If you’ve never thought of Williamsburg, VA as the perfect spot for your next family vacation, you’re not alone. This town of 14,000, lying halfway between York River and James River, is home to a surprisingly wide array of landmarks that’ll delight every personality in your family. Whether you’re trying to educate the scholar in your clan about history or simply go along for a wild ride at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg really does have something for everyone.
Historic Williamsburg: College Buildings, Museums, and Politics
No matter how long you’re visiting Williamsburg for, a stop in Colonial Williamsburg is a must. Drop in on the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, and explore how these two sites contributed to our country’s formation. No cars are allowed, so plan ahead with good shoes and plenty of water.
You’ve no doubt heard of the College of William and Mary, but did you know it’s the second-oldest academic institution in the country? Three of our first 10 presidents (Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler) were educated there, a record beat only by Harvard’s five. As you take your family around the perfectly preserved ivied walls and beautifully manicured lawns, make sure to stop into the Wren Building, which is the oldest college building in this nation and dates back to 1700.
After you’ve enjoyed a good night’s sleep at one of the historic hotels in Colonial Williamsburg, pack up the family and cross paths with one of the city’s many historical reenactors, who are dressed up in colonial garb and will explain to you what life was like hundreds of years ago. It’s a living history museum experience you’re hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and is a fantastic way to keep the little ones engaged.
Way back in 1699, Williamsburg was the capital of the Colony of Virginia for 81 years, and acted as a political hotbed for political events. And when the American Revolution dramatically changed the landscape of this country, Williamsburg was one of the key players. Having educated three of the first 10 presidents and countless other political figures, there are monuments and nods to these figures situated everywhere. It’s not often you can find so much of our country’s history centered in one, walkable location, but Williamsburg is it.
There’s no thrill quite like that an amusement park, and Busch Gardens is the perfect one to deliver the memories of a lifetime. Located just off the Pocahontas Trail (Route 60), Busch Gardens Williamsburg is chock full of all the family favorites you’ve come to know and love: plenty of performances, rides that’ll thrill you and soak you, and KIDsiderate attractions to make sure the wee ones still get their time to play.
Wet and Wild
If your favorite part about Busch Gardens is splashing around, then why deal with the crowds eager to get on rollercoasters and in line for shows? Instead, take the Marquis Parkway down to Water Country USA and get ready to cool down in Virginia’s largest water park.
As you say goodbye to Williamsburg, cap off your trip in a peaceful way by visiting any one of the 100 gardens that cover 90 acres of land. It’s the perfect representation of just what this land is all about: gorgeous scenery that’s been preserved for centuries, and a physical testament to our ability to maintain beauty in the face of change and hardship.