Plymouth, a quintessentially New England spot with a 400-year-old legacy, set the stage for the very first American Thanksgiving. From Plymouth Rock to the Mayflower II and the famous Grist Mill, this Massachusetts town exudes charm throughout its many historical attractions.
Conveniently located between Boston and Cape Cod in the northeastern U.S., Plymouth is best known for the iconic Plymouth Rock, where the pilgrims first landed. But in addition to its historical monuments and museums, the town also offers a vibrant arts scene, beaches, parks, gardens, farmers’ markets, whale watching, and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as great dining and shopping.
Start your visit at the Visitors’ Center, where you can pick up a map and information about area events and attractions. Most people visit Plimoth Plantation, followed by the Plimoth Grist Mill, the Mayflower II, and Plymouth Rock (which is next to the ship). Be sure to grab a signature New England lobster roll before you head out of town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Plymouth is a must-do destination for history buffs.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to tour some of the original New England area homes of the Mayflower passengers, including Harlow Old Fort House, Hedge House, Richard Sparrow House and others.
- Plan to spend at least half a day exploring this area.
How to Get There
Plymouth is 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Boston, about a 1.5-hour drive away. From Boston, take I-93 South to MA-3 South (Pilgrims Highway). Exit toward Plymouth Center. Don’t feel like driving? You can also take the Plymouth & Brockton Commuter Bus to the Mayflower Link.
When to Get There
Plymouth hosts several free concerts and outdoor events in summer, and the area can get crowded during these months. Fall is an excellent time to visit; you’ll get ideal temperatures, vivid foliage, and fewer crowds. During the Cranberry Harvest Festival in October, you can visit nearby cranberry bogs, enjoy cooking demonstrations, participate in family-friendly activities, and more.
Interesting Facts About Plymouth
In 1614, Captain John Smith named Plymouth for its resemblance to the Plymouth in Devon, England. Today the stateside Plymouth is home to First Parish Church, a church that has celebrated more than 400 years of continuous membership, the longest assembled church in the nation.