Tips for Visiting Plimoth Plantation This Season

If you’re a history buff, then a visit to Plimoth Plantation should be on your must-do list the next time you visit Boston. Roughly an hour and a half south of Boston proper, it makes for a great afternoon exploring and is the perfect attraction for families with kids.

From a lovingly recreated seventeenth-century village to an authentic version of the original Mayflower vessel that brought the early English settlers to what would become Plymouth, Massachusetts, the entire region is immersed in history.

Learn about the story of the two cultures that coexisted in the area for much of the period’s early history – the English settlers and the Wampanoag tribe. See how they each lived, and how they interacted with one another, for good and for bad.

It’s also a unique opportunity to interact with modern historians, artisans, and craftspeople who can tell you all about what life was like for early American settlers.

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Tips for Visiting the Plimoth Plantation

plimoth plantation

  • Pick up a self-guided tour map at the Visitor Center to plan your route through the various exhibits, keeping in mind that you will spend much of your time outdoors.
  • Don’t be shy! The staff members are there to answer questions and they love to interact with guests.
  • Because a few of the pathways in the area are comprised of rough, unpaved material, walking may be a challenge for children, the elderly, or anyone with special mobility needs. Consult the site maps to find wheelchair and stroller accessible routes – which, don’t worry, are available to all sites.
  • If you get hungry, there’s food available at the café in the Visitor Center, as well as at seasonal pushcarts located outside. You’ll even be able to sample traditional seventeenth-century fare!
  • Parking is plentiful and free in lots adjacent to the attraction.
  • Although the critters in the fields and at the Nye Barn look friendly, don’t pet them unless you’re specifically told it’s ok.
  • Save on up to 55% admission to Plimoth Plantation and other great Boston attractions with the all-inclusive Go Boston® Card.
  • While you may be tempted to attend in costume, the park politely requests that you refrain from wearing a costume to avoid confusing other guests.
  • If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to check out Plimoth Plantation’s handy “Parent’s Guide” for special info on how to make the most of your children’s experience at this special historic site.

When to Visit

Because Plimoth Plantation can take a few hours to fully explore, it’s best to reserve at least half a day for this attraction, including travel time.

Warmer months are more suitable for walking around outside, although their holiday celebrations in December are definitely worth a visit (keeping in mind that all outdoor exhibits are closed in the winter). They also host special Thanksgiving events, too!

It’s also less busy in the spring than in the summer or fall, so if you can plan a spring getaway to Boston, keep Plimoth Plantation in mind!

If you’re planning on behalf of a school group looking to visit Plimoth Plantation (and it is an immensely popular field trip destination in the region), then you may also want to consider a trip that doesn’t line up with Spring Break or Easter time. Many local families will be taking advantage of the time off to come visit Plimoth Plantation during those weeks, and you’ll run into greater crowds.

What to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty; there is little pavement in many places and a lot of gravel
  • A hat and sunscreen in the summer, warm clothing in the fall
  • A camera, smartphone, or other recording device — you’ll want to take scads of pictures!
  • Money for souvenirs
  • Snacks or bottled water if you’d prefer not to purchase any at the gift shop or Visitor Center

What to Do There

Wampanoag Homesite

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

A visit to this portion of the historic site provides a unique opportunity to interact with members of the Wampanoag people, modern descendants of the Native Americans who encountered the English settlers centuries ago.

Ask them anything about their culture and history, and they’re happy to provide context for their historic experience and contemporary culture. Don’t miss out on a chance to see authentic Wampanoag structures and accoutrements as well!

17th-Century English Village

plimoth-plantation-village

Credit: Plimoth Plantation Facebook Page

Located right next to the Wampanoag Homesite, this is a carefully recreated model of a small agrarian community that was originally built in the early seventeenth century by English settlers.

Mimicking the conditions and experiences of early Plymouth settlers, this village is the perfect place to indulge your historical interests.

Interact with costumed actors who play the role of early colonial settlers and can answer questions about everything from cooking and housekeeping to religion and the social scene.

Craft Center

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation. You can even purchase plates just like these!

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation. You can even purchase plates just like these!

Here is where you’ll find the artists and artisans of the 17th century village – both Native and English – and their productions.

See examples of authentic historic handiwork like cooking pots, clothing, candles, accessories, and even weapons.

Speak to each of the artisans about their craft and learn about how these things were made in the seventeenth century.

Don’t forget to pick up few examples in the gift shop! They offer genuine artisan-made work that’s ideal for that special souvenir.

Mayflower II*

Image Credit: Plimoth Plantation Facebook page

Image Credit: Plimoth Plantation Facebook page

This is arguably the most popular exhibit. The Mayflower II is, as you might imagine, a recreated model of the original vessel that brought the English settlers to American shores. It’s located at the nearby State Pier and is a brief drive from the main attraction.

The Mayflower II features exhibits that retell the story of that perilous ocean voyage, including how the travelers managed to navigate the open ocean for so long. Scope out the various different areas of the ship, including living quarters, kitchen facilities, and much more.

* Please note that the Mayflower II is currently undergoing extensive restoration efforts and is not on display at the moment. 

Plimoth Grist Mill

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

Just a short walk along the waterfront from the Mayflower II, the Plimoth Grist Mill recreates the early colony’s experience with grinding corn for food.

After originally grinding the crop by hand, the early settlers constructed a water-powered grist mill that would significant speed up the process.

The mill itself is a reproduction of that seventeenth century structure, and it’s pretty cool in its own right – the materials are all from the early nineteenth century and come from the remains of another mill in Philadelphia.

Nye Barn

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

Image credit: Plimoth Plantation.

Love animals? Then you’ve come to the right place! Plimoth Plantation has its own collection of livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and more.

These creatures all represent rare and heritage breeds that Plimoth Plantation works hard to conserve due to their rarity in the wild or in other domestic capacities.

Be sure to pop inside the barn to see the photographs and other elements of the exhibits explaining the heritage of these animals and the role animals like these played in the early English settlement at Plymouth.

Nearby Attractions

While Plimoth Plantation itself is a bit of a drive south of Boston, it’s still within an easy to moderate drive of plenty of other great urban attractions. Spend the morning in Plymouth and then head back up to Beantown for some great afternoon fun.

Or, take a shorter drive out to the Cape in the summer months for a relaxing few hours.

  • Before you leave, take a walking tour of Plymouth for a sense of the greater historical significance of the area.
  • In the summer months, a relaxing Cape Cod Canal Cruise is a great option for the whole family
  • Trying to venture further afield? Then hop aboard the convenient Martha’s Vineyard Ferry for a trip out to this most famous of vacation spots.
  • Visiting during the warmer months and looking to stay active on the beach? Rent a bike in Cape Cod and pedal the shoreline to your heart’s content.
  • Interested in keeping with the historical vibe? Boston has you covered, with everything from the grand Old State House to the magnificent John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • For more information on getting around the Boston area and some general Boston travel tips, check out this handy guide.

Places to Eat Nearby

  • Patuxet Café is the attraction’s own dining option, featuring seventeenth-century inspired food plus modern choices.
  • Hearth n’ Kettle is a great option for rustic American fare.
  • East Bay Grille is the perfect waterfront surf and turf destination.
  • Pebbles is a delightful comfort food option.
  • Isaac’s Restaurant will appeal to families with its seafood-inspired menu but casual atmosphere.
  • Several fast food options like Wendy’s and McDonald’s are available for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Just need coffee? Dunkin is right down the street. (Actually, there are about 3 or 4 Dunkin locations in the neighborhood, because…Massachusetts).

Need to Know

Hours

Vary seasonally; consult attraction website for current operating hours. Keep in mind that most exhibits are closed between mid-November and mid-March, with the exception of special holiday events and programming.

Directions

137 Warren Avenue
Plymouth, MA 02360

Driving, from Boston: I-93 S to Route 3 S. Take left exit 4 (Plimoth Plantation Highway) and follow signs to Plimoth Plantation.

For more information, visit the official Plimoth Plantation website.

Save on Admission

It wouldn’t be a trip to Massachusetts without some good old-fashioned historical fun! So don’t miss out on your chance to relive our nation’s early history at a pivotal time and place.

And remember, with the Go Boston® Card, you can save up to 55% on admission to Plimoth Plantation and other great historical attractions.

Go Boston Card

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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