You’ve checked into your place of stay, and you’re out the door and on to the streets of the charming Historic Triangle. Around every corner of Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown lies somewhere new to discover for lunch, a fun activity to do with the family and even an eerie historic tour, with trusted guides of course. When you arrive to this vibrant area, it can be intimidating narrowing down your route. The Greater Williamsburg area is brimming with plenty of things to do whether you’re looking for your family’s next adventure, a foodie on the hunt for a sensational meal or interested in the evening scene.
Activities for families span far and wide! Test your skills at one of our go-kart tracks, in a round of mini-golf or behind the wheels of a bumper car. Nearby theme parks provide roller coasters, water activities and other thrills! Swing through the trees as you venture along treetop obstacle courses or zoom down a zip line. For an educational spin to your adventurous afternoon, head to Colonial Williamsburg where there are endless opportunities of hands-on activities to learn about what it was like in the Colonial era. Fire off a replica 18th-century musket, immerse yourself in our rich history by speaking with historical interpreters or visit one of our museums for a truly exciting day that appeals to all ages! Then when the kids just need get their bounces out, we have just the place complete with an inflatable playground for the kiddos to unwind.
You’re in luck because you’ve vacationed to a one-stop destination to tame your appetite. From pancakes to cocktails and pubs to fine dining, cuisine is anything but ordinary when you’re traversing the Triangle. We are home to an excellent French restaurant where you’ll be sure to find the best croissants and Sunday brunch in town. If you’re cuckoo for sweets or just need a mid-morning pick-me-up, waltz into one of our divine bakeries and treat yourself to every kind of confection from cupcakes and pies to pistachio bars and brownies. For lunch, stroll over to Merchants Square where you can indulge in a store dedicated to cheese, seafood and pizza and subs, as well as peruse menus with a regional focus. With the warmer weather, migrate to one of the many benches in the Square, and enjoy the gentle breeze with an ice cream cone in hand. Regardless of the time of day, you can’t visit Williamsburg and not eat your way through a stack of pancakes. With plenty of locations to choose from around the area, you can’t go wrong with pancakes here!
When the sun goes down, Williamsburg is the place to be! What do you get when you combine solving crime with a mouthwatering four-course meal? It’s not a trick question. New to the area this May is The Mystery Dinner of Williamsburg, located at the Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center. Enjoy your dinner and participate in a five-act show as you guess what secrets the characters may be concealing. When you need a good laugh, our comedy club features locally and nationally recognized performance artists all set in a casual atmosphere. After the shows, head to one of our pubs or breweries to sample unique brews, some of which are crafted right here in the ‘Burg. Grab a pint and, depending on the day of the week, listen to live music performed by local artists. After you’ve mustered up the courage, take a haunted stroll through one of our famous ghost tours led by the best tour guides around. Choose from a family-friendly tour featuring fun folklore or a more bone-chilling experience where ghosts may even make an appearance! End your evening with a tour of the five newly illuminated historic buildings including the Capitol, Governor’s Palace, the Magazine, the Courthouse and the Public Hospital.
FAMILY SAVINGS!As one of the most popular cities to visit in the state of Virginia, Williamsburg is the perfect getaway for a small vacation with big attractions. No matter what time of year it is, families from all over continually find that Williamsburg is a unique vacation destination with a variety of activities to choose from. Whether you are looking for a fun adventure, a chill weekend recharge, a thrifty getaway—or all three!
Williamsburg is filled to the brim with fun and exciting activities for both adults and kids. Set aside a day for thrills at Busch Gardens, where you will find some of the most exciting coasters in the world as well as an entire area with rides, entertainment and dining designed specifically for kids. Or if the day is turning into a scorcher, head over to Water Country USA for the wettest and wildest water rides around.
Spend an afternoon at Go Ape Freedom Park, the area’s only treetop adventure that no chimp will soon forget! This easy and safe course built for all ages allows you and your child to explore the treetops of Freedom Park using zip lines, obstacles and Tarzan swings.
Those who participate will have the chance to live daringly—while treading lightly—and witness one of the most beautiful places in Virginia from a bird’s-eye view.
Perhaps you would like to race your way to fun at Williamsburg’s only go-kart course. Grab the kids and get into gear at Go-Karts Plus, where the kids can be the ones behind the wheel for the day. Here you will find all types of go-karts waiting to be ridden on a wide variety of fun and unique tracks. Be ready to burn some rubber!
Don’t fret! If your day is spoiled by bad weather, there are just as many fun, indoor activities in Williamsburg as there are outdoor activities. Rainy days can make your kids start climbing the walls, so why not head to a place where that’s perfectly normal? Bounce House Williamsburg offers 20,000 square feet of jumping, bouncing, climbing and sliding! This clean and safe inflatable playground will give your kids an exciting and energetic day rain or shine. Concessions are available, plus an indoor picnic area.
How about letting your child step inside a real-life video game? Laser tag has always been a popular activity for kids, but Williamsburg offers laser tag on steroids at Bounce House’s 9,000-square-foot Laster Tag facility! Traditional laser tag combined with paintball and airsoft give your child
the ultimate laser tag experience. With lightweight and easy to use laser
tag guns, your kids will love working as a team to complete their action-packed mission.
Want your child to have a blast while getting some exercise? The Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex (WISC) offers a number of different programs, including indoor soccer, gymnastics, dance, CrossFit and a gym. Let your child run wild and free at The Zone, a kid-friendly area with arcade games, an indoor playground, Clip ‘N Climb, laser tag and a laser maze.
Experience the unbelievable at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! This popular attraction is best known for its Odditorium, featuring a collection of weird oddities from around the world—such as shrunken heads and a two-headed parrot. Don’t stop there, Ripley’s also has amazing add-ons. See movies come to life at the 4D Theater or sneak and crawl through a web of lasers at the Impossible LaseRace.
Let your kids flex their creative muscles at Paint on Pottery. Even if you and your kids are first-timers or don’t think you’re very “artsy,” painting your own pottery is a great way to have fun and explore creative possibilities. Plus, your kids will love leaving with their very own pottery creation to keep as a sweet memory of their time in Williamsburg.
Go back to a simpler time, where the modern hustle and bustle of everyday life melts away. Colonial Williamsburg is a must-do for any visitor coming to the area. Men, women and children dressed in colonial attire roam the streets as you explore your way through this 18th-century restored city. These colonists, shopkeepers, blacksmiths and farmers look forward to sharing their lifestyles and stories with you and your family, and are always looking for a helping hand from the younger guests!
Relaxing and educational experiences abound in the Greater Williamsburg area. Explore nearby areas such as the Jamestown Settlement where kids can climb into a sailor’s bunk, steer with a whipstaff, or simply wander through one of the three re-created ships that brought the first English colonists to Virginia in 1607. Expand your child’s knowledge of Pocahontas and her fellow tribe members as you and your family stroll through the Powhatan Indian Village and interact with historical interpreters demonstrating how they would survive on a daily basis.
A great way to get to know Williamsburg is to take a peaceful stroll down sidewalks and cobbled streets. Be sure to take time to visit the nearby towns that are full of shopping, dining and beautiful surroundings. Enjoy dinner outside in Merchant’s Square, browse the unique shops in New Town or find a new appreciation for art in Smithfield.
Music and the arts have the power to bring peace to any soul. If you enjoy live performances, soothing jazz, plays or featured films, then make your way over to Merchants Square. Here you will find inspiring performances as well as special events and thought-provoking movies. With a theatre hosting special events throughout the year, there is always a chance to witness inspiring creativity right before your eyes.
After all that walking, be sure to book a session at a local spa, providing a relaxing experience—the perfect cap to a fun-filled vacation. Recline in a comfortable chair, please your ears with peaceful music and breathe in air saturated with beneficial minerals. A therapeutic session at the Williamsburg Salt Spa will leave you feeling naturally rejuvenated and healthy without the use of medication.
At the end of a long day, there’s nothing like kicking back with a great brew or a glass of wine. There are several wineries and breweries in and nearby Williamsburg offering Virginia-made libations with a distinct and delicious taste. Sample tastings of various food-friendly wines and brews, and make some tasty memories. Having a laid-back night out never hurt anybody!
Discover Williamsburg Beyond Traditional History
by Arielle Patterson
They say you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand their experiences. So, lace up your sneakers and join in on one of Williamsburg’s diverse and original walking tours.
These themed tours of the city include historic tours, ghost tours and a seasonally-offered Christmas tour. With so much preserved history in Williamsburg, there’s a lot to explore, including Colonial Williamsburg’s 301-acre Historic Area. These walking tours offer three centuries of extraordinary history, an endless collection of local stories and are led by knowledgeable professionals with decades of experience.
Follow along Williamsburg’s exclusive history tour dedicated to the African American experience. Williamsburg Walking Tours offers the city’s only tour dedicated solely to black history. During the 18th century, African American slaves, freedmen, craftsmen and businessmen comprised half of the city’s population. This tour gives an exclusive and well-researched glimpse into the lives of African American people.
In 1742, a 10-year-old boy was brought to Yorktown as a slave and given the name Caesar. Caesar went on to become a talented barber. Find out how Caesar used his skill to become a spy for the Patriot cause. Then, as a freed man named John Hope, became a well-known barber catering exclusively to white clientele.
This intimate tour around the Historic Area guides guests along the same streets, shops and homes that enslaved African American’s walked when they were brought to this burgeoning city. Williamsburg Walking Tours’ African American History Tour has earned Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence and has received reviews from visitors all over the country. Hear more little-known stories on the achievements and contributions of African American’s from the beginning of America’s story, and discover the impact they had on Colonial Williamsburg and the Revolutionary War.
As dusk falls over the cobbled streets, you know it’s time for some eerie experiences. Every now and then we all like to indulge in a little frightful fun, whether it’s watching a scary movie or riding a roller coaster. But since Williamsburg is full of history, the city comes with its historical haunts. If you’re feeling brave and in the mood for a hair-raising experience, schedule a time during your Williamsburg vacation to embark on a ghostly walking tour where some of the area’s deepest and darkest haunts are uncovered. Williamsburg offers ghost tours that are sure to scare your socks off!
Hear haunting tales and even spot spooky specters on Virginia’s oldest ghost tour. The Original Ghosts of Williamsburg leads guests on a candlelit stroll through the shadowy streets of the Historic Triangle. These tours combine local folklore with historical facts, ghost stories and even some humor. For an elevated eerie experience, take the Extreme Ghost Tour. This late-night tour is two hours long and gives guests the chance to use ghost-hunting equipment to track any paranormal activity. Stops include the historic Peyton Randolph House—one of the most haunted houses in the United States, where creepy activity continues to happen today.
The Original Ghosts of Williamsburg also offers a Ghosts of Yorktown tour. This hour-and-a-half long tour cruises the dark streets of Yorktown. Listen as the ghost guide shares tales of deceased soldiers of the Revolutionary War, that may be seen walking though the battlefields. Stops include the York River Waterfront, including Cornwallis’ haunted cave. TheGhostTour.com
Ranked in the top ten of the “13 Bone-Chilling Haunted Tours” by US City Traveler, Colonial Ghosts has earned Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2017. These tours offer a genuine experience based on research, eyewitness interviews and a ghost story book connected to factual and historic events. They offer daily daytime cemetery tours and nightly ghost tours. The most popular tour, the Ultimate Ghost Tour, skips the theatrical show and gets straight to the informative stories. These stories span from the Colonial era, through the Civil War and even to the 21st century. Journey, if you dare, to the Public Hospital—America’s first “insane asylum.” Rumor has it that Dr. John Minson Galt, II still haunts the grounds where he lived and worked. Colonial Ghosts also gives amateur ghost hunters a chance to use ghost hunting equipment, just like paranormal investigators, on their Ghost Hunt. ColonialGhosts.com
Put your camera phones to work as you tour the sites of some of Colonial Williamsburg’s most haunted places and capture photos of the ghosts that dwell there. Author Tim Scullion conducted a photo study with over 10,000 photos and used them to write “Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia: with Breakthrough Ghost Photography.” His book is now the basis of the Ghostographer Tour. Every stop on the tour features the best photos taken by Scullion. Two tours are offered—the Williamsburg West Tour and the Williamsburg East Tour. Learn the background, and possibly the identities, of the phantoms in the photos. Ghostographer.com
Another ghost tour that tells haunted stories of the past is Williamsburg Walking Tours’ Ghostly Tales. This journey is an eerie, 60-minute tour through the colonial capital led by an expert of ghostly lore from the days of old. Legend has it that ghosts have stirred up all sorts of trouble in some of these areas; it’s merely up to the brave to find out which ones. WilliamsburgWalkingTours.com/Ghost-Tales
Williamsburg Walking Tours also offers a Christmas Past & Present Walking Tour. During Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Eve, stroll down Williamsburg’s colonial streets and discover how Christmas was celebrated from the 18th-century to modern day. While you take in the festive decorations, learn the history of the decorations and hear stories from Christmases of the past. WilliamsburgWalkingTours.com/Christmas-Past-Present
Whether it is your first time in Williamsburg, or your 50th, the guided walking tours offered around the area never disappoint and are sure to show you and your family an unforgettable time filled with lots of laughs, thrills and new stories to share.