Welcome to Plymouth
In the last 30 years, Plymouth has experienced rapid growth and development. As in many South Shore towns, Plymouth became more accessible to Boston in the early 1970s with improved railroads, highways, and bus routes. Furthermore, the town’s inexpensive land costs and low tax rates were factors in the town’s significant population rise. Plymouth’s population grew from 18,606 residents in 1970 to 45,608 residents in 1990, a 145% increase in 20 years. The population has continued to expand in recent years. While Plymouth has already surpassed several Massachusetts cities in population, the town is still officially regarded as a town, as it has not been re-chartered as a city and continues to be governed by a board of selectmen rather than a mayor. Plymouth has emerged as a major economic and tourist center of the South Shore.
One of the largest towns in Massachusetts, Plymouth spans several exits on its main highway, Route 3. Plymouth boasts several larger shopping plazas and a nearby mall in Kingston, MA, much of which has been built in just the past 5 years. As it has grown, additional access is possible via a recent extension to Plymouth’s second largest highway, Route 44.
A simulated-color satellite image of the Plymouth Bay region taken on NASA’s Landsat.
With the largest land area of any municipality in Massachusetts, Plymouth consists of several neighborhoods and geographical sections. Larger localities in the town include Plymouth Center, North, West and South Plymouth, Manomet, Cedarville, and Saquish Neck.
Located in the Plymouth Pinelands, the town of Plymouth has many distinct geographical features. The town’s Atlantic coast is characterized by low plains, while its western sections are extremely hilly and forested. Plymouth contains several small ponds scattered throughout its western quadrant, the largest being the Great Herring Pond (which is partly in the town of Bourne). A major feature of the town is the Myles Standish State Forest, which is in the southwestern region. Cachalot Scout Reservation, operated by the Cachalot District of the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America, lies adjacent to the state forest lands. There is also a smaller town forest, as well as several parks, recreation areas and beaches.
Plymouth has nine public beaches, the largest being Plymouth Beach. Plymouth Beach guards Plymouth Harbor and mostly consists of a three-mile (5 km) long, ecologically significant barrier beach. Clark’s Island, a small island in Plymouth Bay, is the only island in Plymouth. It is off the coast of Saquish Neck and has nine summer houses but no year-round inhabitants.
Much like the rest of the Northeastern seaboard, Plymouth receives ample amounts of precipitation year-round. On average, summer months receive slightly less precipitation than winter months. Plymouth averages about 49 inches (120 cm) of rainfall a year. Plymouth, like other coastal Massachusetts towns, is very vulnerable to Nor’easter weather systems. The town is sometimes vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms, which infrequently threaten the Cape Cod region during the early autumn months.