Kayaking in Mystic Connecticut area

Will be in Mystic this summer for several weeks, staying right near the Seaport Museum. Planning on bringing my kayak. I have never been to the area, and don’t know how friendly/hostile the town is to kayakers seeking put-ins and take outs. Anyone have any experience paddling around here? Am hoping to just carry/wheel my yak over to the river and putting in. Will need no parking.

Don’t just parade across someones
property. They will be hostile to that.

(I lived on the Shoreline for many years). To avoid conflict ask for permission first.

Also don’t assume you can land on any island. I did that off Mystic once and a guy came running at me yelling “How would you like it if I crapped in your front yard?”.

Now all I was doing is taking off a drysuit…but he was not friendly. There are a lot of kayakers in the area and some of them are not respectful of private property. Even if you have the best of intentions, what has happened before is the ruling factor in how you are met.

Here is the CT coastal access guide for the Mystic River


I know from experience that any place that gets heavy influxes of summer tourists and where shoreline is mostly monopolized by very expensive private lots can make finding even simple put in access a challenge. I would of course ask before traipsing across someone’s private property. I’d rather not load the boat on the car and drive out to the public put in when the place I will be staying appears to be only a block from water. As I’ve never been there I don’t really have any sense of how much of the riverfront is privately held, and how much public space there is–and if there are any physical or legal barriers to launching from any stretches of public water front.

Mystic Area
You can launch at Isham Street just south of the Seaport. There are two more launches; under the Route 95 overpass to the north (on the western side of the river) and a very small one a little south of the Mystic drawbridge on Water Street. The riverbank is mostly private property but if you head south you can land on a few different beaches near the mouth. Also check out Tuesday Night Paddlers -

http://tnp.kayakforum.com/content/welcome-tuesday-night-paddlers - We go out every Tuesday from various locations along the shoreline. You are most welcome to join us. What type of kayaking do you like? We have paddlers of all different skill levels.

Public launch
There is a public boat launch right next to the seaport on Isham street. You can either unload and park on the street or park in the lot for the seaport. It’s a friendly area since they are ued to tourists. Just be respectful and clean.

If you paddle down river out to the harbor there are some beautiful areas to explore. Ram island lies directly out from the harbor but you cannot land there. There are a few smaller islands to the left that you can stop at. Mason’s island makes for a nice short circumnavigation depending on how far you want to go.

If you venture further out into the sound just be cautious of the tides and currents. There can be some strong currents especially as you get out near Fishers island.

It’s paddlers heaven out there. Hope to do it again this year myself. ;-]


Mystic area paddling
I’ve paddles in this area for many decades-it’s one of my favorite places in CT to paddle.

The launch under the I95 bridge has good parking capacity, easy to use and is usually hassle free. One time I was there with a group consisting of about 25 kayaks and canoes. A DEP employee with a “bug up his ass” tried to claim we needed a group permit-not true under CT shoreline access laws and regulations. He backed off when I respectfully questioned him about the legal basis of his assertion. You can go upriver quite a ways at high tide, bumpy at low tide. As you paddles downriver from the I95 launch you will pass through the Seaport.

Isham Street launch is fine for very small groups but parking is quite limited and on busy weekends you may have to park in the Seaport main lots across the road. The main benefit of this launch is you are at the southern edge of the Seaport and can paddle upriver into it.

There are a few other launching points but they are harder to find, of more questionable access permission and not any better than the two mentioned.

Buy a marine map of the area If you don’t have one. Paddling down the river and then bearing left takes one to some very scenic islands. A small beach on the northern shore of the island with the Monastery buildings is a nice lunch spot and you can walk the scenic property to get the kinks out of your body…

Enjoy paddling in a fine area,


I will probably join you. I have a 17 foot Pygmy Arctic Tern. I live in the midwest, So most of my paddling is on calm water. But I have taken it to the east coast for ocean paddling on several summer trips. This will be my first trip out east in about three years, though. I’ll be staying and studying at Mystic Seaport for five weeks starting in late June. Looking forward to getting out on the water. The Isham Street launch sounds convenient and not too far from where I’ll be staying.

Thanks, Gary

– Last Updated: Apr-17-12 9:24 PM EST –

And Dave! This is just the type of information I was looking for!




Mystic - great place

– Last Updated: Apr-18-12 7:11 AM EST –

In the summer there 's the wooden boat parade with all vintage boats. It's a great time with people lining up on the river etc. I go every year.

If you google Mystic and blow it up a bit you will see Masons Island - a large Island at the river entrance (connected by a bridge. You can paddle out the river and go left around Masons and stop and have lunch on Ram Island is is only 300 yards off shore. But land on the area closest to the mainland. It is privately owned but the owners don't care if you land there on the rocks toward Mystic.

The river has loads of nooks and crannies to explore everywhere and if you go S out the river around the lighthouse you go to Esker point and the beach.

Go N out the river and you go to Stonnington. All the shoreline along there is rocky and beautiful with small pocket beaches. You can also go far up river too.

Visit Stonnington too - by car or kayak. Nice old village - shops, food etc.

WoodenBoat show in Mystic

A great event if you like small boats.

Love 'em.

– Last Updated: Apr-18-12 9:28 PM EST –

That's going to be great!

Fantastic area
I moored BlueMoon, my sailboat, in New London for a number of years. Napatree is also a nice spot to explore, that’s the spit of beach off Watch Hill. There’s a fairly quiet beach there, and a charming “10 minute” town with some wonderful mansions to check out with a short walk. New London/Groton is polar opposite, but I loved canoeing the Thames, checking out the Subs, ferries, Coast Guard academy, fishing fleets etc… Be advised you’ll be on camera for most of the Thames, don’t get too close to Electric Boat, the USCGA, or the sub base, but it’s a neat area.