28 Coolest Things To Do This Summer in Williamsburg

Concerts, festivals, canoe trips, tastings, exhibits, bike tours, fireworks, guided hikes and so much more. The fun is non-stop all summer long in Greater Williamsburg.

Summer in the Greater Williamsburg area is for getting out and about, exploring and discovering — and having fun. Here are 28 great things to do.  

 

So start planning now. There's no reason for the summertime blues.

Starting May 10 and running every two weeks, go behind the scenes at Historic Jamestowne with a tour of the spectacular artifact collection of James Fort from Jamestown Rediscovery’s curator of collections. Learn how artifacts are cataloged, analyzed, researched, and stored.  This is a rare chance to dig into the details of history. 

Splish-splash your way through summer at Water Country USA, Virginia’s largest water park, which opens for the season May 20. The whole family will enjoy the state-of-the-art water rides, such as the Colossal Curl, a high-adrenaline water slide; the Hubba Hubba Highway, a free-floating river ride; the Surfer’s Bay wave pool; and so much more.
 

“Dabble in Discovery” at York River State Park every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Learn which came first, the gray fox or the red fox. Find out whether a crab keeps its shell forever or box turtles can swim. The program runs from May 21 through Aug. 27, except June 18.  

Grab a paddle and enjoy the sun's last rays reflecting off the water with a guided sunset kayak trip at York River State Park starting at 4:30 on Sundays from May 21 through Aug. 27, except June 18. Or get away from the bright lights, big city and canoe with the stars (sorry, no Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep) beginning at 10:30 p.m. on May 26, June 23, July 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 22.  Reservations are required.
 

Food fest! Every Friday through Sunday from May 26 through July 2 is the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival featuring authentic tastes from around the world not normally served at the park. New this year will be cuisines from India. Best of all, the foodie fun is included with the price of admission. 
 

Story tellers come together at the Yorktown Story Slam every fourth Monday of the month to share their true personal tales at 7 p.m. at the Watermen's Museum in Yorktown. Come and just listen or, if you prefer, share your own story.
 

Meet your need for mead at the Silver Hand Meadery in Williamsburg for tastings of all six flavors of the ancient drink made from honey. The sipping starts each Sunday at 1 p.m. and continues until 5.

 

Every Saturday from June 3 through June 24 and July 15 through Aug. 26, gather 'round the campfire overlooking Gordon Creek at Chickahmoniny Riverfront Park sharing s'mores, stories and other activities. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m.

Listen to music and so much more at Williamsburg's Second Sundays in the City of Williamsburg from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., all summer long. Stroll the living movie set that is the historic district and enjoy the arts, handcrafts and live music.
 

Yorktown Sounds of Summer Concerts features beach music on the water at Riverwalk Landing beginning at 7 p.m. on June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 13, July 20 and July 27. Bring your dancing shoes and lawn chairs or blankets when you need a break. 
 

Explore quilts from the last three centuries and learn about the lives of the women who made them, on Mondays through June 12 and Fridays, June 23- Aug. 4, in the Hennage Auditorium of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
 

Starting June 10, you can hear how the victory at Yorktown in 1781 was just the beginning for the soldiers who fought for independence in a new exhibit, “AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America” at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The special exhibition, running through Nov. 27, chronicles the post-war lives of veterans of the Siege of Yorktown, including Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton, James Lafayette, the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington and Charles Cornwallis, as well as lesser-known veterans.
 

No day for a child is complete without story time. At Great Wolf Lodge, that happens every night with the Great Clock Tower show followed by bedtime stories and, of course, a meeting with Wiley, Violet or one of the other Great Wolf characters. The Tower Show starts at 8 p.m. followed by story time.
 

What's better than an old-fashioned funhouse? This year’s Funhouse Fest, a music extravaganza on the lawn at the Art Museums of Williamsburg, June 23-25, features Sheryl Crow, Lake Street Dive, hometown hero Bruce Hornsby and others.
 

For more music, check out the Grace Church Summer Concert Series on Sundays starting at 5 p.m. in Yorktown from July 2 through July 30. The series features country, bluegrass, classic rock, jazz and even Celtic music. 
 

What's a summer without fireworks? Expect the usual spectacular show at Busch Gardens on July 3 and 4.
 

Of course, Colonial Williamsburg knows how to celebrate the birth of a nation. The festivities begin at 9 a.m. on July 4. There is a special militia muster, a salute to the 13 original states, featuring music performed by the Fifes and Drums and the firing of muskets and cannon. Once the sun goes down, there will be fireworks visible from both Market Square and Palace Green.
 

We know her as Pocahontas, but there is so much more behind that name. To start, it actually was a nickname. Explore the life and the legend and her enduring legacy in an exhibit opening July 15 at Jamestown Settlement titled "Pocahontas Imagined" as well as an ongoing exhibit, "The World of Pocahontas Unearthed" at Historic Jamestowne. 

On July 15, go on the annual Park to Park Bicycle Tour, which attracts both families out for a leisurely 15 miles and enthusiasts willing to go the full 50 miles. The rides, depending on distance, go through Veterans Park, Powhatan Creek Trail, Freedom Park, Little Reservoir Park and Upper County Park. Cool off in the Chickahominy Riverfront Park pool after your ride. The registration fee includes lunch, refreshments, pool admittance and maps.
 

Enjoy cooler evenings at Busch Gardens during July and August with the Summer Nights Concert Series featuring rock, pop, country and contemporary Christian performers under the stars at the Royal Palace Theatre. About a dozen artists are scheduled to perform with country mega-star Josh Turner headlining on July 15.
 

Float with the butterflies on Aug. 5 and 6 at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden for the Butterfly Festival featuring more than 200 butterflies in a tent as well as fun educational programs. 

On Tuesdays during August stand a little taller as you listen to the military bands performing at Yorktown's Riverwalk Landing starting at 6:30 p.m. You'll hear musicians from the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Langley Air Force Base and Ft. Eustis, Va. Bring your lawn chair or a blanket.

Here's a different kind of brunch: Every Sunday through Nov. 19, join other cyclists at 8:30 a.m. at The Williamsburg Winery for a group ride through the Greater Williamsburg area and a return for brunch specials at the Gabriel Archer Tavern. Participants earn a 15 percent discount for eats following the ride.
 

Take advantage of free admission to all national parks, including the Yorktown Battlefield, on Aug. 25. Experience where American independence was won. Here on Oct. 19, 1781, British forces under Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the combined American and French armies led by General George Washington, concluding the battle that signaled the beginning of the end of the fight for American independence.
 

Two centuries of Oktoberfest traditions come to life with Bier Fest at Busch Gardens and the good news is it happens in September. On Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 1 to 17, enjoy craft beers from around the world, sample traditional German food and listen to live music.
 

Get classy on Sept. 2 with the Virginia Symphony concert on Yorktown's Riverwalk Landing. The tunes start at 6 p.m. and extend through the sunset. Pack a picnic and bring a blanket.
 

Osprey is one of the seasonal birds of prey in the Chesapeake Bay. Enjoy a hike guided by a ranger and the chance to see these majestic bids soaring and nesting along Taskinas Creek and York River at York River State Park beginning at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2.

 

Head to Freedom Park on Sept. 9 for a 3 p.m. talk by Col. Lafayette Jones Jr., a descendant of those who lived in the free black settlement at the park. You will learn about 18th-century life before the Emancipation Proclamation and have a chance for Jones to sign his book.

For year-round fun, see all the great things to do, check out special events and plan your visit today.