As a final getaway before the school bell rang, I took my kids to the Williamsburg, Virginia area for a couple of days of sightseeing around town and splashing it up at Kingsmill Resort. It’s been ages since I’d been to the area – known as America’s Historic Triangle, which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown – and I was excited by the number of things to do with kids in Williamsburg (and not everything is historic in nature). Take a look at 15 must do’s if you’re considering a trip to the Williamsburg area as a family.
Things to Do With Kids in Williamsburg
1. Dress Up in Period Costume. In Colonial Williamsburg, kids can rent costumes to get into the spirit of what it was like to live in the 18th century. Children will also receive a letter of introduction to city life and a list of activities to participate in around historic Williamsburg.
2. Hunt for Fossils. Enjoy a short hike to Fossil Beach at York River State Park to hunt for fossils that get washed onto shore. You should be able to spot quite a few shells and coral on the beach, too. However, in order to preserve the park, take only pictures, leave only footprints, as the saying goes.
3. Go on a Ghost Walk. Learn about ghosts that haunt historic taverns and buildings in Colonial Williamsburg. There are several ghost walks in-town. My parents recently took my older daughters (ages 9 & 11) on the one-hour Tavern Ghost Walk and found the walk to be both interesting and kid-friendly.
4. Walk in the Treetops. I took my 5 y.o. son, Paul, to Go Ape in Williamsburg to complete the Treetop Junior course. Once we got harnessed up, we walked along wooden boards and metal wires 20 feet above the ground before zipping back down to the ground. So. Much. Fun.
5. Enjoy a Guided Segway Tour. Meet up with Patriot Tours in Yorktown for a one- or two-hour historical Segway tour of Yorktown. The tour includes the waterfront area as well as the historic village along Main Street. Quick note that the minimum age to ride a Segway is 14.
6. Sit In on a Witch Trial. Become part of a jury, ask questions of witnesses and consider evidence as you determine the fate of a suspected witch in a mock witch trial. Cry Witch lasts one hour and takes place on Friday evenings in Colonial Williamsburg.
7. Explore Jamestown Settlement. Climb aboard replicas of three colonial ships at Jamestown Settlement, then pop in and out of shops and dwellings at the re-created James Fort and Powhatan Indian Village. Look for hands-on demonstrations, like artillery drills, that take place throughout the day.
8. Complete a RevQuest Mission. Break secret codes, hunt for clues and exchange secret messages as part of RevQuest, an interactive game to be played in Colonial Williamsburg. Kids meet characters along the way who aid their quest to declare independence from Great Britain. It’s a fun way to learn about revolutionary history.
9. Take a Guided Tour of Bassett Hall. Stop in the manor home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller. See how the Rockefellers lived at Bassett Hall and take a walk through the Colonial Revival gardens. Bassett Hall is open for guided tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
10. Play Mini Golf. Sometimes, you just need to take a break from historic and educational activities, so get in a round at one of several mini golf courses around town. My kids really enjoyed Pirate’s Cove, but you can also check out Gold Rush Mini Golf and Catfish Cove Mini Golf.
11. Take a Driving Tour Through Yorktown. It’s easy to explore the nearby Yorktown Battlefield by way of a self-guided driving tour. Simply pop in a CD that you can purchase at the Visitor Center into your CD player for an audio guide along the seven miles of the driving tour.
12. Eat at a Pancake House. Yes, eat at a pancake house. Truly, there must be more pancake houses in the Williamsburg area per capita than in any other area of the country. A few worth checking out include Astronomical Pancake House, Old Mill Pancakes and Capitol Pancake House.
13. Walk the William & Mary Campus. Just steps away from Colonial Williamsburg is the campus of William & Mary, the second oldest college in the country. Walk around the grounds and don’t forget to stop in the Campus Shop to pick up a t-shirt or coffee mug to mark your visit.
14. Enjoy a Pirate Boat Tour. Hop aboard a schooner for a 90-minute pirate cruise with Yorktown Sailing Charters. Kids will love interacting with a costumed crew as they learn to raise the sails and steer the boat. As a bonus, pirate-themed tattoos.
15. Discover Creatures Native to Virginia. Make the short drive to Newport News to pay a visit to the Virginia Living Museum. There, children can touch live horseshoe crabs, walk along the outdoor boardwalk trail and see otters and turtles being fed. It’s a great way to learn about Virginia wildlife.
A quick tip for those looking to save a few dollars on a visit to the Historic Triangle area, head to McDonald’s to pick up a visitor’s guide, which contains many money-saving coupons. I found three different guides, each with coupons, inside a McDonald’s near Kingsmill Resort.
What are some of your favorite things to do with kids in Williamsburg?