The second-oldest city in Massachusetts, Weymouth dates back to 1622 when it was the site of a failed colony, before finding its feet as a settlement a few years later.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818), the wife of second US President John Adams and the mother of sixth US President John Quincy Adams, was born in Weymouth, and this historic building is open for tours in the summer.
The city’s eastern boundary is along the ecologically fascinating Weymouth Back River, formed by glacial activity 12,000 years ago and today a migration route for herring and a nesting spot for ospreys.
This watercourse was previously the site of industry, and now the banks are traced by parkland, preserving marshes and the tallest esker in the United States.
1. Webb Memorial State Park
At the tip of a green peninsula about half a mile long, Weymouth features the only mainland portion of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
With frontrow views to islands in the archipelago, like Grape Island and Slate Island, just a few hundred feet away, Webb Park is somewhere to survey Boston Harbor, the Boston skyline and the busy mouth of the Weymouth Back river.
Along the ridge of the peninsula are two drumlins, created by shifting glaciers 12,000 years ago. There are mussel flats a little way off shore, and these attract common eider, as well as a wide variety of shorebirds during spring and fall migrations.
2. Abigail Adams Birthplace
A site of real significance for the early history of the United States, the birthplace of Abigail Adams stands at 180 Norton Street in Weymouth.
The preserved four-bay house dates back to 1685 and was Adams’ home for the first 20 years of her life.
Much more than a First Lady, Abigail Adams was an astute adviser to John Adams, evidenced by the couple’s extensive correspondence, a primary source from the home front during the Revolutionary War.
The birthplace is open for tours on Sundays, May through November, with period furnishings, insights about her childhood and excerpts from her famous letters.
3. Great Esker Park
Weymouth’s largest outdoor space is on the esker (gravel ridge) that winds along the west bank of the estuarine Weymouth Back River.
As with the river, the esker has glacial origins and was formed some 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.
This wooded formation is touted as the highest ridge in North America, at a maximum 90 feet. Great Esker Park has six miles of paved and unpaved trails, two miles of which pass along the top of the esker ridge, while others pass along the bottom next to the marsh.
Keep your eyes peeled for egrets, nesting ospreys (in summer) and the migrating herring that forms their main food source.
4. United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum & USS Salem
On the opposite bank of the Weymouth Fore River is the old Fore River Shipyard, which started operations in 1901 and was purchased by Bethlehem Steel in 1913.
Most of the vessels produced by the shipyard were for the United States Navy, making a big contribution to the war effort in WWII. After the shipyard’s closure in 1986 the dock became the logical place for a naval shipbuilding museum.
In 1994 the heavy cruiser USS Salem (CA-139) returned to the place it was built in 1945, and is preserved as the last of its kind.
You may be surprised by the sheer size of this 700-foot vessel, touring every inch from the boilers to the battery turrets, and stumbling on a collection of naval and shipbuilding artifacts as you go.
5. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
After Webb Memorial State Park you may be ready to see more of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
Aside from a couple of places, this collection of 30+ islands can only be accessed from the water, so getting there is half the fun.
From neighboring Hingham you can hop on the ferry to Peddocks Island. This is a joy to explore, with rich biodiversity and the extensive remnants of the early 20th-century harbor defense, Fort Andrews.
Overnight camping is available on this island (book via ReserveAmerica before departing), one of just four in the national recreation area where camping is permitted.
You may also be interested to know that Peddocks Island was a shooting location for Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2008).
6. Weymouth Back River Trail
The riverside trail running through Great Esker Park is just one section of an ambitious plan for a continuous multi-use trail running from Webb Memorial State Park in the north, along the west bank of the Weymouth Back River, as far south as Whitman Pond.
When we wrote this article roughly two miles of this wide paved trail had been completed, from Bridge Street on the north side of Great Esker Park through another attractive waterside space at Osprey Overlook Park.
The latter is a former landfill traced by the river and salt marsh and serves as an important habitat for nesting ospreys, which are visible from spring to early fall.
You can spot these magnificent birds diving into the Back River for herring, while there’s also a custom-made fish ladder for herring on the way to Whitman Pond.
7. Wessagusset Beach and George Lane Beach
Where the Weymouth Fore River flows into Boston Harbor in the north of the city there’s a picturesque stretch of shoreline with sandy beaches and views over the water to Germantown and Rock island Cover.
To the west is Wessagusset Beach, and a short walk east is the slightly longer George Lane Beach.
Both are a wonderful vantage point for Weymouth’s 4th of July fireworks, usually accompanied by food trucks, live music and a farmers’ market.
Between the two beaches, just in from the shore is Great Hill park, where the grassy hilltop commands a fantastic panorama of the harbor and the Boston skyline, far to the northwest.
8. Weymouth Farmers’ Market
Every Sunday, from mid June to the start of October there’s a farmers’ market in the parking lot at Weymouth High School.
This was first launched in 2009, and is still going strong, with more than 20 vendors on an average week.
The farmers’ market is the perfect way to support local small businesses and also pick up groceries and prepared food that hasn’t traveled far to be here.
There’s seasonal fruit and vegetables, herbs, flowers, eggs, honey, meats, seafood, sauces, breads, cakes, cookies, preserves, frozen desserts, cheeses, granola, tea, toffee, pet treats and much more.
You can also browse a range of craft vendors for candles, jewelry, home decorations and artisanal soaps.
9. Weymouth Civic District
There’s an interesting patch of Weymouth around the Town Hall, and listed as a U.S. Historic District. If the Town Hall looks familiar, it’s a close replica of the Old State House in Boston, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
Dating to 1928 and replacing a previous town hall destroyed by fire in 1914, this grand Colonial Revival building has a sundial in the gable at the south end, and the city’s seal at the north end.
Often dotted with geese, the lawn on the south side of the town hall features the Memorial Wall, with rows of plaques honoring the military, including local Medal of Honor recipients.
10. Abigail Adams State Park
Another place where you can take in the waterfront views on the Weymouth Back River is Abigail Adams State Park, across Bridge St from Great Esker Park.
Wandering the paved trail here you’ll come across a series of plaques cladding the park’s granite boulders.
These have lengthy quotations from Abigail Adams, painting a portrait of an intelligent, erudite and principled person, and taken from her personal letters to John Adams.
The park is larger than it seems at first glance, as there’s access to an extensive beach/marsh area. Bring a picnic for an alfresco meal with exhilarating views.
11. Stodder’s Neck
Until not long ago, this park across the Weymouth Back River in Hingham was a sand and gravel pit.
On a peninsula with a narrow base and plenty of shoreline to explore, Stodder’s Neck has slowly regained its vegetation, with cedars, pines, sumac and oak trees on a large grassy space.
The peninsula rises to a small summit, the McCarthy Hummock, with 360° views of the river and harbor. This park is perhaps best known as a place for dogs to run off-leash, and this includes a little rocky beach areas for pups who like to play in the water.
12. Weathervane Golf Club
Weymouth never had a golf course until this 9-hole track opened in the south of the city in 2010.
Weathervane Golf Club has a great reputation for its maintenance, with fast, challenging greens and immaculate fairways between stands of mature trees.
A round culminates with the signature 9th, a 240-yard par 4 with an island green. The recently completed clubhouse has fine stone details and a 100-seat patio overlooking the 9th hole.
The Tavern here offers seasonal menus, with a mix of rustic comfort food like a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, and elegant entrées like scallop risotto or baked haddock.
13. Fore River Bridge
There’s a marvel of engineering crossing the Fore River between Weymouth and Quincy. Opened in 2018 at a cost of $270 million after six years of construction, the Fore River Bridge is a vertical lift bridge, 2,216 feet long, and with a clearance of more than 220 feet when open.
Even when closed, there’s a clearance of 60 feet, so the bridge won’t need to open except for larger vessels.
Long associated with shipbuilding, the Fore River has always had a busy port, and this bridge traverses the heavily trafficked navigable channel.
The original Fore River Bridge was a bascule bridge from 1936, deemed structurally unsound in 2004 and replaced with a temporary bridge from 2006 until the current structure was completed.
14. Barrel House Z
You’ll never have to go far on the South Shore for the next craft brewery, and there’s a couple in Weymouth.
Our pick, Barrel House Z, opened in 2015 and puts an emphasis on small batch beers aged in barrels previously used for liquors like bourbon, whiskey, gin, tequila and madeira.
A few on draft at the taproom when we made this list were Townie (Irish Ale) Sunny and 79° (Pilsner), Dolphins on Parade (NE IPA), Bam Bam (Double IPA), Bluest Sky (Pale Ale) and Cape Codder (Hard Seltzer).
Those old casks are part of the decor, and have even been repurposed for seating at the taproom. There are often food trucks here, especially on Friday and Saturday, as well as board games and a cornhole league on Thursdays.
15. Union Point Sports Complex
Up to 2021 this state-of-the-art field sports complex in Weymouth was home field for the professional Major League Rugby (MLR) team, the New England Free Jacks, who have since moved next door to Quincy.
If you’re keen to catch a rugby game, you can still come along to the Union Point Sports Complex to watch the amateur Boston Rugby Football Club, which was founded in 1960.
There are four synthetic fields, for sports like football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse, and in the winter months two of these fields have enormous enclosed domes to protect them from the elements.
If you’re interested in getting involved there are leagues for 7v7 soccer and flag football, as well as a high school summer soccer league.