The 7 Best Outdoor Williamsburg, Virginia Activities

With Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, and Yorktown Battlefield all making up the Historic Triangle in Virginia, there are plenty of ways to get your outdoor historical fix in Williamsburg. But how else can you entertain the kids while taking advantage of the (usually) agreeable Williamsburg weather?

You’ve come to the right spot to find out! Below are some of what we think to be the best outdoor Williamsburg, Virginia activities! Get ready to explore our very own backyard.

1. Swing Through the Trees with Go Ape

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If you’re looking to create your own exhilarating adventure, we recommend you zip on down to Go Ape! Just minutes from central Williamsburg, Go Ape is a self-guided zipline and high-ropes course that will allow your travel tribe to fly through the trees.

Kids ages 10 and up are welcome on the Treetop Adventure course, but our mini-mes had a blast on the Treetop Journey for all ages. The best part was that not only were we able to experience the course as a family and share in the challenges, but when we finished, we also had the beautiful surroundings of Freedom Park to explore.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an adventure junkie, Go Ape is a thrilling way to get outside in Williamsburg.

2. Bike or Hike the Capital Trail

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Up next on the list of best outdoor Williamsburg, Virginia activities? Take advantage of Williamsburg’s mild year-round climate and work up a sweat while traveling the Virginia Capital Trail. The fully paved trail runs alongside Scenic Route 5 corridor and connects Virginia’s colonial capital of Jamestown to the present day capital in Richmond.

The trail is designed for all ages and abilities and is appropriate for families; however, we recommend the Jamestown Settlement to Chickahominy Riverfront Park portion of the trail. The short length of this trip (13 miles round trip) coupled with the variety of Jamestown and riverfront attractions makes it perfect for all ages.

3. Get on the Water

Nestled between the James and York Rivers, Williamsburg obviously has plenty of opportunities to kayak, canoe, and paddleboard. Head on over to Chickahominy Riverfront Park with the kids for a day of kayaking or canoeing, or check out Waller Mill Park and York River State Park for family-friendly boat rentals on the reservoir.

We tried out a tandem kayak on Powhatan Creek, which our guide called “the divorce boat” because of the ample communication needed between the front paddler and the back steerer. Luckily, that wasn’t our fate!

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You can also choose to glide down the local waterways with Paddle On Williamsburg like the Tripbound staff did for an outing away from planning family vacations. Looking for a more relaxed ride? You can always grab a seat on a pontoon with Jamestown Discovery Boat Tours or spend a quiet afternoon with the family at Little Creek Reservoir Park.

No matter your water activity of choice, there’s somewhere to do it in Williamsburg.

4. Take the Ferry and Explore Surry County

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Cross the James River where John Smith explored 400 years ago, and take the 20-minute voyage on the automobile ferry that sails between Jamestown and Surry. The ferry runs around the clock daily and leaves on the hour in Surry and the half-hour in Jamestown. The best part? It’s free!

Once you step foot in Surry, stop by College Run Farms to pick your own seasonal fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, and pumpkins are available for you and your kids to pick during the spring and fall months, or get your history on and take a tour of Smith’s Fort Plantation, Chippokes Plantation, or Bacon’s Castle. Then, grab a late lunch at the Surry Seafood Company for a casual sitdown meal of surf and turf before taking the relaxing ride back to Williamsburg.

5. Dig for Fossils

If you’re looking for something unique to do, take the family out fossil hunting. The tidal plains of Virginia are a treasure trove of fossils just waiting to be discovered. In fact, Virginia was where the very first recorded fossil was found in all of North America!

Our two favorite hotspots for hunting fossils are Fossil Beach at York River State Park and right off the shore of the park at Chippokes Plantation State Park. Both of these locations offer guided fossil hikes throughout the year. But don’t let waiting for a scheduled hike stop you! Bring the whole family for a day of discovery and adventure as you uncover fossils of all species. Keep your eyes peeled for shark teeth – a great souvenir to take home from your day digging!

6. Catch a Movie Under the Stars

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If you’re looking for a laid-back outdoor experience, bring a lawn chair, blankets, and snack, and enjoy an evening under the stars with your family and friends!

There are two ways to savor an outdoor movie with the kids during the spring and summer months in Williamsburg. The first is with free movies on Prince George Street in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. The other is Movies Under the Stars at Chickahominy Riverfront Park. Both offer family-friendly flicks every weekend, weather permitting, that your entire crew can enjoy.

7. Grab a Pint at Billsburg Brewery

After enjoying all the best outdoor Williamsburg, Virginia activities, it’s about time you sit back and relax with some locally-brewed beer at Billsburg Brewery. Enjoy the stunning views of historic Powhatan Creek while you drink a cold one on the sprawling porch. They frequently update their rotating tap menu, and there’s always a local food truck parked out front so you can enjoy seafood, grilled cheese, or BBQ with your beer any day of the week.

Billsburg Brewery is a destination brewery located at the James City County Marina and is accessible by the Colonial Parkway, Capital Trail, as well as the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. So it’s the perfect way to wrap up your outdoor Williamsburg adventures!

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