Williamsburg is one of three cities that make up Virginia’s Historic Triangle (also Jamestown and Yorktown). There’s so much to see and do that you won’t be able to squeeze it all in with just few days. Here are some of our top recommendations and tips for making your Williamsburg bucket list!
Top Things to Do in Williamsburg:
Stroll through Colonial Williamsburg
There is so much to do in Colonial Williamsburg alone, the next time we make it back to the area we hope to stay within walking distance. Known for being the world’s largest living history museum, you may come across Thomas Jefferson or George Washington while you’re wandering the village. You’ll see historical tradespeople at work: cobblers, blacksmiths, and gunsmiths to name a few. And there are also a variety of daily events: witness a trial, take a historic pub crawl, learn to fire a musket, among many others.
Hit the Williamsburg Tasting Trail
Over 21? You can’t miss the Williamsburg Tasting Trail! The trail includes a winery, a meadery, four breweries, and two distilleries. Along with trying the delicious drinks, we also highly recommend the honey tasting at Silver Hand Meadery. Tours are available in case you need a driver!
Visit the Jamestown Settlement
Visit the Jamestown Settlement to see recreations of the James Fort, the Powhatan Indian village, and the three ships that sailed from England, the Susan Constant, Discovery, and the Godspeed. There is also a museum and a variety of daily programs.
NOTE: The Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne are two separate parks and require separate tickets. One is operated by the National Park Service and the other is state-operated. This isn’t always clear so you’ll want to plan ahead if you’d like to do it all.
Explore Historic Jamestowne
Historic Jamestowne is the actual site of the James Fort built by Captain John Smith in 1607. Today the site is an archaeological site where a team continues to excavate and research. Take a guided tour, visit the museum, and see the remains of the original church.
Tour Yorktown Battlefield by Car
The driving tour at Yorktown Battlefield was one of the best parts of our visit to Virginia’s Historic Triangle. Start at the National Park Service visitor center to get your map and then hit the road to see the key locations of the last major battle of the American Revolution.
NOTE: Just like in Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown require two separate tickets and are operated separately.
Visit the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown combines indoor and outdoor exhibits to tell the story of the battle at Yorktown. Explore galleries, recreations and interactive exhibits that give a look into the life of a soldier.
Watch a Glassblowing Demonstration
The Jamestown Glasshouse is a couple minutes drive between the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne. Entrance is included with your ticket to either Historic Jamestowne or Yorktown Battlefield.
The glassblowers are extremely talented (and fast). We watched as they made a green beer glass in just a few minutes time. The objects are then cooled in a kiln overnight (cooled is a relative term as the kiln actually starts at around 900 degrees!) and are for sale in the gift shop the next day. You can also see the ruins of the original glasshouse from 1608 at the site.
Wander the Williamsburg Farmers Market
The Williamsburg Farmers Market takes place every Saturday and (lucky for us) that happened to be the day we were in Colonial Williamsburg! The market takes place in Merchants Square and offers dozens of vendors serving everything from fresh produce, coffee, cheese, and baked goods, to wine tastings and homemade dog treats.
TIP: There’s free parking on Francis Street (lot P6) on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, but arrive early to get a spot! Several other lots are one or two hour parking and those also fill up fast. The Prince George Street Garage is another option for $1 per hour.
See Decaying Statues of Presidents Heads
Just outside of Williamsburg in the town of Croaker is one of the more quirky attractions we’ve come across. Here you can see massive statues of the heads of the first 43 Presidents of the United States. The heads were originally part of Presidents Park in Williamsburg but were bought by a private owner.
NOTE: The heads are located on PRIVATE property. Do not attempt to trespass to see them. Virginia historian John Plashal operates tours on the property. Visit his Facebook page for more information. Also, as of summer 2019, the property owners were in negotiations to sell the heads so they may not be located in Williamsburg area much longer.
Take in the Scent of a Lavender Field
In our opinion, the Sweethaven Lavender field is one of Williamsburg’s hidden secrets and we were so lucky to discover it! The farm has seven acres of lavender and is a beauty to wander (not to mention a great spot for photos). Due to the timeframe of the lavender bloom, Sweethaven is only open in the summer. Follow their Facebook page for updates on the farm hours.
Other Awesome Things to Do in Williamsburg:
With only four days to explore, we barely touched the surface of everything to do in Williamsburg. Here are some other great ideas we hope to do on our next visit to Virginia’s Historic Triangle:
- Ride the Jamestown-Scotland ferry: This free ferry ride lasts about 15-20 minutes and takes you (and your car!) from Jamestown to Surry.
- Take a ghost tour.
- Bike the Virginia Capital Trail.
- Admire art: There are several museums to choose from including the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Williamsburg.
- Wander the shops, restaurants, and beachfront in downtown Yorktown.
- Tour Jamestown by boat: The 1-hour Jamestown Discovery river tours depart from the James City County Marina.
- Get a thrill at Busch Gardens or Water Country USA.
- Smell the blooms at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden at Freedom Park: entrance is free.