If you’re interested in American history, few places offer as much as Williamsburg. From the Governor's Palace
to the second-oldest university in the USA, you aren’t going to run out of things to do.
Where to stay:
There are many fabulous accommodations in Williamsburg to choose from. For wallet-friendly lodging, check out the Best Western Historic Area Inn
or the Westgate Historic Williamsburg Resort
. Find even more options at AAA.com.
Where to eat:
Christiana Campbell's Tavern
was one of George Washington’s favorite haunts, and it hasn’t changed much since the 18th century. The food is fine, but a meal here is really more about the experience. Please note it’s only open from 5-7:45pm Tuesday-Saturday and reservations are required.
For something more modern, visit the Amber Ox Public House
. This place really doesn’t have anything to do with history, but if you want me to reframe the narrative, let’s say that if our founding fathers were alive today, this is where they’d hang out. Great food, delicious beer and the perfect place to solve all the world’s problems.
Where to shop:
When it comes to antiques, the East Coast can’t be beat. Williamsburg offers lots of cool vintage and antique shops—perfect for bringing home a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
What to do:
Looking to do a deep dive in Colonial Williamsburg history? Sign up for the behind-the-scenes tour. You’ll gain exclusive access to areas of Williamsburg typically not open to the public. This tour operates often, but not daily, so visit their calendar to time your trip accordingly.
This 301-acre interactive living-history museum is like a trip to the 18th century, where costumed interpreters—tradespeople, housewives, slaves, freemen, governmental officials and soldiers—go about their daily lives. Between the more than 70 carefully preserved buildings and the all the people in period clothing, Colonial Williamsburg will make you feel like a time traveler.
See the remnants of Colonial life in historic Jamestowne. Learn all about the area’s history, from prehistoric times to the present. Additionally, over 1,000 artifacts from Virginia Indian, European and African cultures are on display. If you’re interested in archeology, check out their calendar to find a talk that piques your interest (or possibly watch a dig in action!).
Learn all about the nation’s founding, spanning the twilight of the Colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Galleries include artifacts, interactive exhibits (you can help with chores on a Revolution-era farm), and you can partake in “The Siege of Yorktown,” a film screened in 180-degrees, complete with surround-sound musket fire and smoke machines.
As the second-oldest college in the States, William & Mary is full of interesting history. Explore the people, places and events of this campus through a self-guiding walking tour.