It’s like an amusement park for history buffs.
One of America’s oldest and most significant Revolutionary War era towns brought back to its former glory for the enjoyment of modern patriots and lovers of the American saga.
It’s truly a one of a kind experience that takes you back in time to the founding of a great nation.
The Revolutionary City
Colonial Williamsburg is a district within the city of Williamsburg, one of the oldest in America. Founded in 1632, it was the capital of Virginia and the seat of English power leading up to the Revolutionary War. It was the richest and one of the most important cities in America, as well as home to the country’s greatest Revolutionary hero’s.
Credit: Serge Melki
Take it Back to the Heyday
Colonial Williamsburg was the early 19th century brainchild of John D Rockefeller Jr. who initiated a plan to re-create the city’s architectural legacy. He demolished many modern buildings, revitalized those in disrepair and resurrected hundreds of historical buildings to their original plot.
Today, Colonial Williamsburg is a 301 acre (122 ha) living history museum, brought back to the essence of 18th century America. It’s also Virginia’s biggest tourist attraction with more than a million visitors each year.
The Visitor Center
It’s best to go to the Visitor Center where helpful staff will introduce you to the countless programs, events, re-enactments, tours and points of interest. Go on the 30 minute orientation walk and take advantage of the free shuttle service as well.
Take a Tour
There are seven guided and eight self guided tours, including a behind the scenes, museums, historic buildings and exhibition tours led by actors who have achieved their own perfection in Colonial mimicry. Spend some time doing your own discovery, but make sure to take at least one of those interesting tours.
The Historic Trade Shops
Check out the workshops where more than 20 different tradesmen, including shoemakers, saddlers, printers, gunsmiths, blacksmiths and more hammer out their crafts using the traditional tools of old. The artisans are also costumed and speak in the old manner, and of course, much of it is for sale.
Don’t Miss These Sites
The Capital Building, Governors Palace, Fifes and Drums, Basset Hall and the DeWitt Museum are must sees. Spend some time in the pleasant parks and gardens, have a tinker of ale in the old tavern and browse around Market Square.
Credit: Serge Melki
Before you leave the city, visit Presidents Park and the James River Plantation. Busch Gardens and Water Country USA provide roller coasters, water slides and adrenaline for the kids.
Before you leave the region, take a drive on The Colonial Parkway, which connects America’s Historic Triangle. Williamsburg is the apex while Jamestown, America’s first settlement and Yorktown, where the Revolutionary War’s last battle took place, make up the other two historic powerhouses.
Don’t miss a chance to visit Colonial Williamsburg, the only place in America where you can take a journey back to the most significant time and place in American history.
When To Go
Williamsburg can be visited year round but winters are cold and summers are hot and humid. The best time to visit Williamsburg is in April to May and September to October.
From April to May and September to October, the average high temperatures range from 68 to 79°F (20 to 26°C), low temperatures range from 50 to 67°F (10 to 19°C), and precipitation ranges from 3.5 to 4.2 inches (89 to 105mm) each month.
Getting There & Around
Williamsburg is located in eastern Virginia near the Atlantic Ocean.
The best way to get to Williamsburg is fly into
- Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport – 20 miles (32km) away,
- Richmond International Airport – 45 miles (73km) away, or
- Norfolk International Airport - 45 miles (73km) away.
Car rentals are available from these airports. Williamsburg can be reached from Interstate 64, U.S. Route 60, and State Route 143.
The best way to get around Williamsburg is to drive or take the free public transportation.
- Mid-range accommodations: $50-100
- Meals: $15-25
- Bottle of beer: $3
- Pick up a copy of The Virginia
- Gazette, a bi-weekly local newspaper.
- Take a nighttime Haunted Tour of Williamsburg by candlelight.
- Take a stroll through the College of William & Mary.
- Miss a day at Busch Gardens, a European themed amusement with roller coasters to get your heart pumping.
- Just buy souvenirs, create your own. Paint on Pottery Too is a ceramic studio where you paint your own pottery.
- Forget to have pancakes and maple syrup at one of the many breakfast joints in the area.
- Williamsburg was the headquarters for political events leading to the American Revolution.
- In 1693 the College of William & Mary was established making it the second-oldest university in the U.S.
- The largest living history museum is Colonial Williamsburg.
Feature Image Credit: Tobyotter