Here are the ten most important things you need to know about relocating to the South Shore or the South Coast of Massachusetts.
- First of all, there is a difference between the South Shore and the South Coast of Massachusetts. If you’re not from here you may fail to see the difference, but I’ll tell you once you dip your toe in the water you’ll understand (more on that later).
South Shore encompasses several towns on the coast of Cape Cod Bay, roughly from Cohasset to Plymouth. Though Norwell, Hanover, and Pembroke which are included have no coastline, they are still pretty darn close to the beach.
The South Coast (or southcoast, if you prefer) includes several towns along the coast of Buzzard’s Bay, including Wareham, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Marion, Dartmouth, Fall River, New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Westport among others.
Both regions boast plenty of clam shacks, ice cream shops, beaches, and cute little Capes. Some of the confusion over the regions is caused because the term “South Coast” wasn’t coined until the 1990’s. Now the South Coast is a well-accepted term and even has its own glossy lifestyle magazine called “SOCO Magazine” which publishes all the best things to see and do in the area. Its counterpart for the South Shore is called South Shore Living.
- Both regions have a good mix of well-to-do towns with higher property taxes and areas where you can find a nice home at a good value. It has suburban towns, rural towns and mid-sized cities. You can find out more about each town or city’s unique character and what it has to offer from your Realtor®.
- There are several colleges in the South Coast/ South Shore region of Massachusetts, including Massachusetts Maritime Academy, UMASS Dartmouth, and Bristol Community College. Also, Curry College and Quincy College both have satellite campuses in Plymouth. And it’s just a quick ride up Route 495 or Route 24 to get to Wheaton, Bridgewater State, Lincoln Technical Institute, Massasoit Community College, and Stonehill College. With so many good schools in close proximity, it will be easy to go back to school or have the kids get their laundry done at home on the weekend.
- Lobster rolls are for tourists. And before you get upset with me, I know everyone will occasionally get a craving for a nice warm buttery lobster roll from their favorite local provider and pay too much for (sometimes frozen) lobster on a New England-style hotdog bun. Or go for the mayo – it doesn’t matter to me. But don’t pass up the littleneck clams or the oysters from Duxbury or scallops straight out of Nantucket Bay. New Bedford hauls in $1 BILLION in fresh fish each year, it’s the highest value fishing port in the nation. I’m just saying, there’s more to life than lobster. And, if you have to have it, go buy it fresh from the market and cook it yourself! You’ll save money, ensure you’re supporting our local fishermen, and earn some New Englander cred, too.
- Massachusetts is home to some amazing museums. If you’re relocating to the south of the Commonwealth from the Boston area, you may be concerned about not having access to the Boston museums. Not to worry! There are lots of options in this area, including art, colonial history, and even maritime museums. Here’s a list of just a few to start making your way through.
- South Shore Art Center, 119 Ripley Rd, Cohasset, MA, 02025
- Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, 02360
- New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA, 02740
- Battleship Cove, 5 Water St, Fall River, MA 02721
- Hull Lifesaving Museum, 1117 Nantasket Avenue, Hull, MA, 02045
- New Bedford Art Museum, 608 Pleasant St, New Bedford, MA 02740
- 1809 Hedge House Museum, 126 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360
- Marion National History Museum, 8 Spring St, Marion, MA 02738
- Fort Tabor Military Museum, 1000C Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA 02744
There are a lot of museums here that aren’t listed, and you won’t even have to contend with Boston traffic or going over the bridges to the Cape. And when you’re done with museums, check out the awesome zoos and aquariums in the area.
- But wait, there’s more! More culture! More things to see and do! Right here in the space between Boston and Cape Cod, there are a whole host of theater and music venues.
The Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford has many big musical acts come through and is home to great theater and dance productions every year. It also provides summer camps for the kids as well as community classes.
Plymouth Memorial Hall and the Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth are also great places to catch unique events and performances including music, dance, comedy, theater, and even the occasional boxing match.
Another great music venue where you can catch some popular acts is the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset.
- We like our booze, and not just to drink it we like to manufacture it. At my last count, there were six breweries between South Shore and South Coast, a distillery, and six wineries.
Plymouth wins hands down for being the booziest. It is the home to three of the breweries, the distillery, and two wineries. Just because they have the most doesn’t mean they have the best, you’ll have to sample them all to make your own evaluation.
If beer is your thing, the Hop Fest comes to Plymouth (where else) each year. The event is held at Plymouth Memorial Hall. If you want to check out what all the local breweries have to offer this is a very efficient way to do it.
- The South Shore can claim the heaviest concentration of Irish-American descendants in Massachusetts. We sometimes refer to it as the “Irish Riveria” which, if you’re from Massachusetts you already know. If you’re not and you thought people were referring to beach resorts on the Emerald Isle, well now you know the truth. They were probably talking about Marshfield.
- The ocean is colder off the South Shore than parts of the South Coast. Cape Cod Bay generally tops out at a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in August. Doesn’t sound too bad? Well take into consideration the average temperature in the summer is about 64 degrees. Buzzards Bay has a similar average water temperature, although it may run a few degrees warmer. The water off of Fall River, however, averages 72 degrees during the summer months, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The warmer temps are most likely due to its location deep into an inlet. So, if you like to spend time in the ocean and temperature is a factor for you, then you might lean more towards some of the beaches on the South Coast near Westport and Fall River instead of the ones on Cape Cod Bay.
- It’s not the Cape. People will sometimes refer to Plymouth or Wareham as Cape Cod when in reality it’s not the Cape until you cross over one of the bridges. The only exception to that rule might be applied to Bourne, which is split by the canal and actually exists on both sides of the bridge. It might seem like pretty much the same thing until you realize that by skipping bridge traffic in the summer months you will save some major travel time and annoyance. That is until you get your Cape Cod tunnel permit.
Whether you choose to move to the South Shore or the South Coast of Massachusetts there are plenty of things to see and do, and you’ll quickly realize it’s a great place to live!