When we were kids, our dad would mark the end of every school year with a last-day-of-school trip to Plymouth. After eating a mile-long hot dog at Lobster Hut (no fish for us as kids!), we’d make our way to the beach for a late afternoon swim and some playing in the sand. We cherish those memories, and as soon as we had our kids, we established a Plymouth tradition of our own. While ours doesn’t involve the beach, we kick off every summer with a dinner at either Lobster Hut or CabbyShack (but usually Lobster Hut), followed by a walk around Plymouth Harbor, Brewster Gardens, and Court St.
HOW TO GET THERE
25 Town Wharf
Plymouth, MA 02360
Parking is available in the lot by Lobster Hut. There is an additional lot further down 3A if the lot closer to Lobster Hut is full. Parking is currently $2/hour. We generally need 3-4 hours to not feel rushed. You can pay at the kiosks in the lot or pay from an app on your phone. We think the app is better, because you can add time to the meter from your phone if you need it–no need to run back to your car this way.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION & MAP
This is not really a hike–it’s an adventure! Plymouth can be accessed in a wheelchair if you stick to the sidewalks. Much of Brewster Gardens is also wheelchair and stroller accessible, although the paths are mostly dirt and can be muddy in spots.
To follow our route, park by The Lobster Hut. First, we fuel up on fish & chips, scallops, clam chowder, clam strips, and chicken fingers and pasta (the kids). Then we walk along the Harbor and check out the Mayflower from the outside. We’ve been inside it before, but it’s small and expensive, and you can see it all in only 5 minutes. If you’re dying to check out the Mayflower, it probably makes sense to buy a combo pass and check out the Plimoth Grist Mill and Plimoth Patuxet as well. While you’re by the ship, have your kids use the bathroom–there are free public bathrooms here! Then we head to the portico that houses Plymouth Rock. Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, Plymouth Rock is Massachusetts’s smallest, but most visited state park. Just beyond the rock is a statue of William Bradford; we never fail to pose with the Pilgrim. Then we cross the street to enter Brewster Gardens. We take the path that hugs the stream, making sure to shout in the tunnels to hear our echo. As kids, we used to roll down the steep hills from the road to the stream there! We walk all the way to the Plimoth Grist Mill and then head down Court St. back towards the car. It’s a giant loop around the best parts of downtown!
Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)
P – Parking & Access – 5 (There is parking everywhere, although you will likely have to pay for it. Still, compared to parking in Boston, Plymouth feels like a steal!)
I – Interest Level – 5 (There is plenty to see here. Watch the boats, board the Mayflower, make fun of Plymouth Rock, walk through the gardens, check out the grist mill, visit the antique shops, see the Forefathers Monument, eat ice cream, swim at the beach, take a ghost tour at night…)
N – Navigation – 5 (Plymouth is not hard to navigate–use the water to orient yourself!)
T – Terrain – 5 (Use the sidewalks around the Harbor and town; Brewster Gardens has wide and flat dirt paths with some muddy spots. But you don’t have to walk through the park–you can see the highlights from the roads surrounding it.)
The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions on this trail. It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health. Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities. Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk. You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- The Lobster Hut
2. The Mayflower
3. Plymouth Rock
4. William Bradford Statue (a.k.a. Mr. Boogedy…check out this hard-to-find, but awesome 80’s Disney movie! It’s the perfect scary movie for kids–just the right mix of spooky and silly!)
5. Brewster Gardens, especially the echo tunnels and the Plimoth Grist Mill
There is plenty to do, see, and eat in Plymouth! When we were kids, our father always took us to the Monument to the Forefathers just down the road on Allerton St. We’d run around it and play hide and seek (even though there is really no where to hide…). For coffee, we like Kiskadee Coffee Company on Court St. Also on Court St., check out Craft Beer Cellar, Plymouth. This beer store has a great selection of microbrews, the staff is always knowledgeable, and you can mix and match your beer to create your own four-packs. Our favorite place for beer in Plymouth, however, is Second Wind Brewing on Howard St. You’d never know it was there…it’s tiny and basically housed in a garage. But BOY is their beer good!!! Don’t miss this place!!! If you have time, Mayflower Brewing (which is farther afield and about 20 minutes away from the Harbor) is also good. For an alternative to Lobster Hut, The Cabby Shack is great. This multi-level restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating with views of the water, and there is often live music. Lastly, no trip to Plymouth would be complete without ice cream from Peaceful Meadows, located in the Village Landing (across from the Lobster Hut parking lot).