As road trips continue to gain popularity, Williamsburg, VA is a perfect mid-Atlantic summer getaway, especially with plenty of outdoor attractions. Historic Jamestown and Yorktown are also a short drive away, giving you easy access to many activities in what is known as the “Historic Triangle”. In fact, the region is home to three national parks, all located within half an hour of each other. Not to mention Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a theme park with plenty of attractions for the whole family, including adrenaline rides, shows, animal encounters and more.
1 Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the main attraction for visitors. It consists of Old World streets that wind around historic buildings and well-kept gardens. Step back in time and watch the costumed staff act like centuries ago. Horse-drawn carriage rides pass through the streets and there are fascinating tours of the world’s largest living history museum. colonialwilliamsburg.org
2 Guillaume and Marie
Not far away is the campus of the College of William and Mary (three former US presidents studied there), which helps fuel activity in nearby Merchant’s Square, full of shops, restaurants and cafes. Check out the Blue Talon Bistro, famous for its French cafÃ©-style menu with indoor and outdoor seating. The French onion soup alone is worth a visit. bluetalonbistro.com
3 historic Jamestowne
Not far from Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne is the historic (and living archaeological) site that dates back to 1607 as the first permanent English settlement. It’s a fascinating place to visit, but not to be confused with Jamestown Settlement, a recreation of what the settlement was centuries ago. There is also a Powhatan Indian village which recreates the life of the area’s first settlers. historyjamestowne.org
As part of the Colonial National Historical Park, a visit to the Yorktown Battlefield Museum (the site where the British surrendered to American troops) or the American Revolution Museum are top attractions for history buffs. There’s also the Watermen’s Museum, which is a great place to learn about the early settlers of Chesapeake Bay. watermens.org
5 Williamsburg Tasting Trail
Williamsburg is home to America’s first commercial brewery, located in Jamestown and dating back to 1619. The Williamsburg Tasting Trail covers craft beer, tasty Virginia wines and several spirits like the world’s only bourbon made from Indian corn. Popular breweries to visit include The Virginia Beer Company and Alewerks Brewing Company with 16 beers on tap. Williamsburg Winery is the state’s largest winery and produces some pretty flavorful vintages, and the cocktail scene includes everything from whiskey and gin to old-fashioned mead. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the fermentable sugar in the drink is derived from honey. There is a lot to see and explore around Williamsburg, and it’s worth raising your glass after a day well spent.