Summer has always been the most popular time for New England travel destinations, primarily because of warm weather and water activities. The same is true for Mystic, Connecticut. June through August, and again during the fall foliage season, is the most expensive time to visit as weather is at its most favorable and outdoor activities such as kayaking, schooner tours, and pleasure cruises enhance the coastal experience. Holidays and school vacation periods throughout the year are also peak times. However, off-season events such as Mystic Seaport's "Lantern Light Tours" in December and New England-themed shopping year-round draw visitors to the area during less popular months.
high season: mid-June to mid--October
low season: earlyDecember to mid--March
shoulder season: mid-October to November, mid-March to mid--June
June through August is the warmest time with daytime temperature lows in the high 50s/low 60s and highs in the 70s and 80s. December through February is the coldest period with highs in the 30s and lows that dip below freezing, as well as a good amount of snowfall. Autumn and spring bring moderate temperatures, although snow is a possibility during both March and November. Fall foliage color peaks during October. During all seasons, temperatures are often a few degrees warmer along the coast.
Late spring through early winter is the most favorable time for pleasant temperatures and prime scenery. Winter through early spring has the least favorable weather, when snow may interfere with travel and outdoor activities.
Summer is the busiest time, particularly on holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, as well as during special events like Mystic Seaport's Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous (mid-July) when approximately 40 classic yachts gather at the Seaport, and Herman Melville's birthday (July 30) when people come aboard the Charles W. Morgan
to hear recited chapters of Moby Dick
. Although summer is a peak time, locals attest that the area doesn't feel crowded.
Other busy times for the area include the fall foliage season, particularly Columbus Day weekend; family-friendly "Field Days," which occur on the weekend after Thanksgiving; February school vacation week; and President's Day weekend.
Weekends in general tend to be busier than the weekdays as many New Yorkers come to get out of the city.
Many sites close, limit exhibits, or reduce hours from early December through mid-March. It's best to call ahead for closures during these months. Most are closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, with some also shutting their doors on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.
During these winter months, Mystic Seaport remains open year-round, but some of the exhibits are not open to the public. The Aquarium is open year-round, but reduces its midweek hours. However, shops in the area, such as those in Downtown Mystic and Olde Mistick Village, extend hours during the December holiday period, usually until 8:00 at night.
When to Save
Early December through mid-March is the least expensive time to visit. Summer and the fall foliage season from mid-June through Columbus Day weekend are the highest peak time, thus the most expensive. Weekends and holidays tend to be more expensive than regular Sunday through Thursday stays.
Hotels, including the popular Inn at Mystic, offer numerous value packages for savings up to 50 percent for mid-week travel, as well as for low and shoulder season travel periods.
When to Book
Book flights as far in advance as possible for availability and good prices. The old standard is to book at least 21 days in advance, but last-minute discounts are sometimes available. Hotel rates are typically set seasonally, but it's a good idea to book far in advance for peak travel periods to ensure availability.