Fancy a trip around the leafy state of Virginia? If you plan on heading to “Old Dominion,” then make the town of Williamsburg your first stop. Once the capital of the Virginia Colony in the early 17th century, the city is steeped in history and oozes charm. From fantastic museums to beautiful gardens, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Williamsburg, VA.
Exuding an enchanting blend of living history and modern-day vibes, this lively college town forms the “Historic Triangle” with Jamestown and Yorktown. Learn all about Williamsburg’s rich history by strolling around the 300-hundred-year-old Colonial Williamsburg, the beating heart of the town. Marvel at the beauty of the Williamsburg Botanical Garden, and sample locally made whiskey at the Copper Fox Distillery.
Whether you are a history buff, an art lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find a ton of interesting places to visit in Williamsburg, Virginia. So, start making that list and get packing!
Best places to visit in Williamsburg, VA
A good place to start your adventure in Williamsburg is the Governor’s Palace. Built in 1706 as a residence for the Royal Governors, the building was designed to convey opulence and power. The original palace burnt down in 1781 but was meticulously reconstructed decades later.
Wander around the exquisitely decorated rooms, filled with period pieces and elegant armory. Marvel at the beauty of the grand ballroom, once the beating heart of the town’s social scene. Visit the elaborate kitchen and scullery. Watch a demonstration of the old way of cooking and brewing beer.
End your tour of the Governor’s Palace with a meander around the formal gardens, which are intricately laid out and perfectly maintained.
Peyton Randolph House
Another one of Williamsburg’s historic gems is the Peyton Randolph House. Also known as the Randolph-Peachy House, the historic house was once the home of the first and third President of the Continental Congress, Peyton Randolph. Built in 1715, it’s one of the oldest buildings in town.
Take a guided tour of the property and delve into the sordid history of the slavery of 27 people who worked on the land. Explore the places the slaves lived and worked and see how the paradox of American slavery is highlighted here.
The Peyton Randolph House is also believed to be haunted and often referred to as ‘the most haunted house in the US.’ Brave a ‘Ghost Tour’ of the house—if you dare!—and find out why more than 30 people have died in the house since its construction.
Walk the halls of the Capitol Building in Williamsburg, VA, where the fight for American liberty was fought. Built in the Colonial Revival style of architecture, the building is the third on the site, after the previous two buildings were destroyed by fire.
Take a tour of the Capitol Building. Wander the halls where the Virginia General Assembly, the House of Burgesses, and the governor’s Council met. Learn about the government workings in colonial Virginia and how the colony contributed to the American Revolution.
You can enjoy evening programs at the Capitol. They delve into the political and social events that happened here in the 18th century. Watch a new group of immigrants become citizens in an annual naturalization ceremony that continues a 300-year-old tradition.
Dewitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum
Get your creative juices flowing with a visit to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery. Located in the same building as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the gallery boasts a fantastic collection of American and British decorative arts.
Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, the collection here includes exquisite English porcelain and silver, and southern American-made furniture. Explore the 1773 Public Hospital exhibit, detailing how mental illnesses were treated in the 1800s. Head to the Wilkinson Gallery to see an impressive collection of fully furnished handcrafted dollhouses.
The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery also hosts interesting events throughout the year; watch out for concerts and lectures held in the Hennage Auditorium.
Another one of Williamsburg’s beautiful historic buildings to check out is Bassett Hall. Built by a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1773, the house was once the home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
The best to explore Bassett Hall is on a guided tour which begins with a short 15-minute film about the history of the house. Learn all about the Rockefeller family, and how they helped shape Williamsburg into what it is today. You can then explore the historic home and take in the incredible collection of art, furniture, and figurines.
Once you have explored the house, head into the gorgeous gardens and take a relaxing stroll around the property. Your ticket to Bassett Hall also allows you entrance to other nearby attractions like the Brush-Everard House; head over there when you’re done!
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Looking for a fun day out with the family? Head to Busch Gardens Williamsburg where’ll you’ll find a huge variety of family-friendly entertainment for all ages. Voted as having some of the “best rides in the world,” the lively theme park has everything from thrilling rides to a fully-fledged zoo.
Boasting a European theme, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is designed to showcase the beautiful landscapes and famous sights of Italy, France, and Germany. Take a boat through Pompeii’s ruins or brave the Loch Ness Monster rollercoaster. Wander around the Highland Stables and meet working horses or catch a Broadway-style show at the theater.
Explore the Land of the Dragons and the Sesame Street Forest with your little ones before grabbing something to eat in one of the many restaurants dotting the park.
Copper Fox Distillery Williamsburg
Celebrate the birthplace of American spirits with a visit to the place where the first batch of whiskey was distilled in 1920. Head to the Copper Fox Distillery Williamsburg to explore the history of whiskey in the US and sample some of the finest American Single Malt Whisky in the country.
Opened in 2005 by Master Distiller Rick Wasmund, the Copper Fox Distillery was the first distillery in America to floor malt their own barley. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into distillery production on a guided walking tour of the property.
After your tour, kick back in the comfortable speakeasy lounge or outside next to the fire pit. Enjoy a whisky flight or a handcrafted cocktail before moving out.
George Wythe House
Appreciate the rich history and beautiful architecture of the George Wythe House. Once the home of wealthy businessman George Wythe, the simple design of the house makes it one of Williamsburg’s finest homes.
Tour the property on a guided tour and delve into the distinguished history of the house. The George Wythe House is connected to some famous names from General George Washington to Thomas Jefferson. Learn who used the house and how it played a role in the making of history.
Explore the other buildings on the property to get a feel for life in the 17th century. Wander around the beautiful formal gardens and relax in the shade of one of the huge trees.
The Ghosts of Williamsburg Tour
If you love ghosts and ghouls, then taking the Ghosts of Williamsburg Tour should be high on your list of what to do in Williamsburg, VA. The city’s tumultuous and war-torn history makes it the perfect place for creepy encounters with plenty of places for ghosts to reside.
Join a candlelit walking tour through the streets of the city to various haunted buildings where spirits are believed to hang about. Costumed guides will share chilling tales and colonial ghost stories as you visit some of Williamsburg’s haunted buildings.
You’ll visit the Governor’s Palace, the Peyton Randolph House, and the Old Jail, which all hold dark secrets. The tour begins at the Playhouse Stage on Palace Green. All kids above the age of eight are welcome on the tour.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
Further your knowledge of American folk art with a visit to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Sharing a building with the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery, the art museum houses an extraordinary collection of American folk art.
You’ll find an amazing diversity of decorative objects from needlework to woodcarvings created by local craftsmen. The objects will give you a deeper insight into everyday life as seen through the eyes of the craftsmen who made them.
Let your inner child out with a visit to the Down on the Farm exhibit. The exhibit tells the story of a carved wooden dog Prince who explores the countryside. Admire the incredible collection of folk musical instruments from the 19th century, like banjos, dulcimers, and fiddles.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Williamsburg
Weird, wacky, and wonderful: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Williamsburg has it all! The world-renowned museum is packed to the hilt with kitsch oddities like authentic shrunken heads and two-headed animal skeletons.
Enter the huge Odditorium. Make your way through eight galleries of fascinating and freakish exhibits. Marvel at mind-bending illusions, bizarre artifacts, and peculiar art, and catch a show in the 4D theater where movies come to life. Navigate through a web of lasers in the Laser Race and try your mini golf skills on the Catfish Cove Mini Golf course.
Find out how vampires are killed with an authentic vampire killing kit. Don’t miss the spinning vortex tunnel where the world turns upside down!
Williamsburg Botanical Garden
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours with a stroll around the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. Located in Freedom Park, the garden is home to a large variety of flora endemic to the Virginia Coastal Plain.
Wander through 18 different habitats, featuring native grasses, wetlands, and woodlands. Head to the Freedom Park Arboretum where you’ll find an array of plants that support pollinators like bees and butterflies. Learn how to grow a sustainable garden that supports local flora and fauna.
Williamsburg Botanical Garden has lovely, shaded picnic areas. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and relax in one of the two pavilions in the heart of the park.
Virginia Musical Museum
If you’re a fan of large nippers or love the sound of organ music, you’ll find endless pleasure and wonderful treasures at the Virginia Musical Museum. The museum was founded by Jesse and Peggy Parker in 1963 with just a single music box. Today, it’s grown into an extraordinary repository of fascinating objects, instruments, and musical ephemera.
You’ll find the Virginia Musical Museum in the Parker Piano Outlet building where two cavernous rooms are filled with musical delights. You’ll find everything from a Wurlitzer Caliola band organ to a 1780 pianoforte and a rare 1770 Joshua Shudi harpsichord.
Wander around the Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Check out priceless musical memorabilia like Roy Clark’s boots and Patsy Cline’s handkerchief. Don’t leave without admiring a 1978 Clenet Roadster once owned by Wayne Newton; it’s the museum’s most prized artifact.
Make your way into the countryside on the southern side of Williamsburg to sample some of Virginia’s finest wines. Surrounded by gently rolling hills and vivid green vineyards, the Williamsburg Winery has been producing award-winning wines since 1988.
The second-generation family-run wine estate not only produces critically acclaimed wines; the Williamsburg Winery is also home to an elegant boutique hotel and two charming restaurants.
You can tour the vineyards and learn all about the wine-making process. Follow it up with a wine tasting in the beautifully appointed tasting room.
Enjoy a sumptuous meal at one of the two restaurants and spend a romantic night in the gorgeous European-style hotel. Gracious hospitality, fantastic food and wine, and spectacular panoramic vistas promise a one-of-a-kind experience.
Harken back to the days of the first English settlement in North America at the Jamestown Settlement. Located on Jamestown Island, the living history museum brings 17th-century Virginia to life with recreations of artifacts found at the excavation site of the original Jamestown.
Stroll through the archeological digs of the original Jamestown before exploring the museum. Begin your tour with an introductory film to better understand the historic events. Then climb aboard the three ships that brought the original English settlers to America.
Wander around a recreated village of Powhatan Indians and watch costumed interpreters demonstrate the skills used by the settlers in everyday life. Interactive exhibits and fun demonstrations make this a great attraction to visit with the family.
York River State Park
Head into the great outdoors to explore the beautiful countryside of Virginia at the York River State Park. The park is home to two unique ecosystems that bring together marine and plant life. It’s spliced by the York River and has an estuary teeming with marine life, watery marshes, and dense forests.
You will find plenty to do in York River State Park, from hiking and mountain biking on 30 miles of forest and coastline trails to horseback riding and birdwatching. There are several playgrounds for the kids to enjoy and pavilions for picnicking. There’s also a boat ramp for launching boats to go fishing in the river.
Hunt for fossils and Native American artifacts in the park’s fossil beds. Rent kayaks for some fun on the river. Be sure to save time to enjoy a scenic picnic on the banks against a backdrop of beautiful views.
The Virginia Beer Company
Virginia may be synonymous with whiskey, but the Mother of States also produces pretty good beer, too! Head to the Virginia Beer Company on Second Street to delve into Williamsburg’s beer scene and sample some of the town’s finest craft beer.
The Virginia Beer Company has a production facility, a taproom, and a beer garden. The brewery focuses on a small, high-quality range of flagship and limited-edition beers.
Visit the family-friendly taproom or grab a table in the pet-friendly beer garden and enjoy a tasting of the brewery’s small-batch craft beers.
Built up an appetite? Around the brewery, you’ll find a variety of food trucks serving delicious local food to soak up all that beer. The brewery also hosts various events every week like live music in the beer garden. What better way to end your trip to Williamsburg than with a few beers and cheers?