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What to do in Colonial Williamsburg

Updated on August 12, 2014
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Shelly loves writing, reading, history, family, dogs, cats and travel. This self published author also loves to learn and share.

Visit Williamsburg, Va

Visit Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia a beautiful, historic place to spend a few days or a week, this area will keep you busy for days and leave you wanting to return again and again. The activities in Williamsburg range from tours of historic buildings, ghost tours, shopping, dining, theme parks, beaches and more.

Williamsburg was the capital of England’s oldest, largest and most populated colony from 1699 to 1780 at this time Virginia was the nation’s most influential state. Williamsburg was named after William III, King of England and designed by Royal Gov. Francis Nicholson, making it one of the country’s first planned communities. It was here that people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and other Virginia patriots established the ideals of liberty, independence, and personal freedom. The founding fathers of our nation have since inspired generations of Americans, and others around the world. The historic area is a place where patriots ignited and laid the foundation for the creation of a new nation. The historical value of this site is priceless.

The town of Williamsburg was not given much thought in the late 1800’s but in 1926 Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin the rector of Bruton Parish in Williamsburg approached John D. Rockefeller Jr. about restoring it to it’s original Colonial past. Rockefeller was cautious at first, but secretly authorized the purchase of Ludwell-Paradise House on Dec. 7 1926. Rockefeller’s enthusiasm grew and he supported the restoration until he died in 1960.

The restored town is 301 acres of historic area, containing 88 original buildings and hundreds of homes, shops, public buildings and other buildings that have been reconstructed , most of them from their original foundations. The reconstruction of Raleigh Tavern was opened to the public September 1932. Today you can enjoy a casual lunch or dinner dining at the tavern.

Today the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a private, not for the public, educational foundation that receives no funding, state or federal. The Foundation preserves and interprets the historic area. Tourist can visit the colonial town, it is a public place so you are free to wander the streets and enter any of the shops or restaurants. Admission is required for the “private” buildings. In these buildings you will get a guided tour and a docent will answer any questions you may have about the building. In the courthouse you can witness a trial that would have occurred in colonial times, this is quite interesting and fun. Colonial Williamsburg also hosts special events that you will need additional tickets for. All the information you need can be found at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center along with a gift shop, an introductory movie, maps, and a bus to take you into Colonial Williamsburg.

The buildings have been restored beautifully, many of the homes in Colonial Williamsburg have fragrant flowers and vegetable gardens. Take your time and enjoy the beauty, take in the atmosphere, slow down and just let your mind go back to the birth of a nation.

There are plenty of things for children here as well, check the Visitor Center for a daily schedule for each day’s events. They can join an archeological dig at the Ravenscroft site or create patriotic souvenirs at DeWitt Wallace Museum. These activities are for toddlers and pre-K, for the school age children you can rent a costume, buy a hat and become part of history with a stop at the Market Stalls before exploring.

Colonial Williamsburg is open everyday from 9 to 5 with Taverns open for dinner, hours vary by season. Tickets are available online, or at the Visitor Center, they offer different types of tickets with various prices.

This area of Virginia is called the historic triangle, it not only includes Williamsburg but Jamestown and Yorktown. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement, this is where the colonists became friendly with the Powhatan Indians. In Jamestown you will find an art gallery, an outdoor living history area and a replica of one of the three ships that came from England to Virginia in 1607. In the recreated Powhatan Indian village children will be able to participate in activities that Pocahontas would have helped with as a child such as grinding corn or making cordage. A costumed guide interprets the past for you, and will answer any questions you may have regaurding Jamestown Settlement. You will find a gift shop and restaurant on site.

Yorktown is the place where the final major battle of the American Revolution was fought in 1781. This is the very place that George Washington, with the help of the French beat the British, thus ending the war. Here you will find a museum covering the revolution, an indoor exhibit, art gallery, a Continental Army encampment and a farm recreated from the 1780’s. If you wish to visit both Jamestown and Yorktown combination tickets are available for a discounted price.

If you love to visit old homes filled with history the James River Plantations are a must. They are located on Route 5 between Richmond and Williamsburg in Charles City County. These beautiful plantations have survived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the War Between the States. All of them are privately owned and preserved, they are open to the public for visitors to experience and enjoy.

If it is fast paced excitement that you want Busch Gardens is nearby. This beautiful park has five exciting world class roller coasters that will thrill you. The park is filled with atmosphere, it contains several different sections, each one represented by a county. You will find cuisine from each country, the dining is delicious. Animal lover? This park contains several animal exhibits, Eagle Ridge contains majestic eagles that are there for their safety. These birds have been injured somehow and are not able to be released back into the wild. Highland Stables, here you will find the famous Clydesdales. Jack Hanna’s Wildlife Reserve here you will observe wolves up close and personal as a trainer talks to you about them. Busch Gardens also has several other animal exhibits all of which are a need to see. Check the website provided below for hours, dates and ticket prices.

Not far away you can experience Water Country USA. Here you will find Hubba Hubba Highway it looks like a lazy river but looks can be deceiving! This is a fast paced “lazy river” lots of fun and gets you out of Virginia’s hot summer weather! Water Country has a gift shop, restaurant, and swimming lessons. Rest by the wave pool or set your hair on fire on one of the water slides it is up to you! Check website provided below for hours, dates and ticket prices.

Is it shopping you are looking for? Williamsburg has it, from outlets, quaint shops and the famous Williamsburg Pottery you can find it all.

If you want to visit the ocean, it is nearby, less than a 90 minute drive and you can be in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Virginia Beach is a spectacular family beach destination, look for dolphins, rent a bike/surrey, mini golf, boogie board, play, shop or walk on the beach! Visit the Virginia Aquarium and Science Center, fish or parasail, you can find all of that a more in Virginia Beach.

Here I will provide you with a short list of places to stay, hotels, motels, Bed and Breakfast and a campground.

*Holiday Inn Express

*Rodeway Inn and Suites

*Hampton Inn

*Embassy Suites Williamsburg


*Colonial Govenors Inn

*Legacy of Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast

*Cedars of Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast

*Comfort Inn Historic Area

*Anvil Campground (family run, small but clean and friendly)

This is certainly not a complete list but it is something to get you started, I will provide websited below for you to check it out yourself.

Here are some of the places that Williamsburg has for dining:






*Golden Corral

*Cracker Barrel


*Pizza Hut

*Ruby Tuesday

*Olive Garden

*Red Lobster

*Outback Steakhouse

*Panera Bread

*Carraba’s Italian Grill

*Fat Canary

And my favorite two:

*Captain George’s Seafood Buffet

*Whaling Company

Both of which serve seafood.

Historic Williamsburg is worth the trip, I live in Maryland, it takes me about five hours to drive it and I feel like I am so far removed from home. From the mid atlantic region it is an easy trip.

Travel On!

Velzipmur aka Shelly Wyatt

Visit Williamsburg, Virginia

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fun in Colonial WilliamsburgWalking around Colonial Williamsburga new hat!Nice!resting at Busch GardensJack Hann's wolves at Busch Gardens
fun in Colonial Williamsburg
fun in Colonial Williamsburg | Source
Walking around Colonial Williamsburg
Walking around Colonial Williamsburg
a new hat!
a new hat!
resting at Busch Gardens
resting at Busch Gardens
Jack Hann's wolves at Busch Gardens
Jack Hann's wolves at Busch Gardens

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