You’re very lucky if you’re headed for Williamsburg, Virginia. This town and area is jam packed with early American history, outdoor fun, and amusement park fun! It’s such a great location to spend time with the family. We have some ideas for things to do from Colonial Williamsburg, to Historic Jamestown, to Busch Gardens, to Haunted Dinner Theater. You can spend days in Virginia being entertained and educated. So, be sure you take full advantage of all the area has to offer. We’re starting out with Par1, Things To Do, and will follow-up with Part 2, Places to Eat. We’ve provided many links so you can check ahead, make sure of hours, and make any reservations or buy tickets, if needed.
THINGS TO DO
- Let’s first talk Busch Gardens and Water Country, USA, both SeaWorld Parks. Who doesn’t love a little amusement park fun and these are jam-packed. Busch Gardens is a European-style park with nine villages covering six countries. You can choose from rides, including roller coasters; shows such as London Rocks, which is a musical revue that explores the roots of rock-n-roll; sing with Elmo and other Sesame Street characters; and learn about nature with their animal exhibits. There is something for all ages, including a Food & Wine Festival that will be going on weekends through June 29. Water Country, USA is just what the name implies. The park offers 43 acres of pools, lazy rivers, and water rides. Be sure to hop over to Rock ‘n’ Roll Island to twist down the slides to 50’s themed music. Do a search for Busch Gardens Discounts 2014 for ticket information.
- You can’t visit Williamsburg without seeing America’s Historic Triangle – Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown, and Yorktown Victory Center, all linked by a scenic 23 mile Colonial Parkway. Immerse yourself in the richness and glory of our nation’s history. You can get a variety of tickets depending on if you have one day or want to see all attractions. Check Williamsburg Vacations for details.
o Colonial Williamsburg is a not to be missed if you haven’t been! We recommend making a day of it to be able to engage in all the village has to offer. A great history lesson can be learned through the storytelling and interpretation of what life was like during the colonial period. Revolutionary City offers a 90 minute tour and is worth every minute. Be sure to catch the new Resolution in the Street.
o Historic Jamestown is the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Does Pocahontas or Captain John Smith ring a bell?
o Historic Yorktown is a picturesque waterfront village about 15 minutes away, that depicts one of the pivotal victories in the Revolutionary War.
o Yorktown Victory Center/Battlefield is where the British forces surrendered to General Washington ending the war in 1781.
- The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News – about ½ hour away – is super cool for those who love maritime history and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. An exhibit opening May 24 called, Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep, should be sure to please everyone. An ongoing exhibit, Defending the Seas, tells the story of the Navy past and present.
- Take a ferry from Jamestown to Scotland across the James River. It’s a free 20 minute trip where you can enjoy plenty of wildlife and get a settler’s view of arriving in historic Jamestown. A nice activity for athletes who want to keep off their feet a bit.
- Want to see an endangered red wolf? Then visit the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Here you’ll get up close and personal with a variety of animals and enjoy hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and learn conservation measures.
- Berkeley Plantation sits on the James River and is the site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619. How cool is that?
- Enjoy an evening of “Chopped, the murder mystery” at the Haunted Dinner Theater. Good for the whole family with a little magic and a buffet dinner.
- Go-Karts Plus, a family entertainment center or the Bounce House, which offers an inflatable playground and indoor go karts should keep the kids entertained for hours.
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not is always a fun place to visit. But, if you have been to one before, we would hold off going, unless you need a rainy day activity.
- For the adults:
- The Williamsburg Winery offers a fun-filled afternoon or evening. It offers tours that include winemaking and be sure to call ahead for a wine tasting appointment.
- Stop by the AleWerks Brewing Company. They offer tours of the brewery and tasting of their specialty beers along the way.
- Enjoy an evening off with a little fun at the WhoDunIt Dinner Theatre. The wait staff will keep you laughing and on your toes during this fun-filled evening of dinner and detecting.
OUTSIDE OF WILLIAMSBURG:
- Monticello is the plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president of the United States. There are trails, family-friendly tours and a hands-on activity center. It is located in Charlottesville, about 2-2 ½ hours from Williamsburg. Montpelier, James Madison’s home, is also not far away.
- Richmond is a good day trip from Williamsburg and offers the Science Museum and the Children’s Museum. You’ll find many hands-on activities for the kids, including doing a news show with a camera and green screen. It’s just over 1 hour away.
- Virginia Beach – We hear mixed reviews and that it’s touristy, but it depends on how much time you have and what your interests are. If you go, maybe pay a visit to Little Island Park at Sandbridge Beach.
- Kings Dominion is a big amusement park in Doswell, about 1 ½ hours from Williamsburg. They have great kiddie rides and are celebrating 40 years of fun.
- Beaches – Yorktown, Gloucester, or Mathews County.
So, there you have it. A great place to spend a vacation. We’re also giving you a few links from TravelingMom that provide some insider tips for what to see and do. One takes you behind the scenes of Williamsburg and one offers summer vacation ideas with teens and covers a variety of offerings in the area. And for more details, check Visit Williamsburg. Have a great time!