Perched on Cape Cod Bay just before you cross the bridge is charming Plymouth, Massachusetts. Home of the famed Mayflower landing, Plymouth Rock, and Plimoth Plantation. Historic sites, beautiful beaches, great seafood, and whale watching come together in this historic community brimming with activities for adventurers of all ages.
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1. Plymouth Rock
Everyone needs to see Plymouth Rock – it is a great, albeit questionable historical accuracy, symbol of the Pilgrims landing on American soil. Don’t be too disappointed, since it is truly just a rock; but it is encased in a beautiful superstructure built in 1920. Anchoring a beautiful park along the Plymouth Harbor the surroundings are more impressive than the actual rock.
2. Plimoth Patuxet Museums
Plimoth Patuxet Museums are the highlight of a history trip to Plymouth. Formerly known as Plimoth Plantation, the living museum is a study of the history of Plymouth Colony’s permanent settlement and the Indigenous people who lived there. The museum showcases America’s heritage and you will leave with a new understanding of Plymouth’s importance and the Pilgrims’ world.
Wander through the 17th-century English village and the Patuxed homesite as you converse with costumed docents enacting the daily life rituals of the time.
Pro Tip: Other exhibits at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums are the Plimoth Grist Mill and the Mayflower II (see descriptions below).
3. Mayflower II
Step aboard the Mayflower II, one of Plymouth’s most famous attractions, a full-scale reproduction of the original Mayflower vessel. More than a simple history lesson, the ship evokes a spirit of adventure. Touring this historic ship you get a sense of the intrepid travelers making an almost impossible ocean crossing. How brave and stalwart these colonists must have been.
The 2020 restoration is complete and the Mayflower II now sits in Plymouth Harbor. She is in the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a floating classroom for the young and young at heart.
4. Plimoth Grist Mill
The original mill was constructed by the Plymouth colonists in 1636. Still at working mill, it produces local stone ground grains. Part of the Plimoth Village, it is fun to see the original grinding stones in action.
You can order your own stone ground grains from the Plimoth Grist Mill to cook up at home. Once you get your fresh ground grains check out Flour Lab: An At-Home Guide to Baking with Freshly Milled Grains for ideas on how to use them.
5. The National Monument to the Forefathers
If you love a giant statue then you will be enchanted with the National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth. The image above showcases only one small statue on this 81 foot granite monument.
Completed in 1889, the statues are a memorial to the Pilgrims who left England to explore and begin a new colony.
6. Pilgrim Hall Museum
The historiic Pilgrim Hall Museum offers guests unique artifacts from both the Pilgrim settlers and the Wampanoag Indigenous People in the Plymouth area.
Everyday items like an infant’s cradle, William Bradford’s Bible, and colonial clothing transport you back to a time when life was difficult for these people. Interactions and conflicts between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags tell a story of their relationship trials and tribulations.
The museum is a treasure trove of American history facts and artifacts.
7. The Beaches
Enough with the history, the gorgeous barrier beaches, Plymouth Long Beach and Plymouth Beach are perfect for catching some rays and cooling off in the chill water.
Pro Tip: Visit the Plymouth town website for all the parking and admission information for the beaches.
8. Whale Watching
When we were in Plymouth, we booked a tour on Captain John Boats. The atmosphere was fun, the boat was great, and we saw lots of whales — everything you need for a perfect whale watching experience.
Pro Tip: Check out 7 Tips For Whale Watching Trips — How to get the most out of your adventure and a list of what to bring!
9. East Bay Grill
When it comes to dinner time, there are lots of great choices in Plymouth. I personally like East Bay Grill. The patio overlooking the waterfront has an amazing view. The upscale yet casual vibe is reflected in the fresh caught cuisine.
I suggest the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese made with elbow pasta and fresh lobster meat smothered in a silky, four cheese bechamel sauce. If you want something a little lighter, the New England Cod is a great option; it’s topped with crabmeat and a bacon & corn cream sauce.
Books About Plymouth Massachusetts
Ghosts of Plymouth Massachusetts – who doesn’t love a great ghost story.
Pilgrim’s Progress: A Readable Modern Day Version – easier to read than the original classic.
Plymouth Then & Now – Full of beautiful pictures of this charming town.
Spend A Day Exploring Plymouth
Spending a day in the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, can be filled with Plymouth Colony history, on-the-water fun, and great dining. You may just want to make it a weekend getaway and add a day or two relaxing in the sunshine.
Pro Tip: Plymouth tours can be found on Viator – one of my favorite sites for booking adventures.
All The Other Things!
Don’t you just hate it when your phone battery is in the dreaded red zone? I always carry Fuel Rods with me. They give me a battery boost, they are rechargeable, and they work with iphones and androids.
Travel health insurance when you are heading out of the country is an important consideration. Many policies don’t fully cover you outside of the US. I use Safety Wing for my international travels. I use the one-time coverage option for individual trips – luckily I haven’t had to use it, but it’s comforting to know I have it in place.
If you know me, you know I love a glass of wine (or two). My favorite mail order wine company is Naked Wines. I order a case every month or so – no judgment please. I love that they work with small independent winemakers and I get to choose what wine I want and when I want it delivered. Don’t forget to download my free packing list! It’s the perfect jumping off point to get your adventure started.