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6 Family-Friendly Things To Do Around Williamsburg, Virginia (That Aren't Colonial Williamsburg)

Plan your best Williamsburg vacation yet

The Vacationeer
River in Virginia at sunset

Williamsburg, Virginia — conveniently located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., and halfway between Richmond and Virginia Beach — is an ideal family vacation destination. 

Colonial Williamsburg 

The three points of Virginia's storied “Historic Triangle” are Jamestown, home of the first permanent English colony (1607); Yorktown, where the Americans defeated the British in the American Revolution's final battle (1781); and Williamsburg, the 18th-century capital of America's most populous colony. Three-hundred twenty-two years later, there are still plenty of things to see and do in and around Williamsburg.

Google "things to see in Williamsburg," and you'll undoubtedly come across Colonial Williamsburg, the heartbeat of the area.

As the largest living history museum in the world, Colonial Williamsburg offers the opportunity to stroll the same streets where our nation's builders lived hundreds of years ago, and it's worthy of a visit. 

But beyond the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages, there's so much more. Here are six fun things to do with kids in Williamsburg for your next great family vacation.  

1. Swim At Yorktown Beach   

Yorktown’s long, narrow beach on broad York River is always bustling but never packed. The water is calm and safe for small kids to wade in, and there are enticing rock structures to scale and explore.


It’s easy to make this activity into a day-long affair. Beach facilities include outdoor showers and changing rooms. There are also a handful of casual dining options nearby for sitting down to eat, or you can grab sandwiches, salads or baked goods at Carrot Tree Kitchens for a picnic on the sand.

2. Visit An Archeological Site

Historians and archeologists have learned more about the original Jamestown settlement in the last decade and a half than they’ve gleaned in the previous several hundred years.

The site of the original walled village is under ongoing excavation in partnership with the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia. It’s worth taking a tour — either from a park ranger or a Passionist Volunteer (PV) — who can explain the work happening, what they’ve found and recent revelations about early settlers. 

Historians got quite a bit wrong — so what you remember from elementary school may be outdated. The Junior Ranger program offers a special way for kids to experience this historical site.

The Ed Shed is another fun thing for the kids to explore. They can dig in and examine fossils, sort through debris to find remnants of Jamestown and make 3D-printed copies of artifacts found on-site.   

A basket of crabs 

3. Satisfy Your Appetite With Southern Cuisine And Seafood

There are plenty of incredible dining opportunities in and around historic Williamsburg. The Old Chickahominy House on Jamestown Road, for instance, is half-antique shop, half-restaurant.

It’s also the place to stop in for old-school Southern staples like Brunswick stew or chicken and dumplings. The establishment also offers a rotating roster of homemade pies — you’ll want to bring enough people along to order one of each flavor.

If your family is a fan of fresh, delectable seafood, reserve a table at Berret’s Seafood Restaurant. Consider ordering the she-crab soup — although pretty much everything on the menu receives rave reviews. For seafood-lovers visiting the area, Yorktown Pub may not look like much from the outside, but you can get a taste of the region through local seafood raw, steamed or fried at reasonable prices. 

For a fun weekend activity, bustling Merchants Square sits between Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary. On Saturday mornings, a farmers market features vendors selling local, seasonal produce, baked goods such as biscuits and pies, fresh coffee and specialties like boiled peanuts, making great souvenirs.

Colonial building in Virginia at night 

4. Go On A Ghost Tour

Given the city's rich history, Williamsburg offers a fair share of ghost tours that bring Williamsburg's old homes and taverns to life. In general, tours starting before 9:00 p.m. are suitable for families. Most tours include equal measures of hoke and history laced into the ghost stories, so expect a dose of educational material with your eerie excursion. 

It's safe to anticipate that tours beginning at 10:00 p.m. or later will cater to thrill-seeking older kids and adults. 

5. Visit Yorktown’s State-Of-The-Art Museum

Visit the America Revolution Museum at Yorktown for a modern take on some of history's most influential moments. Immerse yourself in the decisive Battle of Yorktown as you sit in a semi-circled movie theater. But beware — the experience is exciting and well-executed but might be too loud for kids ages five and younger. 

A host of traditional, digital and interactive exhibits walk you through the Revolutionary War, highlighting accounts from loyalists and patriots. Additionally, an outdoor living history exhibit explores a Colonial army camp and a traditional Virginia farm.

It might seem redundant to Colonial Williamsburg, but Yorktown’s interpretation of country life provides an interesting counterpoint to Colonial Williamsburg’s representation of town life. 

Kids playing at an outdoor water park 

6. Splash Around At A Water Park     

If you visit during summertime, plan to cool off at Water Country USA. The park offers waterslides and play areas for all ages and stages, from timid tots to unstoppable teens. There’s also a lazy river and a wave pool for those looking for a more relaxed adventure.   

Arrive early when the park opens to grab a locker in a prime location. Then, claim a few chairs by the wave pool, which is a perfect spot for meeting up, eating lunch and enjoying downtime during the day.

Stay: The Historic Powhatan, a Hilton Vacation Club offers a piece of colonial history to call your own for your Williamsburg vacation. Nestled among 256 acres of Virginia woodland and anchored by a fully restored 18th-century manor house, it's an ideal place to rest your head in between packed adventures.

Choose a spacious 1- to 4-Bedroom condo-like Suite, complete with a classic colonial-style design and a long list of resort-style amenities, including indoor and outdoor pools, on-site fishing, volleyball, tennis and mini-golf.

Read "4 Ideas For Creating Family Travel Traditions With Hilton Grand Vacations” to make the most of vacation with your loved ones.



The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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