Williamsburg, Virginia, annually ranks as one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Standout attractions in the area include the state’s first capitol building, Busch Gardens theme park and Colonial Williamsburg.
The latter serves as a living, breathing snapshot into U.S. history. Colonial Williamsburg is the restored village where the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere roamed in the 1700s. Visit the walkable history museum today and you’ll find restaurants still serving venison-stuffed game pie and women in ruffled dresses sewing on the front porch.
Just down the street from this time capsule sit Forbes Travel Guide Four-Stars Williamsburg Inn and Williamsburg Lodge, two properties that live by the ageless credo of treating guests like best friends and feeding them like family.
The best time to visit Williamsburg
Though you’ll have no shortage of fun things to do throughout the day no matter when you visit Williamsburg, our Forbes Travel Guide editors do think some times of the year are better to make your trip than others.
October brings some of the most idyllic weather and is the best time of the year for many outdoor activities. But if you’re traveling with school-age kids, there’s a good chance you’ll be visiting Williamsburg during the peak summer season. If that’s the case, try to plan your trip for May and June, when temperatures are more moderate.
Williamsburg still sees plenty of visitors during the off-season months, but it is, of course, a bit cooler at those times. We will say, however, that Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown) looks particularly charming covered in a blanket of snow.
What you should pack for a trip to Williamsburg
Deciding what to pack for a trip to Williamsburg depends on when you’re traveling and what you plan on doing while you’re there.
For example, if you’re going to take advantage of the numerous championship-level golf courses in the area, you’ll obviously want to bring your golf gear. However, if you don’t want to hassle with your clubs, rentals are available at many courses.
If you’re visiting Williamsburg with kids during the summer, we recommend toting bathing suits so you can cool down at Water Country USA, the largest water park in Virginia.
Regardless of when you stop by, sightseeing will likely cover some part of your trip, so be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes so you can comfortably cover all of the city’s fascinating historical attractions. Have ample memory on your phone, too, so you can capture as many moments from your trip back to the 18th century as possible.
Getting around Williamsburg
If you’re flying into Williamsburg, the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is likely where you’ll land. Once you arrive, you should rent a car, since the main way of getting around the city and other area attractions is by driving (or walking, when you’re downtown).
That said, you can take advantage of the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority system, which will take you to some of the most popular local attractions for just $3 a day.
Another fun way to get around is by taking the Williamsburg Trolley, which makes continuous stops throughout well-trafficked areas like Merchants Square, High Street, New Town, Williamsburg Shopping Center and the College of William and Mary.