To say that Virginia is brimming with history would be the ultimately understatement.
From staging some of the most crucial moments of the Revolutionary War to essentially hosting the nation’s capital in its backyard, Virginia is arguably the place to visit for history buffs. It’s likewise a great place to introduce children and teens to the United States’ past firsthand and make memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Also, note that Virginia is an amazing state for family vacations. In addition to its historical significance, don’t forget the state’s absolutely gorgeous weather, mountain ranges and scenic wineries.
And that only scratches the surface of the fun to be had!
It’s no secret that Virginia is an absolute treat for out-of-towners who want to make the trek. This begs the question, though: what are the best spots to visit for a family vacation that mixes fun with Old Dominion’s rich history?
We’re glad you asked. In this quick guide, we break down the state’s “Historic Triangle” and other must-see stops for any family visiting Virginia. No matter what your family is looking to do, these spots can satisfy your sense of curiosity and adventure during your next trip!
Our first stop as part of the Historic Triangle is Williamsburg.
The capital of the original Virginia Colony, the City’s undisputed main attraction is Colonial Williamsburg. Like stepping into a time machine, Colonial Williamsburg provides visitors a taste of what life was like in 18th Century America filled with actors, reenactments and an endless array of museums.
The Governor’s Palace is a sight to behold and is definitely worth a tour, too. Additional activities such as carriage rides and ghost tours are a blast with the kids and can help round out your trip if things feel too educational. You may be surprised at just how much your kiddos love the immersion, though.
Beyond Colonial Williamsburg, other awesome local attractions include Busch Gardens, the Virginia Living Museum and Water Country USA. With so many options to fill your schedule, you might want to look into finding a vacation package for Williamsburg to see as much as you can and get some serious bang for your buck.
Even if you haven’t cracked open a history book in years, you remember America’s first settlement. Another trip back in time, coupling Jamestown with Williamsburg is a no-brainer given the site’s close proximity.
The Jamestown settlement features everything from replica ships to preserved forts, not to mention the Jamestown Ferry which is actually free to ride with your vehicle. Planning your visit to the Jamestown settlement means being ready to do some walking given the various nature trails, tours and local wildlife to see.
The final piece of the Historic Triangle, Yorktown is famed for being one of the most critical sites of British defeat and surrender which eventually led to the end of the Revolutionary War.
Including the city’s historic downtown district, some essential things to do in Yorktown include:
- Exploring the American Revolution Museum
- A tour of Yorktown Battlefield
- Walking the shoreline at Yorktown Beach
- A stroll at Riverwalk Landing
- A scenic drive through Colonial Parkway
Did you know that over three million people visit Arlington National Cemetery annually?
The 400,000+ graves honoring servicemen and women from over 11 countries spanning all branches of the military are breathtaking. If you or anyone in your immediate family has served, Arlington should be a top priority during your trip.
Although Arlington National Cemetery can be a somewhat somber experience, the scenery and experience itself is truly one-of-a-kind. That said, the Tomb of the Unknown soldier is always a hit with the younger crowd given the fascinating story and aura around it.
Although not in Virginia per se, you can’t check out Northern Virginia without stopping by the nation’s capital.
And if you think that DC is only about politics, think again! Simply walking around the National Mall and marveling at the various monuments is a peaceful way to spend any given afternoon in the area.
Also consider the plethora of museums around town, many of which offer free admission. Some of the best Smithsonian museums for kids include…
- The National Museum of Natural History
- The National Air and Space Museum
- The National Children’s Museum
The beauty of Virginia is that there’s just so much to do and there’s something for everyone in your family. Whether you’re looking to double-dip educational fun with a family vacation or just want the classic “colonial” experience, these spots have you covered. Make sure to mark them on your to-do list!