Located between Cape Cod and Boston, Plymouth is a quintessential charming New England coastal town. It offers its fair share of family adventures such as A.D. Makepeace Company cranberry farm, Billington Sea Kayak, and Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours. However, most people visit Plymouth for its history and not for its charm. Plymouth is the place where original New World settlers stepped off the Mayflower and formed Plymouth Colony in 1620. The rock, which served as a stepping stone to tall ship passengers, is today an iconic symbol of their struggle for freedom and is located in Plymouth Harbor. The Mayflower II, a life-size replica of the original ship that brought the pilgrims to the New World, is usually available for visits at the Plymoth Plantation Park, a live history village that paints the picture of the life of Pilgrims as they adjusted to their life in New England.
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Brewster Gardens, a large park in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts, stretches along both banks of Town Brook. Just south of Plymouth Rock, it runs from the nature trail, past Jenney Grist Mill, and underneath the two bridges. The park was established in the early 1920s, and it still occupies the original plot granted in 1620 to Elder William Brewster. In the heart of the park along the nature trail that runs along the brook is The Pilgrim Maiden, a bronze statue made by Henry Hudson Kitson in 1922, as well as a stainless steel sculpture that honors immigrants who settled in Plymouth from 1700 to 2000. The gardens are densely forested at the perimeter, with manicured lawns and shrubs along the small ponds that are scattered throughout the park. There are many seasonal plants such as black-eyed Susan and native bottlebrush.
30 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-747-1620
© Edaville Railroad
Located in South Carver, Massachusetts and open since 1947, Edaville Railroad is a two-foot heritage narrow gauge railroad line that works as an excursion train and entertainment park for tourists. One of the oldest railroad heritage operations in the country, Edaville was built by Ellis D. Atwood on his massive cranberry plantation about an hour’s drive from Boston in Southeastern Massachusetts. The park has more than 90 attractions and rides and covers 11.5 acres of the lush, green New England land. Some of the most popular attractions include the Island of Sodor, Knapford Station, Tidmough Sheds, and 11 theme rides such as Harold the Helicopter and Cranky the Crane. Visitors can enjoy a scenic 20-minute train ride on a full-sized Thomas the Tank Engine™ through the entire Edaville USA.
5 Pine St, Carver, MA 02330, Phone: 508-866-8190
3.Explore Natural Plymouth
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Explore Natural Plymouth is an association of government, private, and non-profit organizations that is dedicated to offering visitors to Plymouth a very special experience by connecting them to the local farms, forests, wetlands, indigenous and historic sites, and diverse habitats. Their goal is to ensure that visitors as well as residents of Plymouth appreciate and enjoy the natural beauty and ecological heritage of Plymouth County and to ensure more sustainable development of tourism. Some of the members of Explore Natural Plymouth are Friends of Myles Standish State Forest, Goldenrod Foundation, Indigenous Resources Collaborative, Manomet, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Conservation Commission, Plymouth Farmers Market, and many others.
4.Jabez Howland House
© Jabez Howland House
Built in 1667 for Jacob Mitchell and his family, the Jabez Howland House is one of the oldest houses in Plymouth. The historic two-story wood frame house is located at 33 Sandwich Street. Jacob Mitchel was a son of one of the Pilgrims Experience Mitchell. The house was subsequently bought by Jabez Howland, the son of another Pilgrim John Howland and his wife Elizabeth Tilley. The family lived in the house until John died and Elizabeth moved to Rhode Island. The house went through a number of families and served as a private residence until 1915, when it was purchased by The Pilgrim John Howland Society. They carefully renovated the house to return it back to its original look, furnished it with period furniture and décor, and opened it for tours and events. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Houses.
33 Sandwich St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-9590
© Jenney Museum
Jenney Museum is probably the best place to learn about the history of Plymouth, the pilgrims, and how they influenced the culture, government, and values of the United States. The museum features a range of revolving exhibits on pilgrim life and organizes interesting and informative tours of Plymouth. There are three exhibition rooms that focus on different aspects of the pilgrims’ lives, their Christian values, and the influence they had on the American way of life and government. Educational tours organized by the museum are very popular and highly educational and range from a walk through the Historic District, a visit to the Forefathers Monuments, American Heritage, and Conversation with a Pilgrim.
48 Summer St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-747-4544
6.Mayflower House Museum
© Mayflower House Museum
The Mayflower House Museum is located in the Edward Winslow House, an 18th-century historic house museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts just across the road from Plymouth Rock. Built in 1754 for Edward Winslow and his family, the house is now operated by The Mayflower Society, or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, which bought the Edward Winslow House in 1941 and is using it as their office and library. Edward Winslow was a great-grandson of one of the pilgrims, Edward Winslow. The mansion is wonderfully restored and furnished with original period furniture and décor. Guided tours bring to life the lives of Winslow and other influential Plymouth families that lived in the house throughout three centuries of its existence.
4 Winslow St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-2590
7.Myles Standish State Forest
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Myles Standish State Forest is located between Plymouth and Carver, 45 miles from Boston. Operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Myles Standish is the largest public recreation area in this area of Massachusetts. The lush forest is an intrinsic part of the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens ecoregion. Covering 26 square miles, it consists mostly of scrub oak and pitch pine forests and is among the largest forest of this kind north of Long Island. There are six ponds and lakes within the forest and several ecologically important coastal Kettle Ponds. The forest is a popular place for family outings, and it offers swimming, especially in College Pond, camping, horseback riding, and hiking along the 13-mile long hiking trail.
194 Cranberry Rd., Carver, MA 02330, Phone: 508-866-2526
8.National Monument to the Forefathers
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National Monument to the Forefathers is the largest freestanding granite monument in the world. It is perched on top a hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, seemingly staring across the ocean toward Plymouth, England. The 81-foot-tall monument took 30 years to finish and was completed in 1888 as a tribute to the legendary pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower at Plymouth. On top of the monument is a 36-foot-tall sculpture called “Faith,” and on buttresses on all four sides of the pedestal where the monument sits are smaller, intricately carved allegorical figures, each made from one block of granite. The monument was commissioned by the Pilgrim Society, which gave it to the State in 2001.
Allerton St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 434-978-4535
9.Pilgrim Hall Museum
© Pilgrim Hall Museum
Opened in 1824, the Pilgrim Hall Museum is America’s public museum that is still operating. It houses an incomparable collection of Pilgrim artifacts and private possessions, which tell the fascinating story of these intrepid and determined people who crossed the ocean and built lives in the new world. Some of the most significant exhibits are the Myles Standish’s sword, William Bradford’s Bible, the portrait of Edward Winslow, the cradle of Peregrine White, the New England’s first–born, William Brewster’s great chair, and the first sampler Myles Standish’s daughter embroidered in America. The museum also tells the story of the Wampanoag, the Native People who lived in the Plymouth area for 10,000 years before the new settlers arrived, and about their conflict.
75 Court Street, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-1620
10.Plimoth Grist Mill
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Plimoth Grist Mill is a reproduction of the original grist or corn grinding mill built in 1636 by the Pilgrims. The reproduction, which was completed in 1970, consists of parts such as the stones, stone furniture, and spindle salvaged from the early 1800s mill near Philadelphia, PA. It is a tribute to the first grist mill built by the Pilgrims and comes as close to the original Pilgrim Plymouth grist mill as is historically possible. The original mill was run by the colonist John Jenney on Town Brook. Before the mill was built, the colonists were grinding corn by hand. Things to Do in Cape Cod
6 Spring Ln, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-830-1124
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Plimoth Plantation is a replica of an original historic settlement of the 17th century Plymouth Colony, a living history museum in Plymouth established in 1947. The settlement paints the picture of the life of early English colonists known as pilgrims, some of the first English people who came to America. A not-for-profit museum is mostly supported by grants, contributions and volunteers. The re-creations of the original Plimoth Plantation had to rely on a range of period paintings, first and second-hand records, accounts, and original artifacts to ensure accuracy and convey the true spirit of the colony. The museum is open to visitors as well as researchers and scholars researching this period of history. Museum staff members are involved in further research and excavation in the States and abroad in order to increase the knowledge of the pilgrims and their history.
137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-1622
12.Plimoth Plantation Waterfront Exhibit
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Plimoth Plantation Waterfront Exhibit is an essential part of the living history village that reproduces the life of the early Plymouth colonists. It features a life-size replica of the iconic 17th century ship Mayflower II. The tours of the ship are conducted by guides in period costumes. The ship is normally docked at Pilgrim Memorial State Park pier in Plymouth MA but is currently away for restoration at Mystic Seaport, where it will stay until 2020. In its place, the museum opened a new waterfront exhibit called “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” an interactive, family-friendly role play about a 17th century voyager who tells the story of the Pilgrim’s trip from Plymouth and Leiden to Patuxet.
Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-1622
13.Plymouth Antiquarian Houses
© Plymouth Antiquarian Houses
The Plymouth Antiquarian House or the Hedge House is an 1809 house museum located at 126 Water Street in Plymouth. The house, which was built for a sea captain William Hammatt from New England, is now owned by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. Originally located on Court Street, the house was moved in 1919 to Water Street. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the three historic houses owned and maintained by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. The society invites general public to visit these historic houses and offers them for exhibits and various programs. Each of them tells the story of the way of life in Plymouth in different periods of history and is furnished with original period furniture and artifacts.
126 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-0012
14.Plymouth County Sheriff's Department Petting Zoo & Horticultural Center
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Not many cities can say that their Sheriff’s department is not only keeping them safe but is also taking care of a real farm with a petting zoo and a horticultural Center. The petting zoo has a range of cute animals kids are invited to visit, feed, and, of course, pet. The horticultural center offers fresh flowers and shrubs ready to be planted in the yard. The Sheriff’s Farm also organizes seasonal events such as picture-taking with Santa. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department is one of the oldest American law enforcement agencies. Its origins are linked to the coming of Mayflower and pilgrims when Myles Standish was responsible for law and order in the Plymouth Colony.
26 Long Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-830-6200
15.Plymouth Cruises Aboard Lobster Tales
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PLYMOUTH CRUISES aboard the 45-foot passenger ship Lobster Tales is an entertaining and educational way to see Plymouth from the water. The ship, which is docked at 9 Town Warf, sails between April and October and offers three distinct one-hour tours or cruises. Lobster Excursion introduces the process of harvesting lobsters, and the guests get to try their hand at pulling lobster traps from the sea. Pirate Cruises are fun kids’ adventures with pirate-related activities that range from hauling lobster traps to observing marine life in the harbor. Ice Cream Tours include delicious ice cream sundaes that guests make themselves, music, and dancing.
9 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-5342
16.Plymouth Farmers' Market
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Plymouth Farmers' Market takes place every Thursday from 2:30 to 6:30 on the grassy field within the Plimoth Plantation. It is a great place to stock up on fresh and organic produce, enjoy some live music and chocolate buns, and get to know local food growers. There are about 40 vendors that sell prepared food, meats, seasonal fruits and veggies, and artisanal breads. The Plymouth Farmers’ Market is organized in collaboration between various community organizations, growers, and the city government. Since the Town of Plymouth has prohibited the use of plastic bags, customers are advised to bring their own.
137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-315-9429
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Plymouth Rock is a glacial erratic boulder located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth Harbor. The rock is an iconic symbol of the pilgrims and the faith and courage of the people who made the historic voyage from England to the New World, where they founded the first colony in New England. It is widely believed that Plymouth Rock, a 10-ton massive stone, was the stepping stone pilgrims used to disembark from the tall ship on the shore of the New World, but there is no historical evidence supporting this. The rock was found and identified as a symbolic stepping stone 121 years after the arrival of the Mayflower based on a story told by Thomas Fauce, whose father was one of the pilgrims. Whatever the historic facts, more than a million people visit the rock every year, giving tribute to the symbol of freedom it has become.
79 Water Street, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-747-5360
18.Richard Sparrow House
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The Richard Sparrow House is one of the oldest houses in Plymouth, built in 1640 for the family of English surveyor Richard Sparrow and his family. Located at 42 Summer Street on the banks of Town Brook, the house was built on a 16-acre piece of land granted to Sparrow. The original house was built on two stories and had one room on each floor. With leaded glass windows, large rooms, and paneled walls, it was one of the grandest houses in Plymouth at the time. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic House and is now used as a historic house museum and art gallery. It is part of Plymouth Village Historic District.
42 Summer St, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-747-1240
19.A.D. Makepeace Company
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Located in Wareham, the A.D. Makepeace Company is the largest cranberry grower in the world. Their farm in Tihonet Village offers popular public, private, and group tours of cranberry bogs year around, though it is particularly fun during harvest in the fall and in the spring when the cranberries are in bloom. Tours last about an hour and half. Not much walking is involved, but be ready to get muddy. During the harvest season, they also offer a “pick your own berries” tour. Their gift shop offers all sorts of cranberry-related items, gifts, baked goods, gourmet food, sandwiches, and cooking tools.
146 Tihonet Road, Wareham, MA 02571, Phone: 508-295-5437
20.Billington Sea Kayak
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Located in Plymouth on the coast of Billington Sea and about an hour from Boston, Billington Sea Kayak is the place to go if you want to explore this large inland lake in a kayak, a canoe, or on a paddleboard. You can rent high quality boats, and they have a range of courses, programs, and tours organized for visitors. There is a large line of canoes and kayaks to choose from and free demonstrations on the lake every weekend. Their staff is highly trained and knowledgeable, and they will ensure your safety on the water whether you are a beginner or an experienced watersport enthusiast.
41 Branch Point Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-5644
21.Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours
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Captain John is an institution of Plymouth. For the last 60 years, he has been taking tourists on one of his boats to see majestic whales or to try their hand at catching fish in the deep waters off the Plymouth coast. His crew consists of experienced and knowledgeable naturalists who will take you to the Stellwagen Bank marine sanctuary or Cape Cod Bay and introduce you to the largest mammals in the sea (pilot whales, humpback whales, minke wales, and finback whales) in their native environment at their favorite feeding grounds. All boats leave Town Wharf in Plymouth. If you prefer to go fishing, the crew knows just where the fish bite in Cape Cod Bay or Stellwagen Bank. You will get a chance to catch some large cod, mackerel, flounder, and haddock.
3848, 10 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-746-2643
22.Dead of Night Ghost Tours
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With its rich history and many colorful characters who have lived in the area or passed through it, Plymouth has its share of ghosts and haunted houses. Whether you consider yourself a paranormal investigator, believe in ghosts, or are just curious and looking for a bit of spooky fun, join one of the three tours that highlight the scary spots of Plymouth. During the Dead of Night Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour, you will learn about the history of ghost appearances and the reasons these spirits cannot rest. The tour visits the most haunted places in town such as the Burial Hill Cemetery. There is also a daytime history tour and the Sunset Cemetery Tour if traipsing through cemeteries in the dark is not your thing. If you consider yourself a real paranormal investigator, you can bring your own equipment and explore two of the most haunted Plymouth houses. All tours start at the Last Ride Hearse and take about two hours.
72 Water St, Next to Plymouth Rock, Plymouth, MA 02360-3836, Phone: 508-277-2371
23.DropZone Plymouth - Aerial Adventure Park
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Drop Zone Plymouth is a favorite aerial adventure park designed for adventure-seekers seven years old or older. The park is proud to ensure your safety with the help of the modern Safe Roller System. Their experienced staff checks all connections the rides begin to make sure that you are having fun in total safety. You can challenge yourself at the Aerial Obstacle Course or on the 400-feet high ziplines. Alternatively, can take a leap of faith by jumping off the 40-foot high tower. There is also a climbing wall with a timer where you can compete with your friends and the adrenaline-pumping Giant Swing. The park is a favorite place for celebrating birthdays of little and not so little adrenaline-junkies.
9 Meadow Park Rd., Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: 508-958-9323
24.Pilgrim Food Tours
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We do not know exactly what the pilgrims ate when they arrived at Plymouth, but it is a historic fact that they celebrated their first harvest in 1621 with a great feast. Sharing food with family and friends was always part of the American culture, and to celebrate this significant event in the Plymouth and country history, Pilgrim Food Tours offer a tour of the historic Plymouth through its food and drinks. The easy walking tour will take you through the city’s best restaurants, specialty shops, bars, and cafes. While walking through historic downtown Plymouth, you will learn about the city history, significant architecture, and culinary treats our ancestors enjoyed. The tours last around three hours and cover about 1.2 miles. Phone: 800-656-0713
25.Plymouth Bike Rentals
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While not a very large town, Plymouth has dozens of attractions and places to visit such as Plymouth Rock, a replica of the tall ship Mayflower, the Plimoth Plantation living history museum, a grist mill, and so much more. Walking is a great way to see as much as possible of any city, but when there is so much to do, it might be too time-consuming and too tiring. Plymouth Bike Rentals offer their modern, well-maintained bikes to make the exploring faster and easier. They also offer multi-person bikes, all sorts of child-friendly accessories, baby trailers, baskets, headlights, and much more. They have several pick-up locations throughout Plymouth or they can deliver bikes to your hotel.
Village Landing Marketplace, 170 Water Street, Plymouth, MA, Phone: 508-732-0120
25 Best Things to Do in Plymouth, MA
- Brewster Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of AnnaPa - Fotolia.com
- Edaville Railroad, Photo: Edaville Railroad
- Explore Natural Plymouth, Photo: Courtesy of Bastos - Fotolia.com
- Jabez Howland House, Photo: Jabez Howland House
- Jenney Museum, Photo: Jenney Museum
- Mayflower House Museum, Photo: Mayflower House Museum
- Myles Standish State Forest, Photo: Courtesy of alexcoolok - Fotolia.com
- National Monument to the Forefathers, Photo: Courtesy of Monika - Fotolia.com
- Pilgrim Hall Museum, Photo: Pilgrim Hall Museum
- Plimoth Grist Mill, Photo: Courtesy of Vinoverde - Fotolia.com
- Plimoth Plantation, Photo: Courtesy of mheston - Fotolia.com
- Plimoth Plantation Waterfront Exhibit, Photo: Courtesy of AndreasJ - Fotolia.com
- Plymouth Antiquarian Houses, Photo: Plymouth Antiquarian Houses
- Plymouth County Sheriff's Department Petting Zoo & Horticultural Center, Photo: Courtesy of Prin - Fotolia.com
- Plymouth Cruises Aboard Lobster Tales, Photo: Courtesy of Amar Shah - Fotolia.com
- Plymouth Farmers' Market, Photo: Courtesy of Jane - Fotolia.com
- Plymouth Rock, Photo: Courtesy of Bastos - Fotolia.com
- Richard Sparrow House, Photo: Courtesy of apeskoff - Fotolia.com
- A.D. Makepeace Company, Photo: Courtesy of Lijuan Guo - Fotolia.com
- Billington Sea Kayak, Photo: Courtesy of upslim - Fotolia.com
- Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Lunghammer - Fotolia.com
- Dead of Night Ghost Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Bluesky60 - Fotolia.com
- DropZone Plymouth - Aerial Adventure Park, Photo: Courtesy of WavebreakMediaMicro - Fotolia.com
- Pilgrim Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of O.B. - Fotolia.com
- Plymouth Bike Rentals, Photo: Courtesy of cataliseur30 - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of annaszk - Fotolia.com