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Located near the Chesapeake Bay, Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780. A century ago, John D. Rockefeller funded the restoration of hundreds of 18th-century buildings, and Colonial Williamsburg has since become a massive outdoor living-history museum. With hundreds of buildings to wander through, not to mention historical re-enactors to observe and craft shops to pursue, this getaway lets you immerse yourself in Colonial America. Remain in the past by attending Revolutionary War re-creations in Yorktown and exploring archeological sites in Jamestown, both a short drive or bike ride away. If you need a break from tricorn hats and petticoats, you can rent a kayak to explore the water trails surrounding Williamsburg, or seek out the area’s many golf courses, the Kidsburg playground, and chartered sailboats.
There are many ways to get to Williamsburg. Several flights a day arrive at the Newport News/Williamsburg Airport (PHF). You’ll find many more direct connections to the Richmond International Airport (RIC), 45 miles northwest of Williamsburg via I-64.
Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train route, which runs between Boston, New York, and D.C., has a stop in downtown Williamsburg. (Tip: You may be able to reserve a spot for your bike!) Greyhound buses also stop here, and several private coach services run between Richmond Airport and Williamsburg.
You can rent a car at any of the major airports, or once you arrive in town. And if you want to avoid a car altogether, the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority operates a number of local bus lines.
Williamsburg is a year-round destination, with mild winters that rarely see snow, but the most comfortable times of year may be spring (March through early June) and fall (September-October). Springtime temperatures hover in the comfortable 60s and 70s Fahrenheit, and while June is the rainiest month of the year, the rains are far from constant.
Summer temperatures average in the high 70s and 80s Fahrenheit from May through August, and the humidity spikes during those months as well. Unless you’re determined to explore the city in period attire, light clothing will probably serve you well. The temperatures drop into the 50s Fahrenheit around October. From late November through February, chilly weather may shorten your time in the outdoor exhibitions, but it won’t stop them.
Just 7 miles from Williamsburg, Jamestown is the site of a British colony founded in 1607. At the Jamestown Settlement Museum, you can board replicas of the ships that brought colonists to North America, or wander around a re-created 17th-century fort and Powhatan village, chatting with actors in costume. Not far away is Historic Jamestowne, where you can tour an archeological dig and watch glass artisans at work.
History is everywhere in James County, including this 600-acre park, the site of a Revolutionary War battleground and one of the first free Black settlements in America. But it also has 20 miles of biking and hiking trails, as well tree swings and zip lines.