Welcome to Massachusetts - South of Boston/Plymouth
Mayflower visits, whale watching, and beaches make family fun
The South of Boston and Plymouth region is an easy jaunt from Boston, Cape Cod, and Providence, Rhode Island, and it has several great attractions, especially for families with kids and people who love history. Come here to see the real places where Pilgrims, Native Americans, and whaling fleets made their mark on our history. Beaches in the region touch on Plymouth Bay and Cape Cod Bay and, toward the south, Buzzards Bay.
The coastal town of Plymouth, at the northwestern tip of Cape Cod Bay, is not far from a major whaling grounds, the Stellwagan Bank. Whale watch cruises out of Plymouth are captained by people familiar with the way of the leviathans, and they can get you a pretty close glimpse of the giant mammals blowing, breaching, and enjoying their watery world. It is a captivating sight for kids and grownups.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation in the town of Westport, on Buzzards Bay, is a full-service beach for family play, including swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. The beach is wheelchair accessible. Families also enjoy visiting the region’s traditional cranberry bogs and farms; some cranberry growers host cool festivals at fall harvest time.
Everyone knows the story of Plymouth Rock, which is told wonderfully at Plimoth Plantation (that’s the historic spelling) and Mayflower II. The Plantation is a living history museum where costumed guides describe life in this tiny community clinging to the edge of the New World. The lives of local Native Americans also is shown in detail in the Wampanoag Village. Mayflower II is a replica of the real ship -- you may be shocked to see how small it feels for a trans-Atlantic vessel. The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford re-plays the sights and sounds of 19th-century whaling in the actually places where whaling ships departed and returned from 3- or 4-year voyages around the world. See actually places described in the great novel “Moby-Dick.”
Families with Kids
Young children and their parents love the fun times at Edaville USA, a historic amusement park features a two-foot gauge railroad and other rides. Thomas the Tank Engine is a featured guest here, and there are lots of fun seasonal celebrations. Older kids and adults who enjoy military history will like Battleship Cove, in the city of Fall River. The battleship Massachusetts, submarine Lionfish, and destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., are among the World War II vessels docked at this location. Visitors can experience what it was like to serve on board a Navy warship in World War II.
Unlike some other seaside communities, Plymouth has a mix of lodgings that stay open year-round. The area has a good selection of motels, hotels and resorts downtown and on the water. Some are particularly family friendly; others are geared for adults enjoying a romantic getaway. Among our favorites are Best Western Plus, Pilgrim Sands, and the John Carver Inn & Spa. Also, Nantasket Beach Resort in the town of Hull -- on a slim finger of land surrounded by water -- is a dream for a luxury vacation of any length.
Sports & Entertainment
For football fans, Gillette Stadium in Foxboro is home of the beloved New England Patriots football team. The stadium is adjacent to Patriot Place, a large collection of shops, dining and entertainment venues. The Hall at Patriot Place is a fun and dynamic museum for fans of the beloved New England Patriots football team. In New Bedford, the Zeiterion Theatre is a great, small downtown theater with a very dynamic program of live plays, musicals, and music acts.
- Hearthside Bounty at Old Sturbridge Village - Sturbridge, MA
- Adult Workshops at Fuller Craft Museum - Brockton, MA
- History on Tap - Falmouth, Barnstable, Sandwich, MA
- “The Night of Iguana” - Cambridge, MA
- Lunar Attraction Exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum - Salem, MA
- "The Honey Trap" - Boston, MA
- Exhibit: Shoes: Pleasure and Pain - Salem, MA
- Full Moon & Folklore Hike - Essex, MA
- Snowy Owl Prowl - Essex, MA
- Winter Birding Along Crane Beach - Ipswich, MA
- Explore•a•Saurus Exhibit at Boston Children’s Museum - Boston, MA
- February School Vacation at Boston Children's Museum - Boston, MA
- Microbrew Showcase at Lowell Winterfest. - Lowell, MA
- “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” - North Andover, MA
- Henry Acker Gypsy Jazz Trio - South Yarmouth, MA