This summer brings fresh reasons to rediscover this time-honored South Shore travel destination.
By Yankee Editors
Apr 24 2023
An aerial view of Plymouth, the historic heart of Plymouth County, Massachusetts.Photo Credit : See Plymouth
By Megan Johnson; sponsored by SeePlymouth
Nestled just south of Boston and stretching down the South Shore of Massachusetts, Plymouth County offers nearly 700,000 acres of coastal lands and waters to explore — and along with that, endless possibilities for travel fun. For decades, this area has reigned supreme as a New England vacation destination, thanks in large part to its star historical attractions — most famously Plymouth Rock — paired with a timeless natural beauty and classic New England towns. But Plymouth County is also percolating with the energy of debut attractions, cutting-edge arts and culture, and renovations that put a fresh face on old favorites. Taking cues from the past and looking toward the future, there’s always something new to see and experience in Plymouth County.
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, visitors to the town of Plymouth can park their cars and leave their worries behind with Ride Circuit, an on-demand, electric shuttle service that bustles around the historic district and waterfront. Sponsored by See Plymouth, the service was piloted last summer and proved so popular that it was extended into the fall, as tourists and locals alike took advantage of this free and easy-to-use app-based service that helps reduce emissions and congestion downtown. This year, the brightly colored multi-passenger shuttles will be a familiar sight all the way through the weekend before Thanksgiving — a popular time to visit Plymouth, thanks to its lively America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration.
After a long New England winter, spring and summer are prime time to make a splash. That’s guaranteed in 2023, when two new water-based attractions arrive on the scene in Plymouth County. The first can be found at Hotel 1620 Plymouth Harbor, the largest lodging and event center in Plymouth. Located on the waterfront just a stone’s throw from Plymouth Rock, it already treats guests to a heated indoor swimming pool, but starting June 1 it will also feature the 1620 Splash Pad, comprising 1,000 square feet of water fun for tots that includes a slide and fountains of water to play in. (Bonus for adults: The hotel has a brand-new hot tub, too.)
Over in Carver, meanwhile, Jellystone Park Cranberry Acres — a 60-acre family camping destination surrounded by Plymouth County’s signature cranberry bogs — dives into summer with its new 21,000-square-foot Water Zone, set to open on July 1. Filled with water slides, water cannons, and even a 750-gallon “hydrostorm” bucket that dumps a mini waterfall of water onto delighted kids of all ages, it promises to be the ideal spot to cool off this summer. Along with the Water Zone, 83 luxury cabins have been added to the property, which is also home to a wide range of RV and tent camping sites.
Whether it’s glass or wood, fiber or clay, you can count on the diverse roster of artists at Brockton’s Fuller Craft Museum to transform their material of choice into objects of true inspiration and beauty. One of only seven U.S. museums devoted to craft — and the only one in New England — the Fuller is a must-visit for art lovers. And with its ever-evolving lineup of exhibitions, you’ll not only discover something new on every visit but also find fresh reasons to return. Opening June 3, “Lagomorphs: Rabbits and Hares in Contemporary Craft” pays tribute to the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Rabbit, 2023, as it invites viewers to explore the role these animals have played in art from ancient to modern times. On June 24, “Joyce J. Scott: Messages” showcases the beadwork and blown-glass creations of this acclaimed Baltimore artist, who draws on her African American ancestry, her family’s craft traditions, and traditional indigenous techniques to create stunning jewelry, sculptures, and wall hangings.
In addition to these and other upcoming exhibitions, you’ll find a comprehensive schedule of programs and events on the museum’s Eventbrite page. In June, for instance, budding artisans can learn how to carve wooden spoons or create cyanotypes, a 200-year-old camera-less photography process.
Dance to the music in Plymouth County as performance venues of all kinds roll out what’s new for summer. At the oldest operating barn theater in America, Plymouth’s Priscilla Beach Theatre, you can channel your inner teenybopper with the classic musical Grease (July 6–22) or fall under the sway of an Irish busker in the Tony-winning Once (Aug. 3–19). Meanwhile, Cohasset’s South Shore Music Circus — one of only two continuously operated tent theaters “in the round” in the country — welcomes a star-studded lineup of music acts ranging from Belinda Carlisle (July 15) and the Beach Boys (Aug. 3) to Stephen Marley, the Grammy-winning son of reggae legend Bob Marley (July 28).
Plymouth’s landmark 1,500-seat downtown venue, Plymouth Memorial Hall, has hosted some of the biggest names in music on its hallowed stage over the years. That tradition continues in 2023 with great new shows from Spectacle Live, which include a tribute to legendary piano man Billy Joel (June 1) and performances by Gaelic Storm (June 15) and KISS icon Ace Frehley (Aug. 25). As summer gives way to fall, look for the chart-topping songbirds Judy Collins (Sep. 16) and Amy Grant (Oct. 26).
Plymouth Memorial Hall is also the home of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, which ends its 2022/2023 season with a bang as it channels the music of Abbey Road for “Come Together: Music of the Beatles” (May 20 and 21). The treasure trove of Fab Four hits such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Here Comes the Sun” is guaranteed to have you humming along.
And last but not least, the Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth has an eclectic array of music and comedy shows on tap in 2023. Among the events heating up the live-performance scene this spring and summer are shows by singer-songwiter Rickie Lee Jones (June 14), who will perform songs from her brand-new album, Pieces of Treasure, and Peruvian-born guitarist Carlos Odria (June 29), known for his vibrant blend of international styles.
Start planning your visit to Plymouth County today at SeePlymouth.com.