Named “America’s Favorite City” by Travel + Leisure for 2017, Norfolk is a city with vibrant entertainment and culture, delicious cuisine and 144 miles of beautiful shoreline. The NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) arts district, anchored by the nationally-renowned Chrysler Museum of Art and Harrison Opera House, has transformed part of downtown into an artist’s wonderland full of street art, murals and galleries. Spend the afternoon exploring NEON, take a glass blowing class at the Chrysler Glass Studio or nosh on fresh foods at the farmer-owned sustainable eatery, Commune. Speaking of food, Norfolk continues to maintain its reputation as a sizzling culinary destination. Local restaurants stay true to the area by peppering their plates with some of the region’s finest ingredients. Chefs pride themselves on using only the freshest seafood as eateries serve up everything from the Lynnhaven oyster, she crab soup and the Chesapeake Bay’s star crustacean, blue crabs.
For more information, go to VisitNorfolk.com or call toll free at 800-368-3097
American Rover Sailing Cruises
This graceful sailing ship is the ideal way to explore the history and sights of Norfolk’s harbor. Narrated harbor and sunset cruises depart from Waterside Marina, April through late October. Plenty of shade and comfortable seating topside with air-conditioned below deck lounges, snack bar and restrooms.
www.AmericanRover.com. Downtown Norfolk. 333 Waterside Dr. 757-627-7245.
Since 1986. Ask us about dolphin watching in Virginia Beach! Two hour Harbor Cruise: $22 adults, $12 children. Two hour Sunset Cruises: $28 adults, $18 children. Sailing mid-April through late October (call or go online for schedule).
Victory Rover Naval Base Cruises
Experience the fastest and most popular way to see the world’s largest Naval Base and Norfolk’s harbor. Two-hour cruises depart from Nauticus, home of the Battleship Wisconsin in Downtown Norfolk. Cruise past the vessels that ensure our freedom—destroyers, cruisers, submarines, aircraft carriers and more. A fascinating fact and fun-filled narration is provided. #1 activity in Norfolk on TripAdvisor.
Adults $25, children $15. NavalBaseCruises.com. Downtown Norfolk.
1 Waterside Drive. 757-627-7406. Since 2001. Ask us about dolphin watching in Virginia Beach! Schedule: Spring and Fall – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Every day; Summer – 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Every day; March, November and December – 2 p.m. Every day except Monday.
Vibrant Hampton, a seaside city with exciting attractions and heritage sites, lures visitors with its family-friendly offerings. Whether its Civil War landmarks and historic fortresses like Fort Monroe National Monument, African American heritage sites or the NASA legacy of space exploration at the Virginia Air & Space Center, the destination appeals to visitors of all ages and interests.
An ideal way to explore Hampton is to purchase a Sea to Stars Ticket, which includes admission to Virginia Air & Space Center’s exhibits and 3-D Digital IMAX®, Hampton History Museum, the Hampton Carousel and a fascinating three-hour tour aboard the Miss Hampton II. Tickets, $39 for adults and $25 for youth ages 4-11, are available at the Hampton Visitor Center.
On November 1, 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed Fort Monroe a national monument after nearly 180 years of a federal military presence at the moat encircled stone fortification. In 2019, Hampton is partnering with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the National Park Service and Fort Monroe Authority to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the 1619 first arrival of Africans in English North America. The arrival took place at Point Comfort, the modern day site of Fort Monroe.
The Casemate Museum chronicles the history of the fort. Each casemate showcases 19th and 20th century artifacts including artist renderings, uniforms and more. The museum also houses the cell where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned.
Guests can easily explore Downtown Hampton on foot. Discover St. John’s Church, the historic Hampton Carousel (built by European artisans in 1920), harbor tours, charter fishing vessels and the Virginia Air & Space Center. The center offers displays of suspended aircraft, flight simulators and IMAX® films.
The Hampton History Museum showcases Hampton’s remarkable heritage as the nation’s oldest continuous English speaking settlement. Explorer Captain John Smith, Blackbeard the pirate, Booker T. Washington and America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven, have all played integral parts in creating a distinctive Hampton timeline to be displayed in 10 permanent galleries
The tour aboard the Miss Hampton II winds visitors down the Hampton River past Hampton University and Fort Monroe to Fort Wool, where the vessel docks and passengers explore the island garrison located in the middle of Hampton Roads Harbor. The tour continues to Naval Station Norfolk, concluding with a history of the Battle of the Ironclads.
Hampton University Museum, the oldest African-American museum in the U.S., is a short walk or drive from downtown. The museum contains more than 9,000 works of African, Native-American and African-American fine and contemporary art and artifacts. The museum and University celebrate their 150th anniversary this year.
Hampton’s location on the Chesapeake Bay makes it the perfect place to take advantage of a day at the beach. Paradise Ocean Club offers private cabana rentals, swimming pool and a private beach. Hampton Watersports, at Buckroe Beach and other waterfront locations, offers a wide range of watercraft rentals in the summer, including jet skis and more.
Hampton’s craft scene is booming with the additions of Capstan Bar Brewing Company, Sly Clyde Cider, and the Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery, joining Bull Island Brewing Company, Oozlefinch Craft Brewery and St. George Brewing Company to give Hampton six different locations to experience a diverse lineup of libations.
Hampton’s decadent dining and eclectic retail round out the visitor experience. Hip, locally-owned establishments have mass appeal. Trendy eateries are complemented by specialty boutiques and national favorites presented at Peninsula Town Center.
At VisitHampton.com you’ll find great destination information that unlocks the treasures of this maritime trove. For a free Hampton visitor guide, call 800-800-2202.
You’ve ridden the roller coasters and walked the historic streets … now discover the treasures of Williamsburg’s neighbor—Newport News! Spend a day in the great outdoors in Newport News Park. Witness endangered red wolves, majestic bald eagles and playful river otters at the Virginia Living Museum.
Experience the Civil War firsthand at the world-renowned Mariners’ Museum/USS Monitor Center. Imagine the courage of those who fought for freedom at the Virginia War Museum.
See a truck that walks and a ship that flies at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum. Explore the ever-changing world of art at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
Travel back in time with a visit to one of our historic homes. After a full day sampling all there is to see and do, take in a touring Broadway show or a concert at the spectacular Ferguson Center for the Arts. Help commemorate the 100th birthday of Newport News-native Pearl Bailey at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center during its 2018 season.
Don’t forget our excellent dining options, including straight-from-the-dock seafood, farm-to-table authenticity, great chophouses and numerous family restaurants—not to mention craft-beverage hot spots like Tradition Brewing Co. and Ironclad Distillery!
Let our experienced staff at the Newport News Visitor Center help plan your day. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, the Newport News Visitor Center is located at 13560 Jefferson Ave. (Exit 250B from I-64), at the entrance to Newport News Park. Call 757-886-7777 or visit NewportNews.org for more information.
The Mariners’ Museum & Park— America’s National Maritime Museum
The Mariners’ Museum and Park connects people to the world’s waters because, because through the water, we are connected to one another. We are united as one global community through our shared maritime heritage. Everyone has a tie to the water, whether through career, culture, family or leisure. The Mariners’ Museum and Park is here to tell your story. We are your museum.
Explore the USS Monitor Center, home of the 1862 Civil War ironclad’s iconic gun turret.
Discover small craft from around the world at the International Small Craft Center. View maritime art and handcrafted ship models and experience a 3D maritime film in the Explorers Theater.
Visitors can hike the award-winning Noland Trail, located in a 550-acre park, or picnic at Lions Bridge, overlooking the James River.
For information on exhibitions, events, programs and hours of operation, visit MarinersMuseum.org or call 757-596-2222. Located off Exit 258A on I-64, The Mariners’ Museum and Park is just 20 minutes from Williamsburg. The Museum is open Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Virginia Living Museum
Go wild at Virginia’s animal attraction!
Don’t let the word “museum” fool you. Much of what you see at the Virginia Living Museum is very alive and interactive. There is no better place to experience Virginia’s rich natural heritage, from the mountains to the sea. Located just 20 minutes from Williamsburg, the VLM is part zoo, nature park, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium and science center. Visitors can view 250 species of animals, including the red wolf, bobcat, otter and bald eagle. Discover native Virginia animals in naturalized habitats including a limestone cave, mountain cove and cypress swamp.
Explore the underwater world of the Chesapeake Bay with a loggerhead sea turtle and touch a horseshoe crab. Enter an aviary of coastal birds. See spectacular views of the sun from the observatory and voyage across the galaxies in a state-of-the-art planetarium theater. Learn how to build, live and garden “green.” Young kids particularly enjoy the Nature Playground and role playing as an animal keeper and vet. Explore our permanent outdoor Dinosaur Discovery Trail with 16 life-like dinosaurs, paleo play camp and dig pits. In January 2019, we will ask, “will you survive?” From January 19–April 26, 2019, the American Adventure maze, that chronicles the early colonists adventure in the new world, will come to the VLM.
Minutes away at I-64, exit 258-A. 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. daily. 757-595-1900. www.thevlm.org
Just a free ferryboat ride from the Williamsburg area is one of the earliest settled regions in the country—Surry County, Virginia.
Once considered part of the original Jamestown Colony, Surry has retained its rural charm and more than 360 years of history. Visit Smith’s Fort to discover more about the lives of Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, John Rolfe and Chief Powhatan. Don’t miss the opportunity to stop at Bacon’s Castle, the oldest documented brick house and the only example of Jacobean architecture in British North America. Bacon’s Castle was the site of an earlier revolt against British rule—100 years before the American Revolution!
Visitors to the area will want to explore Chippokes State Park. Open 365 days a year, it contains historic homes with English gardens, the Farm and Forestry Museum, miles of trails for hiking, picnic and playground areas, overnight accommodations, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and riverfront beaches. To continue your outdoor adventure, consider a visit to Hog Island National Wildlife Refuge for amazing views of the James River and wildlife sightings. Science lovers will enjoy a stop at the nearby Surry Nuclear Information Center to learn more about nuclear power and solar power generation.
Surry has restaurants that feature Italian and Asian cuisine as well as local seafood and waterfront dining at the Surry Seafood Company at Gray’s Creek Marina. Consider spending some time at one of the “pick-your-own” farms or farmers markets for fresh, local produce.
Edwards Virginia Smokehouse and Edwards Virginia Ham Shoppe have been doing business in Surry for almost a century, producing and selling authentic, southern smoked meats and specialty foods. The Hampton Roads Vineyard & Winery, which opened in late 2015, is easy to find and well worth a visit, too.
Whether you come for the fascinating history, the exciting outdoor adventure or the taste of delicious food and drink, we invite you to come on over and “Savor the Secrets of Surry!”
Ashort trip along the scenic Colonial Parkway (or Jamestown Road) to the Jamestown/Scotland Ferry, a relaxing (free!) ferry ride across the James River and a lovely country drive along Route 10 brings you to the heart of downtown Smithfield.
Enjoy a little piece of heaven on the banks of the Pagan River. The Historic area bustles with galleries, restaurants and specialty shops among quaint Gothic, stately Colonial and sprawling Victorian homes. The river takes center stage in the historic district where area icon, Smithfield Station, holds the spotlight with its replica Victorian Coast Guard Station hotel, restaurant, marina and lighthouse! Just across the street is one of three convenient entrances to Smithfield’s riverside Windsor Castle Park with its children’s Natural Playscape playground, more than four miles of trails, a state-of-the-art kayak/canoe launch (rentals available seasonally), picnic areas and a mountain bike path.
Great dining abounds in the “Ham Capital of the World,” from the historic Smithfield Inn and riverside dining at Smithfield Station, to a gourmet bakery, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and “Taste of Smithfield,” the flagship ham shop and café of Smithfield Foods. The town also boasts its own brewpub, Wharf Hill Brewing Company.
Begin your visit at Smithfield’s Visitor Center, which shares space with the Arts Center at 319 where you can peruse the gallery and gift shop. Historic attractions include St. Luke’s Church, the Old Courthouse of 1750, Fort Boykin Park, Fort Huger and the Schoolhouse Museum. Stop by the Isle of Wight Museum with its Smokehouse and Civil War exhibits, and most notable artifact—the world’s oldest ham. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center for a self-guided Porcine Parade tour to see Smithfield’s pig statues situated throughout the historic district; each statue was created by a local artist to reflect the region’s culture and heritage.
Plan your trip around one of the many special events the area offers—from free outdoor concerts to an award-winning farmers market. You’re sure to enjoy your time in one of the most idyllic small towns in the USA—Genuine Smithfield, Virginia! Call 757-357-5182 or 800-365-9339 or go to www.VisitSmithfield.com