Walk Along The Shore At Yorktown Beach Or Jamestown Beach
Although not an ocean beach, both Yorktown and Jamestown have fun beach areas along their respective rivers. These small beach areas along the York River and James River have sandy areas where you can relax and swim areas if you would like to get in the water. For even more fun, you can rent paddle boards or kayaks or book a Pirate adventure or sunset sail on the river.
Enjoy Good Southern Food
You can find lots of good local food and locally brewed beer in the restaurants around Williamsburg and Yorktown. We went out of our way to have lunch at the Old Chickahominy House anyway, and it was worth it.
Located halfway between Williamsburg and Jamestown, the house is divided between the restaurant and an antiques store. You can window shop in the latter while you wait for your table. Of course theres pie. Whatever types theyve baked that day ask for a slice of each. Neither the chocolate chiffon or buttermilk pies disappointed and the fruit pie looked awfully good.
If you make a visit to Yorktown Beach, time it so you can have lunch or dinner at the Yorktown Pub. I admit it looks like a hole-in-the-wall. But everything they do with crab, clams, oysters and shrimp is good. They have fried-seafood baskets and plenty of options for family members who dont like fish. We went with crab dip, steamed clams and fried oysters and were pleased with the lot.
Youll probably find yourself in Merchants Square at some point during your visit. I tried a few of the restaurants here and they were all solidly good. The standout for me was Berrets Seafood Restaurant for its friendly service and outstanding she-crab soup is outstanding. The fried oysters, steamed shrimp and shrimp quesadillas are good, too. Plus, the kids menu offers a crab cake, shrimp and salmon along with the usual items.
Jamestowne Settlement & American Revolution Museum
This museum is so well-done and definitely worth a visit if youre in the Williamsburg area. Jamestowne Settlement is a living history museum that tells the story of the first English settlement in America, while the American Revolution Museum is dedicated to exploring the causes and effects of the Revolutionary War.
Your ticket gives you access to both and they are right beside each other. The American Revolution Museum is indoors and the Jamestown Settlement is outside. Both offer fascinating exhibits and interactive activities for visitors of all ages.
If youre looking for a fun and educational experience, be sure to check out the Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum!
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Jamestown Glasshouse Williamsburg Virginia
The Jamestown Glasshouse is one of the main attractions from America’s first colony. In the early days of Jamestown, officials believed that glassmaking could be a profitable venture. Ultimately, it didn’t end up being the right commodity for Jamestown’s economic survival, but the glasshouse where most of the glassmaking process took place still stands.
Today, visitors can watch as glassmakers create objects using the same techniques from more than 400 years ago. Guests can also view the original furnaces that early colonists used for their glasswork. Lastly, the glasshouse has its own gift shop that sells original pieces of glass artwork.
1355 Colonial National Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23185, 757-229-2437
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Paddle The Waterways Like Pocahontas
Powhatan tribes in the Williamsburg area used dugout canoes to transverse the wetlands and trade with their neighbors in this historic area.
For a different perspective on the Historic Triangle, go to the James City County Marina and rent a canoe. Paddle through the channels humming Disneys Just around the Riverbend, imagining what life might have been like in the days of Pocahontas.
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Is Colonial Williamsburg Free To Visit
You can walk around Colonial Williamsburg free of charge, day or night, however, to go inside any of the buildings you will need to purchase an admission pass, which gives you access to all open buildings. Trust us, you will want to buy the admission pass! A visit to Colonial Williamsburg is not complete without actually going into the historic buildings.
Make A Splash At Water Country Usa
Water Country USA is the sister park to Busch Gardens. The largest water park in the mid-Atlantic, there are more than a dozen different water slides, as well as a wave pool, lazy river, and splash pads for toddlers and for older kids. If visiting during the summer months when the seasonal park is open, your kids will love spending a day at Water Country USA. And you can easily spend a full day at the park. With extreme slides for dare-devil teens and adults to calmer, gentler slides for younger children, the water park has something for all ages.
It is the perfect place to cool off during a muggy summer day.
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American Revolution Museum At Yorktown
This museum at Yorktown tells the complete story of the American Revolution. In addition to traditional artifacts such as weapons and uniforms, there are immersive exhibits and an outdoor living-history area that includes a re-created Continental Army encampment and a Revolution-era farm. These are great for keeping kids interested and engaged.
Schedule A Childrens Tour Of The Governors Palace
In fact, I would do this over and over again. You start out in the kitchen and servants wing of the property and work your way through the marble entryway, parlors, bedrooms of First Lady and children.
Youll make your way to the ballroom and the entertaining spaces before heading out the East Wing into the Governors Palace gardens, which includes a boxwood maze. If you were wondering, I got lost, ha!
Note to self: do the tour before its blazing hot- ideally early fall so that you dont get stuck in a maze of bushes with young kids who are hungry and tired in the blazing sun.
The architecture and design details of the Governors Palace are phenomenal. I wish I could take longer to walk through the spaces and comb over ever little detail.
It is definitely worth the guided tour and something you wont want to miss.
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York River State Park
York River State Park is home to a rare habitat where freshwater and saltwater meet on its grounds. The park features over 30 miles of hiking trails, with some shorter trails that are great for kids. Families can enjoy the parks grounds for a picnic, play on the playground, and rent boats seasonally.
Go Ape Treetop Adventures
For one final thrill before your Williamsburg family vacation comes to an end, you cant miss Go Ape Treetop Adventures. Climb high in the trees and navigate this interactive ropes course with the help and support of your family members cheering you on. The courses feature exhilarating zip lines, suspended obstacles, rope climbs, and more, all of which require critical thinking skills and teamwork to accomplish. Also, Go Ape Treetop Adventures has a junior course for the little ones to traverse!
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Restaurants At Colonial Williamsburg With Kids
Yes, there is indeed colonial dining and its awesome! Before we arrived at Colonial Williamsburg, we had doubts about the quality of food wed find within the history area. You know, tourist attractions often fail when it comes to being authentic or nutritious. Colonial Williamsburg dining was wonderful!
Josiah Chownings Tavern
This is the perfect lunch spot. One of the few restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg, Josiah Chownings Tavern has a great atmosphere and good menu. A mix of both modern and colonial menu items, its a great option with kids.The price point for lunch at Josiah Chownings is actually very reasonable, meaning its like dining at a non-tourist area restaurant. The beers are a bit more than outside of the historic area, but overall, very well priced for a family of four at lunch.
Note: Josiah Chownings Tavern is a first-come-first-served restaurant that doesnt take reservations. It is also open to the public, so not just ticket holders may dine here.
Dinner at Kings Arms Tavern
Note: you MUST make reservations for dining at the Kings Arms Tavern. Its one of the most popular restaurants in Williamsburg, let alone within the colonial area. Its worth the planning.
Coffee and Snacks around Colonial Williamsburg
Yorktown Battlefield Audio Tour
Yorktown Battlefield is a great place to get the kids interested in and learn about history. On October 19, 1781, British forces surrendered to the combined American and French armies led at the battle of Yorktown.
This six-stop tour takes you to the most important spots on the battlefield that lead up to that surrender. It is a driving tour, so you will visit each stop that is important to the battle of Yorktown while following the audio tour. You can buy the CD for $5 at the Visitors center or .
Depending on how long you spend at each stop the tour will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. My kids enjoyed getting out of the car and exploring each stop in full so we were closer to 1.5 hours.
Location: 1000 Colonial Parkway Yorktown, VA 23690
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Walk Historic Colonial Williamsburg
Its time to head downtown to Colonial Williamsburg. You dont have to be a planner or spend a ton to enjoy CW.
If youre a history buff, it can be enjoyable to plan the trip and do one of the scheduled tours of shops and attractions.
Heres the low down on admission. You are welcome to walk around Colonial Williamsburg free off charge. Theres plenty to see.
From Duke of Gloucester Street shopping and dining to walking around the Palace Green and through the gardens, outside of the homes and buildings.
However, if you want to enter the buildings to see how candles are made or what a historical blacksmith did, youll want to get tickets.
If you are a local Williamsburg or James City County resident, you can purchase the Good Neighbor pass which includes discounts all over the city to local attractions and vendors.
Below are the ticketing options, plus add ons.
Colonial Williamsburg Ticket Pricing | TICKETS |
101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185
|TICKETS AND PASSES|
|Carriage Ride||$50 for family|
Lastly, make sure you check the CW website because they run specials, have discounts for groups, and have discounts for teachers, military, medicaid and lodging.
If you have time in your itinerary to go to Jamestown or Yorktown, do the Historic Triangle pass because youll save some dough. .
Icipate In An Archaeological Dig At Historic Jamestowne
Historic Jamestowne is the original site of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. This historic area is now managed by the National Park Service alongside a historic preservation society.
It is a large archaeological site and aims to teach the next generation about the work being done on site. If youre a history lover visiting Colonial Williamsburg, dont miss the daily Archaeology Tour that tells the stories of the artifacts found on site.
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Tips For Planning Your Visit:
- Keep in mind that if you are traveling from the north, especially in the summer, you will deal with traffic on I95! Try to hit the road as early as possible.
- A lot of these attractions are spread out a few miles from each other. If you. want to see the Jamestown Settlement, Busch Gardens, and Colonial Williamsburg, youll need to drive between all three.
- Christmas is our favorite time to go. Visiting Colonial Williamsburg in December is gorgeous, with fresh greenery everywhere. You can visit Busch Gardens Christmastown, loaded with Christmas lights and holiday treats.
Talk To The Shopkeepers
We spent the majority of our time wandering in and out of the shops, and listening to the shopkeepers explain what life was like and why their trades were important in the Revolutionary days.
We started at the blacksmith’s shop, moved on the silversmith’s shop, the milliner’s, and wrapped up at the gunsmith’s shop. It is impressive to watch the tradesmen create items using the same methods as were originally used. And yes- the guns do fire!
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Where Is Colonial Williamsburg
Since Colonial Williamsburg is so often paired with visiting Washington DC and the whole of the National Capitol region, you might think its actually in the DC area. Its not.Colonial Williamsburg is located in an area called the Historic Triangle, in southeastern Virginia, nearly to North Carolina. A three hour drive from Washington DC, you may find it easier to fly into Richmond, VA than the DC area.
Here are the drive times from nearby destinations:
Enjoy Downtown At A Resort Hotel For Families
As you might expect, Williamsburg has its share of affordable chain hotels and quaint colonial inns. But you might expect hotels and condo communities with resort amenities. Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites is one such place.
Its rare that I wish I had more time at the hotel, but I would have spent more time at the Williamsburg Woodlands if I could have. This says a lot about how much there was to do and how comfortable the property was.
The Williamsburg Woodlands is a family hotel. Expect splashing at the pool and a line for the waffle-maker at the complementaty breakfast. Its décor is functional with a colonial accent. It doesnt have an upscale look and feel, but it was comfortable and had a lot of amenities and a helpful staff.
The roons are either doubles and suites. The double was fine for us two adults and a child. We could leave suitcases around and hang bathing suits to dry without feeling like we were constantly stepping over things.
In the suites, the bathroom separate a sleeping area from a living area with a sleeper sofa. If you have older or younger kids who dont sleep when you do this is a nice option.
The pool was nice and big and my then 7YO really liked the adjacent water playground. I liked that I could be in the regular pool or on a lounge chair and keep an eye on her.
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Dine Like Its 1779 At A Tavern In Williamsburg
In Colonial Williamsburg, there are four taverns where families can get a bite to eat while still immersed in living history. At these taverns, visitors can hear the servers explain the history of the hospitality business during the time of the Revolutionary War and enjoy a serenade from a musician singing a ballad in 18th century style.
Reservations can be made for dinner at Kings Arms Tavern, Shields Tavern, and Christiana Campbells Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. Kings Arms Tavern is known for its peanut soup.
It is not necessary to make a reservation for lunch at these taverns or at Chownings Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. The simple four item kids menu is the same no matter which tavern your family chooses to dine. Picky kids can choose from favorites like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.
If youre a family of foodies, plan your vacation for spring so that you can experience the Williamsburg Taste Festival. Families can enjoy the a variety of local food only a short walk from the tourist attractions of Colonial Williamsburg.
Donuts At Emilys Donuts
Before you head downtown to Colonial Williamsburg , youll want to try out one of our favorite local bakeries, Emilys Donuts.
Emilys Donuts is a cute cafe situated on Merrimac Trail, right down the street from WaWa. You better get there early because the best of the best sell out fast.
Luckily, if you are planning your trip in advance or plan to be here tomorrow, give them a call or place an order online for tomorrow for pickup to ensure you get your favorites.
The kids will love the assortment of brightly colored and m& m filled donuts. There are donut holes, pastries like bear claws and apple fritters , as well as coffee.
Grab a hot or iced coffee while youre there and make your morning complete.
|Monday Fri 5:30AM 12 NoonSat & Sun 5:30AM 1:00PM|
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Zip Through The Trees At Go Ape Treetop Adventures
Adventurous kids will love the interactive treetop adventure at Go Ape, located minutes from downtown Williamsburg. The treetop course features ziplines, rope ladders, net crossings, and even a Tarzan swing that takes you from one tree to another.
The larger course is geared for kids 10 and older as well as adults, while the smaller course, TreeTop Journey, is good for anyone over 3 feet 3 inches. It is the perfect 1-hour introduction to treetop adventures.
This is a fun and unique way to spend an afternoon in Williamsburg VA with kids.