Want a getaway the whole family can enjoy? Look no further than Williamsburg, Virginia. After spending a weekend here with a gal pal back in 2018, I already knew this charming town was an excellent option for a girls’ getaway. However, after a recent visit with my husband and 18-month-old daughter in tow, I can safely say that Williamsburg is great for families, too!
Here are seven reasons why families with kids should add a vacation in Williamsburg to their travel wish list.
1. There are endless trails to hike and bike
Whether you’re interested in flora and fauna, looking to burn off some restless energy, or simply craving some quiet time in the woods, Williamsburg has many scenic trails to explore. As parents of a very active toddler who enjoys the outdoors, we jumped at the opportunity to blow off some steam in nature. After grabbing two bikes from Spoke + Art Provisions Co., we hit the Greensprings Interpretive Trail, a 3.5-mile loop that gifted us with expansive views of ponds, wetlands, and forests. This was such a wonderful way to discover the area. My daughter Kira was super comfortable in the toddler wagon that was attached to my husband’s bike. Also, since she wasn’t walking, we were able to do the full loop without worrying that her little legs would get tired. A great time was had by all-- in fact, exploring the trails by bike was my husband’s favorite part of the trip!
Pro tip: Go biking in the late afternoon if you can. It’s the best light for pictures and your little one can enjoy an afternoon nap while he or she rides.
2. You can collect sweet scents at Sweethaven Lavender Farm
Sweet dreams are made of this lavender farm! Tranquil, fragrant, and oh-so-picturesque, Sweethaven Lavender was the perfect stop for our little family. Kids and adults alike will love picking their own bouquet. Once you’ve had your fill of the fields, the farm has picnic lunches for sale, as well as treats like lavender-baked goods, lavender lemonade, and lavender ice cream. Make sure to visit the stables before you head out; the farm has chickens, geese, and sheep (the latter were a huge hit with Kira).
Pro tip: Get a basket for the little ones so they can collect lavender as well. It’s so great to get them involved.
3. Williamsburg is home to the “World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park”
A massive international-themed amusement park … needless to say, my husband, daughter, and I were all in heaven during our visit to Busch Gardens. While adults and older children clearly have no shortage of rides and games to choose from, I was impressed with how many attractions there were for small children to enjoy. Kira had an absolute ball in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun; it was so cute seeing her squeal with glee as she ran from activity to activity. She even got to meet Elmo! I can’t wait to return when she’s a bit older so we can tackle a few of the park’s most popular coasters.
Pro tip: The summer days can get hot, so make sure to pack water, hats, and sunscreen for the whole family.
4. You can bask on the beach in Yorktown
While Yorktown may be best known for the historic battles fought there, its charming waterfront is yet another reason to visit. The two-acre beachfront stretching along Yorktown’s beach is one of the prettiest in the region. Great for strolling, sunbathing, or, in my child’s case, sandcastle-building, you could spend hours there. The surrounding area at Riverwalk Landing has a lot to see and do as well and is not to be missed. There’s excellent shopping and cute cafes, and history buffs will love the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Pro tip: Bring a blanket (as well as a pail and shovel) for the beach.
5. There are loads of dining options for even the pickiest (and restless) eaters
Traveling with kids often means having to accommodate their food preferences. Luckily, Williamsburg has a variety of restaurants and eateries catering to every age and stage. While you can’t go wrong picking a spot to eat, we loved Craft 31 for its extensive sandwich and burger options (the Baja fish sandwich was my favorite), as well as for how kid-friendly it was. Not only did they have a dedicated kid’s menu for Kira, but they also offered her crayons and a coloring book to keep her entertained! Another must-try is Berret’s Seafood Restaurant, where we went for lunch. As self-proclaimed seafood connoisseurs, my husband and I were duly impressed with the freshness, taste, and presentation of the dishes! We had the calamari and clam chowder to start and for our entrees had the seafood in parchment paper (which is a house specialty). I also enjoyed a salad topped with a very generous piece of grilled salmon. Everything was so delicious that we seriously considered returning for dinner!
Pro tip: You MUST make a stop at Carrot Tree Kitchens, if only for dessert. The carrot cake is the best in town.
6. You can learn about American history at Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown Settlement
Of course, a visit to the area isn’t complete without visiting all the historic sites it’s known for. Must-sees include the aforementioned American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Yorktown Battlefield (where the American Revolution was won), Jamestown Settlement (where America’s first permanent English colony comes to life), and Colonial Williamsburg (the world’s largest living history museum depicting life in the 18th century). What I like the most about all three of these attractions is how engaging they are; a great deal of the exhibitions and galleries are fully interactive. This allows smaller children to get immersed in the content even if they’re not able to read or fully understand the details. Kira had the best time watching the reenactments at Jamestown Settlement and was totally enamored by the ships!
Pro tip: Ask any of the lovely museum volunteers to take a family photo. There are loads of great photo opps throughout the museums and they know the best ones!
7. There’s something for everyone
Any parent knows that traveling with kids can be exhausting. So why not treat yourself to a bit of relaxation at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg? This full-service facility offers a variety of treatments and is a wonderful option for parents who need a break from their kids. I treated myself to a pedicure, and it was just the bit of pampering and calm I needed. Self-care is extremely important so I can be at my best for my child. I welcomed the opportunity to indulge in a treatment, and I encourage you to do the same!
Pro tip: If you’re staying at a Colonial Williamsburg lodging property, the rest of the family can have fun at the massive indoor and outdoor pools while you get your treatment. Alternatively, they can relax in the hotel like my husband and daughter did. We stayed at the Williamsburg Lodge, which was right nearby.
As I can personally attest, Williamsburg is an excellent destination for families. Historic, educational, adventurous, and relaxing, Williamsburg has more than enough attractions and experiences for adults and kids to enjoy. So many, in fact, that you’ll want to do it all! I’m already planning my next visit.