77 Water St, State Pier, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
Owned By: Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Plimoth Patuxet Museums
Follow the paved walkway from Water Street to view, and (in season) visit, Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the ship the Europeans settlers known as Pilgrims sailed to America. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the ship is maintained and operated by Plimoth Patuxet Museums.
Right next door is Pilgrim Memorial State Park, featuring the famed landmark known as Plymouth Rock. Across the street, climb the granite steps to the top of Cole’s Hill, to see additional historic markers and enjoy views of the harbor, or take a walk up the 1.5 mile Town Brook Trail, which begins in Brewster Gardens.
The ship known as The Mayflower is an iconic symbol within the history of the United States. According to Plimoth Patuxet Museums, Mayflower set sail from England in July 1620, but had to turn back twice, due to leaks in its companion ship, Speedwell. It was finally underway in September 1620, with 102 passengers — men, women and children. It sailed across the Atlantic, enduring destructive storms, and after 66 days at sea, made landfall on Cape Cod on November 11. The following month, it sailed up the coast to Plymouth. The Pilgrims ultimately chose this location for their settlement because of its protected bay, as well as the fresh water provided by Town Brook.
The site had previously been inhabited by a village of Patuxet Wampanoag, but a series of plagues in the 1601s had decimated their population. Massasoit, the local tribal leader, provided aid to the Pilgrims, ultimately enabling them to survive their first winter. The Pilgrims lived on their ship for a few months, while building houses on the mainland. In March 1621, the colonists moved into their homes. Mayflower departed Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.
According to a historical marker on site, the Frazier State Pier was named in memory of James T. Frazier, who served as a member of the board of selectmen of the Town of Plymouth from 1938-1964.
A paved pathway extends along the edge of the water from the pavilion area to Frazier State Pier, and then loops back around parallel to Water Street, for a total of about 0.5 miles. There are numerous benches and shade trees along the path, as well as gorgeous views of the harbor.
Habitats and Wildlife
Frazier State Pier and Pilgrim Memorial State Park are located on historic Plymouth Harbor, on the Atlantic Ocean. Look for Town Brook at the southern end of the park. This brook finds its source in the 269-acre freshwater pond known as the Billington Sea, and flows for 1.5 miles before emptying into Plymouth Harbor at this spot.
Town Brook is home to a herring run on the rebound! Every spring, thousands of alewife herring swim upstream, en route to their spawning grounds in the Billington Sea. In 2003, about 7,000 herring were counted here. In 2016, there were nearly 200,000! This is thanks largely to the 21st-century removal of four local dams that impeded fish passage.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 1/3 acre
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: On-site paid parking (2 hours) next door at Pilgrim Memorial State Park: April 1 thru Nov. 30. Free in the off-season. Plenty of additional parking throughout the Plymouth waterfront area.
Cost: Land access is free. Boarding Mayflower involves an additional fee.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Restrooms, gift shop, trash and pet waste receptacles, benches, picnic tables, historic markers.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: The pier itself is ADA accessible.
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Cape Cod Bay/Atlantic Ocean