Top Historical Sites to Visit While in Plymouth


February 21, 2022

Plimoth Patuxet Museums

Experience history in real time at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums. Home to a re-creation of a 17th-Century English Village, Plimoth Grist Mill and other major exhibitions, the Plymouth Patuxet Museums offer a wide array of activities and learning opportunities for visitors. Explore the Patuxet Homesite where Indigenous Americans lived for over 12,000 years. Did you know over 50,000 people lived in about 67 different villages in the area before 1616? 

When you visit the historic Wampanoag Homesite, you’ll get to see what daily life was like for the Wampanoag people. For example, you’ll discover the kinds of foods they ate, and you may even get the chance to see some cooked over hot coals. You may also observe one of the staff members building a canoe, but be ready to lend a hand as you may be asked to assist in the carving. It’s important to remember that while the staff is happy to welcome and teach you, they are also Native people who deserve to be addressed and treated respectfully. If you’re unsure of what to say, please refer to the FAQs for suggestions on how to break the ice. 

Make sure to visit the old Grist Mill afterwards. It has been in operation for over 200 years and it still produces grains for cooking and baking. Various grains and delicious popcorn kernels can be purchased in person and online. A visit to the Plimoth Patuxet Museum is an all day affair, so make sure to take a rest by Town Brook, the waterway that still powers the Mill to this day.Wampanoag house

Plymouth Rock 

There is no historical evidence to either confirm or deny that this rock was indeed the spot where the Pilgrims’ arrived in 1741. However, this place was marked with an  X to signify such a spot and it has become synonymous the world over as the place where the Pilgrims arrived. The coolest part? Plymouth Rock actually exists in pieces. It’s a glacial erratic meaning it ended up being scooped up by glaciers that used to cover North America some 20,000 years ago, and other pieces of the rock from that same glacier have been scattered all over New England. The section of the Rock, which 1620 engraved into it, rests at Pilgrim Memorial State Park and is free and open to the public.

Monument to the Forefathers 

Supposedly the largest solid granite monument in the United States, the Monument to the Forefathers is an 81-foot tall statue originally built by Boston-born sculptor Hammatt Billings as a tribute to the passengers of the Mayflower. It features representations of the virtues Faith, Law, Liberty, Morality, and Education. At the center stands “Faith,” her left hand holding a Bible and her right hand reaching heavenward. Underneath there is a description that reads “National Monument to the Forefathers, Erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors, sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.” April through November, the monument is free and open to the public. Once the gate closes, visitors can stop by and view it by the gate at the parking area. 

Pilgrim Hall 

Pilgrim Hall is the oldest continuously operating museum in the country since it opened its doors more than two centuries ago. Enjoy a treasure hunt with the family amidst the museum’s extensive collection of colonial era artifacts including furniture, portraits of original councilmen, weaponry, clothing and personal items and more. Also you can continue to explore the history of the Native people who lived in and around this area before, during and after the English arrived. 

Regardless of the season there is always something new to discover on the South Shore of Massachusetts.