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A Local’s Perspective: Your Affordable Historical Travel Guide to Williamsburg, Virginia

Hello travel lovers! Today, I’m on the blog to bring you the affordable inside scoop on my hometown—historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Located in the heart of Virginia (in my opinion), this classic town has everything for your family to love, including historical sites, museums, hands-on educational experiences, and more.  

Growing up in this small town, you’d never think twice about seeing people dressed up in Colonial gear around town. Yes, this includes several occasions of pumping gas next to a gentleman dressed very similar to George Washington or John Smith.

This is just one of the many reasons why history comes alive everywhere in The ‘Burg! And I’m excited to share my favorite historical places you should visit while exploring this beautiful town.

1. Colonial Williamsburg

Recently named a top travel destination by The New York Times Magazine for the places to go in 2019, Colonial Williamsburg is a MUST-see for everyone in your travel party. Not just the history lovers.

Visitors like yourself can easily spend an entire day to an entire week exploring all Colonial Williamsburg has to offer. Walk through the halls of the Capitol where colonies discovered our country’s founding principles, government, and rights. Additionally, serve on a jury and bring justice to the innocent in the courthouse. You can even tour Governor’s Palace, and enjoy a picnic lunch on the green out front.

Not to mention, there are so many hands-on experiences and buildings to tour. You’ll probably run out of time before you run out of things to see. I’ve lived in the area for more than 30 years, and I still find new areas to explore every time I visit!

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is continually adding programs, experiences, and events to bring history to life for all their guests. Be sure to check out their website for new and recurring events throughout the year.

Frugal Travel Mama Tip: While an admission ticket is required to enter all historic buildings, an admission ticket is not necessary to walk the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg. It’s a best-kept secret of many locals who love to take a stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street. And be sure to say D.O.G. street if you want to sound like you know your stuff!

2. Jamestown Settlement

This is easily my favorite historical attractions in Williamsburg (and not just because I spent every summer as a teen volunteering here! Jamestown Settlement, which is an actual walk-through replica of America’s first English colony, brings history to life through museum exhibits, films, and outdoor living history. While the inside exhibits are perfect for the history lovers (i.e., my dad who loves to read anything and everything), the outside living history will be loved by all guests. My kids love to climb aboard the replicas of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery and see what life was like for settlers living aboard a ship for four and a half months.

historical travel guide to williamsburg virginia

A trip here is not complete, however, without trying on armor in the fort and chatting with the local blacksmith. You can even catch a demonstration of musket and cannon firings! Though, be sure to check out Jamestown’s website for upcoming events to get the most out of your ticket admission.

We love to visit during the “Military Through the Ages” event. Hundreds of re-enactors depicting armed forces from the fifth century B.C. to modern times come together for one weekend only! As you can imagine, it really brings military history to life.

Frugal Travel Mama Tip: Ticket prices vary based on dates and seasons. Kids ages 5 and under are free. And special events held at the settlement are included for no additional charge. Buy online ahead of time and save!

3. Historic Jamestowne

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Can you imagine exploring artifacts within America’s birthplace? Look no further than beautiful Historic Jamestowne where you can walk in the footsteps of John Smith and Pocahontas.

This historic treasure is the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. And it’s located just a few minutes from Jamestown Settlement on the beautiful James River. The entire family will enjoy rediscovering artifacts with onsite archaeologists as they execute the James Fort with visitors. It brings a whole new meaning to hands-on learning!

Frugal Travel Mama Tip: This historic attraction is well-priced at $20 for visitors ages 16+. It’s free for ages 15 & under. If you’re a National Parks Pass holder, you’re only charged $5 per person (up to 3 people) for the following passes: Senior Pass, Annual Pass, Every Kid in a Park Pass, Colonial National Historical Park Pass, and Golden Age Pass. Active Military Pass holders and Access Pass holders are free.

4. American Revolution Museum & Yorktown Battlefields

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This historical museum tells the story of the nation’s founding – from the very beginning of the colonial period to the start of the Constitution and beyond. Recently renovated, the indoor gallery features artifacts, interactive exhibits, and films – including the “The Siege of Yorktown” with a 180-degree surround screen and special effects. While outside the museum, you can find more living history, witness artillery demonstrations, and re-created encampments of Revolution-era farms and Continental Army encampment.

And similar to Jamestown, Yorktown offers several events throughout the year. The best way to take advantage of admission prices? So pair your visit during a special event. Lastly, visit its website for upcoming events!

Frugal Travel Mama Tip: Ticket prices vary based on dates and seasons. Kids ages 5 and under are free. Special events held at the settlement are included for no additional charge. Buy online ahead of time and save!

5. Colonial Parkway

The Colonial Parkway is a twenty-three-mile scenic roadway stretching from the James River at Jamestown to the York River at Yorktown. It’s the easiest and most scenic drive that connects Virginia’s historic triangle—Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Trust me – you won’t want to miss adding this drive to your itinerary because it’s FREE!

ULTIMATE Frugal Travel Mama Tip: If you’re really looking to save money, all of these fantastic must-see historic attractions in Williamsburg have teamed up for combination tickets (Historic Triangle Ticket), allowing you to enjoy all this town has to offer for one great rate. Explore current ticket package rates here before purchasing general admission tickets!

Where to Stay?

historical travel guide to williamsburg virginia

I’m sure you’re eager to discover the best place to lay your head at night, right? Well, here at Tripbound, we have plenty of sweet suite options to choose from! All of our Williamsburg resorts offer spacious, affordable accommodations and amenities to help make your stay a memorable one.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the inside historic scoop from a Williamsburg native! One of the many reasons why I love living and raising my family in Williamsburg is that we’re surrounded by history every day. Also, Williamsburg is located within a 2-hour drive of the beautiful Virginia mountains and only an hour from Virginia Beach! Not many small historic towns allow you the flexibility to drive to both the mountains and the beach—all within a day.

Oh, and how could I forget – located just two hours south of Washington D.C., you can easily take a historic journey to all of our nation’s historical sites in one vacation! Plus, with old-time attractions to keep you busy for days, Williamsburg is the perfect affordable vacation location the whole family will love – those young and old, history buff or not.

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