The E List

An Excruciatingly Opinionated Guide to the Shoreline

August 7, 2023
Fun / Outdoors /

Get Out on the Water


While it may seem like everyone on the Shoreline has a boat, not all of us do…but we can make pretend by sailing away on one of these cruises or charters!

Seabird Cruises
We’ve had tons of fun with Captain Chip and his picnic cruiser. This charter based in Old Saybrook offers delightful “picnic” and sunset cruises plus all-day charters for up to 6 people. The sleek yacht, all polished teak and spiffy navy blue, will have you grabbing your ascot and gin and tonic for a spin around Long Island Sound. Captain Chip is a delightful sea-faring chap and well-versed about the area. BYO. Contact Chip at or call 203-245-3914

Discover the heritage and natural beauty of the Connecticut River aboard the
Onrust, a replica of Dutch Explorer Adrien Block’s 1614 ship. Daytime, sunset, swallow, and private charters.

Set sail from Mystic on the 81′ Argia, a modern replica of a 19th-century sailing schooner. Public day sails and charters available.

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is known for its fleet of rare and historic boats. Enjoy all manner of nautical excursions from rowboat rentals to a 61′ schooner sail to an afternoon on a classic wooden motor yacht.

Climb aboard Riverquest, a 64′ catamaran, for a comfy osprey, swallow, or daytime or sunset cruise. Shanties and Sails every Tuesday evening in June. Leaves from the CT River Museum, Essex

Joyride Charters
Charter the Pure Joy, a 1987 Catalina 36 out of Westbrook, with Joy Sherman. She’ll take you and your crew out for an afternoon, sunset or therapeutic cruise. Vacation packages and one-on-one lessons for new boat owners, too.

Tiki Bar Cruises
I saw this kooky tour out on the water. We haven’t tried it yet, but it’s definitely on our list. Noank:

And here’s a BYO cruise in Clinton:

Ocean House
From a Hinkley Picnic boat to classic sailing yachts, Ocean House’s fleet offers elegant excursions: day sails, sunset sails, and tours.

Mystic Boat Adventures
Drive your own personal power boat up the Mystic River with Mystic Boat Adventures. It’s a fun date, as the boats are two-seater! Bigger group? Book multiple boats and cruise around together. Mystic Boat Adventures is located at 145 Pearl Street, Noank, Groton.

Mystic River Cruises
Gather your group and charter the beautiful antique picnic boat from Mystic River Cruises. Private cruises are available for up to 6 people. Pack your own lunch for the day cruise, or sip on cocktails during the sunset cruise. Push off from Seaport Marine at 2 Washington Street in Mystic. Call (860) 912-3404 for more information.

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the one-stop shop for any of your boating adventures. Borrow a sailboat, rowboat, or even a pedal boat for an hour (free), or for those more comfortable as a passenger, peruse the charter fleet, including a lobster boat, motor yacht, and schooner. Visit their website for quotes and to reserve.

Thames River Heritage Park
Thames River Heritage Park offers informative, historical cruises like White Sails, Black Hands: The African American Experience on the Thames, Blowholes, Blubber, & Breaches: Whaling Tales from the Thames, and Well-Heeled and Wannabees: The Gilded Age or enjoy a Friday Happy Hour cruise leaving from City Pier in New London. Hop on/hop off the Thames River Water Taxi (refurbished navy utility boats) with stops at Fort Trumbull State Park, City Pier, and Thames River Landing.

Thimble Islands
Tour the Thimble Islands aboard the Sea Mist. On offer are narrated cruises of the historic islands, happy hour cruises, and private charters for up to 40 people. Belly up to the Sand Bar aboard for wine, beer, and rum punch. Also offered are cruises from Stony Creek Brewery. 

Carefree Boats
Carefree Boats delivers all of the perks of owning a boat with none of the hassle (or expense). This private boat club has two local locations in Clinton and Noank, and membership costs only a fraction of typical boat ownership and cuts out all of the time-consuming maintenance. On-the-water instruction is available for newbies as well.


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