Family Fun! 12 Great Things to Do

From amusement parks to outdoor adventures to historic landmarks, Greater Williamsburg boasts enough activities to entertain your family for days on end.

Busch Gardens Escape from Pompeii
Go Karts Plus
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Set Sail for a Pirate Adventure
Trying on Armor at Jamestown Settlement
Yorktown Battlefield

Name a destination where your family can thrill to the rides of a premier amusement park, find both solitude and adventure in the great outdoors, and explore the beginnings of these great United States. 

It's Greater Williamsburg, of course, the rare destination that has something for every member of your family.      

Here are 12 options for a multi-day stay that’s sure to please even the pickiest person in your group.

 

The Freedom to Soar and Pedal and Trek

Freedom, indeed. Freedom Park is a place with so many choices. Ride 20 miles of mountain bike trails through historical sites and forests, hike along a paved path, smell the wildflowers and amaze your kids in the butterfly haven of the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. There's more. Indulge your inner Tarzan or Jane at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure course by racing down zip lines and letting loose with that jungle call on the rope swings. 

 

The American Revolution Museum: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times   

At the new $50 million American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, you'll hear, see and even feel the stories of ordinary people in an extraordinary time, when subjects of a king become citizens of a nation. No less than six interactive experiences are sprinkled throughout the 22,000 square feet of galleries. Be sure to check out Battle Game, an interactive exhibit pitting visitors against each other in various battles of the Revolution. Don’t leave without living the “The Siege of Yorktown,” 4-D immersive theater experience on a 180-degree screen 71 feet wide where you feel the rumble of the cannonballs, smell the gunpowder and watch the fog of war cloud your vision.

 

Tour Busch Gardens, the World in a Day

Sprawling across 383 acres, Busch Gardens offers the range of experiences you'll find at few other parks. It’s home to European-themed hamlets, an ever-changing list of shows and, of course roller coasters, lots of them. The new addition is The InvadR, the park's first wooden coaster that features a 74-foot plunge and speeds up to 50 mph. There's plenty for the animal lovers in your family at Highland Stables, Eagle Ridge, and Wolf Haven where they will find everything from arctic wolves to the red foxes and border collies herding blackface sheep.

 

Chill or Thrill at Water Country  

Chill or thrill? You have your choice at Water Country USA, Virginia’s largest water park. With names like Jet Scream, Big Daddy Falls, and the newest, Colossal Curl, Water Country will send you screaming over the edge. But the 43-acre park isn't just about the water coaster rides; there are chances to chill in the Surfer's Bay wave pool and the Kritter Korral, which features fountains and splash pools for the little ones.

 

Make Mayhem on the Not-So-High Seas

Sail away for a couple of hours on the historic waters of the York River off Yorktown with the schooner Alliance, a 105-foot-long sailboat. Get a feeling for what Capt. John Smith experienced four centuries ago aboard a small vessel. If you're traveling with a band of ragamuffin junior mateys, check out Captain Mayhem’s School of Piracy aboard the Alliance or its sister schooner Serenity (don't let the name fool you). On these cruises, the kids will set the sails, steer the ship, and even get tattooed — temporarily, of course.  

 

Live the Battle of Yorktown

Take a tour of the Yorktown Battlefield with a ranger and you will hear dramatic details about the last great battle of the revolution come alive. This is where the tide turned for good. The combined American and French armies led by Gen. George Washington defeated British forces under Lord Charles Cornwallis, who surrendered on Oct. 19, 1781. Be sure to ask about the part Alexander Hamilton played in the victory for the Hamilton fans in your family. 

  

Slip, Glidin' Away on a Segway  

Hop on a Segway with Patriot Tours and glide along for a one- or two-hour adventure covering the waterfront and historic Main Street in Yorktown with stories of the city's Revolutionary and Civil War battles. If you're staying at the AAA Four-Diamond Kingsmill Resort, enjoy the stunning scenery during a 90-minute Segway tour. 

 

Live like a Colonist

Get deep into history at Jamestown Settlement by getting your hands dirty, grinding corn, digging out a canoe or trying on armor. You’ll find a recreation of 17th-century life from the Powhatan Indian village to the James Fort to the ships that transported colonists to Virginia in 1607. Clamber up the gangway to the Susan Constant, where you can steer with the tiller, tie sailors’ knots and climb into a sailor’s bunk.

 

Put Pedal to the Metal

Just try keeping your kids away from the tracks at Go-Karts-Plus, where they can race in Super Stockarts that resemble the real thing at NASCAR. After they’ve zoomed around the four tracks of the eight-acre park, they can play miniature golf, try bumper cars or blaster boats, ride a coaster and other rides, take aim in the shooting gallery, and even pan for gemstones and fossils.

 

Amble through America’s Largest Living History Museum  

Colonial Williamsburg is the first grand American theme park and the largest outdoor living history museum in the land. Walk down Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, which resembles the giant lot of a movie set 250 years ago. Then go one step deeper and live that life. Explore the food, crafts — tinker, tailor, solider, wig maker — and stories of a revolutionary time with the characters who lived then. Take the time to make memories your family will relive over and over.  

 

Experience the Weird and Wacky

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! has been a Williamsburg treat since 1918. Check out the Odditorium, the only place around where you'll find a spinning vortex tunnel, an authentic vampire killing kit, a one-of-a-kind robot sculpture and more than 350 other artifacts. Make time to experience the 4D movies, the Impossible LaseRace maze and the Catfish Cove mini-golf while navigating waterfalls and ponds.

 

An Emporium for Everyone  

It’s Christmas every day of the year at Yankee Candle Village, where the Holiday Park boasts more than 40,000 ornaments, daily “snow,” and an appearance by Santa year-round. With more than 45,000 square feet of unique, interactive shopping and fun entertainment Yankee Candle Village has something for every family member. Shop at one of the world's largest candle stores with 250,000 candles and more than 200 different scents. Or make your own at Wax Works. Indulge your sweet tooth with handmade fudge and your snack cravings with gourmet popcorn. You won’t leave empty-handed.

 

 

Need more choices? Explore all the free options in the area. Check out the unexpected pleasures including the private and behind the scenes tours around Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. And be sure to trace Alexander Hamilton’s stops in Greater Williamsburg.