WILLIAMSBURG TRAVEL GUIDE
Traveling as a family is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s so amazing to see the kids exposed to new cultures, foods, history, and people. I love watching them experience things for the first time through their eyes. Every summer, we go on a big family trip and spend multiple weeks abroad bouncing between places, but it’s looking like this summer (like last), we will be staying closer to home. Unlike last year when we barely traveled at all, this year we have been exploring more within the U.S.
A couple weeks ago, we got to go to Williamsburg, VA, and we had so much fun! It was a super family-friendly destination, so I wanted to share where to stay, where to eat, and where to play – for both parents and kids
MUST-STAY IN WILLIAMSBURG: KINGSMILL RESORT
I’m a sucker for splurging a little extra to stay somewhere nice when we travel. Especially with kids, having somewhere comfortable and cute to come back to at the end of the day or a cool property where the kids can swim and play games – it’s priceless. The Kingsmill Resort did not disappoint. It’s right on the James River so it has the most beautiful views, especially at sunset!
We stayed in the cottages, which are super cute and great for families. I slept sooo well while I was there (not enough, because we were moving non-stop trying to see it all). The beds were really comfy. They have cottages with 3 or 4 bedrooms, so it’s the perfect spot for families. They have full kitchens, washer and dryer, LARGE bathrooms, plus each bathroom has a full-size jetted tub. You also have full access to all the resort amenities – two championship golf courses, the tennis club, marina activities, multiple restaurants, etc.
Prettiest cherry blossoms!
We were there pre-season, so the outdoor pool wasn’t open yet, but since we were there with Visit Williamsburg, they let us check out the pool at The Estate at Kingsmill. It used to belong to the Busch Family (of Busch Gardens and Budweiser Beer), but they sold it to Kingsmill, so now it’s available as a luxury rental. The home is so gorgeous! The decor is sooo stunning and all of the bedrooms are insane. It would make for an amazing family vacation rental for a big family get-together! We loved spending our nights swimming there!
The prettiest pool overlooking the river – sunset was so magical!
DETAILS: GRAPHIC HOODIE
MUST-EATS IN WILLIAMSBURG
ELECTRIC CIRCUS TACO : 9 times out of 10, you’ll find us either at a Mexican or Italian restaurant. We ended up at Electric Circus Taco for lunch the first day, and it was the perfect intro to the Williamsburg food scene. It’s right in the heart of Williamsburg, so you can walk and tour the city after. The restaurant has tons of arcade games for the kids, so they loved it!
ANTONIO’S RISTORANTE: We got this to go after we went to Busch Gardens and the garlic knots were amazing! Thin crust New York-style pizza too. It was one of our favorite meals!
WATER STREET GRILLE (Yorktown): Nothing beats a good pizza Cody took the healthy route and ordered a steak salad. Loved the views and they have the prettiest tables out on the balcony that overlook the river.
MAURIZIO’S RISTORANTE ITALIANO: This was a local favorite – it was super busy, and the pasta options were all really popular, but we were craving pizza again, no surprise haha. It’s right at the entrance of the resort, so it was super convenient to stop and grab food.
MOBJACK BAY COFFEE ROASTERS (Yorktown) : I could talk about this place for hours! It’s the cutest coffee shop with all handmade (and amaaaazing) pastries. The building it’s in is actually one of 7 buildings that were built in the 1700s. At one point, it was owned by a female who actually sold coffee – the current owner was so inspired that she wanted to open a coffee shop of her own with her family. The owners have also had multiple ‘ghost’ encounters in that building (but friendly :). Such a cool spot with soooo much history! They also had a picnic area in the back with an outdoor fire going. You’re also within walking distance of a lot of the historic sites in Yorktown.
Favorite thing we tried: Nutella Donuts – we had waaay too many! The kids loved the pink macarons. Also loved the Caramel Macchiato – their coffee is all roasted in-house so it’s super fresh. This place was probably my favorite!
WYTHE CANDY & GOURMET SHOP: Cody always finds the best sweets! This place had caramel apples, homemade fudge, chocolates, and more. Also, our fam loves jelly bellies, and they have a wall with all the flavors.
MUST-PLAY & MUST-DOS IN WILLIAMSBURG
*Disclaimer – we aren’t much for museums. Our kids have pretty short attention spans and would rather be outside or doing something active. There’s soooo much to do in Williamsburg that I didn’t think the kids would gravitate towards the more historical or educational elements, but they totally did! Tons of live exhibits and replicas make it feel like you are there experiencing it and not just listening to an audio recording looking at pictures on the wall.
JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT: Jamestown Settlement was the perfect mix of history and interactive experiences – the kids loved it! They kept seeing “come see this” or “wow! look at this!” It was honestly the best museum-type experience we’ve had. Wes kept talking about what he had learned in school, and it was cool to see it all come to life for the kids.
While there, you can see re-creations of the ships that first came to Jamestown in 1607. They have replicated a lot of the original structures and ships from early Jamestown. We got to board a life-size replica of Susan Constant – the biggest ship that brought over the original settlers of Jamestown. There were 71 people that came across on that ship, which put it all into perspective how cramped and uncomfortable the journey overseas would have been. They also had a recreation of a Paspahegh town to see how Powhatan and Pocahontas and their people would have lived. So cool!
BIKE RIDING: Without really meaning to, we’ve started the tradition of renting and riding bikes on almost all our vacations – The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the beach in Newport Beach, and now we get to add along the Greensprings Interpretive Trail in Williamsburg. We love being active and outdoors, and riding bikes is the perfect way to combine the two and get to explore new places. We rented bikes from Spoke + Art Provisions Co – they had options for a hybrid or recumbent bike and also have toddler wagons available. The trail was sooooo beautiful! So green and tons of wildlife (including a baby deer!). Also had the cutest wood bridges over different ponds, and the woods were gorgeous.
After the bike ride, we went back to return the bikes and got to talk to the owner more. He’s from England, so I got to talk to him about our obsession with “The Crown” haha. They have a cute outdoor sitting area in the back where you can get snacks, have coffee, and listen to live music either before or after your ride. They also do a British tea once a week! Such a cute spot and one of my favorite things we did on this trip.
SISTER CITIES FRENCH MARKET: The Yorktown Market Days are a Saturday staple, with special theme markets through the year and our weekend corresponded with the Sister Cities French theme! It was the cutest waterfront farmers market complete with food trucks, cute shops, and artists, and more. Yorktown is the sister city of Port-Vendres, France, so the market is re-creation of their Saturday market and has the coolest French feel to it! Cody snuck away for a crepe and didn’t save us a single bite haha.
HISTORIC YORKTOWN: Yorktown was such a cool village to visit. I love cute picturesque towns and fell so hard for all the beautiful buildings here (as my 100 pictures in front of the buildings can attest haha). It was crazy to think how much those buildings must have witnessed over the centuries
We stopped at Yorktown Bookshop and got to see a Bible they have for sale from the 1600s. The kids each got to pick out a vintage comic book, too, and they already looked them up to check resale value haha. One of them was already worth $70!
We also got to watch The Fifes and Drum of York Town play 18th-century field music, and it felt like we were taking a step back in time. During the war, they couldn’t hear the commander, so drummers would play specific beats to send orders to the troops.
BUSCH GARDENS: (Tied: Kids’ Favorite) We couldn’t come within miles of the iconic Busch Gardens and not go… haha. Wes is always pulling up videos of roller coasters, so he was probably the most excited. The Williamsburg Busch Gardens also has 9 European village ‘replicas’ throughout the park. Their Food & Wine Festival is taking place right now (through May 23), so you can try authentic foods from around the world. Such a cool way to bring Europe to us since we can’t go to Europe this summer.
Post-park nap Always a sign of a fun-filled day.
I got a lot of questions about Covid restrictions. They limit the number of people who can enter the park each day, so you have to reserve your tickets beforehand, but it was actually nice to not have it so crowded. Most of the roller coasters and rides were open, and the kids got to go on every open roller coaster. Cody and I both went on a few – I made him go on the crazy upside-down roller coaster, so he got his moment to shine as the adventurous parent haha. Everyone wears masks unless they are eating. It was our first theme park experience post-Covid and was just like the old days, plus masks and minus insane crowds haha.
Have you guys been to Williamsburg? If you have any favorite places to stay, restaurants you recommend, or other activities you would suggest, leave a comment below for others planning future trips.
*In collaboration with Visit Williamsburg.
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