The original destination of the Mayflower was the Hudson River in modern-day New York, where the pilgrims hoped to be able to establish their colony. However, due to violent storms at sea, the ship was blown off course, and it was decided instead to land in Northern Virginia.
But because of the tempestuous conditions, this proved impossible and so the Mayflower was forced to drop anchor at Cape Cod, in what is now Provincetown Harbor in Massachusetts. Here the pilgrims would spend the next month and a half exploring the Cape, looking for a good place to establish their projected colony. Eventually, they settled on what became Plymouth Harbor, named after the English port from which the Mayflower had begin its long, perilous voyage. The location was chosen primarily because it was relatively easy to defend against Native-American tribes. Indeed, the site on which Plymouth Harbor was established had previously been a settlement occupied by the Patuxet tribe.