During a summer road trip through Massachusetts, we decided on a day trip to Plymouth to explore all the historic sites, and finally get to visit Plymouth Rock, which has always been on our bucket list.
Plymouth is a coastal town in Massachusetts and is an easy day trip from Boston. It is the site of the first Pilgrim settlement, founded in 1620.
The town holds a place of great prominence in American history, and is named after Plymouth, England where the Mayflower set sail for America.
Plymouth is also known as the location of the first thanksgiving feast, in which the surviving Pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest along with the Wampanoag tribe.
On the blog I will share our day trip to Plymouth Massachusetts and the top things to do in this historic city in America.
Top things to do in Plymouth Massachusetts
Pilgrim Memorial State Park
On your visit to Plymouth Massachusetts, the first place you should visit is the Pilgrim Memorial State Park. This waterfront park is where you will find the Plymouth Rock historic site, and where the Mayflower is docked.
You also get the most amazing views of the Plymouth harbor here along with some monuments.
If you’re driving into Plymouth, there are metered parking on the street, and a few free parking spots in the area.
There is also a gift shop here, where you can shop for some Plymouth souvenirs.
Visit Plymouth Rock
One of the top places to visit in Plymouth Massachusetts is Plymouth Rock.
This famous boulder in Pilgrim Memorial State Park marks the place where the settlers are thought to have landed on shore.
Plymouth Rock is encased in a granite canopy along the Plymouth harbor, and kind of resembles a Greek style Portico.
I must say, our first sighting of Plymouth Rock was kind of underwhelming though.
I think we build up this thought of what we think Plymouth Rock would look like, and it was nothing like what I imagined. The Rock was smaller than I thought.
We learned that during an attempt to haul Plymouth Rock into the town square, the rock broke in half.
The lower half of the Rock was left at the wharf where it is located now, while the top half that broke off was left at Pilgrims Hall, before it was later rejoined with it’s bottoms half.
You can learn more about the history of Plymouth Rock on one of the 10-minute historical talks that are given at Plymouth Rock throughout the day.
Even though Plymouth Rock wasn’t what I imagined, it is still so worth the visit! It’s always amazing to see history up close, whether it lives up to our expectations or not.
Visit the Mayflower II
Another one of the top things to do on your visit to Plymouth is a visit to the Mayflower II. The Mayflower is a full-scale replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims across the Atlantic.
The Mayflower is usually anchored at the park, but during our visit, the ship was undergoing restorations at a different location.
It was a bummer to not get to visit the Mayflower, but I guess it gives us another reason to visit.
Coles Hill Burial Ground
Just across the street from Plymouth Rock is the Cole Hill Burial ground, which is the first cemetery used by the Mayflower Pilgrims.
A number of monuments and memorials are on the hill, which includes the statue of the Wampanoag sachem Massasoit.
You will also find a granite sarcophagus that contains the remains of some of the Pilgrims which are believed to be those of Mayflower settlers buried here in the winter of 1620-21.
Other Plymouth places of interest
Jabez Howland House
Another place to visit in Historic Plymouth is the Jabez Howland House, which is the only existing house in Plymouth where Pilgrims actually spent time.
The 17th century timber framed house was built by Jacob Mitchell in 1667, and purchased by Jabez Howland, son of Mayflower passengers John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley Howland, two of the original Pilgrims.
You can tour this historic home in Plymouth which is open from 10-4:30 daily.
Admission costs $6.00 for adults, children (6-12) $2.00, Senior, Student, AAA or Military $5.00
Jabez Howland House is located at 33 Sandwich Street Plymouth, MA 02360
Pilgrim Hall Museum
The Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth is the oldest public museum in the United States in continuous operation. It has been in operation since 1824.
You can learn more about the Pilgims story on your visit. The museum is open 7 days a week from 9:30 – 4:30. You can purchase tickets online or onsite.
Visit the Plimoth Plantation
One of the best places to visit in Plymouth to learn more about how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe lived back then is the Plimoth Plantation.
This living history museum was one of our favorite things to do on our visit to Plymouth.
Plimoth Plantation replicates the original settlement of the Plymouth colony.
Some of the interpreters have been trained to speak, act, and dress appropriately for the period, which made the experience even more amazing!
It was so awesome to have an actual conversation with the interpreters, they really made you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
There is also a recreation of the Wampanoag home site, where the interpreters in traditional dress demonstrate how the Wampanoag’s ancestors lived and interacted with the settlers.
It was such a great learning experience and so worth the visit when visiting Plymouth.
The outdoor Living History Sites and Museum Shops are open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through December 1, 2019.
Plimoth Plantation tickets costs Adult: $30.00, Senior (62+): $28.00, Child: (Ages 5-12): $18.00, Children 4 and under are free with the purchase of an adult or senior ticket.
Plimoth Grist Mill
Your Plimouth Plantation tickets comes with admission to the Plimoth Grist Mill, and is another one of Plymouth sites to see.
Plimoth Grist Mill is a corn grinding mill used by the Pilgrims in the Plymouth colony.
It is a reproduction of the original mill used in 1636, Many of the parts are from the early 1800s.
Our little one enjoyed learning how corn was grinded and even got to participate in a demonstration.
There is also a gift shop here to purchase some souvenirs.
Plymouth Long Beach
On your visit to Plymouth Massachusetts, make sure to stop by Plymouth Long Beach. This beach was so serene and beautiful.
It is also an important breeding and nesting site for several threatened and endangered shorebirds. We made a short stop here before we made our way out of town and it was just so beautiful.
Where to eat in Plymouth
During our visit to Plymouth we had a wonderful meal at the Tavern on the Wharf. It’s a short walk from Plymouth Rock and the food was so yummy.
We had the Crab cakes and Clam chowder, which is the typical New England staple to try on your visit. We heard that the Lobster Hut is a great place for some seafood as well.
We enjoyed our visit to Plymouth exploring one of the most historic towns in America. It was nice to finally get to visit Plymouth Rock and stand in the exact spot where the pilgrims landed.
We drove into Plymouth from Boston, and it was the perfect day trip. It’s a short drive, and so worth the visit if you happen to be visiting Boston.
You can read more about our weekend visit to Boston and all the fun things we did, including spending the 4th of July.