Mayflower II Launch

Mayflower Sails 2020 – 400th Anniversary Commemorations

Whatever your particular interest, there is something for everyone in the story of the Mayflower crossing and the establishment of the Plymouth Colony (or rather, Plimoth) in what-is-now Massachusetts, 400 years ago this year.

Plimoth Plantation is leading the way in organizing commemorations and celebrations this spring. The museum is joined by groups all around Massachusetts and across the Atlantic in Plymouth, England and the Netherlands as well. Of particular interest to Sea History readers will be the return to sea of the Mayflower II, just re-launched this fall after a three-year full restoration at Mystic Seaport Museum.

There are a number of signature events this year that you won’t want to miss, so be sure to check the listings and websites below for updates and additional programming.  Events for summer and fall 2020 will be posted in the summer issue of Sea History as well.  For events in the UK and Holland, visit

Upcoming Events


Plymouth 400 Opening Ceremony, 24 April at Memorial Hall and grounds in Plymouth, MA. The opening ceremony will be a cross-cultural spectacle of historical content, visual and performing arts, special guest speakers and more.

Mayflower Sails 2020: Maritime Festival Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Landing. This is a signature event that will take place 14–19 May at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts. Mayflower II will sail into Boston Harbor, where she will be met by USS Constitution, and the two ships will sail in company towards the Navy Yard. It will be the first time these vessels will have ever sailed together. Onshore will be native, colonial, and maritime programming provided by Plimoth Plantation, the USS Constitution Museum, and the National Park Service. When the Mayflower and Constitution are back at the dock, the ships will be open for public tours. The event is free but you’ll need a reservation for Mayflower tours. You can reserve your spot at

Mayflower II Homecoming in Plymouth! On Thursday, 21 May, just before Memorial Day weekend, Mayflower II will arrive back in Plymouth after a three-year absence while she was being restored at Mystic Seaport Museum. Once the ship is secured to her dock at the State Pier, her crew will ready the ship for public visitation, which begins on 23 May. Homecoming weekend activities are planned through Memorial Day, 25 May 2020.

Maritime Salute in Plymouth Harbor, 27–28 June. A regatta of wooden ships, official vessels, work boats, native mishoons, and pleasure craft will culminate in a traditional New England lobster dinner at the waterfront. Mayflower II will be a centerpiece of this event.

Do you know of other maritime celebrations commemorating Mayflower‘s 400th anniversary?  Help us spread the word by submitting an event on our online calendar!