Connecticut State Boat Launch
in Groton and Stonington, CT
Parking: Medium sized lot near 550 River Rd, Mystic, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3 miles of paddling Rating: ★★★☆☆
I last paddled the Mystic River on a gorgeous summer morning with clear skies and cool breeze. The parking area is a shoulder pull off with room for easily a dozen cars. A couple other boats had already put in the water, there were a handful of fisherman, and a family splashing at the tiny beach.
The boat launch is a carry in down a sandy bank right next to the parking area and you can either head upstream or down. You can easily paddle about a mile upstream and explore the smaller quieter coves. We paddled downstream immediately passing under the Mystic River Bridge of I-95 and past the Elm Grove Cemetery. This wide stretch of river has interesting houses on one side and the historic Mystic Seaport on the other. There isn’t a ton to see of the seaport from the water, but it’s interesting to paddle alongside the big old boats.
You then enter a narrower, busier, and more densely populates stretch through Mystic proper passing under the Mystic drawbridge. The town was bustling with dozens of people thronging the bridge and sidewalk river views.
This last stretch feels pretty industrial with marinas and commercial boats all the way through the railroad bridge until opening into Mystic Harbor. If you wanted to extend your paddle you could go out to the populated Masons Island or the Sixpenny Island WMA, but we instead turned around and made the paddle back to the boat launch.
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Last updated August 1st, 2021
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