Perhaps no place in New England has been as prominent and influential for the history of the country as Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Founded in 1620, it's officially the oldest municipality in the United States and has, for almost 400 years, been "America's Hometown". History buffs will appreciate Plymouth as a place of many "firsts" in the nation. It was the sight of the country's first Thanksgiving Day feast and famous Plymouth Rock was the landing point for the first Pilgrim settlers.
For the second half of its history, Plymouth has remained a vital hub for fishing and shipbuilding along the South Shore of Massachusetts. Yet it still maintains much of its small town roots and classic New England charm. Today, it’s perhaps the largest, most well-known and prosperous tourist destination in the entire state.
The town offers a myriad of educational, historical and active pursuits for tourists of all types. For a true step back in time, visit Plimoth Plantation. This “living history museum” is a near perfect replica of how the original Pilgrim settlement looked and worked nearly four centuries ago. Onsite tour guides are happy to take guests on an educational journey through “their own” hometown.
Not far from Plimoth Plantation, the Mayflower II is a stunning, full-size replica of the original Mayflower ship that carried the nation’s first Pilgrim settlers. The onboard museum welcomes tourists to experience life aboard a classic 17th century sailing vessel. Perhaps most surprisingly, the ship is actually seaworthy and embarks on regular journeys in Plymouth Harbor.
Active travelers can take a stroll through Myles Standish State Forest. It’s the second largest of its kind in Massachusetts with sixteen lakes and ponds and a wealth of hiking and camping opportunities. The town of Plymouth is also home to nearly a dozen private and public golf courses, including Southers Marsh – an interesting run in its own right as it traverses several active cranberry bogs.
For those looking for a bit of entertainment, Plymouth is a hub of arts and culture along the South Shore. Several free concert series are offered during the summer, with additional festivals carrying on throughout the year.
Lastly, window shopping travelers will love nearby Independence Mall in Kingston or opt for Colony Place – a collection of restaurants, retail stores and a massive outlet mall as well.