Three Perfect Days for Outdoor Lovers in Greater Williamsburg

Follow this three-day itinerary for adventure, fun and plenty of pulse-racing outside action.

Yorktown Beach
Riverwalk Restaurant in Yorktown
Freedom Park
Bay Country Kayaking
Fresh Ground Coffee at Aromas
Colossal Curl at Water Country USA
Waller Mill Park
Waypoint Seafood & Grill

No need to go west, young man. There's an abundance of open space and adventure in the Greater Williamsburg area. 

Feeling the need to spike your pulse? You'll find it here, whether it's on a bike or careering through the treetops. Looking for the healing quiet of nature? Take a hike, literally. There’s one just for you.

Here's a packed 3-day itinerary destined to keep you moving from morning to night. 

DAY 1

Breakfast

Kick-start your day at Aromas World, a coffee shop, bakehouse and cafe in downtown Williamsburg. It roasts coffee in house dailyand bakes a whopping list of breakfast treats including crumbly scones, sticky  buns, flaky croissants and monster muffins not to mention omelets and lick-your-lips French toast. Pull up a chair at a comfortable table inside or sit outside and watch people stroll by.  

Morning

Head to Waller Mill Park, a 2,705-acre site featuring a lake and wooded and asphalt hiking trails, for a warm up. The park is a sanctuary minutes from downtown. Rent a pedal boat, kayak, canoe or jon boat as the sun rises above the trees lining the 360-acre lake. When you've had your fill on the water, get in a game of disc golf for $2 plus a buck for the disc rental.  

Lunch

Stick with the outdoors theme and grab one of the famous sandwiches at The Cheese Shop in Merchants Square and then sit outside at the tables, enjoying the bites and the people watching. When you finish hike down Duke of Gloucester to the Capitol Building and stretch your legs.

Afternoon

Time to go to Freedom Park. Here, you'll have a more than a full afternoon. This is Adrenaline Central. Indulge your inner Tarzan or Jane at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure course racing down zip lines and rope swings.  Not done yet? Ok, ride 20 miles of mountain bike trails through historical sites and forests.

 

Dinner

A day of adventuresome outdoors fun earns you an evening of adventuresome food and drinks. The Hound's Tale is a new restaurant in Williamsburg making a splash by offering a cozy place to hang out, including outdoor seating and inventive drinks and bites. Try the fried Brussels sprouts with lemon aioli and the crab-stuffed tortellini. No surprise that the chef is a Culinary Institute of America graduate who trained in New York. Be sure to try one of their inventive cocktails like Nick's Brown Bowtie or Oregon Meets Virginia Trail featuring Virginia moonshine. That one sounds perfect for any adventurer, doesn't it?

DAY 2

Breakfast

Forget the Red Bull. Go with Food for Thought's Red Bison Power Start, a beet, carrot and apple combo loaded with vitamins, as your breakfast starter. Then move on to the crumpet benedicts (Ahnold would be pleased), the omelets and the crepes. The food is both solid and imaginative so it’s not surprising that this is one of the most popular spots in town. The portions are huge. You get a nice taste of the owner's philosophy, thanks to the wisdom on the walls from Einstein to Gandhi. Ponder their thoughts before you embark on Day Two.

Morning

Head over to Yorktown and hop on a Segway with Patriot Tours & Provisions. Enjoy a one- or two-hour tour covering the waterfront and historic Main Street with stories of the city's Revolutionary and Civil War battles. Yes, it's relaxing, but, don't worry, you have a big afternoon ahead. 

Lunch

While in Yorktown, enjoy lunch at the Yorktown Pub. Fuel up with mammoth sandwiches and build-your-own burgers. Better yet, go local with York River oysters, middleneck clams, or Cape May sea scallops. Then there are the rotating taps, local favorites, microbrews and the big boys like Guinness, Sam Adams or Yuengling.

Afternoon

It's time for a two-wheeled outing. Grab your bike and hit the Colonial Parkway. This two-lane road, river gravel set in concrete, transports you back to an earlier time connecting Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown over its 23 miles. Most of the ride is flat with multiple stopping points and vistas of water and woods, of marshes and herons. There are even small beaches along the way.     

Pack a snack and a blanket and chill on the beach for a while.

For an alternative, check out the Historic Jamestowne Bike Trail. Choose from a three-mile or five-mile loop on Island Drive that features 11 interpretive stops including a panoramic view of the James River, archaeological excavation sites, and the roosting nests of bald eagles. 

If you need to wash away the sweat, go swimming off  Yorktown Beach, a cozy two acres along the river with parking nearby. If the beach doesn't beckon, splish splash at Water Country USA, where you can choose the thrill rides like Big Daddy Falls and Colossal Curl or the chill of the Surfer's Bay Wave Pool.

Dinner

Stick with the Yorktown and outdoors theme. At Riverwalk Restaurant, enjoy dinner and spectacular views of the York River and bridge highlighted by a setting sun and long shadows. Feast on the bounties of the sea including char-grilled local oysters or peanut encrusted rockfish. Savor the pan-roasted duck breast or the grilled elk chops and pan-fried crabcake with a blueberry vanilla demi glaze. Relax. You've earned this. 

DAY 3

Breakfast

By now, you deserve a stack, a real stack, so visit Shorty's Diner in Williamsburg and step back in time for buttermilk pancakes as big as the dinner plate. Everything here is oversized, including The Hangover, eggs on a bed of corned beef hash, just right for the morning after a big ride. The portions are huge; the prices tiny.

Morning

Walk off that meal at the York River State Park, where more than 30 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails allow visitors to explore the marsh, river shoreline and forests of this sprawling park. Located on the York River, it is designated as a Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. You can also go boating and fishing on the coastal estuary where freshwater and saltwater meet to create a habitat rich in marine and plant life. Kayak and canoe rentals are available seasonally. A visitor center has displays on the history, use, wildlife and preservation of the York River and its delicate marshes.

Lunch

You've earned a treat. Step into the modern, bright and airy dining area of Waypoint Seafood & Grill, back in Williamsburg. Go healthy and have the grilled salmon salad. Or indulge in one of their specialties, the rockfish Reuben sandwich or hedge your bets with a half sandwich and soup.

Afternoon

Bay Country Kayaking offers a range of guided kayak eco tours including trips through College Creek, a serene, mostly freshwater paddle, and Queen’s Creek, a stunning tidal creek emptying into the York River, where you might see otter, muskrat, crabs, and deer. You’ll hear from your guide about its rich history in the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Tours last two to three hours and are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

After your water adventure, stop by the Virginia Beer Company for a cold one on their sprawling outdoor patio with a fire pit, tables to play their odd assortment of board games and, of course, cornhole. 

Dinner

The outdoor patio at Second Street, an American bistro, begs you to sit back, kick off your shoes under the table (shhh) and linger deep into the night. There's a fire pit, a koi pond and the soft sounds of water. The menu, from the signature onion rings to the grilled pizzas to the grilled bistro steak rubbed with herbs, offers everything you could want at day's end. It's a place where this outdoor adventure ends and the planning for another one in Greater Williamsburg begins. 

Looking for more to do? Explore all the free options in the area. Delve into Greater Williamsburg's secrets or explore family fun.  

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