Settled by the pilgrims of the infamous Mayflower ship in 1620, Plymouth is the oldest town in Massachusetts and a treasure trove of historic sites. As one of the oldest towns in the United States, it has a rich heritage for visitors to discover. Despite having had centuries to grow and develop, Plymouth has remained a fairly small local town. Although popular with visitors for its cultural significance, it maintains the community atmosphere of a cosy New England township.
Just a few miles from the bustling urban hub of Boston, Plymouth is conveniently set for a day trip or weekend escape from the crowded city. It’s also a must for any New England road trip. Several more historic locations are seasonal, though, typically closing for the cold winter months. While you should bear that in mind when planning your visit, you’ll still be able to see the historic buildings from the outside and appreciate their charming architecture and heritage, so don’t be too disheartened if you can only visit in the off-season.
Here are the best things to see and do in Plymouth, Massachusetts. There are tons of historic locations to visit and plenty of other attractions and activities to plan a fascinating itinerary for your visit to one of America’s most historic towns.
- Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Top Tours
- 20 Best Things To Do In Plymouth, Massachusetts
- 1- Browse The Pilgrim Hall Museum
- 2- Explore The Plimoth Patuxet Museums
- 3- Peek At Plimoth Grist Mill
- 4- Board The Mayflower II
- 5- Spot Plymouth Rock
- 6- Take A Break In Fishmans Memorial Park
- 7- Head Into Hedge House Museum
- 8- Learn The Ropes At Plymouth Cordage Company Museum
- 9- Visit The National Monument to the Forefathers
- 10- Look Out For The Duxbury Pier Lighthouse – Bug Light
- 11- Wander Plymouth Long Beach
- 12- Pop Into The Jenney Interpretive Centre
- 13- Look Around The 1749 Court House Museum
- 14- Admire The Collections At The Richard Sparrow House
- 15- Pay Your Respects At Coles Hill Burial Ground
- 16- Appreciate The Massasoit Statue
- 17- Relax In Nelson Memorial Park
- 18- Stop By The Mayflower Society House
- 19- Escape Into Morton Park
- 20- Jump Around At Nova Trampoline Park
- Plimoth Patuxet, Mayflower II or Plimoth Grist Mill Combo Admission Ticket – a popular tour for history lovers!
- Plymouth Night Tour – a unique interactive ghost tour.
- Boston to Plymouth Day Trip – including Quincy, Plimoth Patuxet and Mayflower II.
20 Best Things To Do In Plymouth, Massachusetts
1- Browse The Pilgrim Hall Museum
Opened in 1824, Plymouth’s Pilgrim Hall Museum is the oldest continually operating US public museum.
It’s an impressive building, with a grand columned entrance, so you can admire the historic architecture even if you only have time to pass by.
Inside, you’ll find tons of exhibits on the settlement of Plymouth’s pilgrim colony.
On display are various authentic artefacts from the original pilgrims.
The museum also focuses on the Wampanoag people who inhabited the area before the pilgrims’ arrival.
Various events are held throughout the year, ranging from fascinating lectures to interactive arts fairs and festivals.
There’s always something to get involved in, so check out their program before heading over.
Find the museum at 75 Court St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
2- Explore The Plimoth Patuxet Museums
The Plimoth Patuxet museums are a collection of historic buildings connected to the area’s pilgrim settlers.
To the east of Plymouth is a comprehensive local history museum alongside a reconstructed 17th-century pilgrim village.
Visitors can explore the village, peaking into the houses furnished as they would have been all those centuries ago.
To complete the immersive experience, actors in period costumes wander the site, and there are various activities for guests to get involved with.
Go to 137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States. Reserve your ticket here and skip the line.
3- Peek At Plimoth Grist Mill
Plimoth Grist Mill has been the site of a working mill since the first was erected in 1636.
The current mill is an accurate reconstruction of the original while also containing some of the old mill’s parts, including its millstones.
It is still active today, grinding grains into various things, from flour to grits.
Visitors can even buy some of these products for themselves, which makes a unique souvenir.
When you visit Plimoth Grist Mill, you can learn all about the mill’s history and how it all functions.
You can also learn a bit about the local environment, particularly the river which powers the mill.
Head over to 6 Spring Ln, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
4- Board The Mayflower II
It’s unknown what became of the original Mayflower, which bore the pilgrims to Plymouth, but the impressive replica docked in Plymouth harbour gives an excellent representation of its appearance.
In open season visitors can board the ship decked out as it would have been during its most notable voyage.
Costumed actors roam the decks and give tours, creating an immersive experience.
Even when the ship is closed for the winter, it’s worth paying a visit to view it sitting in the harbour, just metres away from where the original would have landed.
The Mayflower II is docked at Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
5- Spot Plymouth Rock
The spot where the pilgrims first stepped ashore from the Mayflower is marked with a monument.
A small boulder engraved with the year 1620 is housed within the columns of a stone pavilion on the beachfront.
An iron fence protects the stone, but visitors can easily peer down on the marker of where the town’s founders first arrived.
Step over to 79 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States. You may like this tour.
6- Take A Break In Fishmans Memorial Park
Tucked along the seafront, overlooking the busy harbour, Fishmans Memorial Park is a lovely place for a break.
The park has a few benches lining the water’s edge, providing a comfortable spot to watch the boats drifting about.
It also has a few monument plaques and sculptures for you to enjoy.
Find it at 120 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
7- Head Into Hedge House Museum
One of the many historic residences in Plymouth, Hedge House was once the home of Captain William Hammatt.
It was built in 1809 and many of its original features remain intact.
Hedge house is most notable for its surviving carriage house and octagonal rooms.
Decorated in 19th-century style, it provides a snapshot of life in 1800s Plymouth.
During open season, visitors can take a guided tour of the house to learn more about the building and its occupants.
The museum is at 126 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
8- Learn The Ropes At Plymouth Cordage Company Museum
If you like niche museums, you’ll love the Cordage Company Museum.
Once the most prominent rope manufacturer in the world, the historic factory played a key role in Plymouth’s development through the 19th century.
Visit the museum to view the old machinery and learn how rope and twine have traditionally been made.
You can also learn how to tie the cords into knots of all shapes and usages.
Head to 10 Cordage Park Cir, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
9- Visit The National Monument to the Forefathers
81 feet (25 m) tall and said to be among the largest statues of its type on Earth, you’ll easily see the National Monument to the Forefathers.
Ensconced in its own park, the granite sculpture consists of seated figures representing various virtues surrounding a central statue representing faith.
The monument was erected in 1889 as a memorial to the Mayflower pilgrims.
Spot it at 72 Allerton St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
10- Look Out For The Duxbury Pier Lighthouse – Bug Light
When wandering the waterfront to the north of Plymouth, or exploring along the end of Plymouth Long Beach, keep an eye out for the Duxbury Pier Lighthouse.
It is affectionately referred to as Bug Light due to its unusually squat stature.
11- Wander Plymouth Long Beach
Plymouth Long Beach is a sandy peninsula stretching 3 miles (5 km) out into the ocean.
It’s a popular spot for swimmers during the summer, with plenty of space for people to spread out on the sand.
The peninsula is also a haven for wildlife, with several species of marine birds using it as a breeding ground.
There aren’t any shops or cafes along the peninsula, so pack snacks and drinks to take with you if you want to venture further from the mainland.
Start off at 1 Ryder Way, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
12- Pop Into The Jenney Interpretive Centre
Right opposite the Plimoth Grist Mill, the Jenney Interpretive Centre provides even more insights into the lives and customs of the early pilgrim settlers.
The museum houses various exhibits on their community and the history of how Plymouth became the town it is today.
Displays change regularly, so even return visitors can find something new to appreciate.
It is also the starting point to some fun and insightful walking tours.
Get a feel for the town’s heritage with a fascinating tour by friendly guides decked out in period costume.
Head to 48 Summer St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
13- Look Around The 1749 Court House Museum
The historic courthouse has been converted into a museum at the centre of town.
The oldest and longest-used courthouse of its type in the United States, the building itself is steeped in history.
Inside you’ll find artefacts from throughout Plymouth’s history.
The museum is lovingly maintained and the exhibits are consistently added to, so there’s something new to see, even for return visitors.
Find the courthouse at 1 Town Square, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
14- Admire The Collections At The Richard Sparrow House
The 17th-century home of Richard Sparrow, one of Plymouth’s first settlers, is expertly maintained and used as a museum and art gallery that houses various artworks and rotating exhibitions.
Right next door to the Grist Mill and Jenney Interpretive Centre, you can easily visit all three sites in a single outing.
The gallery gift shop is a great spot to stock up on fun souvenirs like locally handcrafted pottery, artworks and historic knickknacks.
Pop into 42 Summer St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
15- Pay Your Respects At Coles Hill Burial Ground
The arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims in America didn’t start smoothly, as half the group died due to the harsh conditions of their first winter.
Those 52 people were buried on Coles Hill, overlooking the sea, offering visitors a lovely view of the harbour and a beautiful final resting place.
The unmarked cemetery was disturbed over the centuries, with the bones eventually being interred in the granite sarcophagus, which now sits atop the hill.
The sarcophagus is carved with an inscription dedicated to those first settlers who succumbed and those they left behind.
Head up to Carver St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
16- Appreciate The Massasoit Statue
Along the town centre waterfront is a statue of Massasoit Sachem.
Massasoit was the leader of the Wampanoag, who inhabited the Plymouth area before the pilgrims arrived.
The survival of the Plymouth pilgrims is in large part owed to the aid of Massasoit and his people.
It is the alliance that Massasoit forged with the pilgrims that founded the tradition of thanksgiving.
Spot it at 35 Carver St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
17- Relax In Nelson Memorial Park
If you need a spot for the whole family to let off some steam and relax, head up to Nelson Memorial Park.
The waterfront park has plenty of amenities to provide a fun afternoon for everyone.
Little ones can enjoy the splash pad and play area whilst the grown-ups relax on the lawn or beach area.
Head up to 235 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
18- Stop By The Mayflower Society House
The 1700s home of one of the town’s founding families, the Mayflower Society House, is a beautiful example of the architecture of its time. Visitors can enjoy guided tours around the historic home.
The Mayflower Society House also boasts artfully landscaped gardens.
The gardens are open even outside of the season, so it’s still worth visiting even when you can’t tour inside.
Find it at 4 Winslow St, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
19- Escape Into Morton Park
Take a nature break at Morton Park, which is an expansive nature preserve with walking trails winding through thick woodland and around several lakes.
You can rent kayaks to take out on the water and explore the little islands.
Head in at Morton Park Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.
20- Jump Around At Nova Trampoline Park
If you’re after an activity to keep everyone entertained, head to Nova Trampoline Park.
Weary parents can watch the kids bounce around as they relax in a massage chair.
Along with trampolines, there are also play areas, sponge pits, an arcade, and even climbing walls.
Start the fun at 65 Shops at 5 Way, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States.