Summer of Freedom: The Settle Family's Itinerary
If yours is the kind of family that likes to learn while you play, follow the Settles’ exploratory vacation through Greater Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.
Hometown: Cheverly, Maryland
Family Members: Steve (Dad), Khylah (Mom), Steve (13), Spencer (11), Sloane (9)
Vacation Style: Curious, organized, excited to learn something new
Fun Fact: Steve suggested that the kids bring a notebook on the trip to write down all the things they learned. We’ll give you one guess as to if the kids agreed.
Favorite Activities: Kayaking, Colonial Williamsburg Swordplay Show, firing the cannon at Yorktown Victory Center
MORNING: James City County Marina
2054 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Start your vacation off with a true family adventure! Plot a course and clear your mind with a relaxing kayak tour at James City County Marina. Depart from historic Jamestown – the first permanent English settlement in America – and paddle up Powhatan Creek for a taste of natural beauty and biodiversity. Imagine yourself as one of those first settlers, braving unknown waters as they arrived in the new land.
AFTERNOON: Jamestown Settlement
2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
This is where America’s legacy begins. Travel back in time through exciting film, exhibits and outdoor living-history experiences to discover how the English, Indian and African cultures merged in 17th-century Virginia. Climb aboard replicas of English ships, try on armor in the colonists’ fort, learn about growing food in the Powhatan Indian Village, and don’t forget to supplement your experience with museum guides for kids.
EVENING: Colonial Williamsburg Swordplay Show
101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Up for a night of historical entertainment? Forge your way to the Revolutionary City to watch Mr. Hallam’s Traveling Players display their incredible skills with 18th-century weapons.
MORNING: Farmers Market at Merchants Square
402 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, VA 23185
Join area residents at the Williamsburg Farmers Market for locally grown produce, plants and homemade products. The market is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, in Merchants Square, an 18th-century-style retail village adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area.
MIDMORNING: Colonial Williamsburg – The Revolutionary City
101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Immerse yourself in the daily life of 1775 Virginia as the American Revolution gets under way, and see firsthand the challenges of creating a new government against the backdrop of war.
- Get in on the action as the 18th-century Williamsburg citizens plan to storm the Governor’s Palace to demand the return of gunpowder removed by British soldiers.
- Celebrate the traditions of 18th-century military music and explore the important roles played by fifers and drummers.
- Experience the art of brickmaking in the brickyard. You may even be asked to help!
- Tour historic sites and trade shops, join the troops as they march to victory, and much more.
LUNCH: Chowning’s Tavern
109 E. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, VA 23185
For news and brews, step into this 18th-century alehouse and enjoy a menu of Colonial-inspired favorites and specialty beer. The tavern is located in the center of town, so you never know who will stop by to share the latest gossip.
AFTERNOON: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
1735 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
More than 350 exhibits and artifacts await you at Ripley’s, where you’ll see such oddities as shrunken heads, a 12-foot-tall Transformers sculpture made from car parts, and a real vampire killing kit.
MIDAFTERNOON: Mad About Chocolate
204 Armistead Ave., Williamsburg, VA 23185
Everything in this decadent chocolate shop, from gooey cookies to fudgy brownies, is made on-site using the freshest ingredients: Belgian chocolate, fresh cream, fresh eggs and real butter.
EVENING: Scooops Kids Spa at Great Wolf Lodge
549 E. Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23188
End the day at an ice cream-themed spa created just for kids. Sit atop a giant “banana split” for a pampering pedicure or enjoy a flavored manicure and sherbet scrub. The experience gets even sweeter with a bowl of ice cream from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats.
MORNING: Yankee Candle
2200 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Magic comes to life at the Williamsburg Yankee Candle Village with animated singing characters and the celebration of Christmas year-round. Have a little fun with Santa in the shop or sign up for hands-on, interactive candle-making.
LUNCH: Yorktown Sailing Charter
425 Water St., Yorktown, VA 23690
The Yorktown Pirate Boat Tour departs from Riverwalk Landing Pier in Historic Yorktown. Climb aboard a traditionally rigged sailing vessel, and Capt. Mayhem and his pirate crew will regale you with pirate lore. Kids may be asked to help set the sails, steer the ship or fire the cannon. They may even get tattooed!
AFTERNOON: Yorktown Victory Center
200 Water St., Yorktown, VA 23690
Yorktown Victory Center covers a lot of historical ground, from the Declaration of Independence and military victory to the Constitution, the final step in our country’s journey to nationhood. At the Continental Army Encampment, discover the life of Revolutionary War soldiers – military drills, musket and artillery firing, surgical and medical practices, and managing troop supplies. Take a turn in learning how to fire a cannon.
Then witness a typical rural lifestyle after independence was won at the 1780s Virginia Farm. This re-created site includes a dwelling, separate kitchen, tobacco barn, crop field and fenced garden. You may be asked to help weed or water the plants, comb cotton or assist in creating an 18th-century meal.
MORNING – CLOSE: Busch Gardens
1 Busch Gardens Blvd., Williamsburg, VA 23185
Fast-forward to enjoy some modern-day fun. From thrilling rides and roller coasters to interactive animal experiences, there’s something for everyone. You might try:
- Strolling through Lorikeet Glen, an aviary where brightly colored birds freely fly around you
- Discovering the secret lives of North America’s top predators
- Enjoying the Celtic tradition of storytelling and dance in Celtic Fyre
- Taking a relaxing cruise on the Rhine River
- Exploring “ancient” Roman ruins, erupting geysers and waterfalls in the exciting family water ride, the Roman Rapids®