic Drawbridge, is just a stone’ throw away from the boat launch. The bridge was originally built in 1920, and even after spending my entire childhood in Mystic, there is still something magical about watching that beauty go up, especially when a tall ship is charging through. There are other fun smaller inlets and bridges to scope out along the river. The boards and boats have a very low draft allowing you to adventure where larger craft may not.
Additionally, the river is home to a lovely array of boats, new and old. My favorites are the happily moored Beetle Cat sailboats. Designed around the same era as the Mystic Drawbridge, these 12-foot long gaff-rigged gems were meant for shallow water fishing. Occasionally, you can catch them zipping along during the local race series.
Venturing out on a SUP or kayak is one of the most meditative excursions you can have. Whether going out solo or with your family, it is just you, your paddle, and your vessel gliding through the relatively calm Mystic River. With each stroke you’ll find yourself getting deeper and deeper into the moment. Playing outside, on the water, is a therapeutic way to explore new environments. Simply, the culmination of being active and in nature is a recharging and healthy way to spend your day.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out Adventure Mystic and enjoy this beautiful seaport the way it was designed to be viewed, by the water!
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @jason_gerhart @fresh_world_press