10 Best Things to do South of Boston This Summer

- Monday, June 03, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Duxbury Beach

South of Boston is full of historic and scenic destinations teeming with summer fun, said Paula Fisher, deputy director of See Plymouth, the tourism organization for the town and county of Plymouth.

“You can come here and enjoy beautiful scenery, wonderful restaurants, wineries, breweries, and also be immersed in early American history along all of these South Shore towns,” Fisher said.

Ahead, check out 10 things to do south of Boston this summer.

Ride the historic Paragon Carousel in Hull

Built in 1928, the Paragon Carousel on Nantasket Beach in the seaside town of Hull has been operating for nearly 100 years and was a former part of Paragon Park, an amusement park that was open from 1905 to 1984.

The carousel, the last remaining attraction from the park, includes the original 66 carved wooden horses and two rare Roman chariots.

“It’s so inexpensive,” Fisher said. “A single ride is $3 and a 10-ride pass is $25. There’s a creamery there as well so you can grab an ice cream.”

Visitors can make a day of it by ordering ice cream and snacks at the nearby Carousel Creamery and checking out The Paragon Park Museum, which displays artifacts, videos, and memorabilia from the amusement park.

What’s more, visitors can drop by the Restoration Studio and watch Restoration Curator James Hardison painstakingly restore the carousel horses.

The carousel is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dine out in Scituate

The coastal town of Scituate is an excellent place for a meal, according to Patrice Maye, a resident for 20 years and the founding chair of the Scituate Harbor Cultural District.

“We have a wealth of restaurants, and I’m proud of that,” Maye told Boston.com in a travel article about things to do in Scituate.

Some excellent restaurants for hungry visitors, according to Maye: Satuit Tavern and Mill Wharf Restaurant & Pub for seafood, Salt Society for sushi, Crust for pizza, the waterfront pub T.K.O. Malleys for a burger, Galley Kitchen & Bar and Hibernian Tavern for live music, and Oro for a great date night.

Travelers can then stroll the Scituate Harbor Cultural District, which extends along the harbor from Cole Parkway and Front Street at St. Mary’s Church to the historic Scituate Lighthouse. Folks can shop, dine out, and enjoy the bustling Scituate Harbor.

Enjoy the full moon from Lawson Tower in Scituate

While in Scituate, visitors can check out a historic tower with fun programming at night, Fisher said.

Guests can climb the 153-foot Lawson’s Tower, on the National Register of Historic Places and billed as “the most beautiful, most photographed, and most expensive water tower in the world.” In 1902, Thomas Lawson, described as “a giant of the stock market in the early 1900s,” fell in love with Scituate and built a farm there. He had the tower constructed to enclose an unsightly water tank after sending his architect to Europe to research tower designs.

“The tower is open for people to purchase tickets to go to the top of the tower for the full moon,” Fisher said.

The Scituate Historical Society hosts “Trips to the Top” on select full moon evenings throughout the summer. After guests climb the 121 steps to the top, the society shares the history of the tower and members of the South Shore Astronomical Society offer telescopes for viewing the moon.

Full moon tower tours cost $10 and take place on June 21, July 20, Aug. 19, and Sept. 19, among other dates this year. The tower is not handicap accessible.

Wander the Norris Reservation in Norwell

The beautiful Trustees of Reservations properties across Massachusetts are perfect for experiencing slow travel, or mindfully and slowly exploring an area, Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), told Boston.com in a recent article.

At the 129-acre Norris Reservation in Norwell, visitors can walk several loop or out-and-back carriage roads. The Patriot-Ledger recently named the reservation among the best places south of Boston for walks that give you a special reward or surprise.

At the reservation, you can “hike past a former mill pond, cross a wetlands boardwalk, and explore a forest of pine and oak on your way to a boathouse on the banks of the tidal North River,” according to the Trustees.

The reservation is free and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Hit the beach in Duxbury

It’s worth spending a summer day on Duxbury Beach, Fisher said.

“It’s well kept up,” said Fisher. “It’s a very long beach in terms of plenty of room for people.”

The scenic, family-friendly beach has parking, lifeguards, bathroom facilities, a snack bar, and is ADA accessible.

Duxbury was recently named one of the best less-crowded summer vacation spots on the East Coast by Conde Nast Traveler, which wrote, “Walk across a historic wooden bridge to the town’s sandy six-mile barrier beach for a dip in the bay’s calm waters, or take a scenic stroll through the charming downtown area lined with old ship captain’s houses and shops.”

Duxbury Beach Park is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months. Horses, dogs, kites, fires, and alcohol are not allowed on the beach and parking costs $25 per day.

Eat breakfast at a historic home in Kingston

Visitors can enjoy a side of history with their breakfast at the Major John Bradford Homestead in Kingston.

The 1714 home was once owned by John Bradford (1653-1736), who founded the town of Kingston and was the grandson of Mayflower passenger Gov. William Bradford.

“They do a tour of the building and they do these nice breakfasts,” Fisher said.

The summer breakfasts begin on July 14 and include children’s activities, car shows, and more. Visitors can also tour a 1798 threshing barn, garden, exhibits, and a gift shop. The breakfast costs $15 for adults and $8 for kids age 5 to 10. Kids under the age of 5 are free.

The historic home, which is maintained by the Jones River Village Historical Society, is open on Sundays in July and August from 9 a.m. to noon. There is also a farm-to-table dinner planned by the society for July 20.

Visit the best open-air museum in America in Plymouth

Step back in time at Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, recently named the best open-air museum in America by USA Today readers.

Visitors can explore a Historic Patuxet Homesite, 17th-Century English Village, climb aboard the Mayflower II — a full-scale replica of the ship that brought the pilgrims to America — check out the Plimoth Grist Mill, and more. The ship and the mill are located nearly three miles away from the main museum campus in downtown Plymouth.

“Visitors are immersed in a living history experience, interacting with historical interpreters who portray both Pilgrims and Wampanoag inhabitants and showcase daily life of the period,” wrote USA Today.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for all three living history sites cost $46 for adults and $29 for children age 5 to 12.

Go on a whale watch in Plymouth

Whale watching, a popular New England pastime, is booming in Plymouth, said Fisher.

“One of the reasons people come here is for whale watching,” said Fisher. “The Captain John Boats whale watching is a huge summer thing.”

Captain John Boats, established in 1946, runs daily fishing and whale watching excursions. The whale watching trips depart from Town Wharf, take four hours, are narrated by naturalists, and travel out to Stellwagen Bank. Stellwagen Bank is a marine sanctuary and one of the main feeding grounds for whales.

Whale watch tickets for Captain John Boats cost $73 for adults and $53 for children ages 4 to 12.

Can’t get enough of whales? Follow the Massachusetts Whale Trail.

Drive the ‘Back Roads of the South Shore’

Road trippers can drive along Routes 3A and 53 between Boston and Plymouth to discover the “Back Roads of the South Shore.”

“On the trail are a number of different historical sites that you can go to along the way,” Fisher said.

The trail is comprised of 40 historical sites in 12 towns along the South Shore. It begins with the Hull Lifesaving Museum in Hull and ends at the Jabez Howland House in Plymouth. In between, visitors can explore historical societies, museums, the birthplace of Abigail Adams, and more.

Interested travelers can pick up a map at See Plymouth at 4 North St. in Plymouth.

“Back Roads of the South Shore offers historic, hidden treasures in a relaxed and scenic atmosphere,” according to the map.

Immerse yourself in a Renaissance festival in Carver

King Richard’s Faire in Carver, named one of the best Renaissance festivals in the U.S. by the Travel Channel, will return for its 43rd season this summer. It is billed as the longest-running Renaissance festival in New England.

Hundreds of performers, from minstrels to acrobats to fire eaters to knights, dazzle crowds during the weekends-only festival full of food, rides, games, shopping, and entertainment. Period dress is optional.

“From August to October, hundreds of people converge on the 80-acre site to see knights battle on horseback, beggars compete in mud, and performers put on an acrobatic show,” wrote the Travel Channel.

The festival also has themed weekends and special events.

This year’s event takes place Aug. 31 to Oct. 20 and tickets cost $46 for adults and $26 for kids age 4 to 11.

Source: boston.com

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