Our family recently returned from our vacation in Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown—popularly known as the “historic triangle.” If you are up for an educational vacation, this is a historically rich area for your family to visit. In addition to visiting some areas on the East coast, we spent most of our time in these historic cities.
There are many family friendly things to do near Williamsburg. Here were our kids favorite activities, in no particular order.
1. Yorktown’s Continental Army Encampment
Bradley (our 8-year-old) loved watching the cannons fire and learning about weapons used during the Revolutionary War. We heard a very interesting presentation about surgery and medicine in the Continental Army encampment. Bradley also liked walking in and out of the tents and talking with the men and women in period dress. The encampment is a relatively small area, so there’s not a lot of walking involved, and they pack a lot in that small space.
2. Jamestown Settlement Ships
More than anything, Bradley was looking forward to visiting the replicas of the three ships that brought the original Jamestown settlers: the Godspeed, the Discovery, and the Susan Constance. Both Bradley and Cameron (our 4-year-old) loved climbing the stairs to go above and below desk, laying down in the sailors’ beds, climbing on the cannons, seeing the equipment on board, and talking to those dressed like early colonists. The ships are great for young kids but are not stroller friendly.
3. The Powatan Village
Perhaps the most interesting area we visited was the Powatan village at the Jamestown Settlement. There are several reed-covered huts, similar to the ones Powatan natives would have lived in 400 years ago, all of them decorated with animal skins. Bradley and Cameron loved exploring these huts to see what they could find. The village also had men and women in native dress, preparing food, and talking about the Powatan lifestyle. We could even get our double-wide stroller into each hut.
4. Williamsburg Children’s Orientation Walk
Bradley really enjoyed the Children’s Orientation Walk in Colonial Williamsburg. They talked with the kids about life in Virginia prior to the War for Independence. The kids practiced greeting one another, bowing, dancing, and even learned how New World slaves worked in the fields. The man who led the orientation walk was excellent with the kids. Cameron really wasn’t into this part of our trip, but that was expected because they recommend the orientation for 6-years-old and up.
5. Williamsburg’s Historical Reenactments
Colonial Williamsburg is known for its reenactments. The setting provides an ideal stage to show visitors some of the situations colonists faced as they were seeking their independence from the British king. We saw a couple reenactments on Duke of Glouster Street (the main road), one by the Capitol building, and several others. Bradley loved watching as suddenly actors would burst on to the scene and begin interacting with each other and the crowd.