Connecticut : Safety by City
- East Hartford
- New Haven
- New London
- Old Saybrook
- West Hartford
- Windsor Locks
Mystic, Connecticut, is as magical as the name sounds, even though the real meaning of the name came from Native Americans and means a place where waters are influenced by winds and tides.
However, this town is almost otherworldly.
It exists on the map but isn’t a city.
It’s where Groton and Stonington meet, but it stands firm enough to have its own zip code.
Each city shares a slice of Mystic’s nautical magic.
Mystic is too separated to have its own government, but popular enough that Amtrack stops here.
Mystic covers less than four square miles but is one of the top tourists draws in all of New England, even with the incredible load of traffic that fills the streets in the summer.
If Disney made a nautical theme park I’m not sure they could make one better than Mystic.
This city immerses you in the Ye Olde Fishing Town vibe faster than you can say “Wooden Boardwalk.”
You won’t find chain restaurants or hotels here, it’s all mom-and-pop shops.
Any Gen Xer is going to insist on getting a slice of Pizza at “Mystic Pizza” in honor of the hit movie from 1988.
Anyone who scoffs at that idea needs to know this movie was the breakout role for Julia Roberts and was Matt Damon’s first movie credit.
That alone is worth a slice of the pizza.
We still have to wonder what the magic ingredient was.
Warnings & Dangers in Mystic
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk in Mystic. While exact crime numbers aren't available, it's in the safest sections of Stonington and Groton (pronounced like "rotten" with a "G" at the beginning).
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll use the Southeast Area Transit to get around the area here, and you can get Amtrak to New York City or Boston in a couple of hours. Even if you could get a taxi or rideshare, there's a lot of traffic in Mystic and finding the first parking spot and walking is the best plan. There's low risk with whatever option you choose.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here in the summer just because of all the people around. The city gets quite busy and you're going to find yourself in large crowds. If you secure all your stuff and leave valuables at home, you should be safe, but there's going to be a higher risk in such tourist-focused designations.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The two biggest risks are snowstorms in the winter and hurricanes in the summer and early fall. While hurricanes are more common in the southern seaboard states, you can still get a wallop here. There's a low risk, but for anyone who's not used to winter weather with a lot of snow, you'll need to be prepared. If there is any big risk, Mystic will be shut down.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk. Given that this town lies between two safe cities and in the safest parts of those cities, you are less likely to get mugged at gunpoint than you are to have your pocket picked. It's just not a violent area.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of Mystic being a direct target, but this entire northeast region is a medium risk due to the high population area and the many major cities contained within. If you are traveling through Boston or New York City, that's a higher risk than just being in Mystic.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as no major scams are reported against tourists. The one cautionary tale is that if you want to stay in Mystic, you'll be at a cottage inn, a B&B, or a home rental. Make sure any place you book has proof of a rental license and never send money via wire before you arrive. All rentals should come with credit card deposit options and watch out for any deal that seems too good to be true.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There aren't many dark alleys or dangerous places in Mystic, as it's so small and often very crowded. There's a low risk. You should watch out if you're drinking a lot or carrying around a lot of cash.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Annual Water Quality Report from Aquarion Water shows that tap water met or exceeded all standards. There have been some water usage restrictions, which is the only concern you might face. There's a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Mystic
You have three ways to explore Mystic; by foot, by boat, or by Trolly.
You’ll be amazed at the number of movies or TV shows filmed here and you can take a tour of the Vampire Diaries’ top spots, Sweet Magnolia scene setters, The Dukes of Hazzard hot spots, and so many more.
Trolly tours take you to all the best places, so you don’t have to search them out yourself.
Take a boat out to do some fishing, either deep in the sea or near the shoreline.
You can also take boat tours or rent a boat for the day.
Mystic River cruises are a popular way to kick back and enjoy the sights.
You can also rent these cute little two-seater boats that don’t require a whole lot of skill.
If you can drive a car, you can drive one of these boats.
On land, you must see the Mystic Seaport Museum.
This is the largest of its kind and has so many interactive exhibits you’ll wish you were a sailor from the 1700s.
This is a safe, family-friendly option that could take up to half a day to explore.
The Out Lighthouse Museum is a great way to learn some history while you’re here.
The shopping options in downtown Mystic have options for all genders.
Men will love the masculine “Trove” while women will get as lost as they do in Target at the “Hang the Moon” store.
You have fudge shops, candy makers, and crafters offering unique options.
You can also learn how to tie a variety of sailing knots.
Places to Avoid in Mystic
There aren’t places to avoid because of dangers, but there are some ways to avoid getting frustrated, especially in the summer.
Parking is very challenging here.
There’s a lot of parking, but it’s not as obvious as you might want it to be.
A good rule of thumb is – to take the first parking spot you see, as there might not be one closer to town.
Avoid being in a rush in Mystic, especially around 5 pm.
That’s when many of the family-friendly locations close and everyone is trying to leave Mystic.
Traffic gets very busy.
There’s also a drawbridge as the only way to get back and forth between the cities, and it takes 10-15 minutes of waiting for the bridge to go up, let the boat pass underneath, and then close again.
Having lived in Florida, I can tell you that boats always have first priority at the drawbridge, never cars.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Mystic
- Sign up for Stonington Alerts through the city’s website. This will give you updated weather watches or warnings and any emergencies happening in the area. Once you’re signed up, you can download the app.
- If you are traveling in a large group or meet some nice people in Mystic, you can get a 10% discount on group boat tours if you have 6-8 people on board. You sign up for that through the “ThisIsMystic” website.
- If you are driving to and from Mystic, don’t fill up on gas there. Prices can be more than a quarter a gallon more expensive. Even just driving 10 minutes in any direction will get you cheaper gas.
- You need a fishing license to catch fish here, and you can sign up for a license at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website. If you forget, you can also get a license in town.
- Beach lovers only have one public beach option in Mystic and that is Williams Beach. It’s part of the YMCA of Mystic. There’s FREE PARKING here. (This is the only beach I’ve seen in all of Connecticut with free parking.)
- While many restaurants in Mystic are kid-friendly, some bars have 21+ age limits. Check with your preferred location before you go to make sure you can bring the whole family.
- If you’re visiting the aquarium, there’s a Jurassic tour that is geared toward children, but it’s very dark and has ominous red and yellow colors with loud noises. Just prepare your children for it.
- Before booking a trip here, check the prices of the hotels and restaurants. Much like Disney World, the prices here can give some sticker shock if you aren’t ready. An average food budget for your family might not hold up with the increased prices. You should save a good 25% more than you planned for novelties and food.
- You’ll need good, comfortable walking shoes here. The walking platforms range from wooden to dirt to gravel to concrete. There’s so much to see and do here, but it does require a lot of walking around.
- This city has fun day and night. Some bars stay open late into the night and there are ghost walking tours as well. Even if you’re just walking the boardwalk at night, be safe. Use a smaller purse and just bring one credit card with you. Always be aware of your surroundings and if there is any concern whatsoever, call for help. The police will be there quickly.
So... How Safe Is Mystic Really?
The crime statistics that can be pulled together come from Stonington and Groton, both of which are safe cities by Connecticut and National comparison.
Violent and property crimes are lower than the average, much lower in some cases.
This is the top tourist destination in the entire state and it wouldn’t be that way if it had too much crime.
You can feel safe visiting here.
One safety concern here is ticks.
Connecticut as a whole has a huge problem with ticks, and even walking a small trail can put you at risk.
Always check your full body after walking around and remove any ticks by the head.
Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and you don’t want to put your health at risk by being lackadaisical about this danger.
How Does Mystic Compare?
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- Visas - The Visa requirements are handled at the airport or port of entry and no additional processing is needed to get into Mystic.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. It's wise to set a budget after you review the increased prices here. There is a lot of temptation to overspend with so many things to do. Look at the Mystic tourism website for deals and ways to book ahead of time so you don't pull your wallet out more than you need to here.
- Weather - There's a reason this is a summer spot and not a winter haven for tourists. That's because winters are downright cold and snowy. The river can be rough, limiting any boating even if you were brave enough to face the cold. If you are coming in winter, you'll need several layers of clothing to keep warm and full winter weather attire like gloves, hats, scarves, and snow boots. Summers are nice and warm. This is a casual town, so bring t-shirts and shorts.
- Airports - The Providence airport is the closest option and is about a 45-minute drive. If you are flying out of JFK or Boston's Logan Airport, plan about four hours for the train ride, getting to the airport, and check-in.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for a trip to Mystic. Winter weather can shut the city down and the remnants of a hurricane can cause heavy rain and flooding. I-95 is notorious for bad traffic accidents and crazy drivers that can cause many delays at airports.
Mystic Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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