The Historic Triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia, celebrates history in everything it does, from July 4th fireworks to its Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Here are 10 FREE things to do there on your next family vacation.
1. Take a shuttle. the Historic Triangle Shuttle provides transportation from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center to nearby Jamestown and Yorktown. Available March 16-Nov. 1.
2. Watch a movie outdoors. The show starts at 8:15 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing. Bring a picnic and a blanket for movies under the stars on May 16, 23 and 30.
3. Listen to music. Shagging on the Riverwalk Beach Music Series. Summer concerts from 6-9 p.m. Fridays in June as well as July 17, 24 and 31 and Aug. 7. Bring lawn chairs or blankets.
5. Celebrate the birth of the United States of America. 30th Annual Independence Day Celebration in Historic Yorktown. Activities begin at 8 a.m. with the Independence Day 5K Run and continue at 4 p.m. with live entertainment, children’s fun center, 8 p.m. patriotic concert, and a fireworks finale. In Colonial Williamsburg , where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776, see the Williamsburg Fife and Drum and militia parades and Colonial Williamsburg’s famous fireworks.
6. Get ready for Christmas. Illumination and Christmas Tree Lighting in Historic Yorktown. Dec. 4, 2009. The holiday lights go on and the festive season begins at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment at the Victory Monument followed by the procession of lights through historic Yorktown to Riverwalk Landing. This ceremony includes holiday entertainment and a visit from Santa.
7. Watch a boat parade. Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade.
Dec. 5, 2009. Decorated in holiday spirit, area boaters parade the York River in competition for “Best of Show.” Waterfront events begin at 6 pm. Enjoy hot cider and musical performances in the glow of beach bonfire while awaiting the parade of lights.
8. Take a bike ride. Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown offer bikers a variety of terrain, road and trail surfaces, gorgeous views, and history at every turn. The Historic Williamsburg Trail is an easy ride around Colonial Williamsburg and through the College of William and Mary. On this tour, you’ll pass near or in front of practically every major historic building. (To enter the historic building, you need to purchase tickets.) The College Landing Park Trail is an easy ride through the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg through the scenic Colonial Parkway back through the shops and restaurants of Merchants Square. The Virginia Capital Trail is a pedestrian and bike trail that will ultimately connect Jamestown, Williamsburg and Richmond along the Scenic Route 5 corridor.
8. Visit a park. Chickahominy Riverfront Park is well-known to bass fisherman and duck hunters. College Landing Park sits on the banks of College Creek – once used by colonial merchants as a waterway access into the town. Freedom Park is a 689-acre park that includes open meadows, mountain bike and hiking trails, an 18th century graveyard and the Williamsburg Botanical “Ellipse Garden” and one of the nation’s earliest Free Black Settlements in America. Waller Mill Park surrounds a 286-acre lake open for fishing, boating, pedal boating, canoeing and kayaking with a tunnel for boats connecting the upper and lower sections of the lake. Picnic area as well as hiking and biking trails. Little Creek Reservoir Park overlooks a 996-acre reservoir. Year-round fishing, and picnicking are available. The facility includes a one-mile scenic hiking trail providing breathtaking overlooks of the water and a playground for kids. Powhatan Creek Park and Blueway is a one-acre facility that provides access to the James River at Jamestown Island. This park includes scenic views of Historic Jamestown as well as views of tidal marshes and an abundance of wildlife highlight trips on this beautiful waterway. The Park includes five observation decks and fishing piers. New Quarter Park & Queens Creek Blueway includes 545-acres of mature forests, meadows, ravines and tidal wetlands located near historic Williamsburg.
9. Take a drive. Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile route that connects the historic sites of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown with scenic views of both the James and York Rivers. Interpretive pull-offs along the way provide information about the area’s rich cultural history, as well as opportunities for picnicking, bird watching and fishing.
10. Take a hike. Greensprings Greenway Interpretive Trail Is a three-mile soft surface hiking trail with a 600-foot boardwalk over open wetlands. The interpretive program links historical events with natural features. Trail signs provide hikers with an opportunity to retrace the footsteps of Native Americans and early colonists and to imagine what life would have been like in the New World wilderness.