Travel

5 things to do when visiting Plymouth

Plan your next excursion in 'America's hometown.'

Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth. Kristi Palma / Boston.com

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Many folks know Plymouth as “America’s hometown,” but visitors may not realize just how big the destination is, according to Pearl Sears, an 18-year veteran town worker who has served as town clerk for the past year.

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“Plymouth is the largest town in Massachusetts and that’s by area and population, which I don’t think a lot of people know,” said Sears.

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Plymouth is 103 square miles and has a population of over 64,000 residents, Sears said. What’s more: The town has 37 miles of coastline and more than 365 ponds.

“We always have something happening in Plymouth,” Sears said. “Plymouth is America’s hometown. We are incredibly diverse. We have lots of historical sites, hiking, walking trails, parks, beaches, shops, restaurants, and art. So there’s always something for everyone to do.”

Ahead, Sears offers her picks for what to see and do while visiting Plymouth.

Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth and South Carver has campsites that are tucked into the forest or spread along one of the 16 ponds in the park, with miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails throughout. – Flickr / chipmunk_1

Explore the trails, beaches, and ponds

One of Plymouth’s hidden gems is the North Plymouth Rail Trail, Sears said.

“It’s right along the ocean,” she said. “And the view of the ocean is just amazing. It’s one of my favorite places to walk.”

Don’t forget to check out the osprey nest near Nelson Memorial Beach Park, Sears said.

“There are some benches there, so you can kind of watch them in their nest, and it’s just a very very peaceful area,” she said.

Sears also goes hiking with her family at Myles Standish State Forest.

“There’s lots of trails to choose from for hiking, biking, horseback riding, at all different levels,” she said. “There’s also areas for fishing, swimming, and camping. It’s just a very large park.”

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Sears also loves Morton Park, the largest park in Plymouth, which offers 200 acres of forest and shoreline on Little Pond and Billington Sea.

“It’s very relaxing,” she said. “It’s family-friendly. They have little areas for barbecuing, which is nice.”

Eat a meal

“Plymouth has so many restaurants to choose from, it’s impossible to choose a favorite,” Sears said.

For those who enjoy eating outside, plenty of restaurants have added outdoor dining due to the coronavirus pandemic, she said.

“Just in the downtown area, we have lots of seafood restaurants, of course, because we’re on the water,” Sears said. “We have Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, any kind of food you can imagine. Lots of pizza places and family-friendlies. We also have lots of upscale restaurants. So there’s a good diversity in the downtown area.”

The Mayflower II in Plymouth. – Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Immerse yourself in the arts

It’s well worth checking out the Plymouth Center for the Arts in downtown Plymouth, said Sears, where she enjoys the art galleries.

“They offer galleries and classes,” she said. “They recently just renovated to offer better handicap accessibility.”

Plimoth Patuxet Museums, a living history village that tells the story of 17th century life between the pilgrims and Wampanoag people, is always a fun place to bring the family, Sears said.

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“Every time you go there is a different experience,” Sears said. “Because you are interacting with different people who are in character and so every conversation is different and they are doing different activities when you go.”

Visitors can also visit the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the tall ship that brought the pilgrims to Plymouth in 1620.

For music, you can’t beat the free waterfront concerts at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Sears said. The shows are presented by Project Arts every Wednesday night throughout the summer.

Attendees bring chairs and blankets along with food from local restaurants and nearby food trucks, Sears said.

Confetti falling upon Santa’s arrival at a previous America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Day Parade in Plymouth. – America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration

Give thanks in America’s hometown

“I think there’s never a bad day to visit Plymouth,” Sears said. “But Thanksgiving is always a special time for us.”

“We have a very large Thanksgiving parade,” said Sears, who noted that it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. “The first Thanksgiving was obviously in Plymouth with the pilgrims and the Indians. It’s something we take very seriously in Plymouth, and we do a lot of celebrating around that holiday.”

Sears said she’s hopeful the parade will return this year.


What readers say about Plymouth

The following are places where Boston.com readers love to eat, shop, and play in Plymouth.

For food and beverages:

Cabby Shack Restaurant & Pub — @firstschrat
East Bay Grille — @cgbarnes2, @kayykingg, @smccluskey9
Keegan Kreations — @steffers2484
Lobster Hut — @gclark57
Mayflower Brewing Company — @hbrosseau1
Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream — @cgbarnes2
The Blueberry Muffin @janine.md
Uva Wine Bar — @kayykingg
Ziggy’s Ice Cream — @benbliss11

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For things to do:

3 Daughters Jewelry — @3dogmom1
Alpha One Flight Services — @alicialivingawesome
Colony Place @janine.md
Mayflower II @janine.md, @janeymmc
National Monument to the Forefathers — @cathyg41
Plymouth Harbor — @janeymmc
Plymouth Rock — @brianpazienza, @tony7g, @jdesimone_20, @janeymmc
White Horse Beach — @kayykingg

Also, @jeanettegphotography recommended a whale watching tour, @laha99 loves touring the area’s historic homes, @amyspeyer2020 enjoys visiting the coastline, @mikemisci plays golf in Plymouth, and @cindycolbypetrie likes to visit Court Street.

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