With a trip to Williamsburg, you combine history and legend, shopping and sightseeing as well as culture and cuisine in a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to satisfy everyone.
Your Guide to Planning a Trip to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown
Weaving cobblestone streets are home to quaint specialty shops and eateries. Flowing swiftly nearby, the James River creates a picturesque setting for your visit. Historic finds are at every turn amid the enchanting scenery found in the fabric of the region.
Since the Revolution, the Greater Williamsburg area has transformed into a hub of activity for families, young adults, couples and everyone in between. People are drawn to the area for not just the historical importance, but also the shopping, dining, craft beers and wines, family-friendly attractions, live entertainment and so much more. Both locals and visitors alike can agree that the Historic Triangle offers much more than just a look into the past. With a trip to Williamsburg, you combine history and legend, shopping and sightseeing as well as culture and cuisine in a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to satisfy everyone.
Where to Stay in Williamsburg
Whether you’re traveling with the whole family, a loved one or a group of friends, the hotels, motels and resorts in the Greater Williamsburg area are sure to check off all of your must-haves. Many hotels are located nearby to popular attractions like the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and more throughout the Historic Triangle. Stay close by to some of the best local restaurants or in areas with a lively entertainment and after-hours scene.
While you may spend most of your time exploring the city, you’ll certainly want to wind down once you get back to your room. Stay at a local hotel or resort with the most relaxing accommodations including room service, happy hour, complimentary breakfast and even spa services.
If you’re looking for someplace to lay your head after a day of historic tours and shopping, or lodging with so many amenities that you’ll never need to leave, you’ll find the perfect place to stay in and around Williamsburg.
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Putting the Historic in Historic Triangle
Throughout Williamsburg and the Historic Triangle, modern amenities meld with the past, and the future flourishes from the rich history of the area. The Historic Triangle, also known as the birthplace of American Democracy, is comprised of three cities: Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. History buffs will enjoy visiting the famous battlefields, buildings and plantations that make the Historic Triangle what it is today.
A centerpiece to Williamsburg, visitors from all over the country love exploring Colonial Williamsburg. History comes to life all around you. Meet the residents of the historic area. Dressed in traditional colonial attire, you can find these early-American reenactors working at the local taverns, restaurants or shops, tending to the gardens or simply providing a soundtrack to Colonial Williamsburg using handcrafted instruments. Take a hands-on approach to history by marching with the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg, forging weapons as a member of the militia or carrying out household chores.
Colonial Williamsburg has a number of daily, weekly and seasonal events, shows and exhibits throughout the year that are sure to entertain the whole family.
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Historic Attractions in Jamestown
Follow in the footsteps of Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and the early colonists. Tour exhibit galleries and take part in interpretive programs with admission to Historic Jamestowne. Follow a guided tour of the island or explore sights like the James Fort sight, Jamestown Memorial Church and more statues and monuments on your own. Watch archaeologists in action as they unearth another piece of Jamestown’s past. Jamestown Rediscovery has been excavating the island to find the remains of the original James Fort, from over 400 years ago. You can find over two million artifacts uncovered by Jamestown Rediscovery at the Nathalie P. & Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium.
Less than two miles down Colonial Parkway, more history awaits. Over 400 years ago, ships arrived on the banks of the James River to establish America’s first permanent English settlement. You can find life-size replicas of the three ships, Susan Constant, Goodspeed and Discovery, at Jamestown Settlement. While you’re there, immerse yourself in the conditions experienced by the 17th-century settlers at the museum’s recreated fort. You’ll also have a chance to explore a model of a 1607 Powhatan village and learn about the complex relationship between Virginia settlers and the Powhatan people.
Historic Attractions in Yorktown
Connected to Williamsburg and Jamestown by the Colonial Parkway, Yorktown holds over 300 years of history with the York River providing a picturesque backdrop. Take a tour of Yorktown Battlefield by visiting the National Park Service Visitors Center. Learn about the battle on land and sea through multimedia exhibits. Discover what it took to establish the United States we know today as you explore the land and recreations of the site from the Revolutionary War’s last major battle.
Continue your dive into Yorktown’s Revolutionary War history at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Indoor galleries and interactive exhibits and films tell the story of our nation’s founding. The museum’s outdoor living history areas give visitors an up-close look at a recreated Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. See the lives of 18th-century soldiers and families through hands-on demonstrations and more.
Things to Do in Williamsburg
Although the Historic Triangle is full of fun educational opportunities, there are numerous activities to do around Williamsburg that go beyond uncovering history.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is one of the East Coast’s most popular amusement parks, filled with fast-paced roller coasters, world-class entertainment and a full day of fun for the whole family.
On scenic grounds, thrilling excitement awaits as you swing, speed, drop and corkscrew on a number of roller coasters and rides with varying thrill levels. If you’re traveling with young children, experience the “kid-siderate” rides and attractions. The Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ is exclusively for children and their families with rides, playgrounds and a chance for kids to meet their favorite Sesame Street characters.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg also features annual events that you’ll want to return for throughout the year. Mark your calendar for Summer Nights, Howl-O-Scream, Christmas Town and more.
Water Country USA
Virginia’s largest water park, Water Country USA, is the perfect place to beat the heat from May to early September.
Race on the mega water slide and make a splash as you twist and turn on a water ride. Little ones and beginning swimmers will enjoy the Cow-a-Bunga play area, shallow pools and child-sized water slides, perfect for safe aquatic fun. When you’re ready to relax, take a float along the lazy river. Kick your feet up with a frozen beverage and you’ll feel like you’re at a beach resort right in the park.
Outdoor Activities in Williamsburg
There are also tons of opportunities for outdoor excitement—from ziplining to biking and hiking. Take in the scenery while flying through the treetops on a zipline at Go Ape Freedom Park or on a walking tour in Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.
Visit York River State Park for plenty of outdoor fun, including hiking, biking and horseback riding trails as well as fishing, kayaking and canoeing.
Lower your handicap at one of the area’s pristine golf courses, including one of the three 18-hole courses at Kingsmill Championship Golf in Williamsburg.
Providing a fun-filled day for all ages, Go-Karts Plus features go-kart tracks, bumper boats, an arcade, mini golf course and so much more.
Indoor Activities in Williamsburg
Neither dreary rain, blazing heat nor chilling winds should put a damper on your day in Williamsburg. There is just as much to do inside if the weather doesn’t allow you to enjoy the day outside. The thrills continue as you and your family compete in a game of laser tag or race through an indoor laser maze. Or, bounce the day away at Virginia’s largest inflatable playgrounds, Bounce House Williamsburg.
Williamsburg is also home to a number of museums showcasing everything from historic artifacts to unique oddities. The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include some of the largest collections of American and British antiques and decorative art, all under one roof.
You can spend an entire day exploring the Odditorium at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. Filled with thousands of exceptionally uncommon exhibits and artifacts from around the world, including shrunken heads, a robot sculpture made from scrap car parts and more.
Shop Until You Drop in Williamsburg
Those looking for an extraordinary find or fantastic deal can spend an entire day shopping in the Greater Williamsburg area. Snag the best deals or discover the fabulous local arts and culture scene. You will find a wide variety of specialty shops, quaint boutiques and outlet shopping, throughout the area, offering anything and everything you are seeking.
Merchants Square is filled with a mix of old-fashioned shops and trendy boutiques. Stroll the cobblestone streets as you shop trendy apparel and elegant fashion, then make a pit stop at the local cheese shop.
Just a few miles away are the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, offering deals and savings on major retailers and designers. The outlets are a must-visit if you’re looking to score exceptional deals on today’s hottest looks and accessories.
The Historic Triangle is also known for its antiques and one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods. Charming shops await at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Shop for items that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. These make for the perfect souvenir or a treat for yourself to remember your Williamsburg vacation.
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Restaurants in Williamsburg
After exploring what the area has to offer, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. You can find impeccable culinary creations, casual offerings and mouthwatering snacks throughout the Historic Triangle’s dining scene.
Seafood is a popular option that is harvested locally. Prepared a number of ways, take your pick of scallops or pan-seared rockfish. Oysters are one of the area’s most sought-after delicacies, cultivated straight from the James and York Rivers.
Enjoy classics like hamburgers and ribs, or dine on upscale dishes like slow roasted pork, prime rib and more. Even the pickiest eaters will be able to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. The abundance of selections will also be able to satisfy any budget. You’ll find plenty of coupons and deals on the goWilliamsburg.guide website.
Throughout the area, you can send your taste buds on a trip around the world by visiting local restaurants serving Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, French, Mexican, Thai and more. You may be thousands of miles away, but the dishes will taste just as authentic right here in Williamsburg.
Area restaurants have also perfected the art of sugary selections. Indulge in a decadent dessert from a local chocolate shop. Or, satisfy your sweet tooth with a freshly baked treat like donuts or pie.
There’s truly something for every type of diner in the Greater Williamsburg area so get ready for a meal that will go down in history.
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Toast to Your Williamsburg Vacation
Follow up your sensational meal with an adult beverage from Williamsburg’s thriving craft beverage scene. Connoisseurs and cocktail lovers are coming from all over to grab a glass of the area’s locally-crafted beer, wine and other distilled spirits.
Known for producing award-winning wines, The Williamsburg Winery’s offers a variety of wines from rich, red merlot to crisp, white chardonnay to pleasantly sweet dessert wines. Enjoy lunch at Gabriel Archer Tavern or dinner at Café Provencal. Wherever you choose, you’ll be able to pair your favorite wine with one of the restaurant’s delectable dishes.
If beer is more your thing, imbibe with a brew at Brass Cannon Brewing Co. Or get a glass of whiskey on the rocks at Copper Fox Distillery’s tasting room near Colonial Williamsburg. Interested in sipping a sweet, unique libation? Head to Silver Hand Meadery for a glass of historic, handcrafted mead. These and other fine establishments can be found on the Williamsburg Tasting Trail.
Whether you’re in Williamsburg, Jamestown or Yorktown, your vacation is sure to be filled with family fun, exquisite eats and arousing attractions. Welcome to Greater Williamsburg!