Traveling is all about balance! Immersive cultural and educational experiences, paired with activities for the whole family, create the perfect vacation blend. Williamsburg stands out with its captivating fusion of colonial landmarks, rich history, delectable cuisine, and abundant outdoor adventures, delivering a travel experience unlike any other. And once you’ve soaked up all that history, there’s still plenty more to do—activities that both tourists and locals absolutely adore.

Grab your bags and get your itinerary together with these recommendations to make your visit to Williamsburg, VA, a trip you won’t soon forget.

Busch Gardens

Are thrills and roller coasters your thing? Then, Busch Gardens is the place to be. This amusement park has all the rides, shows, and food spots you need to keep the whole crew entertained, whether traveling with family or friends. We recommend downloading the Busch Gardens app on your phone to make the most of your visit. This handy tool allows you to check out ride wait times, ensuring you can plan your day and avoid long queues. No one likes long wait times, so combine your strategy to enjoy attractions like the newly reopened Loch Ness Monster fully.

Yorktown Beach

If the option presents itself, don’t miss out on hitting the beach. Williamsburg offers up a good hidden gem in Yorktown Beach. Head there, and you can swim, kayak, fish, paddleboard, or relax on a less-crowded shoreline. Because inclusion and belonging are paramount, there’s an ADA-accessible area of the beach and Mobi-Chairs for rent, so you don’t have to leave anyone out. 

Merchants Square

Head to Merchants Square for shopping, food, and plenty of people-watching. This area features nearly 40 local shops and restaurants, from gourmet candy stores to specialty coffee and tea shops. While you’re there, swing by The Cheese Shop for gourmet cheeses, wines, and specialty foods. After you’ve indulged in some shopping and dining, take a stroll around the charming cobblestone streets of Merchants Square, where you can soak in the historic ambiance and admire the quaint architecture. Plus, keep an eye out for live entertainment and events that pop up.

Williamsburg Premium Outlet

No vacation is complete without a trip to the nearest outlet. Williamsburg’s outlet is not just any outlet – it’s a shopper’s paradise. Here, you’ll find some of your favorite well-known stores, such as the Nike Factory Store, Polo, Pandora, and The North Face. But that’s not all. The outlet also includes some local favorites like Roots and Culture Palace, Williamsburg Bazaar, and Fat MuNchiez, offering a unique shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Outdoor Activities

Nature lovers will appreciate Williamsburg’s abundance of parks and outdoor activities. With so much beautiful nature, you can dive into various activities, including kayaking, biking, hiking, and scenic walking trails, depending on where you go. Waller Mill Park has a reservoir which means in addition to your typical park activities, you also have access to watersports. Freedom Park has a bike trail plus the chance to encounter wildlife. It also holds historical significance as the site of one of America’s earliest Free Black Settlements, active from 1803 to 1850.

Where to stay

While there are plenty of affordable lodging options when you visit Williamsburg, for a one-of-a-kind experience, you can check out some of the Colonial Houses of Colonial Williamsburg. The Williamsburg Lodge offers a cozy retreat with rustic decor, nestled amidst lush greenery, where guests can unwind after a long day. At Williamsburg Inn, the style is more elegant and Regency-inspired. Plus, you can flex on your friends by saying you’ve lodged in the same space where presidents and British royals have stayed. For a more scenic experience, Kingsmill Resort offers suites and villas overlooking the James River, access to championship golf courses, an onsite spa, and various recreational activities.

In Williamsburg, history, adventure, and relaxation meet. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of amusement parks, the tranquility of the beach, or the excitement of shopping and dining, Williamsburg has it all.